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LEARNING ENGLISH with the historical cities of Minas Gerais Flavia Rabelo

OBJETIVOS GERAIS Os objetivos gerais almejados ao criar este material didático foram a possibilidade de despertar nos alunos o interesse pelas cidades históricas de Minas Gerais e, através desse tema, fazer com que eles desenvolvam suas capacidades na língua inglesa, para ler, escrever, falar e ouvir, refletindo e discutindo de forma eficaz e crítica, para que com isso possam enriquecer a linguagem e aprofundar os conhecimentos da língua estrangeira. OBJETIVOS ESPECÍFICOS Os objetivos específicos do aprendizado da língua inglesa através das cidades históricas de Minas Gerais são, além de incentivar as buscas sobre o tema na internet, capacitar os alunos a identificar estratégias discursivas próprias do ramo turístico e em outros gêneros relacionados que constam em jornais e revistas, para que eles saibam ler e informar-se, entendendo a língua estrangeira e identificando componentes visuais que evidenciem as inter-relações entre a forma e os conteúdos de uma mensagem.

Dear students and teachers,

If you want to succeed with this material you should research about the cities you will see throughout book to learn more and to be able to understand the activities better.

The internet is full of websites in many languages that might help you.

Have fun!




Reading TIRADENTES was important in the colonial times because of the gold rush in the area. It was one of the cities with most gold in Brazil. The city is also important because that is where the first rebellion for independence took place. The name of the city honors a dentist by the name of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, who was the leader of the movement and whom the Portuguese murdered without compassion: they quartered him and hung his body pieces around town. Tiradentes was his nickname, which means ¨teeth puller¨. The architecture of Tiradentes is colonial and it has many churches like: Igreja da Santíssima Trindade, Matriz de Santo Antônio (which has an antique organ inside), Igreja do Rosário, Igreja de São João Evangelista, Igreja Nossa Senhora das Mêrces, Capela de São Francisco de Paula and Capela De Santo Antonio Do Canjica. The churches were built in Barroque style and in the same conditions as the ones located in Ouro Preto.

Reading As you read before, Tiradentes has many beautiful and special churches. Search on the internet about the most famous churches of Tiradentes.

Select a paragraph about the church that you liked the best and bring it to the class so you can read it.

Listening Listen to the description of the four historical cities in Minas Gerais. Match the name of the cities with their picture and description.


Picture #___


(Description # ___)

Picture #___


(Description # ___)

Picture #___


(Description # ___)

Picture #___


(Description # ___)




Congonhas is a historical Brazilian city located in the state of Minas Gerais. It is situated 90 km south from Belo Horizonte, the capital of state of Minas Gerais, by the highway BR-040. The city has a small population of 50,000. The city is unremarkable for its basilica - the Santuário de Bom Jesus de Matosinhos - and associated sculptures which was commissioned by Portuguese adventurer, Feliciano Mendes in the 18th century. It was created by Aleijadinho, one of the best artists in the baroque style in the world. The soapstone sculptures of old testament prophets around the terrace are considered amongst his finest work. In 1985 UNESCO granted the Sanctuary the title of a World Heritage Site. Source:

Vila Rica do Ouro Preto is a city in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, a former colonial mining town located in the Serra do Espinhaço mountains and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its outstanding Baroque architecture. In 1789, Ouro Preto was the starting point of the Inconfidência Mineira, a failed attempt to break from Portugal and form a Brazilian republic. In 1876 the Escola de Minas (mining engineering school) was created and set the technical basis for several mineral discoveries in Brazil. Ouro Preto was capital of Minas Gerais from 1822 until 1897, when the government moved to the new and planned city of Belo Horizonte. Source:

Diamantina - The city offers visitors nights with numerous country, classic or baroque music, or even the "vesperata", another musical expression typical of this city. Here lived "Chica da Silva", and it is also the city where "Juscelino Kubitschek" was born. He was the Brazilian President who began the construction of Brasilia, in the middle of ‘nowhere’. Located to the North of Minas Gerais, Diamantina is a charming city, quite different from other historical cities: its style is “rococo”, delicate, refined; standing in a landscape of Arab influences, where original traces of the “mozarab” art, extremely rare in Brazil, can be admired. This city is, nowadays, is also famous for its carnival. Source:

Ouro Branco is 26km/16mi east of Congonhas, with the church of Santo Antônio, built between 1717 and 1779. The ceiling paintings in the nave are by Ataíde. Ouro Branco has an important steel producing company called Gerdau - Aço Minas. The city is famous for its beautiful mountains and waterfalls. The “Potato Festival” is also very popular because, by this time, the city has lots of attractions and visitors. Source:

Speaking Role Play: Form groups of 5 people. One of the students will be a tour guide and the others will be tourists. Together choose one of the historical cities below and make a role play. The tour guide has to show some places of the city and explain about it. The tourists should make questions and observations.



Ouro Preto

Ouro Branco

Writing Choose any historical city from Minas Gerais and write a post card telling a friend about the best things you can do in this city. If you haven’t visit any of these cities yet, choose one of the pictures and use your imagination


SĂŁo JoĂŁo Del Rey




Listening - Listen to a text about the cuisine of Minas and write down all the names of the ingredients that you understood.

Reading - Read the recommendation from Mastercard’s Brazil Guide and discuss with the class if you agree with it. Then make your own recommendation as if you would give it to a tourist.

Writing Using the verbs listed below, choose one typical food from Minas and write its recipe. You can use one of the following examples:





This is a picture of a famous restaurant in Ouro Preto. Pretend you are the responsible waiter for the day and present TODAY’S SPECIALS to the rest of the class. Think about typical food from Minas. You can also give your clients another option that you think is good, even if it is not typical from the state.


Reading Read about the 3 ecotourism activities listed below. Pay attention to the differences between them and decide which one would be better for different kinds of tourists and why.

Hiking is a form of walking, often among hills or mountains, as recreational sport, with the specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery. It usually takes place on trails in rural or wilderness areas. Camping is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the campers get away from civilization and enjoy nature by spending one or more nights at a campsite. It is often restricted by law to designated sites in order to prevent campers from damaging the environment. Camping can be one single activity but is often done in conjunction with others, such as hiking, swimming or fishing. Trekking: combines hiking and camping in a single trip. A trekker hikes into the backcountry to spend one or more nights there, and carries supplies and equipment to satisfy sleeping and eating needs.

Writing Learn the name of the activities and choose one of the historical cities to write a text describing which ecotourism activity would be the best there and why:

Mountain Biking





Trail riding on horses

Speaking Role play - Groups of 5 – TV program – One student is going to interview the other four that have been on ecotourism tours in the historical cities. They’ll share their experiences in each of the sports. The rest of the class is going to be the audience, who can also ask questions to the participants.

Listening Photographing is a great activity during ecotourism. Listen to the description of the activities and decide which one would be the best and the worst for photographing and why. Give details.

Canoeing is the activity of paddling a canoe for the purpose of recreation, sport, or transportation. It usually refers exclusively to using a paddle to propel a canoe with only human muscle power.

Trail riding (or horseback riding) is riding on trails as opposed to riding on roads or a riding arena. This activity is about challenging terrain in the outdoors. Speed is not the reason for trail riding. Just having fun and enjoying nature is the goal.

Mountain biking requires endurance, bike handling skills and self-reliance. It is an individual sport which can be performed almost anywhere. There are aspects of mountain biking that are more similar to trail running than regular bicycling. Because riders are often far from civilization, they must learn to repair their broken bikes or flat tires to avoid being stranded miles from help. This reliance on survival skills accounts for the group dynamics of the sport.


Listening Listen to a text about Tiradentes and talk about one of the traditional celebrations mentioned in it. Tiradentes 215 kilometres from Belo Horizonte. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm This is a historic city that is part of the rich cultural legacy of Minas Gerais. ,,,,,,,,,,,,mmmm Its population is situated under the mountains of Sao Jose and next to the border of The Das Mortes River. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm This is a nice and important cultural site, a historic patrimony that is employed as a scenery (a set) for diverse films, series and soap operas. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm This city is popular because of its traditional and religious celebrations too. Among them, it is possible to mention: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm The Carnival, The Holy Week and The Cinema Festival on January and February; The Week of The Inconfidencia, on April; The Holy Trinities Jubilee on May and June; The Encounter of Harley Davidson ´s Admirers and Collectors on July; and The Gatronomic Festival on August. çççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççmmmmmmmm

Writing CARNIVAL IN DIAMANTINA: - If you have ever been there, describe your last carnival in Diamantina; - If you have never been there, write to someone, telling this person why you want to or don’t want to go one day;

Reading Read the following text about Ouro Preto’s International Jazz Festival in 2006 and discuss with the importance of events like this to the city and the state. OURO PRETO'S JAZZ INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Every year, Ouro Preto's International Jazz Festival provides its audience with some of the best jazz that's being made all around the world. In 2006, it reaches its fifth year as the greatest jazz festival in Brazil, capable of join great musicians with experimental and pleasant works. With the commitment of mixing jazz's new directions and its roots, the festival is the Brazilian home for great international jazz musicians, and also the native ones, who already get some attention out of their country. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This year, Ouro Preto will host this jazz celebration on September 21st to September 23rd. From Thursday til Sunday, the historical city will smell great music when some of the greatest jazz musicians and the sophisticated audience will arrive for these four pleasant days. During these past five years, the curators of the Festival, Maria Alice Martins and Ivan Monteiro, have reached a high level of respectability among the specialized Brazilian press and abroad, due to their effort in bringing to the Festival some of the most relevant names of contemporary jazz and even some true legends. Reaching the Festival's stages this year are some of the most traditional jazz bands, such as the legendary New Orleans Preservation Hall - which keeps alive the music listened at the beginning of the 20th Century in the city where it all began - and the energy of young Francesco Cafiso, who brings creativity and improvisation to modern jazz. Ouro Preto's International Jazz Festival will also present some of the best jazz/instrumental Brazilian musicians, such as composer, singer and guitarist Toninho Horta and mandolinist Hamilton de Holanda - a musician who bases his work on the typical Brazilian rhythm "choro" and it is considered one of the best renewers of Brazilian music. vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv Another highlight of this edition is American pianist Jason Moran and his band, The Bandwagons, which got a huge status when started to mix tradition to technological improvements. Named "the greatest voice in modern jazz", Kurt Elling is also a guest of the Festival. With his powerful voice and scats, Elling challenges the listeners to get involved to his versions of classic jazz standards. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm More than a great Festival dedicated to jazz, Ouro Preto's International Jazz Festival keeps its tradition of making new audiences pay attention to good music and provides the Brazilian musician a chance of getting in touch with some of the best names of contemporary international music, comparing his work with the others and obtaining more respect on the country's jazz scene. More than 12,000 people have attended the previous editions of the Festival, and since last year it began to offer free workshops with the musicians invited to it. 300 people have attended these workshops last year. The will of the Festival to show some of the great jazz musicians of the world walks together with the commitment to build a better infra-structure to the city of Ouro Preto. Tourists who know the real value of history and culture are always welcome to the city. Since 2002, the Festival is one of the responsibles for this and it wishes to grow more and more, mixing great music, nice people and everyone else interested in being in touch with the world.

Speaking Role play: make up a TV program, about tourism, to talk about the traditional events and celebrations on the historical cities of Minas Gerais. Research or talk about the ones studied before.

Teacher’s Guide Prezado Professor, Este guia foi desenvolvido com o intuito de dar dicas de como o livro pode ser melhor trabalhado, fazendo com que haja interação entre alunos, professores e seus saberes. As atividades apresentadas no livro podem e devem ser alteradas, na medida que, em sua opinião, os alunos se encontrem mais ou menos preparados para a realização de tais atividades. Ninguém melhor que o professor para relacionar os objetivos de aprendizagem às capacidades reais de seus alunos. O importante, portanto, é que os exercícios do livro desenvolvam os pontos fracos do alunos, podendo, dessa forma, aprimorar os conhecimentos da turma. Incentive a pesquisa e utilize, caso julgue necessário, diferentes gêneros que abordem o tema em questão, sem sair, é claro, dos objetivos das atividades. É importante, também, que as atividades possam, de alguma forma, motivar os alunos de sua turma em particular.

Sources Brazil Guide - Mastercard

Historical Cities  

Historical Cities

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