Thursday, March 4, 2021

Spanish Biography Video Series

For those of you with older children (tweens and teens), here is a resource not to be missed. 

While doing research for my poetry unit, I found this series from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional. The series “Maestros de América Latina” narrates the lives and works of eight schoolteachers who were instrumental in the history of Latin American education. 

These Spanish videos features the following historical figures:

  • Simón Rodríguez, 
  • Domingo F. Sarmiento, 
  • José Martí, 
  • José Vasconcelos, 
  • José Carlos Mariátegui, 
  • Gabriela Mistral, 
  • Jesualdo Sosa, and 
  • Paulo Freire.
Check out the sample videos below. To access all of the videos, click here for the playlist



This series is great for AP students, native speakers, and bilingual students. 

NOTE: I have not watched all of the videos, so please, Teachers, always watch beforehand to monitor for inappropriate content.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

5 Books Read Aloud on YouTube for Read Across America


 

Happy Read Across America Day!

NEA continues to host this important holiday and you can find a lot of resources on their website by simply clicking or typing in https://www.nea.org/readacross. I especially enjoy their themed reading calendar. March's theme? Cultivating Compassion.

5 Video Read Alouds for Read Across America

Anyway, to celebrate the day, I wanted to share several videos of books being read aloud. Enjoy!!

A Girl Named Rosita 💃🏻 The Story of Rita Moreno for Kids (Parents, don't be put off by the puppets at the beginning. The actual read aloud is excellent!)


Fire Captain Solorio of the Fresno Fire Department reads "Froggy Goes to School" 





Senator Cory Booker Reads "Freedom Soup" for Read Across America



Monday, March 1, 2021

Welcome to Women's History Month


It's March 1st, and that means that Women's History Month is here!

While it is important to remember and celebrate the achievements of women all the time, I'm glad we have a month dedicated to it to help us all remember to actively learn about the contributions women have made to world history. Too often their stories and successes are left out of the history books. 

So, if you are looking for resources to celebrate this month with your children or students in the classroom, take a look at this beginner list below. More to come throughout the month!

Printables


Multicultural Kid Blogs has a great Women in World History Activity Pack for kids ages 8 to 12. I was part of the team that created this packet that highlights 20 women with one-page reading passages and a comprehension quiz for each one. There are also worksheets that boost vocabulary, writing, and critical thinking skills. 

MKB also has the following must-read articles:



My 10 Latinas in History Combo Pack is crazy popular this month each year. 


The 3 Female Activists Glossary & Poster Sets BUNDLE is best suited for older children. In addition to the glossary of terms and poster, it includes worksheets that require students to study the words and then write in the definitions and writing pages for independent research.


Las Adelitas: Mexico's Soldaderas 1-Page Reading Passage is a no-prep, print-and-go set. Includes comprehension quiz. 



A modified version is also available in Boom Card format for distance learners!



And, of course, we must include Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz! This printable is for introducing her to little children. 


And this one-page reading passage is for older children.

And finally there's my Women in History Fandex. The fandex sets are just so much fun. With lots of ways to use them. Directions for fandex assembly and use, plus two activities, as well as individual worksheets, cut-outs and answer key included.



Books


If you're looking for some great reads for kids, check out my post, 15 Children's Biographies Celebrating Women.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Chile's New Observatory

image source: Rubin Obs/NSF/AURA

While studying articles this week about various space topics, I quite happily learned about the Vera C. Rubin Observatory that has been built on Cerro Pachón in Chile. It is expected to become fully functional by 2022.
 
This revolutionary observatory is more than just a powerful telescope. The innovative technology includes a "camera (3200 megapixels, the world’s largest digital camera), telescope (simultaneous casting of the primary and tertiary mirrors; two aspherical optical surfaces on one substrate), and data management (20 terabytes of data nightly, nearly instant alerts issued for objects that change in position or brightness)."

This image was taken in Spain, just before the disassembly began in preparation for shipping it to Chile.
Image credit: Asturfeito

Rubin will be able to image the entire visible sky every few nights and the powerful telescope will be able to see farther than most currently on Earth. It is predicted that in its first year, it will see more of the universe than ALL previous telescopes COMBINED.

Cerro Pachón was chosen from 19 other sites (10 in each hemisphere) because of the conditions surrounding the site. The location had to be in a sparsely populated area (to avoid light pollution), at high altitude and in a dry climate (to avoid cloud cover).

Now the best part and the main reason I'm sharing news about Rubin Observatory is that there will be great opportunities for educators and students! They are in the process of developing education materials such as online, data-driven classroom investigations with complete teacher guides for middle schoolers through higher education. The investigations will focus on critical thinking and science literacy techniques. The investigations will be in English AND Spanish.

Educators will also have access to the site so students can explore and analyze data.

I also find it wonderful that this observatory is being named after a womanVera Florence Cooper Rubin was an American astronomer. Rubin was a pioneer who studied the galaxy rotation problem and her work became evidence of the existence of dark matter. Dark matter will be one of the focuses of the Rubin Observatory.

Women's History Month starts on Monday. What a fantastic way to kick it off! Help your students learn about a remarkable woman who changed modern science with her hard work and discoveries.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Missing 9th Planet

The Missing 9th Planet
NASA / JPL-Caltech, Public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, I happened upon this article from the BBC that talks about a missing 9th planet. I paused when I saw the title - "If Planet Nine exists, why has no one seen it?"  

Because when I was growing up, I was taught that there were nine planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. 

I know that about 15 years ago, Pluto suddenly got the boot and was demoted to a dwarf planet. So did the article mean ANOTHER planet?

Dwarf Planets

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the official organization that promotes and safeguards the science of astronomy through international cooperation. They are also responsible for assigning official names and designations to celestial bodies. So that means they get to set the parameters or rules of what defines a planet... or any other celestial body.  

They determined that there are four things that classify a dwarf planet:

  1. it orbits the sun, 
  2. it has enough mass to assume a nearly round shape, 
  3. it is not a moon, and 
  4. it has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.
Pay close attention to the last rule because that is what has kicked Pluto out of its planet status and into that of a dwarf planet. By this definition, five bodies have been labeled dwarf planets: Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea.

Lexicon, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

The thing is, Pluto orbits in the Kuiper Belt which is an area beyond Neptune containing many comets, asteroids, and other small bodies made largely of ice. It's like an asteroid belt, but much, much bigger. And in fact, three of the dwarf planets that have been identified are found in the Kuiper Belt: Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake.

But there's still a lot of debate about Pluto's status because when the New Horizons spacecraft passed by Pluto in 2015, it sent back photos that revealed Pluto has remarkable geographic features, including towering mountains and unique "ice-ridged terrain." So Pluto's status remains a hotly debated topic.

Sedna, Bob3Studios, CC BY-SA 4.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Another 9th Planet?


Recently, there's been a lot of speculation that there is another 9th planet that has yet to be discovered. This hypothesis is fueled by the unusual orbits of the minor planet Sedna and 18 other objects, all of which appear to be pulled in the same direction. All 19 are tilted on their axis also in the exact same direction. The chances of this happening randomly is pretty unlikely. So scientists continue to hypothesize that there is another planet (or a black hole!) that is affecting these celestial bodies.

Why haven't we seen it?


I couldn't help but wonder, as old as astronomy is, why on earth wouldn't we have discovered this other planet years (or even centuries) ago? It all boils down to distance. 

Sedna and the other objects in question are located in the Oort Cloud in the farthest reaches of our solar system. They are so far away, only one machine is capable of seeing so far into space: the Subaru Telescope found atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii. And the astronomers who are searching for the elusive 9th Planet only get access to it three nights each year, if they're lucky. 
 
Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada, CC BY 2.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Extend the Learning!


Here are some additional resources to learn more about dwarf planets, Pluto, and more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Mars Word Search

  

I was a little inspired by yesterday's post on Mars and so I threw together this little activity. If you need a quick, print-and-go activity to keep your young ones busy, this is a fun page for reviewing the vocabulary associated with Mars.

It is available in full color or black-and-white (for coloring in!), as well as English and Spanish. 

This is a special treat for my blog readers and will be available as a free download for a limited time. And my newsletter subscribers will also receive it in their inbox in the next newsletter. 

I'll go ahead and list it in my TpT shop for everyone else or if you missed it here.

Click here to download

Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Mars Lesson Plans, Videos, Books, & More

 

Did you watch the Mars rover landing last week? What a phenomenal accomplishment! As a Texan who has been weathering the storm (pun intended), so many of us needed something positive to read about for a change.

So I'm dedicating this week on MommyMaestra to space. Today, I'm starting with Mars!

This post contains affiliate links.

The landing of Perseverance rover on Mars

For older students:


For younger students:
  • SpacePlace has the latest from NASA for young children.

Lesson Plans about Mars



For older students from TED-Ed:


Videos



Printables

Crafts 

Books

(The following are affiliate links.)



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Monday, February 15, 2021

President's Day Resources

 

Happy President's Day!

Personally, I'm really tired of hearing the word president, but I realize this is still an important holiday and one that a lot of homeschoolers and educators need materials for. And as I worked on a new printable featuring the inspirational quotes of past presidents, I was reminded again that despite all of their flaws, we have had leaders who truly strive to help our citizens and our national treasures.

So today is a roundup of great resources available for celebrating and learning about President's Day!

This post contains affiliate links.



Online Lists





Printables & Crafts


Books


Check out my recommendations from Amazon. (Affiliate links are used.)


Friday, February 12, 2021

Lunar New Year: Year of the Ox

© Can Stock Photo / Bluehousestudio

 
Happy New Year - Lunar New Year, that is! Today, many Asian countries are celebrating the new year which they base on the lunar calendar, so the exact date changes from year to year. It may be celebrated anytime between January 21 to February 20. This year, the holiday falls on February 12th.

For most of those who celebrate, the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year. In China, for example, families spend a lot of time preparing for its arrival. Families gather together to cook, decorate, and buying small gifts to give each other.

Traditionally, the holiday celebration is spread out over the course of up to 16 days! So food prep is a must. Many people do not even go out until the 5th day of the celebration. 

In addition to spending time with family, there is a strong focus on leaving bad fortune behind and welcoming a new year of good health, prosperity, and happiness. A lot of symbolism surrounds this holiday, such as eating noodles to represent longevity and wearing new clothes because torn or stained clothing is considered unlucky. To attract prosperity, vegetables are cut into coin-like shapes before being eaten.

This year, we are entering the Year of the Ox. What does that mean? The Ox is one of the figures in the Chinese zodiac. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and each year is assigned one of them. Last year was the Year of the Rat and 2019 was the Year of the Pig. People are thought to have certain qualities depending on the animal year in which they are born. And each year brings certain challenges and blessings with it depending on the animal and how it affects your life.

Here is a great video for older students and educators from TED-Ed about the Chinese zodiac:


And here's a fun video for younger children about the story of Nian and the origin of the zodiac:



For great printables that are free to download, check out this post I wrote for Woo! Jr. a few years ago!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2021

 

Get your bird feeders ready, friends!

This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count.  And with frigid temperatures gripping the country, this is the perfect time to attract birds to your backyard while helping them survive the winter weather... AND you can use it as a teachable moment as your family (or children) become citizen scientists!

For years, my family has participated in the GBBC. We started when my kids were little. It was a fabulous way to nurture their fascination with wildlife AND develop their scientific skills. Plus, we loved that we were able to participate in a citizen science project. 

What is Citizen Science?


Citizen Science Projects are projects in which scientific research is done, in whole or in part, by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists. Sometimes it's described as "public participation in scientific research." Scientists rely on the public and its location world wide or in specific areas to observer and send in raw data that the scientists later analyze and interpret to make future predictions.


Counting birds is SO EASY!

Starting tomorrow, Friday, all you have to do is sign up to count the birds you see at your bird feeders (or you may go to a local park/zoo/outdoor area). You simply record what you see and then submit the information to the GBBC.

The GBBC runs from Friday, February 12th through Monday, February 15th.


How to identify birds


If you are a first-time birdwatcher, you can get the free Merlin ID app for your Apple or Android smartphone to help you ID the birds in your backyard. It easily helps you identify birds through a series of guided questions. The app can now identify 6,000 species found on six continents!



So enjoy the weekend, stay warm, and keep your kids busy bird watching!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Valentine's Day Resources



Valentine's Day is less than a week away! Are you getting ready to celebrate it? 

If you subscribe to the MommyMaestra newsletter, be sure to check your inbox. This month's newsletter went out over the weekend and includes a couple of Valentine's freebies: themed counting mats for little learners and bookmarks for older readers. 

If you're looking for additional materials, check out my printable activity packs below. And here are some other awesome ways to celebrate the holiday!


Recipes for kids



Games for Spanish Learners


MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has shared a lot of games to boost vocabulary related to Valentine's day. Check out the following freebies:


Printables 


PreK Activity Pack (PreK - 1st)

There are 15 pages total with activities that focus on the following concepts and skills: counting, spot the difference, puzzles, vocabulary, math, sequencing, tracing, maze, featured letter, beginning letter, sounds, and writing papers.


Book of Words (PreK - 2nd)

Introduce your young students to the vocabulary associated with Valentine's Day. This little booklet lets them color in the picture, then read and write the words.

Storybook (PreK - 2nd)

Boost your child's vocabulary and reading skills with this Valentine's Day storybook. This story lists things that children often enjoy on this holiday, so the student will enjoy coloring while learning the words for "balloons/globos," "candy/dulces," "hugs/abrazos" and more.




Teach your students about famous couples in world history with this growing set of reading passages and comprehension questions. This file currently features five couples who impacted world history.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Famous Couples in History & TpT Sale

 Famous Couples in History: Reading Passages

Time for an update on printable education materials!

Famous Couples in History: A Growing Set

With Valentine's Day coming up I was inspired to start a set of reading passages that features famous couples in history. Each couple comes with a one-page reading passage and a comprehension question quiz. Answer keys are included.

This set currently features five couples:

  • Cleopatra & Marc Antony
  • Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera
  • Coretta Scott & Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Queen Isabella I & King Ferdinand II
  • Jacqueline Bouvier & John F. Kennedy
This is a growing set and more couples will be added in the coming months. 

All of the pages are available in English and Spanish. 



The TpT Sale


The TpT sale starts TOMORROW

Take advantage of these sales when TpT has them. Go through your wish lists and stock up for the coming month or two. Think ahead to what your teaching subjects will be. Off the top of my head, I think of 


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