Thursday, September 27, 2012
A few minutes after 2 p.m. Wednesday, a video of Alberto Carvalho appeared on a projector screen in the North Highland Elementary School library.
“Hello, boys and girls,” Carvalho said to a class of wiggly kindergartners.
One boy turned his head to the side and shouted, “Where are you?”
It was the perfect segue for the lesson the students were about to learn.
Carvalho was in Miami, Fla., home of the 2012 NBA champions, the Miami Heat.
Carvalho is the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and he was calling in on a bet he made this summer with Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer. The administrators each bet on their home team to win the NBA title, and Springer was on the losing end of the wager.
The price: teaching a lesson about Florida to a group of Oklahoma City students.
Wednesday afternoon, Springer taught nearly 20 kindergartners while wearing a LeBron James jersey that Carvalho sent.
His students, however, all wore bright blue Oklahoma City Thunder shirts donated by the team.
Vivian Fuller, 5, said the oversized blue T-shirt she wore was her first Thunder shirt. She said she likes to watch the team play, thought she admits she doesn’t watch every game.
Springer and Carvalho tag-teamed the Florida lesson via Skype, an online video program.
They talked about palm trees, alligators and the beach.
The students listened and clapped for things they liked, like orange juice.
One boy peered over the top of the table holding the computer so he could see himself on the video.
Springer held up pictures of each of the topics.
“Now,” he said, “the thing our kids are probably most interested in —”
“Mickey Mouse!” they cheered.
After the lesson, Springer thanked Carvalho and then turned back to the students. He asked them who they thought would be the NBA champions next year.
The answer was clear. “Thunder!” they shouted.
Carvalho laughed: “But, boys and girls, who are the champions this year?”
“Thunder!” they yelled again.
Clearly, what happened between the Heat and the Thunder this summer was not part of the Florida history lesson.