Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bilingual Earth Day Activities for PreK - 1st

This Sunday, we'll be celebrating Earth Day. A wonderful reminder (especially with our current political climate) that we have a responsibility to take care of our planet so that it will take care of us!

And it is never too early to start teaching our kids responsible habits, such as recycling. So I've created and expanded this bilingual packet full of Earth-Day-themed activities.

The picture above is just a peek at the fun printables you'll find. This packet actually contains:

• "Things I do to help the Earth" chore chart
• Tracing worksheet
• Shadow match
• A counting activity
• Vocabulary words
• Notecards
• Recycling craftivity
• puzzle cards

And, yes, they are ALL available in English and Spanish! It's geared for kids in PreK through 1st grade.

You can find it in my TpT store.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 16, 2018

6 Children's Books that Feature Latino Poets

A few days ago, I recommended three books of Spanish poetry for children in honor of National Poetry Month. This week, I'm sharing six children's biographies featuring Hispanic poets.

This post contains affiliate links.

by Emma Otheguy

This is the most recently released picture book featuring a Latino poet, and it is a beautiful tribute to the Cuban poet and activist, José Martí. Beautifully written, it is the story of Martí's life, how and why he left Cuba and his subsequent fight for Cuba's independence. With gorgeous illustrations by Beatriz Vidal, the book also includes excerpts from Marti's most famous work, Versos sencillos
Ages 7-12

by Monica Brown

Another remarkable picture book whose illustrations are poetry in and of themselves, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People is a tribute to the Chilean poet. He, too, was passionate about his country and served as a diplomat and a senator. But he was outspoken about its people and his criticism led to his becoming an activist and, eventually, a fugitive. 
Ages 7-12

by Monica Brown

Another Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral was a passionate supporter of children's education. In 1945, she became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature for her poetry. This book is the lovely story of her life and an inspiration to all who read it.
Ages 7-12

by Pat Mora

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a 17th-century nun, self-taught scholar, and poet.
Her poetry is recited by schoolchildren throughout Mexico and is studied at schools and universities around the world. Here is the story of her life, an incredible one full of knowledge, achievement, and inspiration.
Ages 7-12


by Margarita Engle

For tweens and teens, this book is a close look at the life of Cuban poet, Juan Francisco Manzano. Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty. Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.
Ages 12-18

by Margarita Engle

Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
Ages 12-15

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Magic School Bus Science Club Sale


I've written before about how our science-loving family absolutely adores Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus. Even when I was a kid, this series was one of my faves. And I was happy to share it with my two oldest children when they were just the right age to appreciate it. 

Two years ago, I told you about a do-not-miss opportunity. And guess what? That opportunity has come around again!

THIS WEEK ONLY, you can receive 50% OFF an entire year’s subscription through Educents! This is an incredible deal! It would be perfect for a birthday gift, an end-of-the-school-year gift, a bring-it-on-summer gift, or for no occasion at all.

You can even create and print off your own gift cards to let your children know about the surprise. (Seriously, this is a homeschool family's dream!)

This post contains affiliate links. 

This club is perfect for kids ages 5-12 who enjoy the Magic School Bus books or videos–and if you like doing science experiments with them–then you'll LOVE The Magic School Bus Science Club (aff)!

The activities have been developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators.The award-winning Science Kits are delivered monthly right to your doorstep. Your kids will explore science through experiments that will spark their interest and curiosity. Each kit includes a colorful manual based on The Magic School Bus characters, as well as everything you need to complete at least SEVEN (7!) experiments related to that month’s theme.


What's in the Magic School Bus Science Club?

A 1-year subscription includes 12 Magic School Bus kits!

Each kit includes:
  • A detailed 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information, based on the popular Magic School Bus books and TV series
  • An adult section so that those with no science background will find the kits easy to use
  • Materials and information necessary for a range of interactive experiments
  • Online Clubhouse for further exploration on each kit topic
  • Certificate of Completion
The topics are engaging and cover a wide variety of subjects that should complement a classroom science curriculum.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Free Download: The Letter "I"

If you've been following along with our monthly free downloads, then you know that we've been focusing on the Spanish vowels, thanks to MommyMaestra's sponsor, Spanish for You!. This month's printable is another easy mini-lesson focusing on the letter "I."

Once again, we have a 3-page mini-lesson to help Spanish learners use and pronounce the letter "I." The file comes with an introductory page that is to be used with the audio file to learn how to pronounce the letter I as it is used in words and sentences. There are also two worksheets for practicing pronunciation and writing. As I mentioned, there is also an audio file to help you learn proper pronunciation.

And if you are looking for books about the Spanish vowels, check out last month's post!

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

3 Books of Spanish Poetry for Children

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Over the years, I've shared a few poetry resources with you, such as 10 Latino Poets Your Children Should Know and 7 Books to Help Celebrate National Poetry Month. But I was thinking about how often I get emails asking for Spanish poems or places to find Spanish poems that children can memorize and recite in school. Here are the books that I recommend to everyone!

This post contains affiliate links.

by Mariana Llanos

A beautifully written and illustrated collection of Spanish poetry for children. The poems are about topics to which children can relate - the seasons, the ocean, ice cream cones, reading, animals, clouds, and many others. And it features whimsical black-and-white illustrations by seven artists. A definite must-have for all school and family libraries.

by F. Isabel Campoy

One of my favorite authors, F. Isabel Campoy has created a lovely book of poetry for young readers. There are 107 poems for you to choose from and they are all about topics that children love, such as family, animals, imagination, the world around us, and more.

by Alma Flor Ada

The other half of my favorite writing duo for children, Alma Flor Ada has put together a huge collection of poems for children to enjoy. Teachers will love how this is organized by curriculum themes such as the parts of the body, numbers, vowels, food, nature, etc. This anthology is perfect for students and teachers looking for short, medium, or long poems to memorize and recite.

Check back soon for my list of bilingual poetry books for children!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Quick and Easy Easter Printables

Can you believe that Easter is just a few days away? It snuck up on me!

Just in case you are looking for few quick and easy activities that you can print and give your kids to keep them busy over the weekend while you are busy cooking/cleaning/hiding eggs, here is a quick list of my fun (and educational materials!)

For PreK - 1st

Boost your child’s literacy and math skills with this fun, Easter-themed packet! This multicultural packet contains images of both the Easter bunny and cascarones.

The 10 activity sheets include:
• Easter vocabulary
• Shadow match
• Line tracing
• Counting activity
• Spot the difference
• Pattern recognition
• Roll and color
• Easter maze
• Count the bunnies
• & How many do you see?

Here's a peek at some of the activities...

Available in English and Spanish. 

Find it in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

This is such a fun little booklet! Help your preschooler or language learner to learn their colors with this Easter-themed coloring book.

This file contains THREE books:
• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ESL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)

Find it in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

Great for supporting math skills! Roll the dice and decorate your cascarón using the options provided. 

Find it in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

For K thru 6th

Actually, this particular printable is good for ANY age. This mini-book is a brief history of the popular Hispanic craft of making cascarones. This book includes coloring pages of items related to the history of this craft, as well as brief descriptions in English and Spanish that are easy for young children to understand. At the end of the book are simple directions in English and Spanish for making cascarones.

This file contains THREE books: 
• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ESL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)

Find it in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

For 4th - 12th

This is a one-page history of cascarones. From where they originated to how to make them, this informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade. Includes a 7-question comprehension quiz plus answer key.

Find it in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

One-Page Reading Passage on Los San Patricios

St. Patrick's Day is quickly approaching so I thought that now would be a good time to remind you about a little-known group of men in history called Los San Patricios.

Have you heard of them? To the U.S., they were considered traitors, but to Mexico, they were heroes. If you are looking for a unique angle to the annual holiday, consider teaching your kids about this historical group. If you have older children/students, this would be a great time to teach them about Los San Patricios.

I have a one-page reading passage plus 8-questions quiz available in my shop. It's best suited for students in 4th grade and higher. And the good news is that it is now available in both English and Spanish versions!

To download it instantly, just visit my TpT store or my MommyMaestra shop.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Bilingual Multimedia by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

Ages ago, authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy reached out to me and generously offered a huge set of their materials to be given away to MommyMaestra readers. Sadly, the past year has been quite tumultuous and difficult for me and I just couldn't get to it, but they were kind enough to keep the materials set aside just for you. I am so thankful for their dedication to Latino families and their support of bilingual education.

SO let me tell you what this surprise giveaway is about!

Alma Flor and Isabel have put together 12 packages each featuring five of their works. These sets of multimedia materials are mentioned in their Transformative Calendar, a FREE download for parents and educators. It is full of suggestions for books and poems appropriate for each month of the year.

Each package includes:
  1. Books plus DVDs
  2. CDs
  3. Book + CD

For example, one package contains:

  • The books: Pasos from Puertas al Sol Quince Años Edition plus the DVD El encuentro mágico con el folklore infantil
    and Me llamo María Isabel plus the DVD  Lectura creadora
  • The CDs: Poesía eres tú and ¡Pío Peep!
  • The book and CD set: Música amiga Number 4 Corre al coro by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, music by Suni Paz

And another has:

  • The books: Uno, dos, tres… dime quién es from Puertas al Sol Quince Años Edition plus the DVD El encuentro mágico con el folklore infantil and Yes! We Are Latinos plus Path to My Word DVD by F. Isabel Campoy
  • The CDs:  Todo es canción poems by Alma Flor Ada music and voice, Suni Paz
    and Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas read by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
  • The book and CD set: Música amiga Number 5 Con ton y son by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, music by Suni Paz

Now just imagine...there are 12 of these prize packages!! All of them include materials in English and Spanish for children or their educators.


There will be 3 (THREE) winners who will receive 4 (FOUR) packages each of some combination of materials by the authors. You don't get to will be a surprise!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Review: Playing with Osito

I'm going to start the week off with a resource for your preschooler. This one comes from Barranca Press, which is developing a line of bilingual children's books to support the development of multilingual children.

This review contains affiliate links.

Playing with Osito / Jugando con Baby Bear

by Lisa María Burgess
collages by Susan L. Roth

Playing with Osito / Jugando con Baby Bear (aff) is a bilingual children's book with full text in English and Spanish. The storyline itself is about two friends - Osito and a young girl. But Osito has a problem, his winter hair has not filled in completely and he's left with bare patches all over his body. It's up to the two of them to find a way to help Osito stay warm. The young girl tries one idea after another; when one fails, she looks for another solution.

I really like how the young girl in the book doesn't give up. She takes it all in stride when one if ger solutions doesn't work, and just says, "Breathe, think, and try again." It's a really great story to encourage children to try and try again and not get discouraged when their ideas don't work out the first time or two. Such a valuable lesson that all of our children should learn!

I also like how the back of the book includes pages with "Did you know? ¿Sabes qué?" facts. The information is all about nature and the animals featured in this book. There's also a section on where to find more information.

The illustrations are really fun, too. Susan Roth, who illustrated Parrots Over Puerto Rico (aff), uses paper to create the unique collages in this book. I thought it was pretty neat to read that much of the landscape in the story was made with tree bark paper, which has been made in Mexico since precolonial times.

The author, Lisa María Burgess, grew up in the Sierra Madre of northwestern Mexico. She apparently wrote this story with her father when she was a little girl. I love it when authors are inspired by their childhood and turn around and share it with others!

Educators: This book works well with lessons and unit studies about problem solving, persistence, bears, the Southwest, New Mexico, Mexico, imagination, bilingualism, multilingualism, the environment, storytelling, paper art, and more.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Free Download: The Letter "E"

This month, we continue with our free downloads featuring the vowels of the Spanish alphabet.  MommyMaestra's sponsor, Spanish for You!, shares with you an easy mini-lesson on the letter "E."

This 3-page mini-lesson will help your young Spanish learner use and pronounce the letter "E." The file includes an introduction and two storyboard activities. As always, it comes with the audio file to help you learn proper pronunciation.

As a bonus, check out these books about the Spanish vowels!

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New PBS KIDS Show Helps Nurture Creativity in Preschoolers

When my kids were little, being creative was easy. All I had to do was keep my art cabinet stocked full of basic goodies: drawing paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, rulers, glitter, pipe cleaners, scissors, glue... yada-yada. My house was full of art, inventions, crafts, and such.

But I've noticed that as they grew, these items were used less and less. Today, I usually have to give my kids specific projects to get them to ask for art materials.

According to some information from PBS KIDS that I read, creativity "defines our ability to be successful in the workplace, solve complex problems, enhance our socio-emotional skills, and craft several stories a day." The first workplace spaces that popped into my mind were PR firms, graphic design studios, and publishing houses. But if you really, really think about it, pretty much EVERY workspace benefits from employees who can solve complex problems and be creative in their day-to-day work.

The same information sheet said that "kids lose their creativity as they age." And that "the creativity scores of American children have consistently cropped every year for the last 28 years." How sad is that? And how do I stop that from happening with my own kids?

I think, that with my older two, I'm still motivating them to be creative with various projects and art class. My son also has a room FULL of LEGOS and spends lots of time creating his own masterpieces.

But now I have a little baby and I am giving this whole issue more thought. Starting when your kids are young is important. Do you nurture your preschooler/elementary child's creativity?

PBS KIDS is thinking about this issue, too. And tomorrow, Monday, February 19th, they are launching their first series dedicated entirely to the arts and creativity: PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC! Based on the best-selling book series by Victoria Kann, the show follows the adventures of Pinkalicious, her brother Peter, and their neighborhood friends. It focuses on encouraging its young viewers to engage in the creative arts and self-expression.

Pinkalicious is an artist at heart who imagines creative possibilities everywhere she looks. The show is designed to help your preschooler explore the arts with:

  • Creative Problem Solving: the characters model creative problem solving and the power of teamwork.
  • Everyday/Everywhere Art: Art and beauty can be found in everyday objects and in every moment throughout the day.
  • Community Through Art: The arts help define communities, connect neighborhoods, and help us learn about each other and the larger world.
  • Communicating Through Art: Artistic activities contribute to learning skills, helping children communicated thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

I think that as a society, we are starved for creativity. You can see evidence of it in the explosion of adult coloring books, the zentangle craze, and the renewed interest in needlework. Just walk into any bookstore and you'll see arts and crafts books in the entryway prominently displayed.

I see it in myself all the time now. When I was younger, I happily flitted from one creative project to the next. But over the last 15 years or so, I became so focused on mothering, I forgot about my own creative needs. That's why I love creating printables so much now. And I want to help my kids nurture their own creative spirits and not get lost like I was for years.


Four Ways You Can Nurture Your Child's Creativity

  1. Draw: Research indicates a connection between seemingly distracted scribbling and greater info retention and creativity.
  2. Mold: Making things with your hands is a large part of finding your flow, and flow is highly correlated with happiness!
  3. Look: Changing your perspective to see in a different light can lead to new ideas (try the rose-colored glasses!)
  4. Play: Music can create happiness, which can broaden your mindset and enhance your desire to explore

So if you have a preschooler, be sure to check out the new PBS KIDS show, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC tomorrow, Monday, February 19th, on your local PBS station!

Disclosure: I am a PBS VIP. I received information about the new show and the products shown above for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

CLEP Study Guides for High School Students

(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Did you know that your high schooler can take a test that would count as college credit if he or she passed? Did you know that a great way to save money when sending your kid to college is to go ahead and have them earn college credits so that they don't have to retake basic classes in math, history, literature, foreign language, and more?

Two ways to do this is by taking AP or CLEP exams. You may be familiar with the AP program since many high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes. At the end of the school year, students can take the 3-hour test in May.

But there's also the College Level Exam Program (CLEP), which are generally considered to be a better fit for self-motivated students with strong study skills, as they will need to prepare for the material on their own. Unlike the AP Exam, CLEP is offered year-round. This means that students may take as long as they need to master their chosen field or skill set. And for these reasons, I highly recommend them for homeschool students.

Today's post is for all of my readers with children in (or going into) high school. I frequently get questions about preparing high school students for college. So when approached me about sharing their CLEP Study Guides, I agreed to take a look and see if it is a good fit for MommyMaestra readers...and it definitely is!

You may or may not know that CLEP exams are prior learning assessments offered by The College Board that allow students to earn real college credit just by passing a test.'s product includes comprehensive study guides and practice tests to help students prepare for these exams, earn that credit, and save money on their college education.

(Please note that College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which is not affiliated with!)

At the time of this post, has 31 CLEP Study Guides covering Business, Composition & Literature, Foreign Language, History & Social Studies, and Science & Mathematics. There are thousands of prep questions, more than 3,000 prep video lessons, and help available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So let's take a look at the actual courses. Just for haha's I selected Spanish because I figured that would interest many of you.

There are three tabs for each course:
  1. Overview
  2. Syllabus
  3. Exams
The Overview section gives you a course summary and lists the actual chapters for the entire course. Each chapter contains a certain number of lessons (the number of lessons varies according to the chapter topic).

What I like best on this page, though, is the Course Progress bar that shows you how much you've accomplished and how much you have left to go. And to pick up where you left off, you can just click on the video next to the bar to resume your lessons in order.

The Syllabus section not only tells you about the course but also about the actual CLEP exam, and how you can register to take it.

And finally, under the Exams tab, you'll find practice tests for each chapter of the course, as well as a study guide and test prep for the actual CLEP. For example, in the Spanish course, there are 34 chapters that you cover, and therefore, 34 practice tests that you can take.

Once you finish, you will also receive a certificate that proves you completed the course.

One of's company goals is to help students earn the most credit possible, and their CLEP product is a great avenue to help them further that goal by helping students pass their CLEP exams so they can earn transferable college credit at a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost compared with taking a course at a traditional college or university.

As far as pricing goes, it appears that there are three subscription levels. Take a look:

You can try it out yourself with their five-day free trial. And I do encourage you to try it. But be sure to cancel your subscription if you decide it's not for you or your child.

As a homeschooler, I really like the fact that the courses are self-paced. So my kids can move as slowly or as quickly as they'd like. If my daughter has time to do 6 lessons one day, but only time to watch one lesson video the next, then it's not a problem.

My oldest child will be starting high school next year. Before we moved back to Texas, we had planned to enroll her in early college so that she would have already completed two years of college by the time she finished high school. Now that we've moved away from that opportunity, I'm exploring other options to help us get those courses completed and out of the way so that a) we can save money when it is time for her to go to college, and b) allow her to focus primarily on the courses that interest her once she gets there. Taking the CLEP tests is one way we can do that and using's CLEP Study Guides is definitely worth the time and money.

On a side note, I happened to notice that isn't just about CLEP and college prep. While looking through their courses, I found that they offered lessons for K - 12, College, and Graduate & Post Grad. I'm looking forward to exploring this more with my 6th grader. :)

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