Monday, February 24, 2020

New Dolores Huerta Curriculum

Did you know that April 10th is Dolores Huerta Day? At least, it is observed as a state holiday in California thanks to former governor Jerry Brown who made it official back in 2018.

And this year, Huerta will be celebrating her 90th birthday! And to celebrate both the holiday and the birthday, educators have been working with the Dolores Huerta Foundation to create a brand new curriculum that is available for FREE online!

From what I've seen, there are lessons for grades 1 through 11, plus a lot of additional resources. I'm not sure if there are still more lessons that are going to be published, but so far there is a whole page full of materials available for download.

And you don't even have to live in California to use them!

If you're looking for resources to celebrate the holiday in your classroom, go and take a look.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Sra. Huerta!

Friday, February 21, 2020

smokeSCREEN: A Digital Game to Teach the Dangers of Vaping

If you follow MommyMaestra's Facebook page, you'll have certainly seen me posting about the incredible dangers of vaping and the deadly effect it is having on children and young adults. Have you heard about smokeSCREEN?

It's a digital game available both online and as an app that teaches kids about the dangers of nicotine products (including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vaping) and gives them different ways to avoid or refuse them without damaging their social status among peers.

Watch this introductory video to get a better idea of how it works...

Educators can download a free teacher's guide from First Book.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Making of a Children's Book: Luci Soars

Do you ever wonder how a picture book is made? Here's your chance to watch how author/illustrator Lulu Delacre does it. Her new picture book, Luci Soars (aff), will be coming out in August. And she's put together a little teaser video to tell how she came up with the idea and how she created the artwork.

Check it out!

Lulu is a remarkable writer and artist. Her award-winning books include Turning Pages: My Life Story (with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor), Olinguito, from A to Z!Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos, and the excellent bilingual beginner reader series Rafi and Rosi.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

100 Hispanics in World History

Is the 100th day of school coming up for your classes? Do you celebrate it in your classroom? I know that there are tons of activities for younger grades, but not too many for older students.

That's why I've created this new packet for middle schoolers. My 100 Hispanics in World History Research Packet is a 79-page unit that allows students to choose from a list of 100 Hispanics in world history to research and share. The list is available in two formats:

  • The historical figures are arranged by century starting with the 1400s to the present
  • The historical figures are arranged by field of influence, including musicians, artists, activists, scientists, athletes, writers, journalists, actors, leaders & politicians, and other notable figures.

Pages for note-taking, research, and one-page presentations are included, as are additional pages for comparing/contrasting historical figures, word association, and listing new vocabulary.

In addition, date cards and information labels are included for creating a timeline display on a wall.

Instructions are included. And as always, this entire packet is available in both English and Spanish. Simply select the version that best suits your needs.

You can find your copy in my TpT store and here in my MommyMaestra shop.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Free Download: Grocery Store Dice Game

"¿Qué?" and "¿Donde?" are two words that are used a LOT in Spanish by language learners. So this month's freebie from our sponsor Spanish for You! lets your Spanish learners practice using it with a new game centered around these words and vocabulary associated with grocery shopping.

And what's even better? The download contains a discount code for a Spanish for You! Homeschool Package!

This month's freebie is all about groceries. The three-page file contains vocabulary in Spanish starting with an instruction page, then a dice question card, and a page with a grocery store items list. Note: There's no audio file with this month's download.

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

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Great Backyard Bird Count

Friends! Want to take part in a citizen science project? Participate THIS WEEKEND in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

A citizen science project is an activity hosted or sponsored by organizations that let non-scientists (anyone!) help contribute to scientific research by simply participating. The Great Backyard Bird Count is exactly that and it's been happening for the last 23 years.

This year, the GBBC starts on Friday, February 14th and runs through Monday the 17th. It's EASY to do and a WONDERFUL teaching opportunity for all children... and their parents!

All you have to do is go outside - or look out your window! - and count the number of birds that you see during a 15-minute time frame. Write it down and then submit your observations online!

All the data is then sorted and analyzed by the ornithologists (scientists) over at Cornell University and other institutions. An alarm went out across the world last year when a new study revealed that there are 2.9 BILLION less birds today than there was 50 years ago. Which is why projects like this one are so important now.

You can count in your own backyard, go to a park/zoo/lake/mountain top/WHEREVER!

Not sure what kind of bird it is that you're looking at? No problem! Download the Merlin Bird ID app. It's FREE and easily helps you identify birds through a series of guided questions. It can identify 3,000 species found on three continents.

Here's an awesome video to give you a better idea about the bird count...

We used to participate every year when my older kids were younger, but haven't done so since moving back to Texas. I'm excited to get us out and counting again this year!

Monday, February 10, 2020

One-Page Reading Passage: Arturo Schomburg

Arturo Schomburg Reading Passage
If you subscribe to my mailing list, be sure to check your inbox. My latest newsletter went out yesterday afternoon with a new freebie. 

Arturo Schomburg: 1-Page Reading Passage is a brief history of the life of the remarkable historian and activist, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. Learn who he was and the amazing contribution he made to our country's national library system AND nation's history.

This informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade. It includes a 7-question comprehension quiz plus answer key.

Includes two versions: one in ENGLISH and the other in SPANISH.

And if you are not a subscriber, but would like this download, you can now find it in my TpT shop here.

Friday, February 7, 2020

A Few New Resources for Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month. And it is a reminder for us to be sure and honor and recognize the contributions of Black Americans to our nation's history. Really, it's sad we have to have this reminder and that we don't all just study our nation's history including the contributions of ALL people ALL year long, but I think we all know that our history books tend to focus on one side of the story.

That's why it is important to make sure that our kids are learning about the contributions of people of color. People who DON'T look like them... and people who DO look like them. Arturo Schomburg once said,
"Pride of race is the antidote to prejudice."
And, man, do we have a lot of prejudice flying around right now. Not only does it affect people's attitudes towards each other, but it can affect our attitude towards ourselves. And children, I think, are especially vulnerable to verbal racism. It can damage their self-image and ruin their confidence.

Which is why I so admire puertorriqueño Afro-Latino Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. I only learned about him last year, thanks to MommyMaestra readers who recommended him to me on the MM Facebook page. What a remarkable figure he was and so important to our nation's history.

When he was only in grade school, one of his teachers claimed that blacks had no history, heroes, or accomplishments! That comment stayed with Schomburg. I think a lot of kids would have internalized that and felt bad/ashamed about themselves and their heritage. But, thankfully, Arturo was different; he vowed to prove her wrong and began a lifelong collection of books, letters, music, and art documenting the accomplishments of Africans and the African diaspora. His vast collection eventually became the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.

Candlewick recently published the picture book shown above... in two versions: English AND Spanish! (Go read about it and request it from your library or order it online!)

Here are a few other new (to me) resources that are great for celebrating Black History Month. Check them out!

• FIRST, have you been watching Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum from PBS KIDS? This month, episodes will air in which Xavier and his friends travel back in time and share stories of African American figures, including baseball player Jackie Robinson and author Zora Neale Hurston.

• ALSO, kids can bring the series to life by coloring this FREE printable of scientist George Washington Carver (shown above), while adding him to their list of role models. Thanks, PBS KIDS!

• Older kids may enjoy this PBS Learning Media video that shares the origin of Black History Month, walking through the key events in history that led to today’s observance in February.


• And in case you missed it, I posted this awesome video about the history of cumbia and how this African beat spread throughout Latin America (and North America!). Our friends over at Risas y Sonrisas shared it. Wow! It's fascinating! Thanks to la gente over at Vox Borders for putting it together. Take a look...

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

TpT's February Sale Ends Tonight

Did you hear? A sale is going on!

The TpT sitewide sale is happening now and my entire shop is discounted. This is a great time to stock up on no-prep printables for Valentine's Day, Black History Month, 100 Days of School, or even Cinco de Mayo!

Valentine's Day is a little over a week away. I have added a new product to my Valentine's line. The Book of Words is a simple way to introduce vocabulary related to the holiday to young children. Simply print the booklet version you need (available in English-only, Spanish-only, and bilingual), then put the pages together and let your kids color the picture, read the word, then write it in the space provided.

Do you celebrate 100 Days of School? Now older students can participate, too, with this new research packet for studying 100 Hispanics in World History. Designed for middle schoolers, this 79-page unit allows students to choose from a list of 100 Hispanics in world history to research and share. The list is available in two formats:

  1. The historical figures are arranged by century starting with the 1400s to the present
  2. The historical figures are arranged by field of influence, including musicians, artists, activists, scientists, athletes, writers, journalists, actors, leaders & politicians, and other notable figures.

Pages for note-taking, research, and one-page presentations are included, as are additional pages for comparing/contrasting historical figures, word association, and listing new vocabulary.

In addition, date cards and information labels are included for creating a timeline display on a wall.

Instructions are included. And it is available in English and Spanish.

And finally, don't forget that February is Black History Month. This set of one-page reading passages on Afro-Latinos in History is one of my most popular this month. It comes with one-page reading passages about the following seven famous Afro-Latinos:

  • Celia Cruz
  • Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Soledad O'Brien
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Martina Arroyo
  • Pelé
  • Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez

Reading comprehension questions for each reading passage are included. I've also added reading comprehension worksheets that focus on vocabulary from the passages, a matching activity, true or false, describing words, and a Venn diagram for comparing characters. An answer key is included. The reading passages are available in full color or black and white.

But the sale ends tonight! So don't miss it...

Monday, February 3, 2020

Resources for Teaching Compassion

In an increasingly angry society where judgment and bullying is becoming more commonplace, lessons in compassion are desperately needed.

I saw this article in the Washington Post and it got me to thinking about how countries around the globe are implementing new classes for students to combat societal problems. For example, classes that teach children and adults how to recognize fake news and how to research for articles that state the truth. Or lessons for combatting bullying.

A few years ago, PBS KIDS launched a new show that focused on teaching preschoolers social-emotional skills. Daniel Tiger gives children tools to recognize and manage their emotions and their interactions with other people. The episodes help children find ways to deal with anger, disappointment, impatience, and more.

So, why aren't we teaching lessons about compassion?

I started researching resources and I've listed what I've found so far below. But I hope to keep adding to it as I find more. Message me if you know of a wonderful product or activity to help parents and educators teach about compassion for others.

Lesson Plans




Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The 2020 Pura Belpre Award Winners

Aaannnd... they're out! This past Monday, the Pura Belpré Award winners were announced. If you are on the hunt for amazing books about the Latino experience and written or illustrated by Latinos, this is the list of the year that you don't want to miss.

I've listed them below with descriptions and age ranges. Click on the titles to see their Amazon page.

Congratulations to all the talented winners!

This post contains affiliate links.

2020 Author Award Winner  

by Carlos Hernandez

When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn't under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal's office for the third time in three days, and it's still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany's locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared.
Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he's capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken--including his dead mother--and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There's only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk.
Ages 8 - 12

2020 Illustrator Award Winner

 illustrated by Rafael López
written by Margarita Engle

As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?
Ages 4 - 8

2020 Author Honor Books

by Angela Cervantes

Lety Muñoz's first language is Spanish, and she likes to take her time putting her words together. She loves volunteering at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter because the dogs and cats there don't care if she can't always find the right word.

When the shelter needs a volunteer to write animal profiles, Lety jumps at the chance. But grumpy classmate Hunter also wants to write profiles -- so now they have to work as a team. Hunter's not much of a team player, though. He devises a secret competition to decide who will be the official shelter scribe. Whoever helps get their animals adopted the fastest wins. The loser scoops dog food.

Lety reluctantly agrees, but she's worried that if the shelter finds out about the contest, they'll kick her out of the volunteer program. Then she'll never be able to adopt Spike, her favorite dog at the shelter!
Ages 8 - 12

by Rebecca Balcárcel

One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana's Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn't know more about her family's heritage.

One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she's found true friends. But she can't help the growing feelings she has for Jayden.

One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what's going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother.
Ages 10 - 14

by Anika Aldamuy Denise 
illustrated by Paola Escobar

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
Ages 4 - 8

written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

José de la Luz Sáenz (1888–1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization. Soldier for Equality is based in part on Luz’s diary during the war. It includes a biography of Luz’s later years, an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index.
Ages 6 - 8

2020 Illustrator Honor Books

illustrated and written by Carlos Aponte

Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.
Ages 3 - 7

illustrated by Zeke Peña
written by Isabel Quintero

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she's always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.
Ages 4 - 8

illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez

Bilingual in a new way, this paper over board book teaches readers simple words in Spanish as they experience the bustling life of a border town. Follow Little Lobo and his dog Bernabe as they deliver supplies to a variety of vendors, selling everything from sweets to sombreros, portraits to piñatas, carved masks to comic books!
Ages 4 - 7

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Art for Tweens & Teens: Inky Art School

Homeschoolers! Do you have a budding artist in your home? Are you looking for a short series of fun lessons for them to do (preferably taught by someone else, perhaps online)? Oh, and for FREE?

Let me tell you about my latest obsession.

Have you heard of Johanna Basford? She's the Scottish artist who essentially created the adult coloring book craze. And she's also created Inky Art School.

I stumbled upon her by chance and am now completely obsessed - not with her coloring books, but her online 10-day art class based on her latest book, How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (aff link). The book basically teaches you how to draw many of the images in her books. But you don't HAVE to have the book to follow along. She provides free downloads if you want them. Or you can just DRAW.

I'm currently on Day 6 of Inky Art School, and I love the techniques she teaches. I've often struggled to find the right illustrations or graphics for my printables and books. A few times, I've created my own, but I agonized over them. After watching this and just trying the techniques, I think I finally have the confidence to do more of them.

Johanna is a fun and easy teacher. She actively shows you how to create images and encourages you to be creative and expand upon what she's taught.

You can find all of the episodes, downloads, materials and more here on her website. Don't worry! You don't have to go and buy a lot of stuff! The main things you need are paper, pencil, eraser, and a felt-tipped pen. I went ahead and bought the Layout Paper that she recommends and I LOVE it way better than the tracing paper I was using. (I didn't even know it existed and am so happy with it!)

So if you have a young artist looking to gain confidence and learn new techniques, this is a must-do. Each episode is around one hour long. And you can pause it as often as you want, rewind it, or whatever while you practice and draw along with her.

Watch the trailer for Inky Art School...

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