Friday, January 11, 2019

Bilingual Martin Luther King Jr. Resources

Over the years, I've created a few different printables to help teach my kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. And since MLK Day is coming up on Monday, January 21st, I wanted to be sure to share them with you in case you are looking for fast, easy printables to share with your kids.



For little ones, here's a fun activity. All you need is crayons or markers! I would first read one of the many wonderful MLK books available. Here's a list of my five favorites that I shared on Mom.me.



In this writing triptych, kids can read a little bit about Martin Luther King, Jr. and read some quotes from his famous speech. They can color it, and draw or paste a picture of themselves on one of the folds of the triptych. Then they can think about the quotes and write a few words (short paragraph) sharing their own hopes for this country.



This simple activity allows students to write their own ending to Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. They simply color in the base sheet and write in their ending, before coloring in and attaching a flap-style poster to the top. Available in English or Spanish.



Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with this easy, no-prep, printable poster and glossary! Available in full color or black-and-white, you can decorate your classroom or have your students color in the poster and read the glossary which features words related to Dr. King. 



Love them all? Then SAVE when you purchase the BUNDLE!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Doodle for Google National Winner


This morning, I opened a new tab on my computer to look something up and saw the newest Google. It immediately caught my eye because of the subject matter: Dinosaurs. My 12-year-old is still fascinated by them. And the other thing that piqued my curiosity was the drawing style. It appeared to be drawn by a child.

I also noted that it was a video doodle. Thinking I would show my son, I clicked on it to see what would happen and was delighted to watch the interactive unfold before me. I thought, hey, I need to share this with MommyMaestra readers to inspire them!

THEN I noticed that this was the 2018 Doodle for Google National Winner, so I went to see who it was. And you can't imagine my joy to discover it was 2nd grader Sarah Gomez-Lane! I love it when I see Hispanic kids excelling!

According to the Google page dedicated to the doodle:
"For the first time in Doodle for Google’s 10-year history, Sarah got to collaborate with the Doodle team to transform her artwork into an animated, interactive experience. She also received $30,000 toward a college scholarship, and her elementary school in Falls Church, VA will receive $50,000 to spend on technology to help students like Sarah continue to pursue what inspires them."

How great for her and her school!

Watch the short video sharing Sarah's story here:



If your child has been inspired to enter, the 2019 Doodle for Google is live! Click here to learn what the theme is and find out how to enter.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Philosophy for Kids

Philosophy for Kids
Last year at my local homeschool convention, I was looking through the expo hall trying to find any gems I didn't already know about. There were plenty. And this book - Philosophy for Kids - was one of them!

This article contains affiliate links.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm sharing fantastic resources for homeschoolers who are looking to add something different to their lessons. Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions that Help You Wonder...About Everything! (aff link) by David A. White, Ph.D. is just that.

Why philosophy? Aren't my kids too young for that? Well, one study showed that kids who study philosophy have higher scores on tests of verbal and computational intelligence than those who do not. More than 3,100 children in 48 primary schools who took philosophy classes were shown to have improved their math and reading skills by about two months of additional progress.

There is, in fact, a whole website dedicated to teaching children philosophy. On it, you'll find booklists and many other resources to help you teach your kids at home or in school.

But I personally, love the book I found at the convention. We've been using Philosphy for Kids since August slowly covering one chapter each week. At this pace, we are able to use this book throughout one school year, but if you sped things up and did two or more a week, you could certainly get through it in one semester.

I love this book because it challenges children to think philosophically (duh!) and introduces them to great philosophers in history, such as Plato, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Hobbes, Simone de Beauvoir, Parmenides, and many others.

The 40 questions are arranged into four categories: Values, Knowledge, Reality, and Critical Thinking. Your child will be asked things like:

  • Are you a fair and just person? 
  • Can you lie to yourself?
  • Can you doubt that you exist?
  • Do you perceive things as they are or only as they seem to be?
  • Can you think about nothing at all? (My favorite!)
There are discussions and follow up questions, as well as a section at the end of each chapter titled, "For Further Thought."

Philosophy for Kids

Philosophy for Kids


The great thing is that my son can go through this book on his own, or we can go through it together. the back of the book contains teaching tips for every single question. And there's also a glossary of philosophical terms. 

The book was written by a university professor of philosophy (at DePaul University) who has been teaching to kids for 10+ years. So all the material is very well presented. 

This resource is best suited for children ages 10 and older, or grades 4th - 12th. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Civil Rights Then and Now


Now that the frenzied holidays are over, we're looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of school. We are adding a few new resources this "semester" and I thought I would share them, as well as a few others with you...just in case you are looking for new materials to incorporate into your homeschool lessons, too.

This post contains affiliate links.

My favorite addition to our homeschool lessons this month is the new Woo! Jr. book, Civil Rights Then and Now: A Timeline of the Fight for Equality in America (aff link) by Kristina Brooke Daniele.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One: Civil Rights Then gives a brief overview of the American civil rights movement dating back to 1776 when our nation was established. It talks about:

  • important abolitionists and activists, 
  • the South after the Civil War, 
  • the Civil Rights Era Movement and leaders, and
  • landmark cases and amendments.
All of the information is written in short sections and perfect for middle schoolers. There's no extra fluff, which my 7th grader appreciates. He wants to know what and who and why and that's it. 

At the end, there is a section with questions to check reading comprehension. 



Part Two: Civil Rights Now covers the movement in modern times and what has happened since the 1950s and 60s. It discusses violence against black Americans and highlights modern era movements and leaders. Landmark cases and amendments are featured again. 

In the back of the book is a comprehensive reading list and references for further research. There's also a glossary of terms to help students better understand the vocabulary used in the book.

All of the information is presented in a concise format with careful attention to the timeline so that the student can understand the progression, as well as the contributing factors to the civil rights movement.



While the book does talk about civil rights as a whole, it touches only briefly on illegal immigration reform, Islamophobia, and Occupy Wall Street protests, etc. The main focus of this book is on racism, discrimination, and prejudice - specifically their effect on African Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement is clearly explained and events leading to its formation are provided. There are sensitive and graphic events included - such as the murder of Philando Castille and the Massacre at Emmanuel African American Methodist Episcopal Church - but they are presented in a factual and appropriate fashion without gory details. As always, though, parents and teachers should review material before presenting to their children/students.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for parents wishing to explore the current climate of racism and discrimination that exists in the U.S., as well as its history. The comprehension questions not only explore the child's understanding of what he or she has read, but encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. 

The book can easily be covered in one semester and is best suited for kids in 5th through 8th grades.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Free Printable Bilingual 2019 Resolution Worksheet for Kids




Focus. 

That's the word that I'm embracing for 2019. The last two years have been so stressed and hectic and, yes, chaotic for me. But I have hope that this year will be different. We are finally moved into our new home and I am striving to create a routine that works for all of us. 


My oldest elected to go to a private high school. It was a rough start, but I think she has settled in. She loves her classes, anyway, and I think her teachers love her, too. I've continued to homeschool my oldest boy, and this month, we'll be starting classes with our first homeschool co-op. We're excited about the once a week classes. And, of course, my youngest is still too little for formal school, but we focus on a lot of reading, educational toys, and just building our close relationship through not really one-sided conversations. 

This year, I've simply tweaked the colors of my bilingual resolution chart. Because really, the layout is just right. I've been making them every year for the last five years and we've been diligently filling them out each year. I've loved adding them to each child's homeschool binder for the year, simply to give them a reference if they later want to look back.


The chart includes several sections to help you guide your children as they think about all the challenges and blessings of the last year and focus on how they'd like this next one to be different. I think the chart helps empower kids by helping them think about their own control over their education and life choices. And last year, I added a new section in which kids can write down their own word to concentrate on for the year.

Even if they don't, I still think it's important for kids to set goals and try to work toward them. And this chart is simply a tool for them to use in this effort.

So if you'd like to use this printable with your own children, you can download it free below. The file contains both an English and a Spanish worksheet.


Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

No-Prep, Print-and-Go Las Posadas Activities



Sunday night marked the beginning of Las Posadas. The nine-day celebration is a re-enactment of the night that Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and asked for shelter. These evening celebrations begin each year on December 16th and end on Christmas Eve.

If you are looking for a quick, no-prep, print-and-go activity to teach your child about this holiday celebration, then check out my Las Posadas collection! It has printables for a variety of ages and they are ALL available in both English and Spanish.

Here's a peek at what you'll find:


for preschool and early elementary grades



for early elementary



for elementary


elementary grades



for 4th - 8th grade (and higher!)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lupita at Target


Oh. My. Goodness. I saw this doll in Target on Wednesday and I was moved to tears. La Virgen de Guadalupe is such a strong image in my childhood memories. My Buelita always had candles lit that featured her image, as well as a framed photo that hung in her bedroom. I remember that every year, the same Buelita would hang a calendar with Guadalupe in her kitchen. My Nanita also had a charm on her bracelet featuring our Lady. (Please excuse the shaky image - I was holding a squirmy baby at the time.)

But it is my mom who springs to my mind. She constantly referred to Guadalupe and had images of her stashed everywhere - in her purse, at home, various jewelry, etc. In case you don't know, December 12th was Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe Day). And that is the significance for me. I found her on her day and am reminded of my mom who passed away earlier this year.

This post contains affiliate links. 

So I could only imagine how popular this doll would be with MommyMaestra readers. Target is carrying the Lupita doll and book set both in their stores (this one I saw with the Elf on the Shelf (¡Qué horror!) display) and online. If you order online, you can have her shipped directly to your house or free to the store. Plus, it was on sale!

The 35-page bilingual, hardcover book has beautiful illustrations. It accompanies the plush Lupita doll who is a partner in kind in encouraging children to do good deeds throughout the Christmas holiday season leading to the Three Kings Day.💖

If you desperately want one, I would recommend going online to see if it is available in a Target store near you, or just order it and have it shipped to your home or local store. All the affiliate links in this post will take you directly to the product pages on Target.

But wait! The awesomeness doesn't end there! While searching for her on Target.com, I found that there is also a Lupita Advent Calendar! Who cares if December has already started? Anyway, it runs from December 1st through JANUARY 6TH!! (Día de los Reyes, my friends.) It includes a full Nativity set for your child to put together. I LOVE nacimientos.




And, yes, there's more.

They are also selling an estrellita tree topper, a rosca de reyes baking mix, and a Lupita ornament. I couldn't find the ornament online, so I guess I'm going to pay a visit to all the Targets in my area and see if any are left. :)



Anyway, I thought I would share because it was such a delightful surprise to me and so I figure it might be to you, too, if you don't already know about it. 

Happy holidays, Amigos!

Incidentally, I did find her on Amazon, but she cost a whole lot more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Spanish-Language Magazines for Kids

As time goes on, the number of Spanish magazines for children fluctuates. Some of my favorites have been discontinued😭, while new ones have emerged😃. I really am sad that Iguana magazine is no longer in production. If you're looking for a gift to give your children that will last the whole year long, here are a few Spanish-language or bilingual magazines currently on the market.

The following links are affiliate links.


High Five Bilingüe™ Magazine


Created for kids ages 2 - 6 years old, this 36-page magazine has 14 pages of stories, puzzles and activities entirely in Spanish, the same ones in English, and a few bilingual pages.



Muy Interesante Junior Mexico


Kindle version only. I'm going to take a guess here that the magazine is geared for kids up to 12 or 14 years old. According to Amazon, this magazine is created for kids who want to learn something different about the world every day in a fun way. It includes excellent information about science, technology, nature, history, art, space exploration, the human body, traditions and customs, and much more. The information is presented in a simple and entertaining format. It supports literacy habits and critical thinking in children.  



Scholastic Spanish Classroom Magazines


These magazines are not geared toward specific grade levels, so much as language proficiency. You pick the level you are interested in and subscribe!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Children's Apron and Bilingual Book Set from MommyMaestra


Christmastime always brings back memories of my childhood. Las Posadas, drinking champurrado, and making tamales are the first things that spring into my mind.

When I was little, I would always help my Buelita make tamales. She made dozens upon dozens to sell, to give away, and to store in the freezer for us. The other day, I asked on the MommyMaestra Facebook page if anyone was going to be participating in a tamalada and if so, would the kids help? It was pretty popular. I enjoyed reading the comments.

Cooking is such a fun activity for kids during the holidays. We've always made the traditional sugar & gingerbread cookies, as well as hot chocolate. But my Buelita has long passed away and my kids have never made tamales. Now that we are back in Texas, I hope I can find somewhere to take them to learn!

He's not making tamales. In this picture, I think he was making miniature pan de muerto!



And then, as if the universe were on the same wavelength, I stumbled upon these children's aprons that my mom and I designed a few years ago for a company we used to run. They were sold as a set with the book, Growing Up with Tamales (aff link) by Gwendolyn Zepeda. My kids already have their own set of aprons (which they've outgrown, but we have as keepsakes), so I thought, "Why not offer them to MommyMaestra readers?"


So if you are interested, then take a look at my online shop. I only have two aprons for boys and eight aprons for girls. Both are available in different colors. I have six copies of the book, too. If you are interested in buying the set or the items individually, you'll find them here. But be sure to order them by the 17th if you want them in time for Christmas. :)


Friday, December 7, 2018

Free Pearl Harbor Worksheets for Kids on WooJr.com


It's been 77 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most children (and some adults!) have no idea what Pearl Harbor is or why it is significant. For those of you looking for an impromptu lesson on this historical day with print-and-go worksheets, check out this post that I wrote for WooJr.com.

I was inspired in part by this article that ran two years ago on NBC Latino and the fact that Ray Chavez, the oldest military survivor of Pearl Harbor died last month at the age of 106.

RIP, Ray.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Free Download: Christmas Describing with Colors in Spanish


Just in time for Christmas, MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has created a new free Spanish download that helps your young Spanish learner learn their Christmas vocabulary. This mini lesson focuses on colors and descriptions so your student will not just increase their vocabulary but learn word placement, too. Adjectives are arranged differently in Spanish, so this is great practice!

Today's five-page download includes an audio file to help your young student learn the proper pronunciation, which is a blessing to homeschool parents who don't know Spanish themselves.



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!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meet Circle: Parental Controls for Home Internet


I have a little gift for you this holiday season. It's called "taking charge of the internet at home and protecting your children by controlling their access through filters and time limits."

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am sharing this device that I discovered and has been of great value to our family.

A year ago, when we moved back to Texas, we moved in with my father-in-law, who at the time had open internet at his house. There was no password and it was on 24/7. My kids were in hog heaven. And I was freaking out because my 11-year-old, especially, is a tech head and would happily play games all day long if he was allowed. Plus, I was worried about what they would stumble upon while watching YouTube videos and such.

But then, I heard about Circle (aff) from Disney. It sounded ideal. Just plug it in and pair it with your internet and you can help monitor the internet for your children. So I bought it. And I have been so happy with it ever since!!

Here's how it works:

Circle is actually a simple square device that is super easy to set up. You just plug it in and then download the app. After that, you just follow the steps to pair the device with your internet and then you set up your personalized dashboard on the app.



I have added a profile for each member of my family and each one is customized to their needs. Each profile can have the following settings manipulated:

DEVICES


First, it's important to assign each person their own device(s). This includes desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, Xbox, smart TVs, etc.

FILTERS


There are five filter levels:

  1. PreK
  2. Kid - filters out social media, explicit content, mature content, gambling, dating, and malicious content by default. 
  3. Teen
  4. Adult - filters out explicit content by default.
  5. None
(All of my profiles have one of the filter levels 1-4 assigned. More about adults in a minute.)

The filter levels are pre-set with certain allowances and restrictions but you can override them and adjust them as you see fit. 

You can adjust various platforms and categories by setting them to Allowed, Not Allowed, or Unmanaged.



Each level comes with default platforms accessible to the user. If you don't see a platform listed, then it is automatically filtered out unless you add a custom filter adding access to it for that profile.

The preset platforms for the "Kid" filter include:
  • Amazon
  • Cartoon Network
  • Club Penguin Island
  • Disney
  • FaceTime
  • Hulu
  • Minecraft
  • Netflix
  • Nickelodeon
  • PBS
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
The categories are:
  • App stores & Downloads
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business
  • Education
  • Email
  • Home & Family
  • Issues & Lifestyles
  • Kids
  • Music
  • Online Games
  • Photo
  • Science & Technology
  • Search & Reference
  • Sports & Rec
  • Travel
  • Videos
And lastly there are three Privacy and Safety settings:
  • Ad Blocking
  • Safe Search
  • YouTube Restricted

Of course, you can custom filter any of these. So let's say that I block Online Games for my son, but I have a couple of exceptions. I can click on Custom Filter at the bottom of the page and add a website that he is allowed. Or, vice versa, I can allow Online Games, but block certain websites in the same way.



BEDTIME


This setting will allow me to establish a bedtime for each day of the week. So I can extend it on weekends or on Mondays or whatever. 

TIME LIMITS


This is my favorite part. I can set time limits for specific websites or an overall time limit for access to the internet forcing my son to think carefully about where he wants to spend his time.

OFF TIME


You can also schedule some good ol' tech-free time for your kids. So if you want your mornings to be free of the internet, you can schedule it here (you can also adjust your bedtime limits), or you can block off a set amount of time in the middle of the day. Whatever you want!


The final two sections on the profile are for parental monitoring. 

USAGE lets you see how much time your child has been on the internet. You can look at the usage by day (for up to 7 days), by week (for up to a month), or by month (for up to a year maybe? I'm not sure. Mine goes back to May when we bought the Circle.)

HISTORY is my favorite section because it lets me see, in detail, what my child is looking at online and when. 


Now, I should also note that there are two extra functions that you can find at the top of their profile: Reward and Pause.

So, let's say that you ask your kids to clean up their rooms once a week, but you notice one day, that it has been two weeks since your kid cleaned and their room looks like an abandoned house full of trash. Your kid is currently sitting in front of the computer playing Minecraft. You've already asked him or her to go clean their room, but they zone you out. So you pick up your phone, open your Circle app and your child's profile and you hit PAUSE. You don't have to take away their phone or laptop. You don't have to go turn off the internet or change the password to something you'll never remember. You just pause their access and when they finish cleaning their room, you RESUME their access. It's easy.


Of if your child has worked hard ALL DAY helping you rake the yard and cut the grass, or maybe they helped you clean out the garage, and they deserve a reward. Boom! You just click on REWARD button and you'll have the option to extend their time limit today, or give them a late bedtime tonight, or no offtimes today. It's awesome and easy. 

----

My kids hated Circle at first. Some would argue that I am invading their privacy or that I am a control freak. But I take my role as their mother very seriously and I believe it is my responsibility to keep them safe. Reigning them in and helping them develop self-control has been very important. And knowing that there are safety filters in place to protect them from things like porn or adult content is priceless.

The only downside is that you cannot pair the app to more than one internet at a time. We use two sources of internet at home (one is unreliable), so that's a bit frustrating. Plus, I bought another Circle for my parents' house for when they babysit and I couldn't use my app on my phone for it. I had to download the app again onto my mom's phone. I wish I could have just switched Circle devices. 

OTHER BENEFITS:


Anytime a new device pairs with your home network, you receive a notification. You can choose to add them to your dashboard with a group profile (i.e., Other Family or Visitors), or you can just erase them after they leave. I like that I am alerted when someone comes to my house even when no one is home. 

THE BEST PART!


Now here's the great part: I went to look and they are on sale right now (I guess for Cyber Monday?) and they are available for only $49.99!! (aff) I paid $99 for both devices, so I really recommend taking advantage of this sale!


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