Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Links: Jamoncillo to Free Pizza

It is getting harder and harder each week to keep this list down to just a few, so I'm not going to worry too much about it. I know you will just scroll through and click on the ones that interest you the most anyway!

Meet The Mendez Family Of La Zamorana Candy, Your Día de los Muertos Sugar Source :: Eat History (An awesome story! Be sure to read the full version in the LATimes - the link is included.)

Simply Delicious Applesauce : simplemente delicioso puré de manzana :: Sabor a Cajeta

Bilingual Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen {Giveaway} :: Spanglish Baby

Adventures in Teaching our Kids Spanish :: Bilingual Fun (Jennifer touches on teaching her daughter to read in Spanish and helps me relax about my decision to make sure mine reads in English first.)

The Topy Five Videos and Music To Teach Your Preschooler Spanish :: Teaching Español

Rebelión de los animales :: ORCA

Learning Math through Play :: Simple Homeschool

What’s in your Wallet? :: Homeschool Classroom (This is a great article on how homeschoolers can save money.)

Papel Picado- Halloween Decorations! :: Wanna Jugar with Migo (Super cute!)

Free Halloween Printables Round-up! :: The Crafty Crow (WOW! This is one incredible list! A MUST see…)




Also, for those of you with a LaRosa's Pizza nearby: Head over to their site and learn how you can register for their student rewards program. It's open to teachers, principals and homeschool educators.

Con mucho cariño...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Make Tissue-Paper Flowers

So most of you probably already know how to do this fun activity, but I figured I might as well finish off the week with the Día de los Muertos activities that the kids and I have been working on. So just in case you hadn't thought to make some of these paper flowers for this holiday, read on to learn how we put together ours.

A little background: 

While I was growing up, I guarantee I made dozens of paper flowers like these. I remember sitting at a 6 foot table in the park Center in Dallas with my 'Buelita (great-grandmother), Nanita (grandmother) and a bunch of their friends. I would listen as they giggled and gossiped about who-knows-what, while their fingers gathered colorful layers of tissue paper and carefully - lovingly - created beautiful flowers. It was always so much fun.

You know how in America, women used to gather together to quilt? (Yes, I know, some still do.) Well, this was sort of the same deal. I wonder, how many of you mamis now, grew up making tissue paper flowers, too?

Anyway, I got to thinking as I was wandering through Target or Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, when I could introduce this craft to my own niños. And I happened to spot the perfect yellow-golden tissue paper for $1. Which, of course, immediately made me think of marigolds...and Día de los Muertos. And then again, this week, several of the teachers I sometimes chat with, were asking about using them in their school classes.

So here's my small version of the beautiful tissue-paper flowers...

Materials:

Several sheets of yellow, orange or golden tissue paper
6 inch green pipe cleaners (or 12 inch, cut in half)
Scissors
Ruler (but only if you are a perfectionist)

Directions:

First, I take about 5 or 6 layers of tissue paper and I cut a square about 4 to 5 inches wide. (Normal-sized flowers usually take 8 to 10 inches.) Older kids can measure and cut these out themselves.


Then we begin accordion folding. Since we were making small "marigolds", we kept the fold small, too. About 1/2 inch or so. It does not have to be exact. My 4 year old, did his own "folding" and the end result wasn't perfect, but it was unique and beautiful.

To fold like an accordion, first lay your layered squares flat on the table in front of you, then fold the bottom 1/2 inch up and away from you.



Next, turn the square over so that the folded edge is on the bottom of the stack and furthest from you. Now fold it back the other direction so that the new crease is even with the top of the first fold. (¿Qué? Oh, just look at the picture.)

Now keep doing that back and forth folding until your paper looks like this....


(At this point, you might consider taking some pinking shears to either end to create the more ruffled look of marigolds. But I couldn't find mine!)

Then, take a 6 inch green pipe cleaner and make a hook at the top, like so...


Slip it over the middle of your folded paper and twist it closed. (Some people prefer to pinch the middle of the flower. I found that this actually made things harder with this smaller size flower, so you may want to experiment to see what works best for you.)

And lastly, carefully pull the layers away from each other, starting with the top layer and pulling it towards the "center" of the flower. (Tip: If you have a table with leaves, you can separate them just a bit and stick the stem down into the crack to hold it for younger children so that they can use both of their hands to peel the layer apart.)


Once you are done, you can add felt/foam/construction paper leaves by simply cutting out a leaf shape and then using a hole punch to make a hole in one end and sliding the pipe cleaner into it. Or you can just stuff them all into a bunch of small vases like we did.



And - Poof! - you now have your own set of cempasuchil (marigolds) to reflect the sun!

Hope you enjoy making your own!

Con mucho cariño...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Free Coloring Page for Día de los Muertos

So we've been brainstorming around here to come up with more activities that center around Día de los Muertos, and one of the things I came up with was this little page of calaveras for my kids to color and decorate.


I created a simple template and printed it off on some heavy cardstock for my kids. I was really tickled with the way my daughter decorated them, giving each one a particular profession or theme. I think she came up with the idea based on one of her favorite books, Calavera Abecedario by Jeanette Winter. Afterwards, she cut them out and glued them to the end of a craft stick and had her own little calavera puppets.


She had so much fun with it that I decided to share the simple template with all of you. So if you'd like to download your own free copy, just click here, or look in my sidebar under "Free Downloads".


Enjoy!

Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day of the Dead Resources

With Día de los Muertos coming up soon, the web is humming with activities, books, stories, and resources. I can't remember there being so much attention paid to this holiday in past years, which goes to show not only the explosion of bilingual educators and supporters online, but the speed with which Americans are embracing the holiday.

I have been updating the resource page for Día de los Muertos that I created last week with some of the more exciting resources coming across my desk. But here are a few in particular that I want to share with you...

• Don't forget to stop by Spanglish Baby this week, as they are dedicating the entire week to celebrating our bilingualism through the holidays of Day of the Dead and Halloween. Today's post was especially moving and they also shared some more online resources for you to check out.


• Also, here is a sneak preview of an exciting new book that I discovered last week. I have read it and am so excited about it! Rosita y Conchita is a bilingual children's picture book dedicated to the subject of Día de los Muertos. This might be the best book on this topic, because it tells the story of two sisters and their journey to come together on the night of Día de los Muertos. The authors, Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger, do an absolutely awesome job explaining the traditions of this holiday and the reasons for them. I will be running a full review of this book, as well as an interview with Eric, on the Latin Baby Book Club next Monday. I hope you don't miss it. In the meantime, if you'd like to order your own copy, visit their website.

•And lastly, I want to leave you with this darling video that is flying all over the internet. I've heard so many good reviews and even my own mother told me that it is entertaining, bound to expand my kids' vocabulary, and has a cute melody! (I think she liked it, too, because of the strong Castillian accent.) So I'll end by letting you see it for yourself.

Por favor, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!!

Con mucho cariño...


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pablo Picasso Lesson Plans, Activities, Coloring Pages, and More

"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
~ Pablo Picasso


I will admit that I have never paid too much attention to Pablo Picasso. I have always associated him with the Cubist movement, of which I am not a big fan. But - que sorpresa! - last year I discovered some amazing information about him while doing some research on Latino artists. Such as the fact that he actually mastered the ability to paint realistically like the Renaissance painter, Raphael, when he was just a teenager. The picture above is one he made of his mother, Maria Picasso Lopez. Hard to imagine, I know, considering what he is best known for is this abstract style picture below, Dora Maar Au Chat - which, incidentally, sold recently for over $95 million! Eh?


Anyway, I thought that today, would be a great day to share some of the awesome resources available on the web for teachers/parents, because Pablo Picasso was born this day, October 25th, in 1881.

Lesson Plans

Picasso Artist Study on Squidoo. This is without a doubt THE BEST resource out there. Jimmie has gone to all the trouble of finding and then sharing some incredible books, sites, activities and more, on this lens. Stop what you are doing and go there now! (Okay, you can finish this post first.)

Incredible Art Lessons is definitely my second choice for finding lesson plans centered around Picasso. They have an excellent collections of lessons for students in elementary through high school.

The National Gallery of Art has a great lesson plan focused on Picasso's early painting style, before Cubism. This is appropriate for older children, probably grades 9 - 12.

Teach Kids Art has a great section devoted to the artist. This is actually the first site I stumbled upon last year when I was researching Picasso, and is where I learned about his ability to paint like a Renaissance artist. An excellent source for young children in grades K-5th.

Making Art Fun has a great page with lots of links to resources, as well as a picture of the artist, and pictures of some of his paintings.

• This is an excellent biography on the artist.


Coloring Pages

Enchanted Learning has a section on Spanish Painters that includes this brief biography and a coloring page of Picasso's Child with Dove.

Super Coloring has this self portrait page.

Fresh California Grapes has this really cute coloring page based on Picasso Cubist style.

Making Art Fun has a coloring page of Picasso's The Three Musicians.


Poetry
Did you know that Pablo was also a poet? I didn't until I discovered this little article, which states that "at age 54, an emotional crisis caused Picasso to halt all painting and devote himself entirely to poetry." An interesting read!

 
Games & Crafts 
 
PicassoHead is so fun that even adults will enjoy it! 
 
Crayola has an activity based on Picasso's Cubist style. 

Paint Your Own Picasso from Colgate Kids is another fun online game.

Better Homes and Gardens has a slideshow of ideas for throwing a Picasso-themed party.

Making Art Fun (see above) has this awesome craft making Picasso sugar cookies!

Love this Picasso-inspired soft sculpture by Blick. They also have instructions for making a Cubist Portrait Bust and a lesson plan for making "commemorative stamps" to celebrate famous artists.


Books

Who Was Pablo Picasso? by True Kelley

Picasso (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia

Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules (Smart About Art) by True Kelley

Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail (Anholt's Artists) by Laurence Anholt

Pablo Picasso: Famous People (Famous People Series) by Ibi Lepscky and Paolo Cardoni



Con mucho cariño...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Links: Parenting Quiz to Student Essays

Today's homeschool group field trip was to the pumpkin farm!

Wow! There is just so much going on out there this week, that I'm afraid I had a really hard time narrowing things down to just a few links. So I hope you find some of these articles and quizes as helpful as I do.

What Type of Parent Are You? Take the Quiz :: Modern Familia (This post is great for understanding your own parenting style/strengths.)

The 4 Phases of Learning in Leadership Education :: Simple Homeschool (This is very insightful, a definite “must read”.)

Las Hojas Estan Cambiando (The Leaves Are Changing): Part One :: Multilingual Living (This is such a great post!!)

Calabazas, Brujas, y disfraces :: Wanna Jugar with Migo

Trabajos de Geografia/Geography Activities :: 2 Pequeños Traviesos

Mini Arco Ingles :: ORCA (I think this is a fantastic idea that can be applied using any language – I’m going to try it out!)

It is time for Spain! :: Kids Go Bilingual

Our Trilingual Adventures with Little Pim: Media :: Spanglish Baby

Free Books :: Homeschool Parent (Since I mentioned the International Children’s Library a few weeks ago, I thought this might be of interest to some of you. However, these resources appear to all be in English only.)

Chapter Books for Young Children :: Homeschooling in a Bilingual Home

Piñata Monster Trick-or-Treat Bags :: Giddy Giddy


Also, I want to encourage ALL of you to head on over to Multilingual Mania over the next week or so and read the student essays that were submitted for the Writing Contest. They are so beautiful and inspirational. And we (the readers) get to vote for our favorites. I think this will be terribly, terribly hard to do!

AND, if you are not already a fan of MommyMaestra on Facebook, you might want to consider it since I do share links to interesting finds, activities, discoveries and more during the week.

Don't forget to take the MommyMaestra Survey and enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Pelé!

Today is soccer star, Edson Arantes Do Nascimento's, birthday. ¿Quién? Oh! Sorry, I meant to say that today soccer star, Pelé, turns 70! (Okay, maybe his birthday is on the 23rd. There seems to be some confusion on this topic...)

I think that probably most people have heard of the famous Pelé. I know I was just a kid when I first heard his name. But I've never really known why he is such a big deal. I mean, why do Latinos the world over smile and nod at the mere mention of his name? He's just some Brazilian guy that is really good at soccer, no? He doesn't even speak Spanish, does he?

Pftht!!!

Well, today I did some digging and the information is impressive. Even if you don't like soccer, it is easy to see, after reading this article, why el mundo Latino the entire world idolizes this man. He is a king and a legend in the world of sports.

So for those of you interested in sharing more about this incredible athlete with your students/children, here are some resources and activities that shed some light on this amazing man's life or that can be incorporated into a lesson plan.

FIFA Classic Player: Another great article on the life of Pelé.

Pitara Kids Network also has a short biography in their Biographies for Kids section.

The Black Pearl: Pelé  A free downloadable lesson plan for grades 5-8

Pelé coloring page by edupics.

And check out My Hero Project's Sports Hero: Pelé by Bryan Stillwagon

There's also many videos posted on YouTube. Check out some of his fancy moves here:





And, of course, you can't ignore this fantastic children's book, by the talented Monica Brown...




You can buy a copy of this book here. Both new and gently used copies are available.

Have fun!

Con mucho cariño...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping Traditional Games Alive for Fun and Education

photo by Eneas
Games are such a super way to introduce and reinforce concepts with children. Games provide a hands-on opportunity which increases the "fun" factor exponentially. Unfortunately, in today's electronic gizmo society, many of the childhood games that our generation (and our parents', grandparents', etc.) knew are slowly being lost. It is such a shame really, given that many of these games were teaching us to use our imaginations and ingenuity in a way that many modern, materialistic toys can't.

Where have the marbles gone? The bottle caps? What about hopscotch and jump rope games?

How many of us with children today are secretly suffering from the Too Many Toys Syndrome? Sadly, I have to raise my own hand. I can't even tell you how 3/4 of the toys in my house got here. I know I certainly didn't buy them. Or did I? In my semi-annual house purge (which, incidentally, coincides with my spring and fall clothing swap) I am sometimes horrified by the number of kid's meal toys that have migrated into my home. (Oy. THAT's another subject soon to be discussed: nutrition.)

The point of this is that many of the games and toys that you and I may have enjoyed as children are quickly disappearing, like the baleros pictured above. Traditional Hispanic games, especially, seem to be disappearing.

I just finished reading (again!) this article by Guadalupe G. Castillo on this subject. It is a fascinating read and I encourage all of you to head over there to read about games like bebe leche, El Chicote, lotería, and escondidas.

And for those of you looking to introduce a few Latino games to your children, take a look at these:
Toma Todo (Mexico) 
Circle Game (Puerto Rico)
A whole list of games from Spain

Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teacher's Discovery


I was really happy a few weeks ago to stumble across Teacher's Discovery. This online store is chalk full of items to add fun to your classes. From awards and incentives to dictionaries and posters, Teacher's Discovery has most of its items available in bulk or individually.

The site covers a wide variety of subjects, but has a very comprehensive Spanish section that is divided up into three categories: Spanish High School, Spanish Middle School, and Elementary Spanish. Teachers or parents can find an assortment of stickers, buttons and other small items for rewarding their students. I just finished ordering some color-in bookmarks and stickers.

They also carry some excellent books, texts and thematic units. Those of you with younger children might take a look through their Elementary Spanish Book section, which includes many lessons like a thematic unit on the popular children's book, "La oruga muy hambrienta" or The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Some of you who have taken the MommyMaestra Survey have requested ways to encourage or develop Spanish conversation with your kids/students. Check out TD's Conversa Conmigo Workbooks (available for various grade levels).  The set is a unique mix of written, verbal and artistic exercises that feature personal questions to start class dialogue.

You might also check out their great collection of videos, They have a couple different series on Spanish-speaking countries around the world. It also has some, like the PBS home movie, Food for the Ancestors, which talk about cultural traditions.

This is a really huge online store, so take the time to browse through all the great products that they carry. In addition to Spanish, they also have some great items for literature, biology, art, social studies, and many others.

Con mucho cariño...

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Teensy Survey with Incentive...

So mis amigas tell me que soy loca if I don't get a media kit together soon. In the four years that I have been blogging, I have not given that a second thought, but MommyMaestra is definitely blossoming much quicker than any of the others. And it has received a mention in some eye-popping places.

I've also been a little surprised at some of the readers of this blog. I know there are several foreign language teachers following along. But I also want to know how many of you are homeschooling parents and how many are using the information I share to supplement your children's traditional education. I'm ecstatic with both!

So, since I want to know more about all of you anyway, and to learn what topics you'd like me to explore, I was hoping that many of you would please consider taking a teensy little survey? This will help me both with the direction I take the blog, as well as with my media kit. (¡Ándale! I sound so professional, que no?)

And I would totally love to hear more about you and your experiences with your children's education, too.

So to sweeten the pot and provide you with a wee bit more incentive, anyone who takes the survey will be entered to win a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate. Just be sure to leave your email address on the survey.

So what are you waiting for? Go here to get started!

And muchisimas gracias for helping me to grow this blog.

Un besito a todos,

~Monica

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Links: Yearbooks to Auditions

A slightly different format today because I wanted to share the photo the symbolic butterfly that all the kids in our 4-H club did this week. You'll also see some of the artwork and letters that the kids added to the packet. I am so excited that we found out about this project in time so that we could participate. If you'd like to take a look at the symbolic butterflies and their journey to Mexico, visit the Journey North website and take a moment to read through some of the messages that the classes have left on the site.




How to Make a Homeschool Yearbook :: How To Do Things (I think this would be a great project for a homeschool co-op, or simply as a record of your child's school year.)

Making Math Fun with Card Games :: The Homeschool Classroom

More Mandalas :: Moment to Moment (This is really a beautiful and creative activity for those of you looking to create art using nature with your children. I’m inspired!)

How To Homeschool Like A Pro :: Simple Homeschool

Our Top Ten Hands On Home School Projects :: Stitching Life

Recruiting Your Homeschool Faculty :: Chalcedon

Bilingual Education & Early Childhood Learning :: Momma Young at Home


Also:

Auditions will be TODAY (Oct. 16) from 1-3 p.m. at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada for the bilingual play, Cinderella Eats Rice & Beans: A Salsa Fairytale. They are looking for two multi-cultural casts of young actors, ages 12-18.  Eight to ten actors of all ethnicities will be cast and Cinderella (Cenicienta) must be bilingual Spanish/English speaking.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead Lesson Plans and Activities

photo by Paul and Jill

Día de los Muertos is quickly approaching, so I thought I would share some of the many fabulous resources that I have discovered over the years. Because this holiday is so popular, there is a growing number of lesson plans, units, and crafts now available on-line.


Thematic Units:

- By far, one of the best curriculum units has been created by Lori Langer de Ramirez, creator of MisCositas. It is geared for third year (intermediate) Spanish students. This is a comprehensive unit with 63 pages of activities, vocabulary, and more.

• AZCentral.com also has a shorter (31 pages) Teacher Packet with a really great bibliography. The packet is probably better suited for younger children, as it includes more coloring pages, and some simpler activities.

• Day of the Dead Mini-Unit A simpler lesson plan that includes a short description and example of “Calavera” Poems.

• Remembrance Lesson Plan An original lesson to show children how the lives of people can be celebrated by remembering the lives of people that have died.

• Lesson Planet has 26 lessons related to Dia de los Muertos that you can scroll through. Each description includes the grade level and a rating. The downside is that you have to create an account, but you can get a free trial period for 10 days.

• Dia de los Muertos ISP  This is a VERY detailed and serious lesson plan for second graders. A treasure for teachers searching for a good, meaty lesson.

• Mini Unit: Day of the Dead by Holly McCarty was created for 5th graders. She has divided it into 4 lessons, each centered around a different aspect of the holiday.

• El Alma de la Raza Project This unit lesson is designed for high school students (grades 9-12) and covers a variety of subjects (math, geography, reading, writing, art, and history).

• And MommyMaestra has several articles with a list of resources, including a brief history of the holiday and information on José Guadalupe Posada.



Websites:

• MisCositas.com also has a virtual webquest with lots of links and ideas. You may also be interested in her virtual picture book: Mi abuela ya no está: Un cuento acerca de la celebración del Día de los Muertos en México

• Art of Mexico has a short section on Día de los Muertos. I was really excited to find this page as it has so many art lessons related to Mexico.

• Author/Illustrator Yuyi Morales also has a few excellent activities that can be used in conjunction with one of her Trickster books, and she also has a downloadable Teacher’s Guide.

Inside Mexico has a great list of articles on a variety of subjects.

Celebrate-day-of-the-dead.com— This site even sells an instant downloadable sugar skull coloring book.



Other Resources:

• Check out MommyMaestra's Pinterest board on Día de los Muertos.

• How to Celebrate Día de los Muertos by Spanglish Baby

Oy Mexico - a free Día de los Muertos app


Books:

• A list of Latino children's literature on Day of the Dead

• Be sure to check out the new children's picture book, Rosita y Conchita, which describes Día de los Muertos with an accurate description of the altar and the offrendas, as well as the reason for them. Possibly the best children's picture book on this subject.


Printables:

• Printable note cards

• Who knew HP had a set of free Día de los Muertos-themed printables available online? And they're cute!

The Muppets has put out a super cute coloring page of Kermit in honor of Día de los Muertos. 

ESOL Courses has quite a few free worksheets & exercises on Día de los Muertos

HelloKids.com has a nice collection of coloring pages

• The Ultimate Printable Day of the Dead Party Kit


Crafts & Supplies:

• Crayola has a good activity for making sugar skulls out of clay. It also has another section with more crafts for celebrating the holiday.

• Don't miss the Crafty Chica's directions for creating your own felt Día de los Muertos banner. It is super cute! She also has this video for easy step-by-step instructions on making your own shrine-on-a-stick, as well as ways to modify the craft into other decorative ideas.

• MexicanSugarSkull.com (singular- no “s”) This site will amaze you. Trust me.

• The Calavera Kit comes with a detailed description of the holiday, suggested reading, additional resources, ways to supplement the craft, as well as the painted papier-maché skull, design patterns, and markers that allow children to decorate their own sugar skull.

• And check out my post on how to make tissue paper marigolds, my free coloring page, and my calavera craft kit.

• Take a look at this set of 30 bookmarks from TeachersDiscovery.com (comes with 3 different designs). They also have a calavera mobile kit, sugar skull molds, and much more! 

About.com has a great download for making your own miniature photo frames and banners.

Creative Kismet has a tutorial for creating your own Day of the Dead planters. My kids made miniature pots and loved them!

ModernArt4Kids has several great Día de los Muertos art projects for classrooms.

Learn Create Love has a fun printable craft that allows your kid to decorate their own Day of the Dead skull

Deep Space Sparkle has a five fun Día de los Muertos activities for kids.


Videos:

• "Dia De Los Muertos" from Whoo Kazoo - Such a lovely, animated short film on the holiday!

Las calaveras están de fiesta

• In-flight movie - El Día de los Muertos en Mexico

Global Wonders —Their short animated video shares what the holiday is all about.

•  Dia de los Muertos: Young People's Ofrenda – This is a beautiful short video about a collaborative project of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and El Colegio charter school.  

Los esqueletos —Teach your kids to count in Spanish with this super cute video. (Listen for the singer's Castillian accent.)

Viva Calacas — I found this video on SpanglishBaby.com. It is my favorite so far! Parents and children both will love this short video from art director and designer Ritxi Ostáriz.



Con mucho cariño...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lucky Finds: Artes del lenguaje by McGraw-Hill


On a recent trip to Texas I spent some time prowling through my favorite bookstores and teacher shops. I can't remember exactly where I stumbled across this rare find, but I know some of you are homeschooling exclusively in Spanish, so I hope this helps one of you out.


At anyrate, I now have in my possession, one copy of McGraw-Hill's Artes del lenguaje. Actually, I have the text book and the smaller, accompanying manual, Manual de gramática y escritura. This set of books seems to be written for students in 3rd grade. Both are written completely in Spanish and both are in perfect condition. There are no marks, tears, or even a single folded corner in either book that I can see. There is no teacher's manual, however, you can find the English version of this text here, and this site includes a lesson guide for the teachers, and another section for the students/parents.


There is also a section at the front of Artes dedicated to preparing the student for the TAAS test.


McGraw-Hill's online catalog sells the English text book for $50 and the writing guide for $7. I'm offering these two books together for $30.00, plus $5 shipping. It is available here on the Mommy Maestra Specials page on a first-come, first-served basis.


Here are some random pictures so that you will get a good idea of the content...





I have a few other good finds, as well, and will share them with you soon.

Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Box Tops for (Homeschool?) Education

Many of you may have heard of the Box Tops for Education program, which allows schools to earn cash to supplement their budgets and purchase necessities. But did you know that homeschoolers can benefit, too? U.S. homeschool associations that contain any class with students from Kindergarten to 8th grade, organized and operated primarily for educational purposes with 15 or more students may register on the Box Tops for Education site.

So while talking to a Box Tops representative this weekend, I was really excited to learn that homeschoolers can also participate. I blogged about this program last year on one of my other blogs right before I started homeschooling my daughter. I barely knew what a homeschool association was, much less the fact that there were some in my area. But I have since learned how valuable a good hs association can be for homeschooling families. If you are new to homeschooling, be sure to look for a good hs co-op or organization in your area. If you are already a member of one, and haven't heard them mention this program, chances are they don't know about it. So go to the Box Top website and print off the information so that you can take it with you and talk about it the next time your group meets.

If you are a teacher, and your school is not taking advantage of this program, go knock on some office doors. This is a great opportunity for you to purchase books, computers, curricula, or other supplies for your school/class. My foreign language teachers: Think about the awesome teaching tools or field trips your class could take with some extra cash that your students earn by clipping box tops!

In 1996, General Mills launched Box Tops for Education in California on Big G cereals like Cheerios®, Total®, Lucky Charms® and other family favorites. Since then, the number of participating products has grown by leaps and bounds. To date, Box Tops has helped America's schools earn $348 million. Your school can earn up to $80,000 every year.

Check out these easy ways to earn:

♥ You can clip 10¢ Box Tops coupons from hundreds of products such as Cheerios®, Betty Crocker®, Juicy Juice®, Ziploc®, Kleenex®, Hefty® and more! The list of participating products includes cereals, frozen foods, juice, paper products, even school/office supplies, to name a few.

♥ At the Box Tops Marketplace, you can shop at over 70 online stores like Oriental Trading Co., Office Depot, and Lands' End. A percentage of purchases goes back to your school.

♥ You can earn cash for your school just by buying the books that you love. Begin your shopping at the Box Tops Reading Room to earn up to 6% on purchases made at Barnes & Noble.

My Class Essentials is a free teacher registry that allows K-8 teachers to create a list of all the supplies their classroom needs. Parents and friends can then select and purchase from over 6000 supplies. Classes get the supplies and the school gets a 2% donation on all purchases.

To make the process even more enjoyable for young children, you can choose and print a collection worksheet for your niños to color and fill with the Box Tops you clip. Or help them make their very own collection container using any number of containers, like an empty cereal or kleenex box. Go here for some ideas.


And to make mamás happy, their website has a whole page of coupons for participating products that you can print off.

Oh, and remember my post last week on using cooking to supplement your lessons? Well, they also have a page with recipes for cooking with kids.


In my post last year I stated:

"Overall, what a great program! I do think they are missing a great opportunity, though, by not marketing to Latinos. They should publish portions of their web site and box tops in Spanish!"

¿Sabes qué? They heard me.

Con mucho cariño...


Disclosure: For writing about Box Tops for Education, I was compensated for my time. But all the opinions written above are completamente my own. For more information, click here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Take the MommyMaestra Challenge: Waiting for "Superman"


This weekend I attended the Blogalicious conference in Miami. This gathering of multicultural bloggers allows them to connect with various brands and each other, while attending sessions to help them further develop their blogs.
I learned about a lot of great programs/products and met some wonderful people, but the greatest experience I had (and the one that directly relates to this blog) was on Saturday afternoon when we were given the opportunity to watch the movie, Waiting for “Superman.”

This amazing documentary by director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott, presents the crisis of our public education system in such a way that will leave you, dear reader, with a much better understanding of how our schools are failing our children, why it is happening, and if can we fix it.

If you have never seen a documentary in your life, NOW is the time to do so.

Waiting for “Superman” is unlike the traditional documentary. It may, in fact, set the new standard for future films of this nature. While the movie is filled with information that is carefully presented to promote understanding, it is not boring, tedious, or dry.

Instead, from the very beginning, the movie reached out and engaged me deeply. As a mother, as a Latina, as a writer and educator, I was tormented and relieved and angered and hopeful. Guggenheim has done such a remarkable job of making me care about this issue by chronicling the lives of five families and their struggle to find and secure a good education for their children. It is an intimate peek into their desperate attempt to enroll their children in a good school. Their hopes hinge on the fickle and somewhat absurd lotteries that these great schools must use to fairly choose from an overwhelming number of families who apply each year.

I watched the movie with mi amiga, Roxana, from Spanglish Baby. I don’t think either one of us really knew what to expect. But by the end of that movie, I think we both walked away with the issue weighing heavily on our minds.

There is SO MUCH to say on this subject, I simply cannot finish in one post. So I will be talking about this subject a lot over the next few months. I want to continue the conversation that this movie has started and get us thinking about this problem that affects us all.

You might wonder, why is she talking about this on her “homeschool” blog? Why should I see this movie or care about this issue if I am homeschooling?

There are a lot of reasons.

First of all, while I am a Latina homeschooler, the information I share on this site is for any family or educator, who is looking for ways to teach their children at home, or to supplement their traditional education. I have been extremely pleased to discover that many of you are teachers in public or private schools, and even more excited to find out that some of you with children who go to elementary or middle schools are reading, too.

My greatest desire is to help our children succeed academically, regardless of how they are being taught.

And maybe you are one of the lucky ones whose child is in a great school, with awesome teachers and lots of resources. That is so wonderful! You are so blessed. But maybe you know someone who is not so fortunate.

Second, even if you are homeschooling your children, as I am, chances are pretty good that you have friends or family with children in public school. Because I love my friends, I love their children, too, and it pains me to see them have to struggle just to give their kids an education in a safe and nurturing environment.

I also realize that not everyone CAN homeschool. Sometimes, it isn’t realistic, because the parent(s) must work and can’t find the time. How many single moms or dads do you know? I’m guessing at least one. And sometimes it just isn’t a good fit for their familia.

This issue really hits home for me because the reason I started homeschooling was partially due to the fact that I live in a failed school district. Two of the schools in my town were closed and the State has taken over.

And I am lucky that I have a husband who makes enough money that I don’t have to work outside the home, too. At least not yet! But I also know that if anything were to happen to him, my entire world would be turned upside down and my ability to homeschool would disappear.

And to be honest, yes, it angers me that every child in our great country does not have the opportunity to get a fabulous education. Chilcott says in the book written to accompany the movie, “It just seemed so wrong – really the opposite of what America stands for. You can go to the store and there are seven different kinds of peanut butter to choose from, but you don’t get to choose your school? And when there is a good school available to you, the way you get in is determined by a bouncing ball in a cage?”

This issue affects us all.

Consider the following statistics:

• Only 55 percent of Latinos graduate from high school. The numbers are even worse for African Americans. And while whites graduate at 76%, why isn't it 100%?

• High school graduates live (on average) up to seven years longer than their dropout counterparts.

• In Pennsylvania, 68% of state prisoners are high school dropouts. (I imagine this number is roughly the same in other states.)

• The average college graduate earns 73% more than the average high school graduate

The list goes on and on.

I don’t want my children to be one of these statistics. I don’t want any of my friends’ or family’s kids to be one either.

So here’s my challenge for all of you: Hire a sitter and go see this film with your spouse, best friend, parents, or whoever. Don’t worry! Waiting for “Superman” does give you hope and talks about solutions.

But be prepared: I’m going to ask you next week to see if you’ve gone to see it yet!

So go here to find a theater near you or to take the pledge. And for each ticket that is purchased on their website, you will receive a $5 gift code to give a classroom of your choice on DonorsChoose.org

Con mucho cariño....

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