Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Target's Dia de los Muertos Collection

So I was out shopping around on Sunday (usually my only day to shop ALONE), and when I was walking through Target, I was so surprised because this year their collection of calaveritas and Dia de los Muertos decorations has exploded! Just in case you're looking for ways to decorate your house, check out most of what I saw...

Party Supplies
 Baking Supplies

Crafts and Activities

Monday, October 5, 2015

Free Homework Book for Spanish Readers: Segmentación

We are SO grateful for our wonderful sponsor, Lectura para niños, and all the fantastic FREE downloads that they share with MommyMaestra readers every month. Today's download is a great resource for parents of Spanish readers.

Leah says...

Parents always ask me how they can help their child at home. I started sending these home with my kiddos a few years ago, but I have recently updated this file. Usually at the beginning of the year, I start with sending the “segmenting syllables” pages only. Around November, I start sending the pages that segment words into syllables and sounds. Segmenting words into sounds is a developmental skill. Having the students at least say the sounds for each word while looking at it is a start. Soon, the students will be able to segment a 4 sound word without looking and then progress to a 6 sound word. I wouldn’t expect students to segment words with blends or diphthongs until they get to 1st grade. I do have many of my students who can do this by the end of the year, but not all are quite ready for it.

I hope your readers enjoy this!

You can get the entire unit here: Spanish Homework: 006: TAREA Segmentación por sílabas y sonidos

For more awesome Spanish materials, especially those that teach children to read in Spanish, check out Lectura para niños on FacebookTeachers Pay TeachersBlog, and Pinterest.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Celebrate "Odd-tober" with New Episodes from PBS KIDS

Here come the holidays and with them new episodes from PBS KIDS! 

They start tomorrow with an all-new ODD SQUAD one-hour special and the return of Halloween-themed family favorites from various series. On Monday, PBS KIDS will premiere “ODD SQUAD: Against the Odds,” which will include five 11-minute stories with Olive, Otto and the rest of the gang as they solve the community’s strange problems.

Then, during the week before Halloween, “Odd-tober” will continue on PBS KIDS starting October 25th with the return of family Halloween favorites, including “CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest.” Favorite episodes from series such as DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, WILD KRATTS, PEG + CAT and DINOSAUR TRAIN will also air throughout the week. Families will be able to play Halloween games and stream the Halloween-themed episodes free on pbskids.org and the PBS KIDS Video App.

Here's a peek at the upcoming episodes:

“ODD SQUAD: Against the Odds” – premieres Monday, October 5 (check local listings)
Five all-new 11-minute stories are packed into a super special hour:

Undercover Olive” (Parts 1 and 2): In this half-hour episode, Olive goes undercover in a high-stakes “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game.

“The Curious Case of Pirate-itis”: Otto and Oscar try to stop Olive from turning into a pirate.

“Not So Splash”: Olive and Otto must figure out why parts of the town are turning snowy and cold — in the middle of summer.

“By the Book”: Olive and Otto interrogate two suspects to figure out which one is innocent and which one is guilty.

Halloween Programming – airs October 25-31
Check local listings for airdates and times.

“Hick or Treat/ Mr. Alwaysright”
“Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny/ Pet Projects”

“Caillou Loves the Fall”
“Fall Is in the Air”

“Trick or Treat/ King Cecil the Seahorse”
“Aye Aye!/ Trick or Treat”

“Night of the Weiner Dog/ Animal Trackers”

DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD“Katerina’s Costumes/ Dress up Day”

DINOSAUR TRAIN“Haunted Roundhouse/ Big Pond Pumpkin Patch”
“One Big Frog/ Caving with Vlad”
“Night Train/ Fossil Fred”

“Martha Gets Spooked/ Martha Changes Her Luck”
“Martha: Deadline Doggie/ It’s the Giant Pumpkin, Martha”
“TD’s Magic/ Scaredy Cat”

“The Halloween Problem”

THOMAS & FRIENDS“Tricks & Tales”
“Spooky Charms”

WILD KRATTS“Secrets of the Spider’s Web”
“A Bat in the Brownies”
“Little Howler”

“Tobey’s Tricks and Treats/ Escape Wham”

Disclosure: I'm a PBS KIDS Ambassador. This allows me to learn about and share special opportunities and news from PBS KIDS with you as they become available.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day of the Dead Activity Calendar

Guess what! Day of the Dead - or Día de los Muertos - is exactly one month away! I have tons of activities here on my site (and a few others that I love) for kids to make, read, watch and more. But it can be tricky to find all of them, so I've created this living calendar to help you!

My Day of the Dead Activity Calendar is full of 32 resources for celebrating the holiday with your children. I'll be updating some of the links as we go through the month and new, fun content goes up on MommyMaestra. Please note that a couple of the book links are affiliate links to my Amazon store. And you know what happens when you buy one them? Amazon puts a small percentage on a gift card for me to buy more books for my kids and to share reviews with you.

I hope you all enjoy my Day of the Dead Activity Calendar!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nominate Your Student for the Latino Youth Summit

Latino Youth Summit

Parents and teachers of STEAM geniuses! Don't miss this opportunity for your child or student. You have 5 days to nominate him or her.

Nominate a Hispanic student excelling in science, technology, engineering, arts, or math to showcase his/her work during this year's 7th Annual Latinos in Technology Innovation and Social Media (LATISM) conference.

Help us celebrate the contributions of Latino Students. Nominations will be accepted until October 5th, 2015.

For more information join our Twitter Party every Thursday or visit http://conference.latism.org/latino-youth-summit/

We'll be waiting for you at the usual 9:00 PM (ET). 

LATISM is pleased to host the first National Latino Youth Summit on October 28, 2015 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the STEAM Fair and engage in several hands-on interactive activities related to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math principles (STEAM).

Thursday, October 1st - 9:00 PM (ET)

Follow #Latism and #LATISM15 with @Latism @AnaRC @WendyRivera_Esq

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Resources for Studying Spain in your Homeschool

To close out September, I'm happy to be participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Hispanic Heritage Month series. There have been some wonderful posts written so far with lots of wonderful resources for exploring Hispanic culture.

My contribution today is sharing some fun resources to supplement your world cultures lesson plan on Spain. (All the book links below are affiliate links. When you click on them Amazon takes a small percentage and puts it on a gift card for me so I can buy more books for my own children's education or for reviews here on MommyMaestra.)

Be sure to read all the way down because there's a wonderful giveaway FULL of amazing prizes that I just know most of you will want to enter!

1. National Geographic Kids: SPAIN

A simple jumping off place is the National Geographic Kids website. You can find a very general description of the country as well as some fun basic facts such as the capital city, population, and more. Here's where your kids can see the country's flag up close and learn about the people, the geography, its natural resources, and government.

2. Color Your Own Spanish Masters Paintings by Dover Publishers

This fabulous little book is a collection of line drawings that reproduce some of the paintings of Spain's most famous artists: de Goya, Dalí, Velázquez, Borrassa, Miró, Gris, and others.

The full-color originals are displayed on the inside covers so your child can reference them. Then he or she can color in the black-and-white illustrations on his/her own. Each one is printed on only one side of perforated paper so you can tear the completed page out and frame or otherwise display it!

This is a great resource for art history and studying Spanish arts.

3. The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha Interactive eBook

Oh, my. If you haven't discovered this app yet, then you are going to be really happy when you read this. Miguel de Cervantes' most famous work, as we all know, is Don Quixote. It was an instant international bestseller and is considered the first Modern Novel. Now, it has been transformed into an eBook with 42 interactive scenes. This is a lovely introduction for children. Audio in English only.

4. ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona

I totally love this book by photo-essayist, George Ancona, who describes this passionate, colorful, and explosive art form that is often passed down from one family member to another.

The story begins by introducing us to Janira Cordova, a young girl from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who is following in her family’s footsteps by learning the beautiful dance of her ancestors at a Santa Fe dance company called Flamenco's Next Generation. Ancona’s beautiful pictures brings us inside the classroom for a quick look at the student's school time, then they take us around the world to Spain and back, to learn about the three main parts of the dance – song, dance, and music – and each one is described in some detail. Young children will enjoy seeing the rich (and dramatic) facial expressions of the cantaores, as well as the boldly patterned costumes, traditional musical instruments, and fluid body poses. Ancona really does a lovely job expressing the movement, beauty, and emotion of this subject.

5. Kids in Barcelona

This is a fun site that explores the beautiful city of Barcelona. Learn about some of the must-see attractions in the city, such as the Magic Fountains, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, and Montjuïc Castle to name a few.

Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Series and Giveaway

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to be hosting its FOURTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Throughour the month (September 15 - October 15), you'll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway! Visit our main page for a full schedule of the articles in this series.
Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.
Giveaway begins Monday, September 14 and goes through October 15, 2015.

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway: Grand Prize

Grand Prize

Home Learning Series Level A Curriculum from Calico Spanish US Shipping Only
Puzzle and app from Mundo Lanugo US Shipping Only
Sheet of Mexico themed nail wraps from Jamberry US & Canada Shipping Only
Complete set of If You Were Me and Lived In... books (15 countries) from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Large Latin American prize basket (scarves, purse, bracelets, books, map) from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Growing Up Pedro & Mango, Abuela, and Me (in English or Spanish) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
The Giraffe That Ate the Moon and Caroline's Color Dreams (bilingual books in English and Spanish) from Bab'l Books US, UK, & Europe Shipping Only
Bienvenidas las raras (bilingual book in English and Spanish) from Delia Berlin
Los Animales CD from Mister G US Shipping Only
Hola Hello CD from Mariana Iranzi US Shipping Only
Kids' T-shirt from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway: 1st Prize

First Prize

Perú, México and Portugal books from the If You Were Me and Lived In... series from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Smaller Latin American prize basket (scarves, purse, bracelets) from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Bienvenidas las raras (bilingual book in English and Spanish) from Delia Berlin
Los Animales CD from Mister G US Shipping Only
Hola Hello CD from Mariana Iranzi US Shipping Only
3 picture books: Finding the Music/En pos de la música by Jennifer Torres Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube by Pat Mora The Upside Down Boy/ El niño de cabeza by Juan Felipe Herrera (in honor of his recently being named the Poet Laureate) from Lee and Low Books US Shipping Only
3 board books: 3 Board Books - Loteria, Zapata, Lucha Libre from Lil’ libros US Shipping Only
Kid's foreign language T-Shirt (available in Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Swahili, Hawaiian, Italian, in infant onesies, toddler and youth sizes tees and tanks; women's tees and tanks SM-XL) from Mixed Up Clothing US Shipping Only
Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway: 2nd Prize

Second Prize

Perú, México and Portugal books from the If You Were Me and Lived In... series from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Smaller Latin American prize basket (scarves, purse) from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
2 picture books: Maya's Blanket/La manta de Maya by Monica Brown Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez from Lee & Low books US Shipping Only
Bienvenidas las raras (bilingual book in English and Spanish) from Delia Berlin
Los Animales CD from Mister G US Shipping Only

Bonus Prize!

Luchador piñata
Mexican luchador piñata from Las Piñatas de Laly EU Shipping Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Barriers of Bilingual Parents Wanting to Raise Bilingual Children

photo by Thomas Perkins

The following is a guest post by Spanish educator and creator of the Risas y Sonrisas curriculum, Leticia Smith.

The Barriers of Bilingual Parents Wanting to Raise Bilingual Children
by Leticia Smith

Despite their best efforts at encouraging their kids to speak Spanish, when only one of the parents is bilingual, they find that after a certain age, their children always revert back to speaking English at home, because mom and dad both understand it. This can even be the case in households where one parent makes the effort to exclusively speak in Spanish to the child as he or she grows up. Once kids start attending school in English, it tends to completely take over the other language at home.

This is an absolutely understandable and very common process. It happened to me as well! I spoke in Spanish to my two young children when I was alone with them and they responded to me in Spanish. And I spoke in English to my husband and children when we were together. Yet almost as soon as they came home from their first day of school, they would only want to speak and respond to me in English.

You cannot force your children to speak Spanish. Every child needs to experience it in his or her own unique way in order for it to click. Kids are much likelier to absorb a language when it is integrated into their daily world than when it is presented on its own, without consistency.

To begin, simply make Spanish a constant and fun part of your household environment. Find a Spanish Program that is fun and challenging for your children. Play Spanish music in the background (or dance to it!), read Spanish bedtime stories, play games and do fun activities in Spanish, and watch Spanish movies and TV. As you bring Spanish into your home, explain to your children why it’s important for them to learn and practice while they are young. Continue speaking to them in Spanish even if they answer in English. Up to a certain age, children have a truly remarkable ability to soak up languages, and every bit of exposure to the sounds and rhythms of the language will help this process.

Of course, there is no better way to learn a language (at any age) than complete immersion. If you have friends or relatives living in a Spanish-speaking country, strongly consider visiting or sending your kids to stay with them for an extended period of time. If they cannot be understood by speaking English, they will have to adapt and speak Spanish to communicate. This will not only immerse them in the language, but also provide them with memorable cultural experiences and, as they get a little older, give a feeling of independence and adventure. Even two or three weeks make a huge difference, and the change after two or three months is astonishing!

In short, there is no single trick or tool to make a child want to speak to you only in Spanish while living in an English speaking country. You can only fill their environment with Spanish, and encourage them to love it through positive associations. Be creative! It’s an exciting and fun process, and, with a little patience, you will be able to see the positive results of your efforts. Just wait for a trip or a situation with family members where your children can only be understood in Spanish, then you will really hear them speak it!


Leticia Smith is originally from Mexico City and has lived in Austin, TX since 1986. She received a BBA with a Minor in Marketing from Texas State University and an Accelerated Learning certificate from the University of Houston. Not knowing then the impact it was going to have in her future, she worked four consecutive years in the university's Spanish department where she acquired invaluable experience teaching college students twice a week and offering tutoring services. Later, when she had the opportunity to teach children, she discovered that her true vocation was to teach and inspire others to put joy into learning. Her years of experience as a Spanish instructor teaching children in all grades at elementary schools eventually led to the development of her award-winning program, Risas y Sonrisas.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New "Little 101" Series from PBS Parents Available Online

Why does my nose sneeze?
Where do my tears come from?
Why do dogs pant?
Why don't birds fall down when they fly?

These are some of the questions I remember my kids asking when they were little.

Sometimes the littlest minds pose the biggest questions—questions with complicated answers that often leave adults scratching their heads. For instance, how do you explain to a kid why they get dizzy when they twirl around really fast? But now there is a new video series from PBS Digital Studio called “Little 101” that is here to help.

I think the new series is cute and fun and informative. It's a good way to explore those hard-to-answer questions with your kids. The first episode has aired (see below), and more are on the way. 

“Little 101” combines appealing multimedia formats and accessible language to answer questions such as “Why Do Stars Twinkle?” and “Why Are We Ticklish?” Narrated and animated by Nathan Shields, aka Saipancakes, the series will post a new episode bi-weekly on the PBS Parents YouTube channel. So subscribe today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 Latinas in History Now Available in Spanish

Some of my more popular products during Hispanic Heritage Month are my reading commprehension packets that introduce students to real Latinos who have had an impact on world history.

I'm happy to share that my latest packet, 10 Latinas in History, is now available in Spanish!

If you're like me, you probably like to see a sample. So I have put together just a taste with English and Spanish of what you'll find in this packet. Both the English and Spanish versions have one-page reading passages on 10 Latinas. They also have a quote from each woman and some fast facts that include when and where she was born and her birth name.

Both packs also come with reading comprehension worksheets, dictionary work, and other assessment pages. An answer key is included.

If you'd like to purchase the entire pack, you can find it in my TpT store: English version and Spanish version.


Monday, September 21, 2015

App Review: Mundo Lanugo - Juega y Aprende

Oooo! I have another Hispanic Heritage Month opportunity for you! Our friends at Mundo Lanugo have created the most adorable little app to teach children about the Hispanic culture using their familiar characters.

It is simply too much and I know you will absolutely love it as a parent almost as much as your little ones do. But you'll have to hurry to download it because it is absolutely free to download during Hispanic Heritage Month! After October 15th, it will be $1.99.

Name: Mundo Lanugo: Juega y Aprende
Subject(s): Spanish culture & language
Brief Description: An interactive, Spanish app that teaches children about Hispanic culture and language through animated videos and interactive games.
Price: FREE during Hispanic Heritage Month, $1.99 after October 15th, 2015
Language: Spanish
Ages: 2 - 5 years
Device: iOS & Android

This little app is full of fun little games to keep your nenes busy and learning. All of the games and short videos are super cute and engaging. For example, your child may love helping Gloria, the ovejita, play imagination by dressing her up in different costumes (Don Quixote, Calaverita, Carnaval Queen). Or they may prefer helping Chuy, the little piggy, make special dishes such as guacamole and arroz con leche.

I love that children learn about good manners and popular children's songs in Spanish. My son (who is 9) actually enjoyed watching the videos and especially one of the last games where you can play and change The Cucaracha song by dragging different musicians to the stage. 

And I don't know of another app that teaches Latino dichos (sayings) to children. This is so clever! I can just hear my 'Buelita saying..."En boca cerrada no entran moscas."

OH! And there's also a game where the children have to match the artwork to the shape and all of the artwork is by Hispanic artists! From Frida to Dalí to Picasso. I just LOVE this one.

Of course, there are other games such as coloring, sorting, and matching that are important for preschoolers to master.

And parents can rest easy because there are NO in-app purchases! Hurray! (I really don't like it when there are in-app purchases in children's apps.)

I just think it is really neat that someone has created an app that incorporates Hispanic culture while teaching basic skills to preschoolers. Take a look at the little intro video for a better idea...

Hispanic Heritage Month Trading Cards Set 2: Artists

Last year for Hispanic Heritage Month, you may remember me sharing a set of trading cards featuring famous Hispanics. I had fully intended to make more, but got held up with the lack of graphics available. Fortunately, I've been able to find more, so I've been working on them and am happy to share a new set with you this year.

As you can see, this year's collection features Hispanic artists. The cards can be downloaded, printed on cardstock, cut out, and colored. For extra durability, I recommend laminating them. And if you want to keep them all together, just use a hole punch in one corner and slip them all onto a key ring.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Review: Families of Puerto Rico DVD

Last week, as I prepared for Hispanic Heritage Month to begin, I was looking through the collection of media next to my desk for ideas on what to share next with my children. I found a new DVD from the Families of the World series, and it is awesome.

The series reminds me of some of the shows I'd watch and love as a kid. It basically gives you an idea of how children in other countries live by giving you a "sneak peek" of their lives. So for instance, the DVD we have is about Families of Puerto Rico (affiliate link). The show follows two children (nine-year-old José and eight-year-old Laura) and their families, letting you learn what a typical day in their life is like.

José and his family live in the capital city of San Juan. In the episode, we learn about what his parents do for a living and some of the history of the island. My animal-loving daughter liked him immediately when she learned that he wanted to be a veterinarian when he grows up.

Laura's family lives in the country on a farm. We learned about how her parents went to college and studied agriculture and then started their own farm growing bananas and then flowers. My son was absolutely intrigued when he saw how they had two little coquís living in their bathtub and heard their little croaking. (I'm still waiting for the day when I turn around in my shower and find a frog staring back at me.) And both my kids thought it was super cool when Laura's class visited the world's largest radio telescope.

My kids absolutely loved learning about the country. One of the first things they commented on was how even though it would be so great to live on an island, it sure wouldn't be fun having to deal with hurricanes every year! But by the time the video was over, they were ready to head to Puerto Rico for a visit. :)

There are 28 other Families of the World programs (affiliate link) and they are now available on video - just in time for Hispanic Heritaget Month! They retail for around $10 each and would be great for a school or library collection. The individual videos would be perfect for exploring family heritage, too.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD for review purposes. Affiliate links are used in this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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