Monday, September 26, 2016

4 Picture Books to Teach Hispanic Heritage to Your School-Age Children

The following is a guest post by my new friend Linda Lopez-Stone of HispanicMama.com.

Like many Latina mothers in the United States, I also want my children to learn about the richness of their Hispanic heritage. Not only for bilingual language development but to reinforce that important element that is part of who they are. In fact, studies have shown that children with a strong awareness of their own cultural identity revealed higher self-esteem and fewer social and mental problems.

When I was expecting my first child, a friend asked me how I was going to teach my child about her heritage. The question overwhelmed me because I didn’t know the answer. At that time, my family lived in an area where we didn’t have access to multicultural experiences. This challenge inspired me to be creative and plan effective ways to introduce culture to my little one. For many years, we did it by cooking ethnic meals, dancing to traditional music, and reading some fabulous children’s books.

It has been a rewarding experience to see my now eight-year-old embrace her Hispanic heritage. Throughout the years, she has had several opportunities to travel to Ecuador and the travel has provided an easy connection with the traditions. Unfortunately, traveling is not always suitable for my family, so books are usually my next favorite resource. Below, find four favorite picture books that I enjoy reading to my children and spark great conversations between us.


A Bailar!/ Let's Dance! by Judith Ortiz Cofer

The warm story about Marita and her mother captures well the importance of dance in the Hispanic culture and how it can strengthen communities. When dancing with my children, I often enjoy repeating Marita’s mom counsel: "Listen to the claves, the bongos, and the cowbells. Listen to the maracas, the timbales, and the güiro, they will tell you how to move your shoulders, your hips, your feet."



Soccer Star by Mina Javaherbin

This book is a great resource to explain how soccer is a strong cultural component for most of the people in Latin America. The story touches many social problems that Latino countries have to deal with, such as poverty, gender equality, and child labor.




My children were captivated by the colorful illustrations of this bilingual book. The engaging story helped me to explain my children the importance of extended families in our culture and how poverty and immigration impact us all.




I absolutely love this book! It has helped me to teach my children some traditional nursery rhymes that I had forgotten. The catchy songs take me back to my own childhood and initiate conversations of heritage and traditions.

There are more great children books to help you teach heritage to your children. You can find more suggestions on my Pinterest Board.

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Linda Lopez-Stone is a Latina mom of three, a bilingual writer and a Latino advocate. Her site, HispanicMama.com, serves as a platform for Latina moms (and Latinas de corazón) raising bilingual and multicultural children while trying to preserve their heritage. You can connect with Linda on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What is Worldschooling?


The following is a guest post by the wonderful worldschooler, Wendy Awai-Dakroub from Pint Size Gourmets


We get a lot of questions from family, friends, and even strangers when they hear that we worldschool our children. Taking your kids out of school, traveling around the world with them, and educating them along the way seems like a daunting task, but if we can do it, so can you!


WHAT IS WORLDSCHOOLING?


Everyone seems to have their own definition for worldschooling - it really is what you want to make of it for you and your family. For our two kids, Lou Lou and Jaf, it means they travel the world with us and learn about the world and its cultures and traditions through food.

They have a curriculum they follow on their iPads (we call it iPad schooling) that ensures they’re on the same level as kids their age who are in a traditional school. In addition, I’ve developed a culinary worldschooling curriculum for them to follow.




OUR WORLDSCHOOLING ADVENTURE


Back in 2014, my husband and I decided to leave the rat race, rent our home, take our two young children out of private school, and travel Europe in an RV so we could spend quality time together. A week into our trip we were all settled into our comfortable RV in Amsterdam and I decided to let the culinary worldschooling begin!

But with no books or workbooks and me having absolutely NO experience in teaching, this was going to be quite a challenge.

However, what we did have were iPad mini’s that we bought for the kids to keep them busy if and when needed (long train rides, airplanes, etc.). So, I decided to spend a day looking for and researching the best “apps” on iTunes that would help me create a personalized iPad curriculum for my children (see what they are here). For the first two weeks, it was tough getting them to focus on any studying, period. But after the kids got used to the routine, they just started iPad schooling themselves after breakfast.

I would check online reports on how they were progressing (available on certain apps) which gave me a sense of relief. Some days, homework was done in a park, or in a cafe, in the lobby of a hotel, or in the RV, so just knowing we only had to carry a journal, book, and iPad was easier. The kids really enjoy doing their lessons on the iPad and would do it on their own with little or no help from me, their teacher. They learned how important the iPad was to them, and funny enough you will not see them playing games or anything else on it in the evenings since they now associate their iPad with school.

Six months into our iPad schooling, we decided to visit a Sylvan Learning Center in Dubai, UAE to do an assessment test to see if my children were keeping up with the rest of the US public school testing scores. At the time, Lou Lou had started the 1st Grade and was apparently reading at a beginning 2nd-grade level. She was also at the beginning level math for 2nd Grade (a whole year ahead!). Jaf was still in Pre-K, but we tested him to see if he was anywhere near the beginning stages of math and reading. He also was progressing at a mid-Kindergarten level, in both subjects!

Because we lived in an RV part-time, we had to shop for groceries almost every other day. We’d make a meal plan for the week and “try” to stick to it. The kids, at first, would help with the shopping and cooking because they had to. Over time, as they got more involved in the shopping process, they eventually wanted to know more about cooking. That’s when I realized that by teaching my kids to cook, I could leverage their eagerness to learn and turn it into something wonderful and educational!

So, in addition to our personalized iPad curriculum, we take it a bit further by cooking foods from around the world. Culinary Worldschooling has now become the basis for everything we do when it comes to teaching our children. Culinary literally means “cooking” or “to cook,” and worldschooling can be defined as schooling through world-travel.  Here’s a video the kids did recently to explain what Culinary Worldschooling means.

Though our way of teaching is different from most, we know that both children are learning important life skills - ones they need to learn to survive in the world.


WORLDSCHOOLING RESOURCES


If you’re thinking about worldschooling your kids, or are interested in learning more about finding what worldschooling method works for your family, here is a list of resources we highly recommend:

- Multicultural Kid Blogs: Resources for Raising Global Citizens
- World Travel Family
- Raising Miro

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Wendy Awai-Dakroub is a Hawaii-based writer, photographer, traveler, and mom to kid-foodies LouLou and Jaf. The Dakroub family culinary worldschooling adventures are chronicled at www.pintsizegourmets.com, a kid-friendly food and travel blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Introducing Tomás Rivera to High School Students



The following is a guest post by the talented Kali Lin of For the Love of Spanish.
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This year, I am entering my first year of homeschooling with my oldest child. I’m also entering my last year of teaching Spanish to my youngest brother—a homeschool senior.

When it comes to working with high-school students, I know I have a lot to learn. My experience with the high-school age is limited to the few small classes of homeschool students I have taught Spanish to over the last five years or so. I have enjoyed those classes a lot. But when it came to getting students excited about Spanish or Spanish-speaking cultures it sometimes felt a bit like pulling teeth.

Sure. They would do their homework and get good grades. They would turn in assignments and read the assigned passages in The House on Mango Street. I can deal with students begrudgingly doing grammar exercises because they have to. But when it comes to sharing the culture of the language—I want something different this year.

The Case for Culture


Learning about culture should make the classroom come alive. Culture is where the love for the language is born. Some teachers consider culture to be the “Fifth Skill” of the foreign language classroom, and it could probably be argued that it is the most important skill.

Usually, in my classes, we learn about Spain and Mexican-American cultures the most. Spain because the language originated there, and Mexican-American culture because it’s closest to home and can be found all around us. Each year, I pick a literary text that introduces the culture we’re learning about.

This year that text is …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Tomás Rivera. I’ve never taught this text so I’m pretty excited! Usually, we read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (which I love). What’s different about …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, is that it was originally written in Spanish. The beautiful English translation accompanies it in the back of the book. Both books are coming-of-age novels that shed an effective light on a distinct place in history and culture.

Charlotte Mason says of biographies, “Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.” (Home Education, Vol. 1 Part XVIII.–History, p.280)

The Chicano Experience


Although …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him is not a biography of a historical character, the fictional biography that Rivera tells serves just as well to document the lives of Mexican-American migrant workers of the 1940s and 1950s—an important part of the Mexican-American experience that should be told and should be known.

Now that I’ve made the case for teaching culture in the high school Spanish classroom, and teaching it from a literary text rather than a textbook, we can talk about how to make it happen.


1. Read Shorter Passages


Normally I would assign students large passages of reading to do on their own at home, have them fill in pages with discussion questions, and then we would come back together as a class and discuss. We might dedicate one or two classes to discussing the book — because time spent on the book felt like time away from the grammar that they had to learn by the end of the year. Discussions always felt forced and stale, and now I’m beginning to wonder if it was because we had read through too fast, not lingered enough with each chapter, not allowed ourselves time to think and get a feel for what the text was trying to say.

The book has 27 chapters; few enough to read one per week and get through it. Doesn’t it sound like a neat opportunity to spend an entire year getting to know the author’s voice, letting each scene and passage soak in from week to week?


2. Read Aloud


Over the summer I read a few articles and listened to a few podcasts about the power of reading aloud. I think by the time students are in high school we expect them to do most of their work independently, but I thought it would be better to let this culture piece be a shared experience. The joy of reading will be the focus. Students won’t feel like the reading is work. They may simply listen and enjoy the story.


3. Narrate Each Passage After Each Reading


I’ve been immersing myself in Charlotte Mason’s writings and methods this summer (in preparation for our own homeschool this year). Narration is a device she suggests to help students become active listeners with what they read and to become self-teachers. Reading shorter passages will lend itself well to narration.


4. Read & Narrate in Both Languages


Because the text has both languages together in one book, and we are reading one chapter at a time, I will be able to read in both languages. Not only will we get to hear the beautiful stories in the language they were written, we will get a chance to learn Spanish while we’re at it and practice narrating in the target language.


5. Understand the Text Historically


Getting to know the time in which the story was written and the time in which the story is placed makes reading the story a richer experience. We will watch videos like this one from Annenberg Learner to understand the migrant struggle and learn about eco-literature; we will use this interview with Arturo Madrid to get another Mexican-American perspective; we will research the Chicano experience; we will read stories from Latino in America by Soledad O’Brien to see how things have changed (or not) for Mexican-Americans. I’m really excited for the year, and if you’re looking for a great piece of American Literature to add to your high schooler’s syllabus this year, I highly recommend …y no se lo tragó la tierra/…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. If you do read it, I’d love for you to connect with me and share your thoughts about it! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

What literature do you use in your classroom to introduce culture?

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Born and raised in Kansas City, Kali took Spanish in college and fell in love with it -- especially after spending time studying in Costa Rica & Spain and volunteering in Peru.  Once graduated, she began sharing her love of Spanish through her blog, For the Love of Spanish, and by teaching Spanish to local homeschool students. This year, she embarks on her first year of homeschooling her own children with the goal of raising them and educating them bilingually.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to Host a Children's Hispanic Heritage Month Party

The following is a guest post by the remarkable Frances Evans from Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes.


Hispanic Heritage Month is by far our favorite month of the year. It always runs from September 15 through October 15. 

Although it initially started as a Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson back in 1968, it wasn't until 1988 that President Ronald Reagan extended it to a month-long celebration. 

¡Enhorabuena! 

Across the nation you'll find many events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. During these 30 days we recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans and celebrate our heritage and culture.

Nevertheless, there are many areas and schools that don't celebrate this month. I live in small, Southern town and guess what? No one knows about HHM! I've taken it upon myself to educate others, especially young minds.  Educating children and adults alike, helps break barriers and exposes them to a culture unbeknownst to them.

Whether you live in an area where celebrating this month is huge, or you live in a small community that doesn't; you can always plan to host your very own Children's Hispanic Heritage Month Party!

This is my second year partnering up with our local library! 

How to Prepare for your Children's Hispanic Heritage Month Party


First, you have some decisions to make. Do you want to 1) host a party in your child's classroom, 2) simply invite your child's friends over to your house, or 3) do you want to go above and beyond and host a party for your community? I've actually done all three! For the first one, you'd need to coordinate with your child's teacher. To throw a party in our community, I presented my idea to the director of our local library, and this is my second year hosting!

The ideas below can be adjusted to fit your needs.  This is simply an outline of ideas and suggestions:  
  • Where and who is the party for? School, home, or community? 
  • Decide on a date and time between September 15 and October 15.
  • Make a list of the food you want to serve. Simple Hispanic finger foods are best. Possible dishes include:   
    • Fresh fruit sprinkled with Tajín. 
    • Spread refried beans and crumble queso fresco over a tostada (corn tortilla). 
    • Empanadas (you can buy these at a Hispanic bodega). 
    • Guacamole and salsa with chips (these are a hit!) 
    • Churros (you can buy these at a taquería). 
    • Taco bar with all the fixings. 
    • Variety of Mexican breads such as conchas, cocoles, novias, or puerquitos (you can buy these at a Mexican panadería "bakery store"). 
    • Beverages you can purchase: some Goya brand juice such as mango, maracuya (parcha/passion fruit) and many other flavors. 

  • Crafts
    • Ojo de dios 
    • Maracas 
    • Papel picado 
    • Mexican tissue paper flowers 

  • Games 
    • Guess the name of a Hispanic country's flag. This is fun because there are some flags that look alike! 
    • Lotería is a traditional game! Much better than your regular bingo cards. 
    • Role-play with the Hispanics in History Character Crowns or have a parade! 
If you need more Hispanic Heritage Month resources, you can find them right here on MommyMaestra. I hope you have fun planning and hosting your Children's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.  

Let's get this party started! ¡A celebrar el Mes de la Herencia Hispana! 

This post may contain affiliate links. 

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Frances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia. Shortly before her child turned 4 years old, she started blogging about discovering the world through her son's eyes, hence the name of her blog. She loves doing things with him, and became passionate about teaching him to be bilingual and to identify with his multicultural identity. She writes about heritage, bilingualism, multicultural children's book, and global culture education with lots of hands-on activities and language learning ideas for kids. 
She can be found musing at her blog Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes or on Instagram, her new fave social media platform. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Free Download: Alphabet Hangman in Spanish


As promised, I'm delighted to share a second freebie this month from our sponsor, Spanish for You!  We are so grateful to them for the excellent downloads that they offer MommyMaestra readers every month. I really hope that if you have a middle schooler who is learning Spanish, that you consider purchasing some of their excellent materials, most of which are available for immediate download from their website.

Today's download is a 3-page activity to help your child/student learn the Spanish alphabet. Help them learn not only how to pronounce letters in Spanish, but how to spell Spanish words! It includes a pronunciation guide of the alphabet, directions for playing Hangman in Spanish, and an audio file. I love that you can use this game over and over as your child's vocabulary grows.




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, September 15, 2016

Exploring Spain: A Printable Coloring Page for Hispanic Heritage Month

Today, Hispanic Heritage Month officially starts. Personally, I feel like every month is Hispanic Heritage Month - in my house anyway. None the less, there's no other time of the year when I can find quite as much amazing content centered around inspiring Hispanics and the Hispanic culture.

I absolutely love reading about the courageous, ingenious, persevering men and women who weren't afraid to follow their dreams (or maybe they were, but did it anyway) and left their mark on history with their creativity and ideas. 

Over the next few weeks, I have a series of guest posts by some amazing bloggers who were willing to share their experiences and knowledge. You'll learn how to host your own Hispanic Heritage Month party for kids and how to introduce Tomás Rivera to high schoolers. You'll also hear about one non-Latino family's successful experience with their children's Spanish-immersion education. So I hope you'll follow along!

To start things off, I'm happy to be participating a blog hop celebrating Hispanic Heritage. Yesterday, my friend Silvia at Mama Latina Tips celebrated Mexico by sharing a delicious recipe for tacos al pastor. I can't wait to try and make it on my own.

I've often talked about my Mexican heritage, but I realized that I don't often talk about my Spanish heritage. For those of you who don't know, my dad and his side of the family live in Spain. It is a precious part of me that I treasure always. As a child, I spent many summers there with my father. And I desperately want my children to have the experience in their childhood of being surrounding by their Spanish roots. I want them to have the opportunity to wake up to the smell of fresh churros for breakfast made by the viejitas in the plaza. I want them to hear the beautiful songs of the canaries that everyone hangs outside their doors, lining the streets with their heartfelt canto. I want them to run around the streets with the other children and feel the smooth cobblestones beneath their feet. I want them to hear my family speaking in their rapid, Castillian Spanish, and experience being kissed on both cheeks every time they meet someone. Mostly I want them to spend time with my dad, who has a great sense of humor and is eager to share his life with my kids.

I haven't been able to visit them for the last 11 years and I miss them so much. Even though we keep in touch on a regular basis through Facebook, my dad has never met my son. This year, my cousin is getting married and my husband has a conference in Europe, so we're going to be taking advantage of the opportunity to take our kids to meet my family in Spain. I can hardly wait. I know they are going to have an incredible experience. My kids have been working hard on their Spanish in preparation.


Here are some of the other resources we've been using to learn about Spain: 
(affiliate links)
  • Don Quixote retold by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Riddell. We've been reading this aloud during our school lessons and it is absolutely hilarious. I love Riddell's illustrations and this easy-to-read version for kids. 
  • ¡Olé¡ Flamenco by George Ancona
  • Getting to Know Spain and Spanish by Janet de Saules



(The following may be affiliate links)

Books about Spain


  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
  • Spain For Kids: People, Places and Cultures by Baby Professor
  • Mission Barcelona: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Catherine Aragon
  • Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudi by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez and Julie Paschkis
  • Let's Cook Spanish, A Family Cookbook: Vamos a Cocinar Espanol, Recetas Para Toda la Familia by Gabriela Llamas
  • Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter and Kevin Hawkes
  • Dover Masterworks: Color Your Own Spanish Masters Paintings by Marty Noble


  • Websites for kids about Spain




    To celebrate, I want to share this printable coloring activity with you. Available in English or Spanish, it's simple and fun. Just have your kids read about a person, place, or thing related to Spain, then have them find it on the map and color it in!



    hispanic-heritage-ideas-2


    Throughout the month, go to Inspired by Familia to get the updated schedule and follow along. Here are the wonderful Hispanic bloggers participating Mama Latina Tips, Mommy Maestra, Embracing Diversity, Your Sassy Self, Hispanic Mama, Guapologia, Mama Educa, A Vivir LA, Inspired by Familia, One Post At a Time, La Cooquette, Spicy Latina Mom, Nerdvana Kingdom

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Weird but True! Live Facebook Event to Celebrate New TV Series


    When my son turned 8 years old, someone gave him a boxed set of Weird But True! books from National Geographic Kids. For weeks after that, he would come up to us and say things like, "Did you know a piece of cake more than 4,000 years old was found in a tomb in Egypt?" or "Did you know that newborn babies are color-blind?" The books started out in the car and he would pull them out as soon as we climbed in to go somewhere and start reading. But they eventually made their way to his bedroom where they became part of his bedtime reading routine. Even after he had finished reading them, he'd start over with the first book because the facts inside were so crazy that he was just fascinated. That was two years ago, but he still pulls those books out and reads through them from time to time.

    Is your child intrigued by crazy trivia? Do weird facts amuse them? Well, mark your calendars because tomorrow, September 14th at 11:30 a.m. ET, National Geographic Kids is hosting a Facebook Live! event to celebrate the launching of their new TV series based on their bestselling book series, Weird But True! It officially premieres this week on TV (check your FOX network).

    Both my kids and I will be watching the FB Live event because (as I mentioned) they are voraciously addicted to weird trivia. They love to tell their friends and family (really, anyone who'll listen) about things that will blow their mind away.


    Hosted by a brother and sister team, Charlie and Kirby Engelman, the TV series will investigate the fun, strange and surprising ways our world works. From exploring shipwrecks to discovering caves to hunting meteorites, your kids will love the adventures that Charlie and Kirby take you on. Each episode includes a craft and an interview with an expert. Charlie says that meeting these experts and seeing how passionate they are about the subjects they study and their dedication has made him appreciate the uniqueness of people.

    Charlie says that his favorite wild but true facts are the ones about everyday things that you never knew, such as how peanuts aren't really nuts. The biggest takeaway he wants for his young audience is for them to be curious about the world and to not be afraid to go out and find the answers to the questions they have about our world and how it works.

    On tomorrow's Fb Live event, Charlie will attempt to demonstrate roughly 25 of our wackiest, most visually impressive Weird But True! facts. You can watch and ask questions. 

    Get your kids and watch a trailer for the new series here on the WBT! website.

    Weird But True! has been around for a long time. NGK staff has been building their database of weird facts for the last 12 years! Here are just a few of the facts your kids will discover if they read the books, download the app, watch the show, or listen to the new radio program:











    Disclaimer: I'm a National Geographic Kids Insider which allows me early access to information to share with my readers. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    40 Ways to Create a Multicultural Homeschool & GIVEAWAY

     My dear friend Leanna, founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs, is celebrating her 40th birthday this month. And to celebrate, many of us are sharing special posts dedicated to the topic of "40 Favorite Things." I decided to highlight 40 ways to create a multicultural homeschool.

    "How is this different from any other homeschool?" you might ask. Well, I'm a parent who is trying very hard to raise global citizens who understand our interconnectedness with others and are able to communicate with anyone. To do so, I go to great lengths to ensure that our homeschool lessons are preparing my kids through exposure to multicultural resources.

    The most important thing I do is make "World Cultures" an actual subject that we study weekly, sometimes daily, in our homeschool lessons. It goes hand in hand with our geography studies. By making it an actual subject, I'm reminded to actively search out resources to help my children travel the world from our home classroom.

    Below are my favorite tools, materials, and other resources for creating our own multicultural classroom at home.


    Study World Cultures


    First and foremost, in order to understand other cultures, it's important to study them. It appalls me that traditional schools across the country are banning heritage study courses because doing so causes three things to happen:


    • It perpetuates stereotypes rather than destroying them. This leads to ignorance, fear, and racism.
    • It surpresses minority students from different backgrounds, denying them the opportunity to learn about their own heritage and the important contributions that their culture has had on U.S. history.
    • It leads to ethnocentrism, or the belief that one's own culture is superior to others; and along the same lines, that other cultures are inferior or less than our own.
    • It dooms us to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    Luckily, it is easy to explore culture as part of your homeschool/afterschool curriculum. I wrote a post a few years ago with the steps you should take to do so. Here are some of the online resources I highly recommend you use. (You can also download my printable for free from Multicultural Kid Blogs, which has all the resources listed and hyperlinked.)

    1. MulticulturalKidBlogs.com
    2. National Geographic Kids: Explore the World!
    3. Time for Kids: Around the World
    4. Kid World Citizen




    Read

    Reading aloud diverse books is one of the top ways to explore world cultures. I'm talking authentic literature written by multicultural authors, NOT books written about other cultures (sorry!!). It's just that one simply cannot replace authentic experiences or replicate another person's perspective with complete accuracy. If I want to learn about Peru, then who better to explain the country than a native author or one of Peruvian descent? Here are some examples of remarkable books for exploring world cultures.

    5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (China)
    6. Under the Royal Palms by Alma Flor Ada (Cuba)
    7. My Place by Nadia Wheatley, Donna Rawlins (Australia)
    8. El Zipitio by Jorge Argueta (El Salvador)



    Watch

    Sometimes we take a couch vacation and travel the world virtually through excellent programming. I love documentaries that are well done, introducing viewers to some of the most remarkable sites, people, and traditions. These are some of our favorite resources:

    9.   Nature
    10. Kidflix Global
    11. Families of the World
    12. David Yetman
    13. Globe Trekker 



    Travel

    Of course, nothing beats traveling the world. We love to study maps, and geography is an important part of our lesson plans. And maps are even more fun when studied while we are actually en route to our destination!

    And don't forget to collect souvenirs on your trip to bring back and decorate your home/classroom. Those mementos help to bring back great memories and make excellent conversation starters or writing prompts.

    14. The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World
    15. Catherine Aragon's Scavenger Hunt Adventures
    16. FlyingKids' Travel Guides
    17. Barefoot Books World Atlas



    Speak

    It's almost impossible to become truly fluent in another language without learning about the culture it comes from. Learning a foreign language leads to many opportunities that most monolingual families can't begin to imagine.

    18. Rosetta Stone
    19. PetraLingua
    20. Duolingo
    21. Cooking with Languages



    Crafts

    Children seem to retain information best when they are actively learning and creating. I love tying in crafts to help my kids study new cultures and to reinforce ideas/concepts we learn in class.

    22. Multicultural Kid Blogs has the most diverse and best quality collection of tutorials for creating arts and crafts from around the world.



    Music

    Get those kids moving! There are SO many wonderful albums on world music available it would be impossible for me to list them all here, but here are a few favorites:

    24. Daria World Music for Children: website
    25. Daria World Music for Children: app
    27. Music on Kid World Citizen



    Myths & Legends

    One excellent way to explore a culture is to read about its myths and folklore; they help us to understand the perspective of the people who create them.




    Food

    Yum! I can't think of a better way to explore a culture than with my stomach! Actually, this is a really fun, hands-on activity for students. It not only explores a culture, but it reinforces skills in math and science, too.

    37. MKB's cooking section
    38. Kids Around the World Cook!: The Best Foods and Recipes from Many Lands




    Apps

    Of course, there are also some excellent apps to help your child explore the world. Here are a few exceptional ones:

    39. Whole Wide World by Fingerprint

    40. Kids World Cultures by Planet Factory Interactive

    THE GIVEAWAY



    Bloggers share their lists of 40 favorite things 

     To celebrate her 40th birthday, Leanna from All Done Monkey has organized a virtual party, where each blogger shares her list of 40 favorite things, plus we are giving away a big cash prize to a lucky winner! Don't miss these creative Top 40 lists, and be sure to enter the giveaway, which is open internationally. (Thanks to the Piri-Piri Lexicon for designing this beautiful series button!)

    Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: 40 Things to Do with Kids in Puerto Rico
    Play Dough & Popsicles: 40 Paper Plate Crafts for Kids
    Pura Vida Moms: 40 Best Cupcake Recipes
    Pack-n-Go Girls: 40 Fabulous Travel Tips


    Enter below for your chance to win!

    PayPal cash giveaway is open internationally! Giveaway closes at midnight Pacific Time on September 19, 2016.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, September 9, 2016

    Resources for Boosting Spanish Vocabulary in School Subjects

    The following is a product review by homeschooling mom, Mireya Marroquin Dunn.

    Gracias, MommyMaestra for all the valuable resources you provide on your blog and other social media sites.

    Some of your followers just started back to school or homeschool again with their kids, and others are just about to start in the coming weeks. Over the summer, I found a fabulous site that you can use to supplement your child's curriculum with bilingual vocabulary words in subjects other than Language Arts in English or in Español.  Most of us are looking for curricula in Spanish, and MommyMaestra has shared with us great links to Spanish curricula programs that teach Spanish. However, I was not seeing much on the subjects like Science, Math, Social Studies, etc.

    [Editor's note: You can actually find resources for studying specific subjects in Spanish on my(MommyMaestra's) Master List of Spanish Curricula.]

    Over the summer, I came upon a website called "Mr. Elementary". He has a TPT store and blog. An elementary school teacher, Mr. Elementary has found a way to help his students learn core material topics that are taught throughout the year (vocabulary words) that helps boost comprehension and build confidence.  Why not learn them using trading cards and wall picture cards?  He offers them in an array of topic materials: (Science) the moon phases, the water cycle, simple machines, inventors & scientist: (Math) geometry shapes, fractions, money, place values; (Social Studies) like map skills, communities and conflict and resolution, and many others. Since he had several students that were ESL or ELL, he wanted them to learn and comprehend the use of these vocabulary words. The best part is that these cards are in SPANISH for FREE when you purchase the English version. So your kids can learn them in both languages.  Mr. Elementary offers these topics individually or in a bundle pack to pass on more savings to you.


    I started to use the Scientific Tools vocabulary cards (tarjetas de herramientas cientificas), to introduce my teenage son to these Spanish words.  Since he is required to learn biology and a foreign language (2 yrs of the same language), he chose Spanish to earn his high-school credit to graduate. So I thought, why not learn Spanish vocabulary, too? This would give him a boost with his Spanish comprehension.

    The cards can be printed on cardstock or copy paper.  You can also print a larger (wall) size version.  I will have them taped to my kitchen wall for a few weeks as we learn about the material.  The colored images are nice and colorful, easy to understand with a brief definition & a sentence, and you can print on the back of the pictured vocabulary trading card.  You also get blank cards so your students/kids can draw their own images and write their own definitions.  These cards can be played as a game or used as a great way to quiz each other.  You can keep them in a nice card box using the fun template that comes included in the download, plus he provides a trading card manual with 15 pages of tips and ideas on how to use these trading cards in your classroom or home.

    I am looking forward to getting more topics that my son can relate to his biology class or other subjects while incorporating new Spanish vocabulary words.  It's a plus for me as well.  Since my own education took place here in the United States and I only spoke Spanish at home, I never learned many of these Spanish vocabulary words as I was growing up.  In my opinion, using these bilingual vocabulary trading cards is a great value to your classroom or home, especially since they cover topics that your students/children need to learn throughout the school year.

    Gracias por sus atenciones,

    Mireya Marroquin Martinez Dunn

    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Hispanics in History Character Crowns



    Are you looking for fun games to play during Hispanic Heritage Month? What about playing Who Am I? using my new printable Hispanics in History Character Crowns?

    Available in English or Spanish, this set features 30 influential Hispanics in History:
    • Cesar Chavez
    • Dolores Huerta
    • Sonia Sotomayor
    • Ellen Ochoa
    • Pablo Picasso
    • Tito Puente
    • Celia Cruz
    • Roberto Clemente
    • Rita Moreno
    • Frida Kahlo
    • Dara Torres
    • Mario José Molina
    • Diego Rivera
    • Sammy Davis, Jr.
    • Sylvia Mendez
    • Salvador Dalí
    • Pura Belpré
    • Linda Ronstadt
    • Carolina Herrera
    • Isabel Allende
    • Miguel de Cervantes
    • Carlos Santana
    • Sammy Sosa
    • Tomás Rivera
    • Plácido Domingo
    • Rafael Nadal
    • Sandra Cisneros
    • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
    • Bernardo de Galvéz
    • Sonia Manzano

    Each crown comes with a fact sheet and extension strips for making the crown. Directions for assembly and instructions on different ways to play the game, as well as different ways to use the crowns are included. 

    You can find the English version of my crowns here: http://bit.ly/2bVtVG1

    Or you can find the Spanish version here: http://bit.ly/2bV5Blc

    (If anyone needs a combo set, please let me know before the 19th, and I'll put one together for you.)

    Enjoy!!





    Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    Ruff Ruffman in Español!


    My kids have always loved watching Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius. The show is fast-paced, funny, and engagine. But I think that what they like best is watching the kids on the show compete to complete fun projects. The show now has a fully-animated online verion with Ruff sharing tips to keep kids safe online.

    A week or two ago, I was contacted by Bill Shribman, who produces the free, online series about media and technology. He told me that they have just created SPANISH versions of their shows, including the animations and songs!

    If you're interested in sharing these with your children or students, you can find the Spanish versions here on PBSKIDS.org, or on their YouTube channel.

    They are short snippets that are super cute and share things like getting the most out of the internet, how ads work, how search engines work, and more.

    Here's a sample video: 



    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    Dr. Bonyfide: A Fun Way to Learn the Skeletal System



    I haven't shared a list of the curricula that we're using this year in our homeschool. As usual, I have not used a single curriculum but instead have shopped around for each subject. This helps me use the best resources for each subject for each child. Sometimes I use the same curriculum for both kids, and sometimes they each get their own.

    One of the most fun resources that we're using this year as part of our homeschool science studies is the Dr. Bonyfide series. Have you heard of it?


    It first caught my eye because it reminded me in of a calavera. (My mind runs that way.) And I thought the books looked super cute. I thought it would be a resource that I could use with both of my children at the same time (which is always a plus in my book).

    So I asked if I could review the series and luckily, the great folks at Educents said "Sure!"

    Dr. Bonyfide has been such a fun experience in our school that I wanted to be sure you all knew about it. I wrote down how we use it in our lessons and shared some of the awesome things you'll find inside this series. It is empowering for young minds and hearts, something that is not always easy to come by in a curriculum.

    If you think this would be a great addition to your homeschool or afterschool studies, check out my review on Educents.com.





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