Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Books in Spanish for Homeschooling Families


Today's post is for all those bilingual homeschoolers out there who are looking for new books for the coming school year!

Whether you do school throughout the summer or take a break, homeschooling parents are always on the lookout for great resources. I am no different. And on one of my routine shopping trips to my local bookstore, I was delighted to find these little treasures.

If you are looking for books in Spanish to use in your bilingual homeschool, be sure to zip over to my shop and see the new books I've added. Some of them include images of the inside pages. I only have one copy of each, so first come, first served.

I do have a fantastic collection of children's encyclopedias in Spanish that I'll be posting soon, too, so be sure to be on the lookout for it!

Here's a peek at the new titles:








Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Read Conmigo Father's Day Giveaway



Did you know? In honor of Father's Day, Read Conmigo is giving away a Read Conmigo book collection, an Amazon Echo, and other prizes to TWO super dads.

But the giveaway ends TOMORROW Thursday, June 14th, and winners will be announced on Friday, June 15th.

Enter the giveaway over on their Instagram page.

Monday, June 11, 2018

¡Vámonos! Spanish Curriculum for Elementary Grades


Thinking about starting Spanish lessons with your child or students this coming school year? Then let me tell you about another new Spanish curriculum, whose creators recently reached out to me and asked me to take a look at their program. Today's sponsored post is written in partnership with ¡Vámonos!, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Name of program: ¡Vámonos!
Target age: 1st - 5th grades
Amount of materials: Moderate
Price: $140

¡Vámonos! is a new activity-based Spanish course for kids that uses an adapted immersion approach. I've reviewed quite a few programs over the years and each one is different. Some are literature based while others focus on TPR. Some only use videos, while others offer multimedia resources.

What I really love about the 
¡Vámonos! program is that the lessons are completely centered around activities that engage young children. From games and art to outdoor exploration and cultural activities, the lessons are designed to be fun and help children quickly learn grammatical patterns and vocabulary.

There aren't a lot of materials that come with this program, which helps reduce the cost. Though you will have to provide many of the tools used in the lessons. For example, you would need to have access to an indoor ball, colored paper, marbles, craft supplies, etc. Most everything is something that you probably have already if you have/teach children in the elementary grades.

Basically, you receive one book - the Teacher's Manual - that contains 28 lesson plans. The manual is divided up into six sections:

  1. Lessons
  2. Seasonal Lessons
  3. Music
  4. Games
  5. Printables
  6. Resources

Let's take a look at each one.

The Lessons


Each lesson has a specific theme and focuses on a particular grammar pattern. Then you'll read the following:
  • the objective of the lesson
  • the materials you'll need
  • Activity 1 (Welcome routine - 5 mins)
  • several more activities (up to 7 total) that teach and reinforce the concept being learned.
  • and immersion tips to help teachers create a functional immersion classroom.
The number of activities varies from lesson to lesson because some are games or crafts, others are stories or songs, and others might be "Pair Work" that encourage students to pair up to practice speaking Spanish. I don't think I saw any activities that lasted longer than 15 minutes, which is perfect considering the age of the students for whom this program is intended. In total, each lesson is designed to last 50 to 60 minutes.


For example, take a look at Lesson 1:





As you can see, the focus is on counting. Specifically, the lesson concentrates on teaching students to learn how to ask how many or answering/telling how many. It's not just vocabulary, but rather how to actually have a conversation in Spanish.

I like that you can see a list of the target vocabulary and grammar straight away in the sidebar. And I appreciate that the lesson gives an estimate for how long each activity should take.

Seasonal Lessons


I absolutely love that the program creators have added a separate section for seasonal lessons. That means that these lessons can be used at ANY time during your school year. If you are a homeschooler who starts these lessons in summer, you can just flip to that lesson and boom. You're ready to go! Or if you start this in the winter, no problem.



Music


The music section contains both the lyrics and scores for traditional children's songs from Latin America, with a few modified ones from the U.S. thrown in. But, yes, they are all in Spanish.



Games


Fun, fun, FUN! I love all the games, which include popular ones from Latin America. Some are meant to be played inside, while others are best done outside. And the creators have been nice enough to include links to online demonstrations where needed, such as with jueguemos en el bosque and la olla de los frijoles.



Printables


Of course, many of the activities in the lessons just need a printable resource, so this section includes all the blackline masters. Just choose the one you need and make as many copies as necessary for you to use in your classroom.


Resources


And finally, we have the Resources section which includes a list of the suggested Spanish books used in the lessons, a list of music products, useful books and articles, as well as a list of craft websites.


Overall, I think this curriculum would be great for homeschool co-ops and community groups, as well as traditional schools. Does the teacher need to be fluent in Spanish? Yes, or at least they need to be familiar enough with the language to create an immersion-style classroom.

I think that I would have liked to see a list of all the materials needed for the program listed in the beginning. but perhaps, the creators will incorporate one for Book 2, which is scheduled to be available in 2019? 😉

If you'd like to purchase Book 1 (described here), learn more about the program, or download a sample lesson, visit VamonosForKids.com.


Disclosure: I received a copy of ¡Vámonos! Book, 1 for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Read Around the World: Marti's Song for Freedom


One of my favorite series to participate in is the Read Around the World series by Multicultural Kid Blogs. I love following along and learning about amazing books recommended by bloggers scattered across the globe. It is a way for me to introduce my children to other countries and travel the world without leaving our living room.

The books represent countries far and wide. From Egypt to Indian to Sudan to Japan, these books are such a delight to read and so different, reflecting the diversity of cultures worldwide.

My selection for this year is shown above. I really loved this book and am happy to recommend it to everyone. I hope you enjoy it!

This post contains affiliate links.

• Book title: Marti's Song for Freedom 
• Author: Emma Otheguy
• Language: English and Spanish (Bilingual)
• Country/Culture: Cuba

This is the most recently released picture book featuring a Latino poet, and it is a beautiful tribute to the Cuban poet and activist, José Martí. Beautifully written, it is the story of Martí's life, how and why he left Cuba and his subsequent fight for Cuba's independence. With gorgeous illustrations by Beatriz Vidal, the book also includes excerpts from Marti's most famous work, Versos sencillos.
Ages 7-12

If you'd like to follow along, too, visit MulticulturalKidBlogs.com or the hashtag #ReadtheWorldMKB on your preferred social media channel.



Monday, June 4, 2018

Free Download: The Letter "U"



Summer is the perfect time to learn a new language! It's also a hard time for Spanish learners to remember to practice or find resources that will help them maintain what they've learned so far. (Boo hiss, Summer Brain Drain!) 

Fortunately, we have this month's freebie from MM sponsor, Spanish for You! to help you! It is the final one in a series on Spanish vowels. You can find all the other mini-lessons here. Or visit the Spanish for You! website for more awesome Spanish lessons.

Today's download is a 4-page mini-lesson to help Spanish learners use and pronounce the letter "U." The file comes with an introductory page that is to be used with the audio file to learn how to pronounce the letter U as it is used in words and sentences. There are also two worksheets that allow you to practice reading and writing in Spanish, as well as and a fun board game. As always, there is also an audio file to help you learn the proper pronunciation.



And if you are looking for books about the Spanish vowels, check out this post!

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!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Free Download: Bilingual Summer Fortune Teller


I'm over at Spanish Playground this week with a free download!

Celebrate summer and boost Spanish or English vocabulary with my printable fortune teller/comecocos. It's fun!


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Spanish Board Games to Enjoy this Summer

Here comes summer and while children everywhere are rejoicing, many parents who have to keep said children busy are frantically searching for fun activities. 

If you are one of these parents, then check out my Amazon Shop where I've assembled a collection of a variety of products I recommend to entertain and educate your kids! Every week, I'll be adding fun resources that your children will love. From books to board games to puzzles and more, you'll find resources for a variety of ages in English, Spanish, and both. I'll sneak in math, science, reading and other subjects. And some products are just for fun. 

This week's feature? Board games! Here are a few examples of what I've included:

Board Games in Spanish:






Board Games in English:






Monday, May 28, 2018

New Spanish-Language Magazine: Mira el Mundo Junior


I occasionally get messages asking me for Spanish-language magazines for kids. Sadly, most have been discontinued over the years. But I was delighted to see one of my favorite TpT authors - Mundo de Pepita - launch two digital non-fiction magazines for elementary through middle school students.

Mira el Mundo and Mira el Mundo Junior are super fun magazines giving tidbits of information about animals and ecosystems in Latin America. The first is geared for upper elementary and middle school students, while the second is for younger learners in Pre-K - 1st grade.

You can find past issues of Mira el Mundo in their TpT shop, but Mira el Mundo Junior is new. While the monthly themes are the same for both, the magazines include activities and materials geared for students of different ages.



For instance, each issue of Mira el Mundo Junior contains:




  • Information pages about the issue's topic, highlighting location, diet, and description
  • Mini Poster of the animal featured
  • 10 Word Wall Cards (can also be used as flashcards)
  • Activity Pages to practice facts & vocabulary
  • Whole Group Activity and/or Game
  • Lesson ideas and list of links for additional resources online  


Mira el Mundo contains:
  • Information pages about the issue's topic (two for all students and one geared for heritage speakers with additional vocabulary)
  • Fact pages for students to fill out (practices reading and writing skills)
  • Orthography page (especially geared for heritage speakers, but can also be used for all kiddos)
  • Mini Poster illustrating science vocabulary related to each issue's topic
  • Activity Page (for fun!)
  • Activity suggestions and list of links for additional resources online
I absolutely love the layout! The combination of photographs and Julie's original illustration are so engaging for both young learners and adults alike. 

Julie and Matt, the co-creators of Mundo de Pepita, say this about their newest digital release:
Mira el Mundo Junior provides a non-fiction magazine for young learners of Spanish, featuring a variety of animals and habitats in the Spanish-speaking world. Utilizing high frequency vocabulary in the context of motivating topics, our magazine allows teachers and parents to integrate language and content together in a comprehensible approach, a winning combination for language acquisition! In addition, each issue includes cultural activities, word wall cards, whole class games, Youtube links, and more. 
I think what is unique (and most desired!) is that these magazines are not simply an English version translating to Spanish, frequently without any connection to the Spanish-speaking world. Instead, Julie says that she "strives really hard to make both of these magazines from the perspective of Spanish and the Spanish-speaking world, which feels more authentic to me for learners and teachers alike."

A 10-month subscription is now available for both magazines via TpT. It begins in August for the school year. Upcoming issues highlight the Andean flamingo (shown above), jaguars, monarch butterflies, and the Pantanal in Paraguay.

As a former zookeeper, you know I love this magazine! And after seeing the first issue, I would highly recommend it for classrooms, including homeschoolers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Learn Spanish with Super Stolie


This is a sponsored post.

I'm always happy to discover new artists who are sharing their love of Spanish with children in fun and educational ways. Music is such a great way to help children learn and retain information and new languages. So today, I'm pleased to introduce you to Super Stolie!

Rebecca Stoelinga, performing under the name Super Stolie, is a musician and performer. For the last 11 years, she's been writing and performing for children. The great thing is that she recently began to offer bilingual shows - ¡Super Stolie Guacamole! - to encourage children to learn more about the Hispanic culture. Her bilingual shows intertwine nursery rhymes to entertain her younger audience with movement activities for the energetic ones. Older kids get to participate through volunteer opportunities.

Her website says that Stolie took "Honors Spanish in high school and revived her Spanish learning in 2015 with an immersion program in Guadalajara, México. She then visited Pacific coastal town, Puerto Vallarta, where she now spends all of the winter months — practicing Spanish, playing music for tourists, booking her summer shows, and avoiding the cold."

Honestly? I'm always a skeptic when I read things like this until I actually hear a person speak Spanish to see if there's any kind of accent.

But after I saw this video, I was sold. How fun is it? You can find it on her Super Stolie 10 album, which also has the "Boca, Boca, Boca" song. You can listen to it using the link above.


Since starting out, Super Stolie has released four albums of original music. This year, Super Stolie will release a bilingual album with more songs like those I mention above, so be on the lookout!

She'll also be offering her original songs as sheet music for young piano and guitar learners, as well as translate her songs into readable book form — in both English and Spanish! 

I love her rhythm and energy. And I like how much time and effort she's put into her music. She performs more than 100 shows each summer across the country, but mostly in Chicago. To find out if she'll be somewhere near you or to print out her show schedule, click here to view her 2018 Tour dates.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Super Stolie. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Canticos on Nick Jr.



I always love it when I find out about bilingual products being featured in mainstream media. Especially if it is for children because I think about all those Latino kids out there who see their culture being reflected back at them and take pride in their heritage.

So I wanted to tell those of you who watch (or whose children watch) Nick Jr., to be on the lookout for Canticos!

Oh. My. Goodness. It is ADORABLE!!! Eeek. I just love these short little music videos that feature animated sing-along nursery rhymes. Los pollitos, Un elefante, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and others. And they are in BOTH English and Spanish.

My favorite is Sol, Solecito. I can't hardly stand it. The cast of characters are so sweet. If you are a fan of Canticos' books, then you will love these videos that teach your kids to count, the days of the week, opposites, and more.

If you have babies or toddlers at home, go watch now!

You'll be happy you did.

You're welcome!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Puerto Rico: La Isla del Encanto - The Island of Enchantment


A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I'd consider sharing a new book on Puerto Rico. I frequently get emails asking for me to share new books with MM readers. There's a pretty long waiting list. But here's what caught my eye: ALL of the profits are being sent back to the island to help with its recovery. So I agreed.

Puerto Rico: La Isla del Encanto - The Island of Enchantment is a bilingual coloring workbook with 210 black-and-white pages about Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions. Although the author wrote the book primarily for children of Puerto Rican descent living outside of PR, it can be enjoyed by any child who is a lover of the world and its beauty!

Melissa López Charepoo, the author and illustrator, says...

"As a Puerto Rican, the suffering after the island was struck by two hurricanes touched me deeply. Today, after six months, thousands are still struggling to obtain basic necessities. In the spirit of service, 100% of the profits for the next year will go to small organizations that have empowered themselves to help others in time of need, and it’s the hope that the funds collected will assist in this later stage of recovery."

The workbook covers a LOT of topics, though none of them in depth. She basically provides the introduction and the reader must find out more using their local library or online resources. It's important to note that this book does require a lot of parental (or teacher!) involvement...especially when it comes to monitoring online resources. So this wouldn't be an informational read so much as a starting point for further exploration. Here are some examples:






But I do love that as I flipped through this book, I found names of people and places that I had never heard of before. I don't know their significance yet, as I haven't had time to research them. But I do think that this book would be a great resource for doing an in-depth study of the island of Puerto Rico.

And the other cool thing is that this comes with full text in Spanish and English...and the Spanish comes first!

So if you'd like to contribute to the island's recovery efforts through the purchase of an educational resource, consider this lovely book. You can find it here on Amazon (aff).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Little Passports is Perfect for Summer Learning


Are you looking ahead to summer and planning activities that will keep your child busy learning while having fun at the same time? Maybe you've been hearing about the dreaded Summer Slide in which students forget key concepts over the course of the summer and you want to prevent it in your own child.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Why not take the time to help your child explore world cultures? Most schools don't even teach this as a subject, but in today's global society, it's critical that our kids learn about other countries, the people that inhabit them, and their respective cultures.

That's why I love Little Passport (aff). We've used three of their four programs and have loved every one. When my children were younger, they would get so excited every time a new package from Little Passports arrived. It was hard to decide, but my son says his favorite program was their World Edition, which comes with all the goodies you see in the image above. The first month's delivery is perfect for building excitement about the program because it comes with the little suitcase in which your child can store all the other goodies and future memorabilia from the various countries they visit. There are maps and stickers, a camera and a passport. and much, much more.

I have written about this program a lot over the years because I think it is absolutely fantastic. It was an important part of my journey to raise global citizens. You can scroll through my posts about Little Passports to read my reviews and the experiences we've had with its programs and decide which one might be a good fit for your little one!

And to sweeten the pot, they have a current deal giving new subscribers a 15% discount. To redeem it, just enter the code BLOOM at checkout. This offer is good through next Monday, May 14th.

Find out more when you visit their website!


Disclosure: I signed up as an affiliate for this program because I believe in it so much. So the links in this article are affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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