Thursday, August 30, 2012

Choose Your Snacks Wisely & Get Creative


Around 10:30 in the morning or so, we take a break from school to "refuel" and have some snacks to help us make it through until lunch. This is probably more important for younger children in PreK - 3rd. There is so much energy being burned up by their little bodies and active brains, that eating more frequently is a must.

But to be honest, I think older children (and adults!) could benefit from eating smaller portions more frequently, too. The key, though, is what you eat. Instead of chips, cookies, or other sugary snacks, try more fruits, whole grains, and dairy products. Yogurts, bagels, muffins, bananas, apples, a glass of milk, and cheese are all great ideas for snacking.

I really loved the healthy snacks many of you shared on the MommyMaestra Facebook page when I asked which ones were your favorites. You gave me a lot of ideas to try out...




Thanks, Everyone!

Sometimes all you need is the perfect container. Nibble trays of carrots, grapes, cheese and crackers are easy to make and enticing to people of just about any age. And just last week, we found these plastic popcorn holders in the Dollar Section at Target. My son was so excited to get home and make some popcorn (in our popcorn maker!), fill the holders, and gobble it all down.

During the weekends or for after school snacks, you might have more time to get creative with food. When your kids are craving sugary foods, make simple sandwiches irresistible with cookie cutters in shapes your kids recognize. A dinosaur or Millenium Falcon turkey sandwhich is more likely to eaten with less resistance than a plain square one! (Trust me on this.)

Making food art is along similar lines and immediately develops a story in your child's head. It also nurtures their creative spirit, inspiring them to create their own edible masterpieces. You can encourage them to eat more fruits and veggies by supplying them with pieces of food and an empty plate or muffin tin and challenging them to put together a scene or character. Take a look at my Pinterest board on Food Art for inspiration.

One of my newest and most favorite tools for getting my kids to eat more fruit is the Zoku Quick Pop Maker that makes three paletas (popsicles) at a time in as little as seven minutes. It is easy and fun and my kids love it to pieces. I love the fact that we are making desserts that are healthy and nutritious because we only use fresh ingredients, mostly fruits.

The Zoku is really easy to use. I didn't know very much about it when I got it, and thought you had to plug it in. So my kids were a little disappointed when we took it out of the box and realized it had to sit in the freezer for 24 hours before using it. But the next day? Whoa! We made sandía paletas by blending up watermelon slices - seeds and all - in a blender then pouring the puree into the Zoku. Less than 10 minutes later my kids were licking away, happy as they could be. (More about the educational benefits of this product coming soon!)

For our next round we added strawberry slices before pouring in the watermelon. We were thrilled with our beautiful and edible creations. Cantaloupes, peaches, even orange juice all freezes nicely. Throw in a few blueberries or banana slices to add texture and color. You can even simply pour in chocolate milk and - vaya! - instant (wholesome) chocolate popsicles. I got their Quick Pops recipe book, too. It is full of yummy goodness! I will never buy a popsicle again. Just looking at the ingredients on the packaging makes me ill.

Take a look at how easy it is to make these healthy paletas!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sample Recipes for Healthy Breakfasts


© Kati Molin - Fotolia.com
Warning: One giant post full of delicious, mouth-watering recipes ahead!

One thing I am always fretting over is how to keep my kids' breakfast exciting while still maintaining the nutrition factor. As much as my kids love one particular item, having it over and over again is the fastest way to make it lose its novelty. 

The other problem is that for those of you with children who leave the house for school, the morning rush can really limit the amount of time you have to get a breakfast put together. But healthy can still be quick if you follow these simple tips:

- Hard boil eggs once/twice a week at night, and store them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go.

- Make extra pancakes, waffles, and crepes and freeze them for future use.

- Mix together dry ingredients for smoothies, pancakes, and other recipes the night before and store in a plastic bag or container until it's time to use them.

- Unless you really love cooking (I don't!), don't try and make a big breakfast from scratch every morning. Instead, rely on your staple dishes, and then make one really great recipe once or twice a week. Or you can have a cooking extravaganza every Sunday, make extras, and freeze them if the recipe permits so you can heat them up later in the week. 

- Once you've narrowed down a group of about six items (i.e., yogurt, fruits, smoothies, waffles, toast, eggs, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes) don't be afraid to mix and match them throughout the week (Day 1: yogurt/waffles/milk, Day 2: oatmeal/fruits/orange juice, Day 3: waffle/hard boiled egg/orange juice, Day 4: smoothie/a slice of toast)

Consider these fast and easy breakfast meals combos:

• Whole wheat waffles with a drizzle of all-natural maple syrup, a hard-boiled egg, (vanilla) yogurt, and a cup of milk

• Oatmeal with chopped nuts, fruit, and orange juice

• Pancakes with a drizzle of syrup, yogurt, and milk

• Slice of toast, one scrambled egg, fresh fruit, and milk

• Breakfast smoothie with a blueberry muffin

• Breakfast quiche, a slice of toast, a yogurt, and milk

• Bagel with cream cheese, hard-boiled egg, a few slices of fruit and orange juice

Now for the best part! Here are some incredibly delicious recipes from mis amigas in the foodie blogosphere. They are so talented! If you visit their website to and love their recipe, please consider leaving them a comment telling them I sent you. :)

Smoothies ~ Parfaits:

Healthy Bananas Blueberries Smoothie on New Latina

Breakfast To Go ~ Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie on New Latina

Lavender, Vanilla, Blueberry Smoothie on Nibbles & Feasts

Sunrise Parfaits on Parents.com


Oats ~ Oatmeal ~ Cereals

Steel Cut Overnight Oats on Sweet Life

Creamy Bananas Foster Oatmeal on Nibbles & Feasts

Homemade Cereals on New Latina


Toast ~ Waffles ~ Pancakes ~ Biscuits
(Let's take it easy on the syrup, hmmm?)


Banana French Toast on Two Good Eggs

Creamy Orange Marmalade French Toast with Coconut Syrup on Two Good Eggs

Blueberry Pancakes on Two Good Eggs

Butternut Squash Pancakes on Two Good Eggs (Perfect for fall, no?)

Sweet Potato Biscuits on La Cocina de Leslie


Casseroles ~ Quiches ~ Frittatas

Blueberry French Toast Casserole on Two Good Eggs

Chorizo and Potato Mini-Quiches with Veggies on Nibbles & Feasts

Spicy Mexican Chorizo Zucchini Frittata on Muy Bueno Cookbook (You can leave out the peppers for a non-spicy version!)


Cultural Dishes

Bean, Cheese and Chorizo Mexican Molletes on Two Good Eggs

Melon con Crema de Mango on Sweet Life (Go easy on the crema. Healthy? Probably not so much. But the melon is!)

Breakfast Tostada on Sweet Life


Other Great Posts with Ideas for Healthy Breakfasts

10 Easy & Healthy Alternatives to Packaged Breakfast Cereal for Kids on Childhood 101

Desayuno para Niños #1 on Mama Contemporanea

10 Delicious and Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids on Baby Center

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Link Between Nutrition and Academic Performance



Last week the No Kid Hungry campaign released a report saying that 3 out of 5 teachers say they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.

For many low-income students, the low-cost or free breakfasts and lunches they receive at school may be the only meals they receive each day. This matters a lot to school districts because a child's ability to focus in school and their ability to recognize and understand concepts are directly affected by their diet.


Research shows that nutrition directly impacts brain development, cognitive skills, motivation, attention span, and more. A lack of proper nutrients can cause irritability, and make a child more susceptible to infections and diseases, which in turn affects school attendance.

So this is why breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what a child eats for it can determine how well they'll learn in school that day. During the course of a lesson or school day, the brain is working really hard to analyze and internalize specific concepts. I know from experience that learning to read, for example, uses a TON of energy. When my daughter was learning to read, I tried to make sure that our reading lesson was one of the first two subjects after breakfast. Otherwise, I was careful to give her a snack and a glass of milk before we attempted to read. There was a noticeable difference in her behavior and attitude if I didn't, and the lesson would quickly deteriorate to tears without the proper sustenance.

Last year in August, I dedicated a week to Nutrition here on MommyMaestra. And if you look through my blog, you'll find numerous articles on nutrition. I hope you'll take a moment to look through them for ideas on healthy foods and resources for menu planning. This week, I'll be sharing more products and resources to help you supply your child with the proper "fuel" that he or she needs to achieve maximum performance in school.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to check out No Kid Hungry's Facebook page and help spread the message about how we all can help to end hunger in our schools.

Con mucho cariño...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Help Make Cuentos de la Selva a Reality for English-Speaking Children!

This week we'll be talking about nutrition here on MommyMaestra. But first, I wanted to sneak in this important information about a pair of writers who are struggling to get their fantastic translation into print.

Jeff Zorilla, an American English teacher, contacted me last week to share a project that he and Argentine film critic, Natalia Cortesi, are seeking to make a reality. The two are raising funds to self-publish their book, Jungle Tales, a fully-illustrated English translation of the Latin America's most beloved children's book, Cuentos de la Selva, by Horacio Quiroga.

While these stories have been translated to over 10 languages, there is (surprisingly!) no English translation available. Quiroga's Cuentos de la Selva is a collection of eight short stories published in 1918 with resounding success. To this day, children in elementary schools all across Latin America read this book as part of their curriculum. Quiroga captures the magic of the jungle, which is the scene of great and exciting adventures illuminated by nature in all its splendor. A place where snakes throw glamorous parties with flamingos, stingrays join forces to fight off man-eating jaguars, and a giant tortoise carries a wounded man on its shell for hundreds of kilometers to bring him to safety.

Jungle Tales is illustrated by Dutch artist, Bert Van Wijk, who discovered the stories of Horacio Quiroga after he moved to Buenos Aires a few years ago. You can see samples of his work in the video below and on his website.

If the book is successfully funded, Jeff and Natalia expect to deliver the final product before Christmas of this year.

This would be a fantastic book to use with your children at home, or your students in the classroom.

You can help Jungle Tales become a reality for English-speaking students and English language learners across America and help bring a piece of Argentine culture to their lives. Jeff and Natalia's Kickstarter page even accepts $1 donations. Already, they are so close to reaching their $7,000 goal having raised $5,150. To donate, or learn more about their project, please visit their Kickstarter page. But please hurry, because their project will only be funded if they reach their goal by September 5th!

Natalia and Jeff have put together some great thank you gifts for those who make a donation. You can find a list in the sidebar of their project page. We have a fabulous community of bilingual parents and bilingual ed teachers here on MommyMaestra. I know we can help them to reach their goal. Below is a short video (you can also find it on their project page) to tell you a little more about the project.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Little Pim {Giveaway}



For our last giveaway, I'm really pleased to share with you Little Pim. I suspect most of you have already heard of this successful language acquisition program. They offer dozens of products in 11 different languages for children up to six years of age.

I have used their Spanish videos, books, and flashcards with my own children over the last few years, and my kids have enjoyed them. The company's founder and CEO, Julia Pimsleur Levine, designed the materials for her own son based on the work of her father Dr. Paul Pimsleur, who created the Pimsleur Method for language acquisition in adults.

What you may not know about the company is that it is a strong supporter of early education. The Little Pim Cares program helps supply low-income parents with their materials through nonprofit organizations. They also make their English learning series available free of charge for teachers in school districts with English Language Learners (ELLs).

Their products complement bilingual early education programs, like the ones in Illinois. So if you are looking for a materials to support your own child who may be in an immersion school situation, or if you are homeschooling your child, these products are a great way to supplement their lessons. Likewise, for all my language immersion teachers who follow MommyMaestra, this may be something for you to look into, as well.

Most recently, they have added digital downloads to their product lineup. These can be downloaded and played on your home computer, laptop, or even your iPhone and iPad. The videos center around basic themes such as eating and drinking, morning routines, in the home, playtime, counting, emotions, etc.

My son saw the first download playing on my computer and immediately came and sat in my lap and watched attentively. I saw him whispering words as he watched the scenes which feature other children doing activities and interacting with objects related to the theme. The video is narrated by what sounds like a Spanish-speaking child, speaking short, repetitive phrases. And both Spanish and English text appears on the screen creating a text-rich environment. I really like how there is a blend of visual and auditory instruction.

Interspersed among these live segments are short, amusing, animated clips featuring Little Pim's panda mascot, which helps to break up the video and kept my child's interest going strong.

These are large files, so if you purchase a digital download, make sure you have a fast connection. After downloading, you can easily drag the file into your iTunes library to upload it to your iPad/iPhone.


THE GIVEAWAY

Little Pim has most graciously offered 10 (TEN!) of their Little Pim Spanish Bop CDs, which include songs by Milkshake and Dan Zanes. So 10 MommyMaestra readers will receive 1 CD. A great tool to use both at home and in the classroom, no? (Bilingual ed teachers, don't miss this!)

IN ADDITION, Little Pim is offering 15% off any LP product to all MommyMaestra readers. Simply enter the coupon code back2school at checkout.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Thursday, August 30th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow Little Pim on Facebook.

2) Follow Little Pim on Twitter (@LittlePim).


3) Follow MommyMaestra on Facebook.

4) Follow MommyMaestra on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!


By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: I received a free digital download for the purposes of this review. All opinions are strictly my own.


This giveaway is now closed.

Doc McStuffins {GIVEAWAY}


Today is the final day of MommyMaestra's Back-to-School Fiesta. Before we finish this week, though, I have two more excellent giveaways for you.

The first comes from Disney Junior and the new series, Doc McStuffins. You may already be intimately familiar with this show if you subscribe to Disney Junior, but if you aren't let me sum it up in two words: educational and sweet.

Best suited for kids in preschool through 1st grade, Doc Mcstuffins is the story of a six-year-old girl who plays doctor to all of her toys' ailments. I love this series because it reminds me so much of my own daughter, who at 6 years old spent countless hours ministering to the mysterious afflictions of her (many) stuffed animals. You may remember this post where I shared pictures of her and her lucky patient, and talked about the wonderful benefits of role playing in children.

I strongly believe that children learn through play, and imitating real-life situations helps them to understand the process and dispel any fears associated with it. Going to the doctor especially, can be a difficult event for kids, which is another reason why I like this show. And my youngest (who is now six) really enjoys make believe and role playing with his toys, too.

We received a Doc McStuffins gift set for this review, and it came with the doctor equipment (a lab coat, stethoscope, clip board, etc.) that made my son squeal with delight and sent my daughter running to her room for her own similar set of medical equipment. They then proceeded to ask me questions I prefer to only answer once a year. How's your vision? Have you been gaining weight? Do you eat right? Do you get plenty of sleep? Oy.

This week for the first time, Doc McStuffins is available on DVD. It includes five full length episodes,  each consisting of two 11-minute stories, a Digital Copy of the episodes and also comes packaged with Doc’s special Big Book of Boo-Boos with fun activities plus character and boo-boo bandage stickers.

THE GIVEAWAY

One reader will receive a Doc McStuffins gift set that includes:

• the DVD
• Doc McStuffin Fun Kits
• Kids DR Coat
• Name Tags
• Clip Board
• Stethoscope

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, August 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)


And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: I received a Doc McStuffins gift set to review for this giveaway.


This giveaway is now closed.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Plethora of Spanish Picture Books and Activity Sheets {Giveaway}

Okay, People. I'm cleaning out my desk area. Happily purging my office shelves of valuable merchandise...books and activities that have been reviewed and are awaiting a loving home. I would keep them for my kids, but to be honest, we have way too many books and I have been trying to not only limit what we take in to school-related items, but also trying to donate a lot of the books already weighing down our family bookshelves. There's something infinitely good about sharing the wealth...err, knowledge.

The titles include: Imagina un mundo mejor by Yanitzia Canetti, Diez pequeños monos, La jaula dorada by Alma Flor Ada, and Tía Isa quiere un carro to name a few. There's also some Curious George activity sheets, a coloring book, and other little doo dads.

If you like (Spanish) surprises, this is the giveaway for you. Enter to win and enjoy your surpize pack. :)


So no picture, because I keep finding and adding good things to the pack.

THE GIVEAWAY

One MommyMaestra reader will receive a surprise pack of books, activity pages and other goodies.

 To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, August 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)


And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: All the items were given to me to review and/or giveaway.


This giveaway is now closed.

Multicultural Young Adult Novels {GIVEAWAY}

I don't want to forget those families who have older children. So today's giveaway includes two FABULOUS books for young adults. Both of these have been chosen as the Libro del Mes over on our sister site, the Latin Baby Book Club. And I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to offer a copy of each to one MommyMaestra reader.


Published last year, Under the Mesquite was the debut novel of Latina author, Guadalupe Garcia McCall. It won this year's Pura Belpré Author Award, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. It is the deeply moving story of Lupita, the oldest of eight children, who struggles to keep her family together after her mother is diagnosed with cancer. I think many young Latinas will instantly relate to Lupitas inner struggle to follow her own dreams versus her responsibility to her family. You can read my full review and an excerpt here.



The second novel, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina, was released earlier this year. (You may remember me mentioning her Hope Tree Project to celebrate art, reading and culture.) Meg won this year's Ezra Jack Keats Award for her picture book, Tia Isa Wants a Car.  And I have little doubt that her young adult novel will also be an award winner. The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is the story of 16-year-old Sonia Ocampo whose bears the heavy responsibility of serving as her village's protector, a role given to her when she was born and "saved" the tiny village from a ferocious storm. Believed to have special powers, one whom God has blessed and to whom God listens, the people in her village come to her for prayers and solace. Believing she has no special powers, all Sonia wants is to live a life like any other girl. You can read my full review here.

THE GIVEAWAY

One MommyMaestra reader will win a copy of both hardback books.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, August 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)


And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!


By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: I received copies of these books from the publishers for review. All opinions are mine.


This giveaway is now closed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bichitos Curiosos Series {Giveaway}


You have no idea how thrilled I was to discover this little series of Spanish books for children. It has to be one of the CUTEST that I've seen. And once I received the little book above for a review, my enthusiasm level for this series only grew.

I think there must be at least three dozen or more books in this series, which centers around garden animals. The titles are indicative of the identity of the main character like Abeja Teresa, Mosca Tosca, Caracol Tornasol, Rodolfo Petirrojo...well, you get the idea.

I couldn't find much information about Antoon Krings, but the illustrations and the story line are simply precious! I think that any child would fall in love with the sweet characters and stories. Each book comes in a hardback edition, but is small enough for little hands.

These stories are not for beginning Spanish students, but bilingual families with Spanish-dominant children may find this series to be a childhood treasure. And they are very inexpensive. You can find the complete list of titles here in my little bookshop.

THE GIVEAWAY

One MommyMaestra reader will receive a copy of Cecilia Herrerilla (shown above).

 To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Tuesday, August 28th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)
And to increase your chances of winning, you can:


1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: At my request, the publisher of this book series sent me a copy to review and/or giveaway. All opinions expressed above are my own.


This giveaway is now closed.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood {GIVEAWAY}



I've already written a few posts about the new PBS KIDS series, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which premiers in a little less than two weeks on Labor Day. Since PBS is a strong supporter of quality educational programming for children, they quickly offered a giveaway to support Back-to-School week here on MommyMaestra. And it is a treat for those of you with little ones at home...


THE GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood BTS prize pack that includes a Daniel Tiger backpack, placemats, stickers, coloring sheets, and crayons.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Tuesday, August 28th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)


And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the PBS KIDS on Facebook.
2) Follow PBS KIDS on Twitter (@PBSKIDS).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!


By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: I am a PBS Ambassador, but I was not compensated for this post. I asked PBS KIDS for a giveaway item, and they happily agreed.


This giveaway is now closed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spanish Audio Books {GIVEAWAY}

Does your family or classroom have any children's audio books? You may remember the week I dedicated several months ago to the value of audio books. So many people continue to be surprised at hearing that using books with CDs is a wonderful way to develop your child's literacy skills.

Our Spanish giveaway for the day is a collection of audio books that have been sitting by my desk awaiting review or a giveaway.


First up is the Spanish version of a book that I reviewed last May. El loro Tico Tango is a fun, fun, FUN book for kids. The storyline captivates young minds and the illustrations in the books are bold and bright and lively. What makes this particular book that much more desirable is the audio CD that accompanies it. One of our favorite voice-over actors, Brian Amador, sings the song of el loro Tico Tango. Your children will be dancing and humming, singing and smiling before this story is over. The music is irrisistable and the sound-effects bring this story to life. It is a great way to introduce your children to poetry, rhyme, and colors.


Next we have El mono azul by Graciela Sverdlick. Published by our friends over at Lorito Books, this book follows the story of Tomás, the blue monkey who tries too hard to win the heart of Esmerelda, the green monkey, and learns to appreciate his true talents. It is narrated by language instructor, Miguel Amézquita who was born in Guatemala. This little story will have your kids giggling by the end.


And finally, I'm pleased to offer you a new title, Uno Dos Tres: My First Spanish Rhymes. It is a lovely collection of Latin American rhymes selected by the Cuban-born translator, Yanitzia Canetti. Perfect for both Spanish-language learners and Spanish-speaking children, this book includes a dual language glossary in the back, and comes with an audio CD with which children can sing along. This books has just been released this week, so it is an extra-special treat!

THE GIVEAWAY

One MommyMaestra reader will win a copy of each of these books and their accompanying CD.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, August 27th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)
And to increase your chances of winning, you can:


1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.
2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: At my request, the publishers of these books sent me copies of each book to review and/or giveaway. All opinions expressed above are my own.


This giveaway is now closed.

PBS KIDS PLAY! {GIVEAWAY}


I've been talking a lot lately about school readiness programs and resources. And I've been talking a lot about the value of preschool for preparing children for kindergarten and beyond.

For those who have chosen to teach their children at home, you can find a lot of printables online, as well as lesson plans, activities, and other ideas for creating teachable moments just about anywhere.

But we also have recently been discussing the role of technology in education. And my person opinion is that it is better for children to learn how to use technology in a carefully monitored environment so that they learn about restrictions, self-control, and how to use technology responsibly as a tool for knowledge or entertainment.

A few weeks ago, I entered the iLearnWith Blogger Contest by sharing my views on technology and early education. I think I've already lost (It's okay - I've already got an iPad. Good luck to all the other contestants!), but through further communication with the lovely company, iLearnWith, they have generously offered our next giveaway for Back-to-School Week here on MommyMaestra.

PBS KIDS PLAY! is an online school readiness program in English that offers over 56 exclusive educational games that teach about a variety of subjects. There's also hundreds of activities and videos, all of which align to national educational standards. From reading and science to math and music, what makes this program unique is that it customizes the learning experience to your child's level across 35 different skill areas. And it uses your child's favorite PBS characters to help engage him or her, and enforce the learning process. Created for children in preK to 1st grade, this online program builds on your child's knowledge and skill level.

Having explored the program myself, I can safely say that parents don't have to worry about advertisements, the quality of the graphics is excellent, and the games/activities are clever and educational. One of the things that I like so much about this is that the home version subscriptions are relatively inexpensive ($9.99/mo), and you can log in up to 4 kids on the site. It will keep track of their individual progress!


THE GIVEAWAY

iLearnWith has graciously offered a six-month subscription to one MommyMaestra reader. This subscription grants you full access to the PBS KIDS PLAY! website, and is good for one family with up to 4 kids. It's valued at $49.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.
 
The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, August 27th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)

 
And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

 
1) Like iLearnWith on Facebook.


2) Follow iLearnWith on Twitter (@ilearnwith).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry! This giveaway is open to readers outside the U.S.
By entering this giveaway, you agree to
the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte! 

Disclosure: I received a subscription to PBS KIDS PLAY! for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
This giveaway is now closed. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spanish-Language Science Series for Kids {GIVEAWAY}

Today's Spanish-language giveaway features two new science-based series launched this month by Lerner Books. It is such a thrill to see more educational materials being developed for Spanish-dominant children. 


Conoce los grupos de animals is a fun series of books that focuses on the the animal groups - birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, insects, and fish. Each books talks about some of the characteristics that are unique to each group. For example, in ¿Sabes algo sobre aves? the book talks about feathers, beaks, and egg laying. Best suited for elementary-aged children, these books are filled with vibrant pictures featuring some of the best-loved animals representing each group. Being a former zookeeper, I really love this series!


Descubriendo los ciclos de la naturaleza is another new series that focuses instead on discovering Nature's cycles. Currently the series covers: Day and night, the water cycle, the night sky, the seasons, hibernation, and migration. Perfect for elementary students, I really love how this series presents the information in easy to understand terms that young children can understand. And the pictures complement the text, helping children to see the process in action. An excellent series!

THE GIVEAWAY:

One MommyMaestra reader will win a copy of El ciclo del agua and ¿Sabes algo sobre aves? as an introduction to each series.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Sunday, August 26th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: Lerner Books sent me copies of each book to review at my request. All opinions expressed above are my own.


This giveaway is now closed.

It's Back-to-School Week on MommyMaestra!



Going back to school should be a fun, exciting, and happy time for every family. I love the comfort of getting back to a regular schedule and how the atmosphere of learning turns a little more serious.

So to celebrate, we have lined up a week full of awesome giveaways for our readers! PBS, Disney Junior, iLearnWith, Lerner Books, and IPG are just some of the companies who have graciously offered products to help me celebrate! The best part? Everyday will feature TWO giveaways, the first for English products and the other for Spanish ones.

Despite my joy of getting back to school, I also know that this can be a stressful time for families who have to find the extra cash to purchase new clothes or uniforms for their kids, lunch bags, backpacks, and other school supplies.

So we're starting off Back-to-School Week with a special giveaway that comes from my family to yours. This weekend my children and I went shopping and put together TWO Back-to-School Care Packages full of school supplies. Here's what we bought:




Included in the BTS Care Package are:

1 folder
1 Composition book
1 construction paper pad (6"x9")
1 eraser set
1 plastic pencil box
1 set of oil pastels
2 Elmer's washable glue sticks
1 Westcott twistable ruler
1 box of watercolors
2 pencils
1 box of Crayola colored pencils (12 count)
1 box of Crayola crayons (24 count - made with solar energy!:)
1 set of Crayola washable markers (8 count)
1 Spanish Bingo game :D
and...
1 CD full of bilingual MommyMaestra printables

We may throw in one or two more things if it strikes our fancy. And like I said, we bought 2 of everything. I wish I could have bought more, but I also know that we have a fantastic week full of awesome products to giveaway, so I hope you'll understand.


THE GIVEAWAY


TWO MommyMaestra readers will win a Back-to-School Care Package from MommyMaestra.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Sunday, August 26th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.

2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this giveaway. My kids and I bought all of these items out of the goodness of our hearts, hoping to help some families make ends meet.

This giveaway is now closed.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Get the Facts Tomorrow Night on We Decide

Are you one of the 2.71 million American Latinos who are eligible to vote in this year's election? Do you plan to vote? Why, or why not?

Is it because you're unhappy with both candidates? Is it because you don't know really, where each one stands on Latino issues?

If this is the case, I encourage you to watch nuvoTV tomorrow night, Aug. 19 at 8PM.  Award-winning journalist Natalie Morales will be moderating We Decide a Latino town hall special that will feature a panel of high-profile experts who will engage with a live audience and other virtual participants connecting through social media platforms. The hour-long program will explore how the presidential candidates are addressing issues specific to America's Latinos, including unemployment, healthcare and education.

Given the fact that our Latino children - 6.1 million, to be exact - are living in poverty, and that they have the highest high school dropout rate of any other ethnic group, it is crucial that we understand what ideas our government officials have and what programs the future president of our country supports.

We DO NOT want the rest of our country adopting the hateful laws that Arizona has passed, denying out children the opportunity to learn about the contributions that their ancestors made to our country's history. Or refusing our DREAMers the rights that other immigrants with work permits enjoy.

All the incredible work that states like Illinois are making in terms of bilingual education, could easily be outlawed, ensuring that Latino youth fail our education system.

Take the time to "Like" the We Decide: Latino Facebook page.

And if you feel strongly and want to raise your voice publicly, visit this page for instructions on how you can upload your own video. You can also read about which Latino celebrities are speaking out about important issues impacing our community, and get inspired by other Latinos like you who have shared their thoughts in short videos.

Time to step up and say, "¡Basta, ya! I want change, and I want it now."

It's time for us to fight for our children, our families, and our right to the pursuit of happiness.

So arm yourself with knowledge, because according to Cleisthenes, the father or democracy, and the great philosopher, Plato, a TRUE democracy depends on the EDUCATION of ALL its citizens.





Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and nuvoTV. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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