Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bilingual Earth-Friendly Printables



On Saturday night at 8:30, all around the world people will be celebrating Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour. It is a movement for change, a call to environmental responsibility. Last year more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour, including our little home. This year, we'll be participating again. But instead of sitting at home in the dark, we will be outside with friends, enjoying the evening and the beauty of our natural surroundings.

If you'd like to learn more about Earth Hour, the website has a lot of information and fun activities, like making your own virtual lantern or downloading a Pocoyo activity pack for children. (SpanglishBaby.com, I think, has a Spanish version you can download.)

And for you, dear readers, I have a small gift. A set of bilingual Earth-friendly chore charts and note cards. May you enjoy them and remember the blessing we have in our planet.

You can download both of these for free from my online shop. If you download the files, I simply ask that you please leave some feedback on my store. Thank you!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Strawberry Avocado Freeze {RECIPE}


by Angelica

My mom loves her freezers. She has two freezers jammed packed with fruit and vegetables from every season. At first, my dad thought she was taking her freezer obsession overboard until he began to reap the benefits. She makes homemade rapsas, ice cream, popsicles and aguas (water) all from her freezer. My family loves to have a healthier version of sweet treats available year round. She loves to play with flavor combinations and laughs as we rack our brains guessing what she added to the mix. One day she made raspas out of frozen honeydew and peas, peas? It was great! The next week she made ice cream with frozen corn and peaches. Yum!

She mixes fruit and vegetable to boost the nutrional value in our treats. So sneaky! So clever!

Taking the time to freeze fruits and vegetables from each season allows you to have healthy options instead of consuming pre-made frozen desserts that are packed with fillers. Loaded with sugar, sodium and fat these products leave you feeling tired, gloomy and sluggish.

I have begun to experiment with my favorite flavors and am happy with the results. Frozen strawberries are blended together with avocado to make a quick freeze. Blend until smooth or you could end up with big strawberry chunks, which is good also. Try this freeze with blackberries or blueberries or blend and drink as a smoothie. If your berries are sweet you can cut the agave out altogether.

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. From the Avocado.org

http://www.avocado.org/nutrition/


Strawberry Avocado Freeze

Serves 4

2 cups frozen strawberries
½ ripe avocado
½ cup milk
2 tsp agave

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Place in freezer and freeze.

--------------------------------

Angelica ~ A 12-year-old homeschooler with dreams of becoming a pastry chef.

Addicted to comics, food network, and carnival rides, Angelica loves taking over her mom's kitchen. She is currently working on perfecting her pie crust while her family reaps the benefits. You can find her sharing her baking skills over at Sweet Life.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Finding the Treasure Outside

© Vladislav Gajic - Fotolia.com

My kids have a rock collection. And a feather collection. And a pine cone collection. Right now my house is littered with rocks, beautiful flowers, and small stones. Every day I throw sticks outside after finding them under the kitchen table, on the stairs, or under the living room chair. Whenever I do laundry, I have to check pockets for tiny nature treasures, discovered during an afternoon Green Hour(s).

Most children don't need to be told how to play outside. But sometimes they need a little help getting started. Here are my children's favorite outdoor activities:

CHALK IT UP

Drawing with chalk on a side walk or porch is one of the most treasured American childhood pleasures. Children can develop their creativity and the motor skills with just a few swipes of color. Their artwork can be simple or complex. If you get the squeaky "I don't know what to draw!" line, some of these chalk "prompts" might be to draw...

- Your favorite story book character
- What you want to be when you grow up
- An adventure at sea
- A scene related to an upcoming holiday (St. Patrick's day, Easter, Earth Day, etc.)
- If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?
- A habitat you've studied in science; Be sure to include the animals!

CLIMB IT

We are blessed to have a lot of trees in our yard. And my kids have spent endless hours sitting high in the branches, looking out on our yard and dreaming wonderful day dreams. Things to keep in mind: Don't let you kids climb in slick shoes; Let them climb trees with sturdy branches - keep dead branches trimmed off as they easily break; And keep the area below the tree free from debris (bikes, big rocks, metal toys, etc.) so that short falls don't lead to major injuries!

BURY IT

Kids have a fascination with digging and discovering "treasures." My kids can spend hours playing in a sand pit. Bulldozers, cars, buckets, shovels, cups, and small figures are some of their favorite tools to use in the sand.

NET IT

Who knew there were so many things you can catch with a butterfly net? In addition to the obvious butterflies, there's also beetles, spiders, daddy long legs, dandelion seeds, bubbles, leaves, and even birds. The ground rules in my house: No stinging insects and you must release the living organism back in the same place you found it after you finish examining it.

PLANT IT

There is nothing quite so fascinating as growing something and watching the beginning of life. Right now is the perfect time to be starting seeds. Your kids can do this inside and then transfer the seedlings outside after the danger of frost has passed, or they can simply plant the seeds straight in the ground. Right now we have tomatoes, peppers, moonflowers, and an assortment of other flowering plants growing in tiny little pots on our porches and kitchen.

COLLECT IT

One of the things my kids enjoy best is the nature table that we set up each spring in our living room. It gets cluttered from time to time with all the objects they find outside. But we try to go through and take out all but the most beautiful or strange items on a regular basis. My daughter, especially, loves organizing all the items and sorting them based on texture, color, or materials.

I'm always looking for more ideas, so tell me: What types of outdoor activities do your kids like best?

Un abrazo...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Encourage Your Kids to "Be Out There"


"American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades,
taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids."
~ The National Wildlife Federation


One of the best ways to keep kids healthy and active physically, mentally, and emotionally is to give them access to the outdoor world. Playing outside has a profound effect on a child's motor coordination, imagination, ability to concentrate, observation skills... the list goes on and on. Studies even show that time spent outdoors can improve academic performance.

That's why I am a strong believer in the National Wildlife Federation's campaign, Be Out There, whose goal is to connect children to the natural world. It provides encouragement and tools for parents and educators to get their kids/students outside on a regular basis. Their site is full of information on the many benefits that come with allowing children the opportunity to explore nature. Parents can even download their new Parent's Guide to learn how to overcome five of the top obstacles to outdoor play. 

At the end of this week, we'll be celebrating Earth Hour. But the National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their children a GREEN HOUR every day. Quite simply, a "Green Hour" is defined as 50 minutes of time of unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. You can find dozens of Green Hour outdoor activities on their website. And educators can also find tools for using the outdoors to supplement their lessons.

My kids spend a lot of time outside. If we're not gardening or playing around our home, we're at our local park, exploring the woods, or other activities. I have more rocks inside my home that my kids have collected, than I do outside of it. To them, the outdoors is an adventure waiting to happen, a treasure waiting to be found.

The National Wildlife Federation is also a major supporter of the No Child Left Inside Act, which will help states provide teacher training and expand high-quality environmental education programs, engaging kids in the great outdoors and fostering a lifelong appreciation of our natural world. You can show your support, too, by sending a message to your local elected officials.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing some of the activities my own kids enjoy doing outside. I hope you'll share your own tips for keeping your kids active and busy outdoors.

Con mucho cariño....

-------
Disclosure: I want to make it clear right here, that I am not affiliated with National Wildlife Federation in any way. I discovered the Be Out There website by chance and immediately loved it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Curious George Dance Contest



This week on MommyMaestra is dedicated to fighting Latino childhood obesity. This is a sponsored post.

My kids can get their feet going to almost any song. I like to attribute that to their Latin heritage, thankyouverymuch. In the winter, especially, when we are cooped up inside, I frequently turn on the radio or pop in a CD to get them dancing out all their excess energy (of which they have plenty, I'm here to tell you).

I actually really love seeing kids dance, because it is such a great form of exercise. Don't forget that exercise can affect academic performance...and self esteem. Dance provides a creative outlet for children, helping to build confidence while it burns calories. And with the obesity rate among Latino children as high as it is, I think it is really important to get our kids moving.  And what better way than by doing something fun, no?

I've already mentioned once or twice that we are a monkey loving family. Specifically, a Curious George loving family. And this coming season, the series will be featuring the arts, including dance. So do you think we're excited about a Curious George Dance Contest? Ummm..yeah!

If your nenes love Curious George, too, why not take advantage of it and ask them if they'd like to be in the dance contest? It could provide just the right incentive to get them moving!

To enter, all you have to do is video your kids (ages 8 and under) showing off their best monkey moves and exercising their creativity to the Curious George theme song. Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges, and each finalist will recieve a Curiosity Kit, filled with Curious George related goodies. The actual winner will be featured on a Curious George DVD, and possibly a visit from Jorge himself!

So between now and April 2nd, if your kids are interested, grab your video camera and let them perform. You can read all about the contest at CuriousGeorgeDanceContest.com.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and WGBH.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fighting Obesity in Latino Children

This week on MommyMaestra is dedicated to fighting obesity in Latino children.


To learn more, visit Salud-America.org.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Teacher Express Dollar Deals!

I just bought $187.60 worth of eBooks for $16.00.

Don't miss Scholastic's Teacher Express Dollar Deals! This 3-day sale is their biggest sale ever. And I think they only offer the Dollar Deals once a year. There are hundreds of eBooks available for Pre-K through 8th grades.

Last year I bought loads of eBooks (lesson plans, activities, etc.) and I just bought another load. You can find downloads for almost any subject. They also have a large Spanish/bilingual/ELL section.

This is really an excellent opportunity, as these books typically sell for much higher. I would strongly encourage you to go and take a look at what they have to offer. You can pay via PayPal.

My tips for taking advantage of the sale:

- Set a price limit for yourself (i.e., $10, $15, $20, etc.)

- Start on the first page and then just add whichever products you like to your shopping cart.

- When you finish, go through your shopping cart and start thinning it out by moving products to your wishlist. That way you won't loose them, but will be able to buy them later...or at next year's sale. :)

This sale expires on March 28th.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 2012 World Water Day


This Thursday, on March 22nd, the world will be celebrating World Water Day. Each year we take time to focus on the importance of freshwater and promote the responsible management of our freshwater resources. This year's campaign theme is "Water & Food Security."

With 7 BILLION people to feed on this planet, the shortage of freshwater is a world-wide problem. So many people don't know the importance of maintaining freshwater resources. Many don't even know how valuable water is or how we use it for more than just drinking. Take a look at this graphic displaying how much water is need to produce various products that we consume:


Did you know it takes 7000 liters of water to produce ONE steak? ¡Guaca! Or even that it takes 170 liters of water to produce ONE glass of orange juice??

Using our earth's resources wisely is a lesson we all need to teach our children. One of the ways we can do this is with the education materials available on the WWD website. Scroll down and download the games, posters, or other materials they offer for free.

Other excellent materials include these, which I shared last year for World Water Day. Especially take a look at these neat interactive sites on the water cycle: Scholastic's Study Jams and Aprende y diviértete con el agua

And check out these water-themed books while you're at it!

English:



Why Should I Save Water? (Why Should I? Books) by Jen Green and Kyouko Kitazawa


Spanish:

Soy el Agua (Hello Reader) by Jean Marzollo and Judith Moffatt


Océanos y mares (Masas de Agua) and Lagos y estanques (Masas de Agua) by Cassie Mayer

• El Agua/Water: Arriba, Abajo Y En Todos Lados/ Up, Down, and All Around (Ciencia Asombrosa) (Ciencia Asombrosa (Amazing Science)) by Natalie M. Rosinsky (Also available in English)


Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

¡Viva la Primavera! Bilingual Calendars {PRINTABLE}


Happy First Day of Spring! Today was just beautiful where I live. We spent a lot of time outside doing a few science experiments, gardening, and playing.

I suddenly realized I hadn't posted my bilingual spring calendars yet, so here you go!

Like the other sets, this calendar pack comes with...

• six calendars (three in English, three in Spanish) of the spring months March, April, and May
• six headers (three in English, three in Spanish) of the same months for use in pocket charts or calendar boards
• two cards listing the months of the year (one in English, one in Spanish)

Spring leaves me so happy and inspired, so be ready for many more printables. But as I mentioned last year, I offer these to MommyMaestra readers first. They are free for you but only for a day or two! After that they will be available in my online store. So be quick and get them while you can...


Enjoy!

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Just a quick note today: I have been trying to stay on top of Google's plans to cancel the Friend Connect feature, but to be honest, it seems like it changes every time I read about it. So since I have no clue if they plan to discontinue the widget, I want to encourage all of you who follow MommyMaestra through Friend Connect, to be sure and either follow my RSS feed, OR sign up to receive my posts via email. I would hate to lose you because Google is terminating the widget through which many of you have signed up to follow me!

Un besote!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The 2012 Doodle 4 Google Contest





There is one week left to enter this year's Doodle 4 Google Contest! Actually, the deadline is this Friday, March 23rd, but the submissions must be postmarked no later than tomorrow (Tuesday), March 20th, 2012.

When I read about the competition this weekend, it reminded me of how last year, my daughter had a Doodle 4 Google birthday party where she invited all her guests to create their own masterpieces. Then the kids took home their creations, had their parents register them, and mailed them in. I noticed that this year, however, the process is even easier as students are no longer required to register to enter. Instead, all you have to do is fill out the entry form and include it with your submission.

This year's theme is: "If I could travel in time, I'd visit…" The competition is open to all U.S. students in K - 12, including homeschoolers (YAY!). AND all the information is available in Spanish (double YAY!)! You can find all the information and guidelines here, or watch this short video. Last year, they received over 107,000 submissions from students coast to coast.

This year's winner will receive a 30,000 scholarship, and $50,000 for their school, and have their artwork featured on the Google home page? AND this year's winner will also have their artwork printed on Crayola's box of 64 crayons.

I'm super bummed I didn't get this to you sooner, but perhaps you can do what I plan to do today: throw today's lesson plan out the window and rewrite it to include an hour or two of art/history. I wonder what period(s) of time my kids will choose? Or you can plan it for tomorrow, though you'll need to get the the post office ASAP before they close!

And if you need a little inspiration, be sure to watch the video at the beginning of this post introducing last year's winner, Matteo Lopez, a second grader at Monte Verde Elementary School in South San Francisco, California.

¡Buena suerte a todos!

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Bilingual Activity Pack {PRINTABLE}

I had hoped to have this available for you last Monday, but to be honest, these last two weeks have really been almost too much for me to handle. I've been struggling to keep my head above water and get school done each day. One of my children celebrated a birthday, which of course required a day off from school. Then I have been bogged down with field trips, meetings, swim lessons, dentists appointments, and many other responsibilities. Oy.

With any luck, I'll get myself back together next week and be on top of things a little better. As a thank you for sticking with me, here is a little bilingual activity pack for el Día de San Patricio that I've put together for preschoolers, kindergartners, Spanish and English language learners. So if you are looking for something to keep the kids busy tomorrow, you can download it here.

This pack includes:

- Number recognition (1-10)
- Finish the pattern
- Find the difference
- Size sequencing
- Montessori nomenclature cards (English & Spanish)
- Beginning sound recognition (Bilingual)
- Graphing
- Alphabet (English & Spanish)
- Bingo cards



May you all have a fabulous weekend!

Un abrazo,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Activities



We're just a couple days away from St. Patrick's Day! If you are looking for a few activities or some fun crafts, don't forget to take a look at my article dedicated to bilingual activities for families (or classrooms) to celebrate the holiday.

Also, be sure to check out my Pinterest board on St. Patrick's Day. You'll find links to activities in both English and Spanish. There's a lot of great resources out there, but I've tried to narrow them down to some of the more fun ones.

Come back tomorrow for a special surprise!

Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hope Tree Project

Last Friday I mentioned that author Meg Medina had won the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. Today on our sister blog, the Latin Baby Book Club, I've shared a review of the Libro del Mes (Book of the Month) for March: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.

This young adult novel is Meg Medina's third book to hit the market and it releases today. You can read the review on the LBBC, but I wanted to share with you one of the ways that Medina is creatively launching her newest title.

The Hope Tree Project is a celebration of art, reading, and culture. About 500 high school students will be working with Medina and The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, to create their own milagros "that symbolize a hope or dream that they have for themselves or for the community." Milagros are religious folk charms commonly used in Latin America as an offering or a gift to a particular saint, or to symbolize a specific need, wish, or problem.


photo by Urban Woodswalker

Medina wants the project to encourage the young adults to think about their future and what they want out of life. By creating a small charm that reflects their wishes and goals, she hopes the kids will be motivated to make their dreams a reality. On her blog, Medina says, "If you don’t make a dream for yourself, others are only too happy to rush in and fill in the vacuum."

The milagros that the high schoolers create will be used to decorate five crepe myrtle trees in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. On April 30th (Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros), at 5 p.m. the trees will be unveiled in a celebratory event, and visitors are encouraged to add their own milagros to the display. This project will be featured through July 4th, and afterward, certain milagros will be chosen to be placed on display in the City Hall for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Con mucho cariño...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The 2012 New York International Children's Film Festival


The 15th New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) is underway. With 100 new films, it is considered the nation's largest film festival for kids and teens. I thought last year's films looked incredible. How I wish I could take my kids to see some of them! Fortunately, we are able to watch some of the previous years' films online.

For four weekends, the festival presents films, workshops, Q&As, and other events around New York. This is such a great opportunitiy to take your kids to see some thought-provoking films created for children ages 3 - 18. I especially love that the NYICFF also provides Family Guides for families to download online. Centered around some of the films, the guides provide activities and questions for parents to ask their children.

Here are a few shots from this year's international line-up:


A Monster in Paris (FRANCE)



First Position (USA)



The Monkey King (CHINA)


Tales of the Night (FRANCE)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tía Isa Wants a Car Wins the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award



Congratulations to new author Meg Medina, who is the 2012 winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for her children's picture book, Tía Isa Wants a Car. Every year, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation presents the EJK Book Award to an outstanding new writer and illustrator of children's picture books. To be eligible, writers and illustrators must have published no more than three books.

We are happy to see this year's Writer Award go to Meg Medina. We reviewed her book, Tía Isa Wants a Car on our sister blog, The Latin Baby Book Club last year. A Spanish version of her book, Tía Isa quiere un carro, has now been released...yay!!

If you haven't already read this wonderful book, here is a short book trailer to introduce you...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Geography Curriculum for K - 2nd


Today's review is on the geography materials that I put together to form a geography curriculum for my kids. I have been extremely pleased with these books and activities, and wanted to share them with those of you who are looking to supplement your child's lessons.

Today, a lot of schools don't even teach geography anymore, which I find disturbing. In fact, last year the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that only 25% of U.S. students passed their geography test. When looking at the questions on the test I was pained to see how many children were unable to answer them correctly. In particular, I was upset to read that the ability to read a map is becoming a "lost art" due to the rise of technology. (Don't get me wrong, I think technology definitely has a place in society and the classroom, but I object to it being used without first teaching people how to decipher the answer without it.)

Seeing as how we want to raise children who can live in a global society, I think teaching geography should be mandatory. In my opinion, geography and culture go hand in hand. So I have put together my own geography curriculum using several materials that both my kids and I really love.


I use Beginning Geography Grades K-2 by Evan Moor Publishing as my core. This book is based on National Geography Standards and comes with 93 reproducible pages. This fabulous and covers the basics of geography. It is divided into four sections:

Map Skills - This section teaches kids how to read a map by covering things like the cardinal directions, what is a compass rose, map symbols, a map key, distance, borders, and map grids.

Landforms and Bodies of Water - Covers exactly what it says: hills & mountains, islands & volcanoes, deserts & plains, canyons & valleys, oceans, lakes & rivers.

Continents and Oceans - This section covers the seven continents and the four oceans. In addition, students learn about a globe and hemispheres.

Around the World with Animals - Introduces children to animals found around the world and the various regions where they live.

In addition, this book comes with two full-color maps. I love this book and am strongly considering ordering the Geography Centers to supplement it.

Here are a few more shots of the inside of the book:




Maps & Globes by Jack Knowlton is another good book. This is more of a history of geography for children. The illustrations are engaging, and the book introduces interesting facts like the first maps, (stick) charts, the first world maps, Magellan, and other historical bits. The second half of the books discusses the properties of maps such as the equator, lines of latitude and longitude, elevation, types of maps, and more. I think this book is adorable, and it inspired my son to create his own maps.


My World & Globe by Ira Wolfman is an introductory guide to geography. Inside you'll find information on maps, climate, animal, trade, language, etc. This book was supposed to come with stickers, but I bought a used version with no such thing, which is too bad, because there's some super cute ones. If you can find one with the stickers - grab it!



A World of Wonders, Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis is a collection of clever and amusing poems filled with facts about our world. From Ferdinand Magellan's story to Angel Falls, these poems take children on a ride around the world. This book is mostly a supplement that I use to intersperse poems here and there. As part of their lessons each year, I have them memorize various poems. I like the ones in here because some are shorter, some are longer, but they all are fun.

In addition to these books, I have a globe that I use, and several maps and atlases that I keep handy. And of course, I am ALWAYS on the look out for other books and materials to use with my children. Geography is a fascinating subject. And there are more and more books now available to help children explore their world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Where Are All the Latino Homeschoolers?

I know you're out there. You have emailed me, tweeted me, messaged me on Facebook. When I first started homeschooling, I couldn't hardly find any Latino/a homeschoolers online. But today, that is changing. I know more and more of you have chosen to take your children's education into your own hands and that many of you are starting to write about your experience.

I want to know numbers. To give encouragement to other Latino families who are considering homeschooling. To show publishers and other education companies that they need to be thinking about us when they are creating their education materials. To show publishers that they need to create Spanish and bilingual curricula to help bilingual families successfully raise bilingual children without having to sacrifice academic achievement.

So...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bilingual Dr. Seuss Activities and Crafts


Via: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Live By

Feliz cumpleaños, Sr. Seuss!!

Today, families and individuals all over this country will be celebrating Read Across America...and Dr. Seuss' 108th birthday! There are not a lot of bilingual activities available that I can find, but here are a few in Spanish or English that I really like. If you happen to have a favorite, please share it with everyone in a comment so that others might benefit, too.

Printables, Crafts, & Activities

• First and foremost I have to share this incredible Spanish Dr. Seuss activity pack from KinderLatino. The set includes alphabet matching cards, letter Ss activities (for letter, syllables and words), rhyming cards, a word sorting activity, read and color, emergent reader and some number cards.

•For craft ideas, there is simply no better resource than The Crafty Crow!

Ingles 360 has several cute Dr. Seuss-themed printables in English.

• Last week, I shared some great resources for The Lorax.  I still think they are fabulous! :)

• And last, be sure to check out the awesome Dr. Seuss poster created by Mamiverse featuring "30 Dr. Seuss Quotes that Can Change Your Life." (Shown at right.)


Online

PBS KIDS Lab has some great online Cat in the Hat games and activities based on their popular TV show in both English and Spanish.

Seussville.com is, of course, without compare, though it is available in English only.

• And don't forget SpanglishBaby's giveaway of a Lorax gift bundle.

Teacher Feature: Lidia Barbosa from KinderLatino


Today I would really love to introduce you all to my new friend, Lidia Barbosa, and her wonderful blog, KinderLatino. If you haven't already discovered her, you are in for a treat. This mother of two, is a Bilingual Ed teacher who creates excellent printables and shares them through her website. Lidia's products are fun, vibrant, and educational. While she has created some in English, her primary focus is Spanish, and her materials are valuable additions to any preschool or kindergarten student's lesson plan. For those of you who are homeschooling, be sure to check out her site and look through her downloads.

In addition, Lidia has recently created and launched the new site, Bilingual Teacher Clubhouse, which is filled with Spanish resources for teachers. This site boasts a number of talented contributors, most of them Spanish teachers.

Lidia was kind enough to share part of her story with me, and in turn, I am happy to share it with you...


Can you tell us when you learned to speak Spanish and why?

I come from a large, Hispanic family. I spoke Spanish first and did not learn English until I attended public school.


Why have you chosen to blog about bilingual resources for Kindergarten
teachers?

As a bilingual Kindergarten teacher, I have always had a very hard time finding resources for my students. This results in working late hours translating and creating material for my lessons. It seems that regular education teachers have an abundance of material. These teachers simply have to go to any teacher store to find wonderful activities for their classrooms.

I chose to create my Kinder Latino blog as a way to share ideas and printables with teachers in bilingual education. Most of my resources are in Spanish. I do include some English printables. These can be used during our ESL teaching block or used by teachers who teach in a dual language classroom.

It is my hope that the content provided on Kinder Latino will always be useful to others. The positive comments from teachers always motivate me to keep creating more resources.


Your website says you’ve been teaching for 15 years. Can you tell us a little more about your teaching background?

My major was in Speech-Language Pathology. I worked as a Speech Therapist in a school setting for two years. Every time that I would pick up students from their classrooms, I wondered about what wonderful things they must be learning in there. Curiosity got the best of me. I finally decided that I should work in the classroom for a couple of years to become familiar with learning expectations. I took the classes and became certified in Bilingual Education. I loved working in the classroom a lot more than I anticipated. Those 2 years turned into 15. As a Speech Therapist, I worked with students from Early Childhood to Middle School. As a teacher, I have worked with Pre-K, Kindergarten and Second grades. Most of my experience has been acquired in a Bilingual Kindergarten classroom.

At the moment, I am staying home with my two youngest children. This decision was made because my little boy’s arm was pulled out of his elbow in daycare twice with no explanation. I had to take him to the emergency room with a dangling arm. The first time that this happened was very scary. He was lying limp in his teacher’s arms and looking into space. He went into shock and did not even recognize me. Long story short, I decided to stay home shortly after when my youngest was born. Both just had a birthday recently. Angel just turned five and will be in Kindergarten next year. Isabella just turned two.




Where do you find the inspiration for your printables?

My inspiration? Well, I have been creating activities that I always wished for, but never had. I go back to all of my saved files to re-do and improve them with fonts and graphics. Many creations have been teacher requests. The printables cover current themes and reading. Literacy center activities have been the main focus of my thematic units. I try to make them colorful and interesting enough for students. Initially, I made my own graphics. As soon as I began to receive teacher requests, I decided to start buying graphics to get the printables done sooner.
I create Spanish printables first. From there, I translate the activities to create the English ones. I try to provide activities in both languages whenever I can to accommodate Dual Language teachers.

I have used many of these ideas with my own students. They were the inspiration for such activities when I was in the classroom. Now, I am creating complete and attractive activities that will make my life a lot easier when I return to work. I love the feedback that I receive from teachers who have used my printables. Their wonderful comments validate that even though I am not in the classroom right now, these ideas and resources do work.


What are some of your favorite resources for bilingual ed teachers?

1) I love, love, love the Estrellita reading program. It has many components that can be used throughout the day. Some lessons work well during guided reading groups. This program is especially useful for struggling readers.

2) Jose Luis Orozco has CD’s with Spanish songs. These are great to use daily during calendar time or at any time throughout the year.

3) Readinga-z.com has some wonderful emergent readers in Spanish. Best of all, they are already leveled.


What are your thoughts on the current education system and the lack of
bilingual education programs across the country? Why do you think they are important?

I truly believe in Bilingual Education. It is important that children build a strong foundation in their primary language. This allows for an easier transition when learning new concepts in English. The lack of bilingual education programs affects the entire family. The child has a difficult time catching up to native English speakers and may fall behind at school. Parents who are Spanish dominant struggle in helping their children with homework and communicating with teachers. This is especially true with families that are new to the U.S. There are many districts that do not provide bilingual education. I truly hope that the nation takes notice of the needs of our population, embrace it and provide quality resources and education for all.


Do you think that more and more teachers will turn to sites like KinderLatino for materials to use in their classrooms? Why or why not?

Yes. Teachers are always in search of ideas and resources. There is a lack of these resources for bilingual education. I believe that once teachers find our sites, they will be relieved to finally have somewhere to turn to for information that is relevant to their classrooms. This will also cut down on working late hours translating and making their own material. I have created another site, the Bilingual Teacher Clubhouse, for this reason. This is a new site with collaborating authors who share a common goal in bilingual education. My vision is to provide a central location where we can find online Spanish resources quickly and easily.

Thank you for your interest in Kinder Latino. I hope that you were able to get to know me a little better.

¡Hasta pronto!


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