Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Free Download: A Thanksgiving Bilingual Book of Words


Are you following MommyMaestra on Facebook? If so, be sure to zip over there to download your free printable! I noticed that the page surpassed 3,000 followers a few weeks ago, so in celebration, I created this Thanksgiving bilingual book of words. You can print it up, fold the pages in half and let your child choose which word - English or Spanish - to write in the lines at the bottom. It's a great way to practice those writing skills!

To download your copy, click here. This offer is only free for MommyMaestra Facebook followers. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Don't Miss the Premiere of Odd Squad!


DON'T FORGET that ODD SQUAD premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, November 26, right after CURIOUS GEORGE: A Very Monkey Christmas on PBS KIDS!

My son has been counting down the days and CANNOT wait for tomorrow's premiere of the new PBS KIDS series aimed at boosting math and science skills in early elementary skills. Tomorrow's Christmas special has special agents Otto and Olive helping Santa find his missing reindeer (he accidentally shrank them!) by following a pattern.

It's funny, clever, and sooo creative! If your kids love stories of adventure, intrigue, and ingenius solutions by kids just like them, don't miss tomorrow's episode.

We first learned about the Odd Squad while completing a survery for the PBS Viewers Like You advisory panel (if you'd like to share your thoughts and opinions on new and upcoming PBS programming, sign up here). We've watched countless clips and screeners and now my son is HOOKED!

So if you have kids at home, why not kick off the holiday season with all the holiday-themed shows from PBS KIDS?

Overstock: Quality Educational Gifts at Discount Prices


This is a sponsored post.

Last August, PBS KIDS announced a partnership with Overstock.com in which they create a carefully curated selection of toys and gifts for kids. The Overstock Kid Zone contains hundreds of educational products and a portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to help fund PBS KIDS programming.

If you are wondering what kinds of gifts you should get your child for the holidays, this is a special opportunity to get awesome products at great discount prices! I was looking around the site and found lots of gift ideas for my own kids - and all of them are under $30 (some even under $12!). Here's what I've got saved and some of the products I'll be considering...


The Kid Zone is made up of several shop categories, including “Educational Toys,” providing the perfect opportunity to purchase holiday gifts while supporting PBS KIDS. The site also provides links to PBS KIDS videos and fun family activities.

I prefer to shop local when I can, but with the Holiday Shopping Frenzy only days away and a smaller budget this year, I'm happy to avoid the crowds and order some of my gifts online. What about you? Online or local stores?

Disclaimer: This is part of a collaboration with PBS KIDS. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Now in Spanish! El Mundo Divertido de PEEP & Printable

El Mundo Divertido de PEEP

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with PEEP and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Today, I have a special treat for parents and educators of preschoolers. Earlier this month, the award-winning show PEEP in the Big, Wide World launched a new bilingual website. On it, your preschooler will find lots of fun activities. And parents, you'll also find resources and ideas to help you confidently explore math and science together with your children. The show is narrated by comedian Joan Cusack, so you know it is absolutely hilarious!

I'm especially excited that PEEP has added content created specifically for home-based child educators. How cool is that? You rarely find big companies designing materials (in English AND Spanish!) for people like us. And as more and more parents are choosing to teach their preschoolers at home, this becomes a valuable tool for parents (and preschool educators). You'll love the curriculum they've put together. It's easy to follow with engaging activities. The picture below comes directly from their website and shows you the layout for exploring shadows. For parents and educators who need a little help implementing the lessons, PEEP also has a unique professional development curriculum with six 3-week units for integrating science and math into your Pre-K curriculum. 


PEEP is unique as it helps children develop their science inquiry skills by exploring, observing, predicting, and problems solving in their day to day surroundings. The show is fun and creative and encourages children to find science fun and engaging, too. 

I was inspired by this section on shadows of PEEP's online curriculum and decided to create a Thanksgiving-themed printable that explores shadows for your preschooler. You can download it for free here


PEEP is now on Pinterest, too, and there you'll find really helpful pins/links to specific episodes (on their YouTube channel) arranged by subject matter. So for example if you are studying shadows with your preschooler, you'll love their Explorando las Sombras board

Be sure to follow PEEP Latino on Facebook and on Twitter where they share lots of fun resources, coloring pages and more.

Or if you'd prefer to follow PEEP in English, you can find them here on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Pinterest

Friday, November 21, 2014

Teaching Winter Preparation & Giveaway

photo courtesy State Farm
This is part of a sponsored collaboration with State Farm and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Winter has made its icy way across the country this past week. While we didn't get any snow, the frigid weather made a record low here. I'm sure that this is just the beginning and am already thinking about how I'm going to be prepared for the snow and ice we're sure to get.

And I'm helping my children to think about how to prepare for bad weather, too. 

At home we stock up with canned soups, water, and hot chocolate. :) We've been stacking wood for our wood-burning stove as a backup just in case our electricity goes out in an ice storm. Flashlights are being dug out and batteries stocked. 

Just because winter is coming doesn't mean that our homeschool schedules stop. We still have piano lessons, reading programs, field trips, and more scheduled. So I'm also cleaning out my van gathering supplies for the it based on this winter driving survival list from State Farm. In go the blankets, bottled water, first aid kit, flashlights, and jumper cables. Because you never know when you might get stranded. Heavy snows and ice storms can lead to bad driving conditions. 

Actually, I'm having the kids clean out the van because most of the weird little things rattling around in there the kids put there: jackets, pencils, Legos, perler beads, Hiccup action figure, books, drawing pads, marbles, crazy loom bracelets...sound familiar? If so, then you must be a parent. I know these items are pretty tame. I think the weirdest thing we've ever had in our trunk (or van) has been an incubator with baby flamingos...and owls..and crowned pigeons. (No joke.) But I guess those aren't as weird as some.

State Farm asked 3,000 random Americans: “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve driven around with in your vehicle’s trunk?” Here's what they said.

What do you keep in your trunk? Share it here or tweet about it using the #InviernoSeguro #WhatsInYourTrunk hashtags

Learn more by visiting the State Farm website. You can also follow them on Facebook.

The Giveaway


State Farm has generously offered a $50 Visa gift card to one MommyMaestra reader. Wouldn't that be nice to help pay off some holiday bills after the new year?

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blue Planet Interactive Story Book App for Bilingual Readers


I've got another goodie for those of you raising bilingual readers. Blue Planet Tales has a special interactive app full of eBooks about world history and real life. From the race to the South Pole to the history of pirates to the construction of the pyramids, your child will enjoy these educational and entertaining stories.

NameBlue Planet Tales
Subject(s): Reading, History, Science
Brief Description: An interactive story book app in Spanish & English featuring stories of historical events and people.
Price: Free with in-app purchases; $0 - $2.99
Language: Spanish, English
Ages: 4 - 10
Device: iOS, Android 


What I like:
I love the focus of the stories are vibrantly illustrated and teach history, technological and social progress through adventurous stories. I also appreciate how they are inclusive of Hispanic figures. For example, The Liberator is the story of Simón Bolivar. How often do we see stories like that featured? And the stories are in English and Spanish.


Your child can choose to read the stories himself, or listen to the app instead. 


And each book comes with reading comprehension questions to help boost your child's literacy skills.

 

To learn more, visit their website (available in English or Spanish).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New! 2014 Thanksgiving Day Books


Every parent I know tries to teach gratitude and appreciation to their children all year long. Most of them model appreciation every time they can. Some blow me away with their volunteer efforts that surely show their kids how to give back. 

No matter what you do to help raise children who will grow up to be thankful for other's small gestures or great kindness, it is always nice to have reminders around the house. Our family always turns to books to teach us of course, but also to help me emphasize any given point I need to make. Books help us express our feelings a little better, see how characters deal with situations like ours, and to inspire us to dream big!

Right now, the theme of gratitude is everywhere! We are quickly approaching the holiday season and it shows. On a recent trip to the bookstore, we noticed rows and rows of Thanksgiving theme books. I thought, "Why not keep some of these books out and on full display all year long?" They could be little reminders to us and to children to count our lucky stars.

While there, I also started to compile a list of the latest books on gratitude for you and your little ones. All of the books listed below were published this year. Some are available on paperback and for Kindle.

Enjoy!

Pinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper by Victoria Kann

Thanksgiving Stories by Uncle Amon

The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

The First Thanksgiving for Kids: How Thanksgiving Came to Be  by Ian D. Fraser

Thanksgiving for Emily Ann by Teresa Johnston

El pavo de accion de gracias by Cassie Willows

Junie B, First Grader: Turkey's We Have Loved and Eaten by Barbara Park

What is Thanksgiving? by Michelle Medlock Adams

The Fantastic Gifts of Fall by Dandi Mackall

We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season by Wendy Pfeffer





Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homeschool Tech: The LG OLED Home Theater System at Best Buy


This is a sponsored post. 

If you are a homeschooler, then you have no doubt discovered you have a valuable tool at your disposal in your home. If used correctly, your television can be your eduational ally.

We've deliberately chosen to not get cable or satelite and all those extra channels. I know that there are some fantastic channels out there for history, DIY, and science, but I feel like there are too many tempting others that would be too distracting for us, too. My main go-to station is PBS. Most afternoons and evenings we can find something fun to learn about. From NOVA to Word Girl, there are lots of edu-tainment opportunities for our family, and we've learned about everything from new designs for diving suits that repel sharks to the life stories of the Roosevelts.

We also use DVDs and VHSs to expand our knowledge base. For example, to make the American Revolution history come alive, my kids & I love Libtery Kids. For biology, the Planet Earth and Life of Birds series are just a few of our favorites. And some of our lesson plans come with DVD supplements, too. And because I do not consider art to be my strong suit, we do have several art lesson series that the kids watch and are able to work along with, such as Mike's Inspiration Station.

Don't get me wrong, though. We also enjoy a great family movie at least once a week and on Saturday afternoons, the kids are allowed to pick out the DVD film of their choice. And as homeschoolers, watching movies and shows can be a great opportunity for socializing with other children.

Many of our homeschooling friends also stream videos and take online courses. Maybe you even use Apple TV or Roku?

So if your family is interested in a quality home theater system, I just want to share with you the LG OLED TVs that are now available at Best Buy. An amazing, high quality system, OLEDs are the latest in tech innovation with self-lighting pixels that are able to turn on and off individually giving you the most brilliantly colored and realistic image you'll find anywhere. The curved screen add depth to the the images and the pencil-thin frame makes it very light weight and easy to mount on anywall.

It even comes with a web operating system so you can access premium content from providers like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and YouTube directly through your LG Smart TV.

You can watch the video or read for yourself here.

Wouldn't this be awesome for a school or museum, too? Can you imagine having this hanging in your classroom or media room so students could interact with Spanish students across the world or learn about historic places like the Statue of Libery and the Golden Gate Bridge?

If I was had the opportunity to make one of our dreams come true and had some extra cash this holiday season, then this would be on my list!



Disclaimer: I am a Best Buy Brand Ambassador and was compensated for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lower Your Child's Risk of RSV with These Tips and Resources


This is part of a sponsored collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Next Monday is World Prematurity Day. As the mother of a preemie, this day makes me remember my first weeks with my daughter and think about how much I didn't know about the special needs of a baby born prematurely.

When I was only seven months pregnant with my first child, I started having contractions. For one month I was in and out of the hospital for preterm labor, until finally, I underwent a cesarean at 36 weeks. Although they told me she was considered term, the reality is that any baby born at or before 37 weeks is a premature baby.

No one told me that premature babies were at higher risk of contracting winter viruses, most especially Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which almost 100% of children get by the time they're 2 years old. We had our share of colds, and fortunately, none of them sent my children to the hospital. But not every parent is so lucky.

RSV is something that parents should be aware of because it is a virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages. It's a seasonal disease that usually spreads in the fall and peaks in the winter. For most children it causes flu- or cold-like symptoms, but it is a serious risk to preemies, whose lungs have not had time to fully develop before birth and who don't typically receive all of the antibodies in utero. When they contract RSV, there is a good chance your preemie might need treatment in a hospital. In fact, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States. It causes approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year in the United States Results in up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year than the flu.

If you have followed my Facebook page on a regular basis then you know that I try to keep parents like you updated on outbreaks of various viruses and other health alerts. With more than half a million babies born in the United States prematurely, I know that there's a good chance that some of my readers may have a child in preschool and a preemie at home. So I want to be sure and make you aware of some of the risks you should watch out for and what you can do to protect your children. Do you know what the symptoms of severe RSV disease are? Here's what you should watch for:




Unfortnately, there is no cure for RSV, so prevention is key! If you have a high-risk baby, here's what you can do to help prevent him or her from getting it:



The RSV Protection site has a lot of great tools to help parents. For example, you might use their map to learn when RSV season hits your state. It also has a tool to help you assess your baby's RSV risk. It's a wonderful site that I wish I'd had 10 years ago!

Wishing you and your family a healthy winter season!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Spanish Literacy Resource: Biblioteca de Medellin


Today's awesome resource comes from MommyMaestra reader, Danielle F. She discovered this last year when she was staying in Colombia. This site - Red de Bibliotecas - is absolutely amazing! If you are raising a biliterate child, you'll love it.

Danielle says that a few highlights are:

-- The Cuidamundos: Each year EPM has a competition for students to make short animated stories about the environment for kids. These are really like e-books. Simple animation, very creative stories.

-- Cuentame Un Cuento: Hosts several minisites with podcasts, classic childrens stories read aloud, and e-books. Some of the links are broken, but those that work are well worth hunting around!

But you don't have to take our word for it. Go and check out the site yourself!

Thank you, Danielle!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Free Online Help for Parents of Kids with Learning Issues: Understood.org


Do you have a child in your life that struggles with learning or attention issues? Are you looking for ways to help or cope? Then you need to know about a new comprehensive, FREE online resource for parents and kids ages 3 to 20.

Understood.org was created by 15 nonprofits to provide families with personalized information and support tools so they can understand how dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning and attention issues can affect kids in and out of the classroom. In addition to empowering parents with information, the site is designed to help them make effective choices to address their children’s academic, social, and emotional needs. Understood aims to cut through the confusion and give parents a clear path to the support they need to help their children go from simply coping to truly thriving.


When I visited the site, the first thing I encountered was an introduction that taught me about all the resources I could find there, such as the ability to personalize the whole experience by setting up my own profile where I can enter my needs as a parent and the issues with which my child is struggling. Understood keeps all the information safe, but is then able to direct me to resources that are the most beneficial for my family.

Every page has Reading Assist tools that help you access the information. You'll even find the entire site available in SPANISH!


But perhaps the one section that stood out the most for me was the Parent Toolkit. In it you'll find valuable tools, such as the simulation tool that allows you to see what your child is seeing/experiencing. It does a remarkable job of helping parents to understand their children a little better. Or the Tech Finder so you can find apps & games approved for your child.


Overall, this is such a fabulous resource for parents and children. And the best part of it all is that it is FREE!

If you're ready to check it out yourself, just head on over to Understood.org.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Brainzy for Early Elementary {GIVEAWAY}


I would bet that as involved parents and educators, many of you already know about Education.com. The site features supplemental games, worksheets, coloring pages, and more. But did you know that they recently launched Brainzy? It's an online learning program for early elementary children (kids in Pre-K through 1st grade) that boosts their math a literacy skills.

I received access to the site for the purposes of this review. What I found was a fun and engaging site for both parents and children. First off, I love the fact that parents can track the progress of their child(ren) with an easy to read dashboard. Once you get on the site, you just add children then set them up and let them learn. 


Adding a child is easy. I recommend doing it with your child so that they can choose from a list of characters to be their screen buddy.  


Once logged in, your child is presented with this home page that allows him or her (or you!) to choose the subject - Reading or Math - and the grade level/complexity. 


From there your child will find a whole bunch of interactive games that develop more than 30 critical math and literacy skills. The games are super fun and engaging and SHORT! They're perfect for short attention spans and little learners. I thought the games were colorful, simple, and educational. For example, in one game that teaches value placement, your child is given and number and is then required to select the correct number of chocolate pieces (in bars of tens and ones) and place them in the oven. When they get it right, the oven closes and bakes different types of desserts. :) Other games include snapping pictures of the pictures that begin with specific sounds (shown below), or feeding the fat cat more cat food by correctly entering the beginning sound you hear.

We also loved the music/songs, which were upbeat and amusing.



This new site is a delightful treasure for parents and children. I would recommend allowing your early elementary child to play these games three times a week to boost the skills they are learning in school.

The Giveaway

Brainzy has MOST graciously offered to give 10 (TEN!) MommyMaestra readers a FREE 1-year subscription!

To enter, all you have to do is use the Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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