Monday, October 22, 2018

Linguacious for Spanish Learners

Linguacious for Spanish Learners

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Linguacious and MommyMaestra. All opinions are my own. 

Most good Spanish learning curricula contain a lot of hands-on learning. If you flip through almost any program lesson plan and you'll see arts, crafts, music, TPR...and games. Especially games. That's because learning happens faster and easier when we are having fun. Teachers have used games like hopscotch, dominos, Uno, Go Fish, and many, many others to teach children important concepts for decades.

In the Internet TESL Journal, there's an article by Chen, I-Jung, in which the author states that games are beneficial in language learning because "games...
  • are learner-centered.
  • promote communicative competence.
  • create a meaningful context for language use.
  • increase learning motivation.
  • reduce learning anxiety.
  • integrate various linguistic skills.
  • encourage the creative and spontaneous use of language.
  • construct a cooperative learning environment.
  • foster participatory attitudes of the students."

If your child is learning Spanish at home or in the classroom, there's no reason why you can't use games outside of their curriculum to supplement their language learning. That's why I love it when I learn about products independent of a curriculum that may be used to boost your child's language learning skills. 

Linguacious for Spanish Learners

So let me introduce you to Linguacious, a family-owned language learning company started by a language learning expert raising his son to be trilingual. The dad is Brazilian, the mom is Ukrainian, and their son is being raised speaking Portuguese, Russian, and English through the OPOL (One Parent One Language) approach. I was delighted to be contacted by this education company and asked to share their products. 

This set of game-based vocabulary flashcards is unlike any flashcard set you've ever seen before. To use the cards, it is best if you download the Linguacious app. It's basically a QR code reader, but one developed by Linguacious specifically for use with Linguacious products. The result is that it scans the Linguacious QR codes much faster than other QR readers, has no ads whatsoever, and is very easy for even small kids to use; simply point at the QR code and it pronounces the word. It also has a flashlight feature, which makes it possible for kids to scan the cards even in the dark!

You'll need it to work with the cards. On one side you'll find real-world images and a QR code (no written words), and on the other side, you'll see the written word and another QR code (no images). When you scan the code, you'll hear the word pronounced in the target language. 

Linguacious for Spanish Learners

It's pretty amazing because you can use each card to boost ALL FOUR language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This is a precious tool for any language learner or educator.

And you know what this audio feature means, right? That's correct! Parents, you don't have to be fluent in the target language to play games with your child! Woohoo! (But watch out because if you mispronounce the word, your child is going to notice anyway!)

The other cool thing is that these flashcards can be used by one child (solitaire) or as a group (class) activity. The Linguacious website has a page dedicated to all the different games you can play with their deck of cards. (But I bet your children or students can come up with a few more!)

I believe I counted 51 languages in which the cards are available. Wow. That's some serious language learning going on. And the cards are available in several themes, such as...
  1. Animals
  2. Around the Home
  3. Food & Drinks
  4. and Verbs

The really fantastic part is that these cards may be used with children of ANY age. Are you working on raising a bilingual toddler? Boost his vocabulary with the Pointing Fingers game. Got a middle schooler learning Spanish? Help him with his pronunciation with the Word Whiz game. Is your high schooler taking Spanish for the first time? Help her practice her conversational Spanish by playing Vocabulary Train! Seriously, who would have guessed you could play so many games with a simple deck of flashcards? 

AND I was impressed to discover that all Linguacious® products come with a complimentary 2-year technical audio warranty!

In addition to the flashcards, Linguacious also has poster sets in a similar format using the QR reader app. Their Spanish poster, as you can see above, follows the Gomez & Gomez dual language education model, with the Spanish words colored in red and the English translation colored in blue. What is great is that the English translations are in a much smaller font size than the Spanish words, so that students do not use the English translation as a crutch, but only to check the meaning. The images are quite self-explanatory and clear on their own, but the small English translation may appeal to certain schools and programs. I think this would be a great addition to the Spanish-learning classroom and could be used as a language center activity while the cards could be used as a group-learning game to reinforce vocabulary. 

To order your own set of Linguacious cards or posters, you can visit their site or purchase directly from Amazon (aff link). 

Friday, October 19, 2018

25 Spanish Words & Phrases to Use at Home

I have a fun treat for you today! My dear friend, Melanie, from recently created a document for her son's class when she went in and shared some Spanish as part of their Hispanic Heritage Month unit. She reached out to me the other day and generously offered to share it with MommyMaestra readers for free!

So here you go, my friends. I hope you enjoy this fabulous list of 25 Spanish words and phrases to use at home!

And if you have a minute, why don't you stop by her site,, and take a look around? You will love what you find!


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2018 Online Spanish Homeschooling Conference

Do you know about Lemonhass? They are an American missionary family living in Mexico and they homeschool their kids in Spanish.

Next week, they'll be hosting a Spanish Online Homeschooling Conference.  It's a week-long and features many presenters from Oct. 22-29.  If you register, you will have access to all the speakers.  It is only $15-$16 with the exchange rate in US dollars or $300 MXP.

I'm assuming that once you register, you'll have access to all the videos to watch at your convenience, even if you cannot watch them live.

My friend, Mayra Rodriguez, of Estilo Familiar will be one of the presenters. Here's a quick video in Spanish in which she tells you a little more about the online conference.

You can register for it here.

Latino Americans by Ray Suarez in English & Spanish

In my last post, I shared with you the wonderful resources from PBS Learning Media centered around their remarkable documentary series: Latino Americans. But did you know that Ray Suarez wrote a book to accompany the series?

I happen to have a few copies of both the English and Spanish versions in my shop. If you are thinking about incorporating a Hispanic Studies course into your classroom or homeschool, I would highly recommend using this book as the spine and using the PBS Learning Media materials and to supplement the reading. has dedicated an entire section on its website where you can watch episodes of the three-part, six-hour documentary series, and find additional materials related to the show. What's even better is that it is available in English AND Spanish.

You can even become a part of the LATINO AMERICANS project with "Mi Historia" and make a video describing what being Latino means to you.

Between these three resources - the books shown above, PBS Learning Media, and the Latino Americans website - you would have a meaty core for your Hispanic Studies course.

Those of you who are homeschooling highschoolers and who are looking for materials in English or Spanish, this is a definite gem!

So slip on over to my shop and get copies of these books while they last. I have them new in my shop for $15, but you can also find them used on Amazon here and here (aff links).


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Latino American Resources from PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media: Latino Americans

I share a lot of resources on MommyMaestra for elementary students, but this week I'm going to focus on older children. And I'm starting off with one of the online education portals that you may already be familiar with: PBS Learning Media.

A few years ago, PBS ran a special documentary series: Latino Americans. You may have watched it. If not, it is an EXCELLENT media resource for your Latino Studies lessons at home or classroom. You can find it here. (aff link)

(There's an awesome book written by Ray Suarez to accompany the series, but more about that in my next post.)

PBS Learning Media: Latino Americans
A snippet of a larger lesson plan about Latinos at the Ballot Box on PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media also has a fair collection of themed multimedia lesson plans for students in 4th through 12th grade to accompany the documentary. But before you ask, many of the lessons can be used independently. I love that the lesson plans include so many primary texts and well-researched historical sources, as well as downloadable materials for student use. The activities require critical thinking about each subject, some of which include:

  • Who Are Latinos?
  • Identity, Immigration and Economics: Involuntary Deportations of the 1930s
  • Digging at the Roots of Your Family Tree
  • Stereotypes vs. Statistics (grades 4 - 8) AND/OR (grades 9 - 12)
  • Latinos at the Ballot Box
  • Stories of Arrival
  • What's In a Name?
  • Students Rising
  • Organizing the Farm Worker Movement
  • Extranjeros & Expansion
  • Puerto Rican Perspectives
  • Cuban Exodus
  • Journey from Mexico
  • The Mexican-American War
  • Spanish-American War

And there are quite a few biographies, too.

These are quality materials that should not be overlooked by teachers and parents. If you are teaching a multicultural studies class to your children or students, this is a must-have.

PBS Learning Media: Latino Americans

Those of you who must contend with Common Core and state standards, each lesson plan also has a list of the standards that are met.

TEACHER BONUS: All of these lessons are Google Classroom friendly and may be assigned directly from the lesson plans.

To take a look at all of the lesson plans they have available on this subject, click here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Free Download: Halloween Spelling & Numbers Game

Halloween is just a few weeks away! And to helps us celebrate, MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has made that the theme for this month's Spanish freebie!

Today's download is a 4-page spelling and numbers game to help Spanish learners learn phrases associated with the spooky holiday, Halloween! The file comes with an introductory page with instructions on how to play the game. There are also number and word cards, a set of spelling game cards, and a page dedicated to Halloween dice numbers and a letter chart. As always, there is also an audio file to help your young student learn the proper pronunciation.

Halloween Books in Spanish!

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, October 7, 2018

Rosita y Conchita Book Review

Several of you have asked what this story is about. So I dug through my files and found the following review. This is a reprint of the review I did eight years ago of Rosita y Conchita on the Latin Baby Book Club. 

Rosita y Conchita
by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger

The LBBC’s recommendation for November’s Libro del Mes, is Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger.

A few weeks ago when I first read about Rosita y Conchita, I was pretty excited, because I could tell from the cover that a lot of work had gone into this book. I was hopeful to see a full story developed around Día de los Muertos, since this holiday is really starting to spread like wildfire across the U.S.

I was not disappointed. When Eric sent me a copy of the book to review, I was so thrilled to find a story that richly conveys the intention behind the holiday. The story follows twin sisters who are trying to find a way to get together once again. The book describes how Conchita is carefully creating an altar to remember her dearly departed twin, Rosita. The other part tells Rosita’s story as she wanders through the otherworld looking for clues that will lead her to her sister one more time.

This lovely little book is not sad or scary. Instead, it treats death in the same manner that the holiday itself does – with humor and love – so that children will enjoy the storyline. The best part of the book, I thought, was how the authors describe the ofrendas in such a way so that the children reading the book can understand the meaning behind each one.

The text itself is another example of the thought and work that both authors invested. The entire story is written in rhyming verse - in both English and Spanish! I do think that this book should win some sort of award for the subject matter, work it displays, as well as the engaging manner in which it captures the attention of young readers.

Here’s a look at one of our favorite pages…

I also loved how at the end of the book, Eric and Erich have included a history of the holiday (in English and Spanish), a simple recipe for making sugar skulls, as well as directions on how to draw Rosita.

While reading this book, my kids had LOTS of questions. And what was really neat was how my older daughter would explain parts of the book to my son, because she quickly understood the messages that were being delivered.

Books like these are, in my opinion, really important for our children, because in American culture, death is not often talked about. Many parents don’t want to burden their children with the concept. Maybe because they themselves don't know how to deal with it. Or maybe because they just don't know how to discuss it on a child's level. But I think if approached with love and respect, children can learn that death is not something to be feared, but rather a simple process that is a part of life – not just one that ends it.

And I think that the act of creating a “Remembrance Table” actually helps children and adults both, to move through the grieving process and to heal. It is such a special gift to be able to move past the sadness and instead celebrate the lives of our loved ones, giving thanks for their place in our own lives. To be able to remember with joy and laughter, those whom we have loved, enriches our own experiences and makes us healthier emotionally.

I think parents and teachers will really LOVE reading this book along with any lessons or activities for Day of the Dead. This book would also be a wonderful supplement to the following topics/themes: poetry, death and grieving, family, indigenous cultures, family relationships, cultures and traditions, and symbolism. It is a great read for children ages 4 and up.

To order this book or learn about the second book in the series, visit our sister site: MommyMaestra's shop.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Rosita y Conchita Book Set on Sale

Just a quick reminder to everyone: If you are buying Rosita y Conchita books from me this year, please place your order by October 19th. Any orders placed after that, won't be able to be shipped until November 5th. 

Also, the set of both books is on sale. You can find all the books here in my shop! They remain, hands down, the best books on Día de los Muertos that you'll find anywhere.

UPDATE: I have officially sold out of books this year. I'll order more again next year!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Free Calavera Prepositions Graphic

So this was fun. The other day, I shared a graphic on the MommyMaestra Facebook page that had a graphic with visual examples of prepositions. Lots of people liked it, and one reader asked for a Spanish version. Of course, there wasn't one. I tried going to the website of the person who had originally created the graphic, but the website was no longer available. So I decided to make my own.

And since Día de los Muertos is a month away, I thought, "Hey, why not be a little creative and unique and make it with calaveras?" So my preposiciones graphic was born. It was so popular, that I decided to make an English version to go with it and offer them both as a free download for my readers.

Here you go, my friends. Click on the following link and it will take you to a Google file that has these two graphics as .png files and as a .pdf download. Choose the one that works best for you. Please do not resell this file (trust me, I will know if you do!). It is for personal or classroom use only.

Oh, and if you are looking for more print-and-go Day of the Dead downloads, please consider purchasing one of mine? All of them are available in my TpT store, or here in my MommyMaestra shop. :) You can see examples of them in the slideshow at the top of this page in the sidebar.


Monday, October 1, 2018

2nd - 4th Grade Writing Handbooks for Bilingual Learners

I'm pretty excited about my weekend discovery during one of my regular trips to my favorite used bookstore. When my older kids were little, we used the Write Away series and it was awesome. So imagine my delight when I found the SPANISH VERSIONS of both the second-grade and third-grade handbooks!

¡De viaje! and ¡Vía libre! (aff links) are handbooks for young aspiring writers. They guide students through the writing process by using easy to understand directions and giving clear examples. Your child will learn the basics of writing with this book through a variety of writing topics.

For example, in ¡De viaje! your 2nd grader will begin by learning ideas on what to write, keeping an idea journal, making a plan or outline and why an eraser is your friend (😉). They'll learn about making revisions, meeting with other writers to get feedback, how to correct their own work, and how to publish what they've written.

There's also a section on the nuts and bolts, which covers sentences and paragraphs.

Then there is a series of writing activities: personal writings (diaries, funny notes, cards to friends, and personal narrations), themed writings (book reviews, news articles, instruction guides, etc.), investigational writings (illustrated dictionaries, reports, etc.), stories, and poems.

These writing activities are followed by a section on learning to learn. It covers how to improve your reading, letters and words, how to talk and listen better, and a chapter dedicated to learning skills.

Oh, but we're not done! Then there's a grammar section to help students learn about parts of speech, sentences, the mechanics of language, how to improve your spelling, using the correct word, punctuation.

The final section is a student almanac with lists and tables of all sorts of things (sign language, the Braille alphabet, Roman numerals, etc.), maps, math, penmanship, and a look at history.

There is a TON of information packed into this little book!

And ¡Vía libre! is similar with a little more advanced content geared toward students in 3rd and 4th grades. But it has the same engaging style and is also jam-packed full of resources for your young students.

Anyway, I bought all three copies of each book and have them for sale in my shop. I wish I could have bought more, but these were the only ones they had. So it's first come, first served. You can find them here.  I've sold out, but you can find them here and here on Amazon (aff)!


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

7 New Titles for Classrooms this Hispanic Heritage Month

Over the last several months, there have been some remarkable new Latino children's lit titles to hit the market. And although there are many wonderful booklists available for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to make sure that you were aware of these new titles from some of our favorite Latino authors. They are perfect for home or school classrooms. If you can't find them in your nearby bookstores, you can click on the affiliate links below to order them from Amazon, or you can go to your local library and request them.

(For a complete list of titles, please check out my Amazon shop and click on Books for Hispanic Heritage Month!)

by Sonia Sotomayor 

As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father's death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future for herself in which anything was possible.

In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor shares that love of books with a new generation of readers, and inspires them to read and puzzle and dream for themselves. Accompanied by Lulu Delacre's vibrant art, this story of the Justice's life shows readers that the world is full of promise and possibility--all they need to do is turn the page.

by Lulu Delacre 

Lulu Delacre’s beautifully illustrated collection of twelve short stories is a groundbreaking look at the diverse Latinos who live in the United States. Turn the pages to experience life through the eyes of these boys and girls whose families originally hail from many different countries; see their hardships, celebrate their victories, and come away with a better understanding of what it means to be Latino in the U.S. today.

by Margarita Engle

In 1943, thousands of young Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are teenagers, scared, longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls are happy to dance with the sailors—until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder.

Suddenly the young white sailors are attacking these girls’ brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence—when in reality these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin.

In soaring images and powerful poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle could tell it.

A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science.

     With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master's in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Danza! is a celebration of Hernández’s life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As a child, Amalia always thought she would grow up to be a teacher, until she saw a performance of dancers in her town square. She was fascinated by the way the dancers twirled and swayed, and she knew that someday she would be a dancer, too. She began to study many different types of dance, including ballet and modern, under some of the best teachers in the world. Hernández traveled throughout Mexico studying and learning regional dances. Soon she founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, where she integrated her knowledge of ballet and modern dance with folkloric dances. The group began to perform all over the country and soon all over the world, becoming an international sensation that still tours today.

by Margarita Engle

Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot―the Latinos featured in this collection, Bravo!, come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today!

Biographical poems include: Aida de Acosta, Arnold Rojas, Baruj Benacerraf, César Chávez, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Félix Varela, George Meléndez, José Martí, Juan de Miralles, Juana Briones, Julia de Burgos, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Paulina Pedroso, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, Ynes Mexia, Tomás Rivera

by Michael Mahin

Carlos Santana loved to listen to his father play el violín. It was a sound that filled the world with magic and love and feeling and healing—a sound that made angels real. Carlos wanted to make angels real, too. So he started playing music.

Carlos tried el clarinete and el violín, but there were no angels. Then he picked up la guitarra. He took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he’d grown up within Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Giveaway: Canticos Book Set

Last May, I told you about the short music videos airing on Nick Jr. that featured the wonderful little characters from the book series by Canticos. I was so delighted to see Latino culture in the form of nursery rhymes and lullabies being highlighted on a children's channel. And the videos themselves were freaking adorable. 

So I'm excited that this week, a new round of videos will be launching! More wonderful melodies and words from our childhood that are paired with Susie Jaramillo's brilliant illustrations are now available online. 

These videos and books are fantastic resources for those of us with children under 4, and especially for those of you with preschoolers. The themes are educational and teach important preschool concepts such as counting to 10, opposites, days of the week, and more. The new videos include Las Mañanitas, Pin Pon, Duérmete mi niño Pollito, and Muñequita. And just like the first videos, these songs are sung first in Spanish and then again in English to make them a perfect learning opportunity for bilingual babies. :)

Plus, they are just so sweet to watch.


You know how much I love to champion early education. That's because the long-term benefits are so numerous!! And I especially love resources that teach important concepts alongside one's heritage. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill has shown that "Latino adolescents in the U.S. who maintain ties to their culture of origin are more likely to develop healthy behaviors than their peers who do not. Latino adolescents with a strong awareness of their family’s culture reported higher self-esteem, fewer social problems and less hopelessness, aggression and substance abuse." You can see why I think that it is so important for us to teach our babies about their heritage in a proud and positive manner! And products like these are exactly what we need to help us do so.

SO, I am so thankful to Canticos for offering a set of their children's board books to one MommyMaestra reader! What a valuable addition to your family's home library these are.

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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