Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Risas y Sonrisas Online Program {GIVEAWAY}

Long time MommyMaestra sponsor, Risas y Sonrisas, has one of the best elementary Spanish curricula available for schools and homeschools alike. You can read more about their K - 5 program here

Did you know, however, that they just launched an online program? It is designed with kids in mind - full of color, music, and more.

Once you log in, you're taken to your dashboard which features 25 different options from which you can select. Each category has a variety of activities that you can enjoy. From a video lesson to animated songs and matching flash cards, all of the options are meant to help your child learn and remember new vocabulary. The games are engaging and super fun for kids.

Here's a peek at some of the pages and activities included in the program:








The Giveaway


Risas y Sonrisas has graciously offered to giveaway a single user annual license to 5 (FIVE!) MommyMaestra readers.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mozartistic CD {GIVEAWAY}




I love it when people take educational concepts and transform them in order present the information to kids in a way that makes learning fun. I have to give the creators a slow clap of appreciation.

And today's giveaway falls into this category.

Mozartistic is a new CD from 2017 Grammy winner Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, who recorded with the highly respected pianist Orion Weiss, DJ Marley Carroll, and the entire cast of Asheville Symphony.

This CD is so unique! It breaks new ground in blending symphonic music with hip hop technique, combining the rich and deep strains of classical with the boom bap drums of classic hip hop. Says 23 Skidoo “By combining Mozart’s music and the story of his youth with hip hop we hope to reach new ears with the timeless message that talent can be awakened and its gifts of beauty and love shared with the world.”

The title track is a lush and funky take on the story of young Wolfgang. As a child prodigy, Mozart toured across Europe with his sister and father, not only performing for the locals but often besting them in improvisational competitions as well. This became the creative window into this unique song. A high energy, raucous reframing of Mozart’s most famous works in hip hop format provides the backbeat for rhymes telling his story, relating it to an audience of kids who may themselves be dormant prodigies. You and/or your children may recognize some of Mozart's most famous pieces embedded in the music and merged with the hip hop beats.

The Mozartistic EP debuted as part of the Asheville Amadeus Festival, an Asheville community-wide music event celebrating the music and life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Asheville Symphony’s Executive Director, David Whitehill said “The Mozartistic album provided us each with the opportunity to create something really unique and dive into each other’s worlds of classical music, hip-hop and children’s music. The album is also an opportunity to tell Mozart’s story and share this wonderful message for kids that everyone has their own inner prodigy and we all have something special inside of us.”

Check out this behind-the-scenes peek of the making of Mozartistic:


MOZARTISTIC is available on both iTunes and Amazon (aff).

The Giveaway


I'm happy to have the opportunity to giveaway a copy of the CD to two MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spanish Mini Books by Lectura para niños {GIVEAWAY}


Today's giveaway comes from one of my favorite Spanish immersion resources, Lectura para niños. If you've followed MommyMaestra for a while, then you may remember many of the free downloads that they've shared on the site. Their focus is on creating educational printables for students in PreK through 2nd grade, mostly materials for learning to read in Spanish, like this set of mini books.

They are aligned with the same letter of the week and site words as the Maravillas Reading series. You can read more about this series on the McGraw Hill website, or order books directly from Amazon using this search...


Leah, the owner, says...

"I created these little books to work on during small groups. Students will reinforce the beginning sounds, syllables & automaticity with their sight words taught throughout the week. They will also practice segmenting words into syllables as well as blend syllables to form words.

To use them, print enough books for one group. Then laminate and bind them together.

One teacher or assistant will go through this book with the students at the pacing of the students in your group. My more advanced group will be able to get through more pages than the others. I will also be using this during my intervention time with my students who need extra time.

My small group reading happens for 45 minutes. My students are required to switch between myself and two assistants. We rotate groups every 15 minutes. One of my assistants will work on this with my kiddos.

My materials are in no way associated with or endorsed by McGraw Hill - Maravillas reading series. I have created these small books to complement the program and our small reading groups.

How to play the board games:

1. Practice reading around the board, tracking and following the letters and words. We do this a lot before we start playing the game. These game boards really help students with tracking and staying together. The colors help, as well. If the student loses their place, the colors help when I say, "We are on the word yo. The color is red," etc.

2. Roll the die (In the beginning, I use a die that only has 1, 2, & 3 on the die because there aren't that many spaces. We roll the die, move that many spaces. The student needs to say the letter or word or they have to return to their prior space. The first person to make it to the end of the board wins.

The Giveaway


Lectura para niños has graciously offered a free set of these mini books to 3 MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües {GIVEAWAY}


I know that many MommyMaestra readers are raising bilingual children or are bilingual ed teachers. As such, this next giveaway is something I think you will very much enjoy. Even if this description doesn't apply to you, it's quite possible that you know someone who would benefit.

It's no secret that I greatly respect the work of authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. They have contributed a tremendous amount of materials to bilingual and bicultural education in this country. Not only books, but videos, curricula, and other materials. And at the center of their work is always the needs of Hispanic families, especially the children.

Once again, they have created an invaluable resource, this time in Spanish. Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües (aff link*) offers parents raising bilingual children both hope and guidance. (It's actually a second edition.) They give realistic descriptions of the joys and challenges associated with teaching bilingual children.



Most of the book is laid out in a Q & A format, and they do provide answers to some of the most common questions related to this topic. You'll find information about
  • bilingualism in the digital era
  • up-to-date research on the mixing of languages or code-switching
  • the influence that siblings have on the family language
  • the intellectual benefits of bilingualism
  • and the effect it has on a child's personality, identity, and self-esteem.
While the majority of the book is directed at parents, the authors have also included a section for educators on how to best support the home-school connection.

And one of my favorite topics, nurturing literacy at home and reading suggestions for adults and children. 

This is not light reading material. It is very informational and a comprehensive resource for parents who are serious about raising bilingual children. 

The Giveaway


Multilingual Matters, the publisher, has generously offered a copy of this book to three MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below. 

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 7, 2017

Spanish for You! GIVEAWAY & Free Download


It's week two of my annual Back-to-School Fiesta!

Today's giveaway and free download comes from MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You!

First, the free download.

For the rest of the year, the freebies from Spanish for You! will focus on numbers. This month's 3-page mini-lesson will help your little one learn their numbers in the 20s, as well as how to spell them. It comes with an audio file to help young students learn proper pronunciation. The activity includes directions, memory cards, and a game sheet.



THE GIVEAWAY


Spanish for You! has generously offered a homeschool package of your choice to one MommyMaestra reader. Retail value $39.95 and includes 24-30 weeks of lessons per themed package. Take a look at the choices here.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Friday, August 4, 2017

BILINGUAL One-Minute Mysteries: MATH! {GIVEAWAY}


Last year, I told you about One-Minute Mysteries, a new bilingual book series that was perfect for nurturing your kid's love of science.

This year, I'm excited to share that a second book has been released focusing on MATH! Just in time for going back to school. :)

Short Mysteries You Solve with Math!/¡Misterios cortos que resuelves con matemáticas! (aff) is an award-winning book for young mystery and math lovers. Each mystery takes exactly one minute to read and includes real-world connections to help develop your student's critical thinking skills.

Inside this book, you'll find 40 different brain teasers that require your child to use their math skills to find the solutions. PLUS a bonus science section at the end.


And the best part is that all of them are in English and Spanish, so you can choose which language you want to read. On the left page, you'll read an English one-page mystery, and on the right page, the same mystery is available in Spanish. Once you think you've solved the brain teaser, just turn the page to read the answer and see if you were right!

And before you ask, yes, the Spanish is well done. Last time, I couldn't find any information on the translators, but this time, when I went to their website, I found that two translators were used for the book. The first, Yana Alfaro, is from Costa Rica with a Masters in English-Spanish Translation. And the second, Karen R. Geating, is a language services consultant born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Bonus for public/private school teachers: All Science, Naturally books align with both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. And the content in these books also correlates directly with the math and science standards laid out by the Center for Education at the National Academies.

Bilingual materials are still really hard to find, which makes this book is a treasure for homeschooling parents who are looking for ways to make learning fun, while nurturing their child's bilingualism. Dual language teachers will also enjoy using this book as a fun time filler with their classes.

It is best suited for children ages 10 - 14.

So if you are looking for a fun way to keep your kids' science skills sharp, this book is for you! Visit the publisher - Science Naturally - website to learn more about it, read some sample mysteries from the book, and place your order.

The Giveaway


Science, Naturally has graciously offered to give away a copy of this excellent book to 3 MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Vocales Video GIVEAWAY



Next on my annual Back-to-School Fiesta is a giveaway of a really popular product that I shared with you earlier this year. 

"Spanish for Babies and Toddlers: Vocales" is an animated video to help young children learn the proper sounds of the vowels in Spanish. It was created by José Dominguez, a physical therapist who is raising his four kids in a bilingual home. He is originally from Venezuela and his wife is from Pennsylvania. But he noticed that his kids were struggling with learning the pronunciation of Spanish words.

If you live in a bilingual household where one parent speaks Spanish and the other speaks English and you find that your children or students are pronouncing their Spanish vowels with an English accent, then this may be just the video you need! 

Technically, it was created for children ages 0 - 5, but older students in K - 2nd might benefit as well. The video makes learning the vowel sounds fun through colorful characters, original songs, and repetition.

Watch a sample of the video and read more about José's story on my previous post.

I highly recommend this for bilingual or Spanish-immersion Pre-K - 2nd grade classes, including homeschools.

The Giveaway


José has graciously offered to give away a copy of his DVD to 3 MommyMaestra readers! (But of course, if you want to be sure you get it, you can buy a DVD or direct download directly from his website.)

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling {GIVEAWAY}

It is officially August 1st and that means my annual MommyMaestra Back-to-School Fiesta begins!

I'm over the moon to finally - FINALLY! - announce the launch of my book, The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling!!

I didn't realize it at the time, of course, but this book has been 8 years in the making. I began writing it when I started this blog. But I didn't realize that I had the content for a book until early this year with the entrance of our country's new administration. Suddenly, I began receiving emails from parents who were scared to send their kids to school and wanted to know how they could start homeschooling. It's all here on MommyMaestra. But I know that it can be hard to navigate through 8 year's worth of content. And if you are like me, you like a physical book that is laid out in an orderly fashion that you can just pick up and reference, write notes in, and take with you.

Really, homeschooling has been around forever. Currently, however, it is considered the fastest-growing form of education in the United States. It is estimated that there are currently more than 2 million children being homeschooled in the United States. And it is quickly growing in popularity among minority families. In fact, according to this article, Hispanics now comprise 15% of the homeschooling population and that number is expected to double.

At any rate, it was reading about how recent ICE raids and an increase in bullying were scaring Latino parents into keeping their children out of school that finally prompted me to put together this guide. And for the last 6 months, I've been compiling and editing and asking permission and pleading with other Latino homeschoolers to share their own stories. Then there was the issue of formatting and the cover and...ay-yay-yay! You get the picture.

Plus I chose to self-publish because I felt it was the fastest way to get this book into your hands.

It's like giving birth to a baby...at home. By yourself. Ha!

And I'm so happy to announce that The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling (aff) is now available!

Whatever your reason for considering homeschooling (i.e., wanting to nurture your child's bilingualism at home, unhappy with the level of educational opportunities in your area, a mobile/travel lifestyle, fear for their safety...), this book was designed to help you get started and provides resources for those of you who are already on the journey.

Inside this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn the following:

  • what is homeschooling?
  • how to get started 
  • bilingual homeschooling
  • homeschooling children with special needs or learning differences
  • preschool & kindergarten
  • homeschooling older children
  • preparing for college


You’ll also read the stories of other successful homeschoolers, most from a variety of Hispanic or bilingual backgrounds. Learn about how and why they began homeschooling, and read their advice for teaching at home. I am SO grateful to all the wonderful parents and professionals who have shared their tips, knowledge, and stories with MommyMaestra readers over the years. Every single one that I contacted about sharing their story in this book quickly agreed, and a few even wrote a piece specifically for this book to help me make it complete.

In these pages, you’ll read about the homeschool experiences of families that represent the diversity of the Latino culture. A veteran Cuban-American mom homeschooled her four children long before homeschooling was considered commonplace, and despite negative reactions from family and friends. A Spanish-American mom decided her autistic child wasn’t getting the support and education he needed from his public school, so she took the chance to homeschool him and couldn’t be happier. And a Chilean-American mom shares five tips that may help you arrive at your final decision as you consider this option for your family. These and many other homeschooling mamis share their stories to encourage other families who may be considering educating their children at home.

Filled with resources and tips for finding great curricula, as well as advice for daily learning, this book is a must-have for every Latino family considering homeschooling.

The Giveaway


Of course, if you can't wait or want a guarantee to get a copy, you can purchase this book directly from my shop or on Amazon (aff). 

But I am celebrating by giving away a copy to three MommyMaestra readers as part of my Back-to-School Fiesta. 

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 31, 2017

Little Passports' 2017 Back-to-School Sale


August 1st is TOMORROW and that means that it is the END of SUMMER for my familia! Time to hit the books. And you know what else that means, right?

It's time for MommyMaestra's annual Back-to-School Fiesta!

Throughout the month of August, I'll be sharing some excellent resources, freebies, and giveaways from remarkable companies to help your family prepare to go back to school. From videos to Spanish programs to books and CDs, you'll find a little bit of everything for educators. :)

But before we get started with that, I want to make sure that you know about Little Passports' Back-to-School Sale (aff link).

Shop 4 days early and save 15% on all subscriptions from 7/31 until 8/14 with promo code: BTS15. 

Little Passports is one of my kids' FAVORITE subscription packages. When they were younger, they enjoyed the World Edition and the USA Edition (read my previous post describing them). I loved both because they really helped me supplement our geography lessons in a super fun way. (In fact, I love this company so much, I signed up as an affiliate because I know that your kids will love it, too.)

Most recently, we've had a ton of fun with their Science Expeditions - read my post from earlier this year to see examples of what they include and how my son enjoyed it.

If you're looking for a way to insert some educational FUN into your school lessons and get away from boring, repetitive textbooks, this is a wonderful product to invest in and worth EVERY PENNY!

So take advantage of their Back-to-School Sale now (aff)!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Celebrating Shark Week with National Geographic Kids (& Free Download)

I have to admit a secret: I'm not a fan of sharks. I never have been ever since I saw a few scenes of JAWS as a kid. And here I am a former zookeeper! Isn't that silly? Logical Me knows that what I saw on the show was a bunch of bunk, but the Illogical Me is all "Ummm. No way."

But luckily Logical Me is careful not to pass on my fear to my kids. We don't live too far from the Outer Banks here in North Carolina. And, yes, we go to the beach. (No, I don't get in the water...but my kids do. And you can bet your bippy I'm watching from the shore like una loca.)

We have books on sharks and watch occasional documentaries on sharks. My son is fascinated. So you can imagine how excited he was to get the newest National Geographic Kids 2018 Almanac (aff), which happens to feature a shark on the cover.

And on the inside, there is a new Almanac Newsmaker Challenge to save our sharks. Led by National Geographic explorer and marine conservationist, Jessica Camp, the challenge teaches kids all about sharks. And if your kids visit natgeokids.com/almanac, they'll find

  • an interview with Jessica
  • a shark quiz and earn a SOS certificate
  • the "What kind of shark are you?" personality game
  • shark mask and poster downloads
  • a poll to select the shark photo to appear on next year's almanac
  • more stuff your kids can do to help save sharks

These Nat Geo Kids almanacs are one of my kids' favorite gifts each year. I try to keep them in the car to keep my kids busy reading on long (or short!) car rides.The "bite-sized" (see what I did there?) stories are just right for a quick, 10-minute ride, or can entertain my two for much longer trips. Of course, whoever is reading is constantly reading aloud interesting tidbits for everyone in the car to enjoy. But really, my son will take it and read it anywhere: at home, outside, at the library, at the doctor's office...wherever. It makes me happy to know they are enjoying their time reading while maintaining and developing important literacy skills.






Of course, the Almanac isn't just about sharks. Oh, no. It has more than 350 pages and 500+ incredible photos about EVERYTHING you can imagine - and some things you can't! New this year is the Your World 2018 chapter that shares things to do, places to see, and ways that your kids can change the world.

You'll also find:

  • games, jokes, and activities
  • chapters dedicated to engineering and technology, space, and Earth & life sciences
  • updated maps, facts, and reference materials
  • much, much more!
And don't forget that your kids can find extensive digital extras at natgeokids.com/almanac.


And because I simply can't help myself, I decided to put together a quick, one-page, shark-themed download for y'all. But guess what? It grew into a 20-page packet. Oops! But I had a lot of fun doing it. So, in honor of Shark Week, I'm offering it to all MommyMaestra readers for FREE THIS WEEK ONLY. And it is only available in English at this time. Don't worry, it's on my list of projects to translate into Spanish. 





Enjoy Shark Week!!

Disclaimer: I am a National Geographic Kids Ambassador. I received the products pictured at the top of this post for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Free Spanish eBook for K - 5th


Spanish teacher alert!

Parents and teachers of bilingual students, I'm so happy to tell you about a new free resource! This collaboration between 18 Spanish-language TpT authors is a goldmine for you. All of them are fantastic and brilliant at creating quality content for your bilingual or Spanish classroom. I was happy to contribute to it, as well.

The Spanish eBook 2017 for grades K - 5 is now available. It is jam packed with tips, inspiration, and FREE RESOURCES for your Pre K-5th Grade Spanish classroom! Each author contributed a free printable, an original teaching tip, and other fantastic products that they have available to help you have a stellar school year. Take a look...

video


Mundo de Pepita is hosting this year's eBook on her TpT page. So don't hesitate! Get over there and download your copy today.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Resources for Teaching Children About the Great American Eclipse

It seems as if the whole country is preparing for the celestial event happening on August 21st. Is your family or classroom thinking about observing the upcoming solar eclipse? It's being described as the "Great American Eclipse" since it will be visible in totality only within a band across the entire contiguous United States. Everyone in the country will be able to see at least a partial eclipse, but only those within the path of totality will see the full eclipse.

This is a wonderful opportunity for children across the country to learn about eclipses and especially about the sun and its corona. If you are looking for resources to help you teach your students or children about this event, I've compiled a list of some excellent sites and tools that you can use.

Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links.


Lesson Plans


  • NASA Total Eclipse website - This is seriously my favorite resource! From activities to lesson plans to citizen science, NASA has compiled EVERYTHING you need to study and prepare for not only the Great American Eclipse but any eclipse. You can even live stream the event safely from your computer - so if you aren't in the path of totality, you can still view the complete solar eclipse.
    They also have a section created specifically for HOMESCHOOLERS with family activities and free downloads.
    AND the best part is that they have a whole section available in Spanish, including a video interview with Dr. Yari Collado-Vega, a Space Weather Forecaster. (You can learn more about her here.)
  • PBS Learning Media has also put together a bunch of resources for educators and students to learn about eclipses. This page is a compilation of materials you can use to accompany their Teacher Toolkit.
  • BrainPOP Educators - A short list of their eclipse resources.

Articles



Glasses


Remember! NEVER look at the sun directly - even during an eclipse! Use solar eclipse viewing glasses to protect your eyes. Here are some possible glasses available via Amazon. But remember to order them soon as there is no guarantee there will be any available in the weeks leading up to the eclipse!



Books




Apps


  • Total Solar Eclipse - Available for iOS and Android; Gives you access to five simultaneous video streams, including live coverage in Spanish hosted by Exploratorium educators.

Commemorative T-shirts


Are you planning to watch the eclipse as a family? Or maybe your classroom is headed outside to watch. Either way, check out these awesome tees...



Monday, July 17, 2017

MommyMaestra Sponsor: Speekee Spanish for Kids


Just a quick shout-out to MommyMaestra sponsor, Speekee - Spanish for Kids! It's an online, video-based, Spanish immersion program for kids ages 4 and up.

If you are looking for a different type of program to teach your children Spanish this coming homeschool year, and prefer one that doesn't require the parent to teach the lessons, this may be the choice for you. It does require internet access so that your child can login and watch the lessons at his or her own pace.

Want to learn more? Read my complete review of their curriculum here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

KIDDO TV

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with KIDDO TV. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a person asking me to take a look at their YouTube children's channel. This is a fairly common occurrence for me, so I clicked on the link without any great expectations. After watching one episode, I was a fan and knew it was a great fit for MommyMaestra readers. So I agreed to work with them to share their great content.

KIDDO TV is a YouTube channel dedicated to creating and sharing educational and entertaining videos for children. They have a number of shows for kids probably as young as 4 years old up to 12 years old (this is my own estimation based on watching the videos).

As a parent, I know how hard it is to use YouTube as a teaching tool with children because there is simply too much inappropriate content shared on the site. That's why I love finding original YouTube channels, such as KIDDO TV, that you can safely pull up and/or subscribe to without fear of commercials and links to videos not intended for children.

(TIP! Change your settings at the bottom of the page to "Restricted Mode" and lock it in place with your Google password. Then you will feel safer because it will screen out "mature" content that you don't want your child to see.)

Back to KIDDO TV - This channel is definitely worth checking out because all of the shows teach young children valuable lessons. Below is a short description of three of the different shows that are featured.


ART LESSONS

My absolute favorite series is ART LESSONS. Each video lasts approximately 15 minutes and is like sitting down in art class for an actual lesson. Miki is our teacher. With paint brushes sticking out of her hair and her fun apron, she's exactly what I think of in an art teacher. Miki is fun, thorough, and engaging as she encourages the children to create their own masterpieces using the techniques she carefully shows them. "It's not a mistake, it's just going to make a different picture," she says to one boy when he uses a little too much of one color. I simply love how she teaches children to not just make art, but how to look at it, too! I also think parents will like how organized the lessons are and how she clearly explains each step.

I also appreciate the diversity of the students on the show. In fact, the entire channel has a multicultural feel which appeals to me as a parent raising global citizens.

Here is the first video that I watched and that immediately won me over...



This series could EASILY be used as part of your child's homeschool art curriculum.  There are currently only 10 lessons/videos, so this would work mainly as an art supplement. As a homeschool parent, I would watch the lesson in advance, so that I would know what materials I'd need to purchase or prepare. And then your kids could simply watch the lesson on their own and complete the project.


Fitzy, the Monster

This animated series is for a much younger audience. The focus here is on introducing children to making healthy, responsible choices. The videos are much shorter - typically only a minute and a half. The idea of the 25 videos in this series is to teach a single concept, such as brushing your teeth, picking up toys, making your bed and so much more! 

As a parent, I would recommend watching one video a day together with your child and then putting what they learned into practice. I love how the messages help to boost your child's self-esteem and independence.


Stroosh

This show is a little more unusual. Again, it is geared for younger children and is about Stroosh, an alien who has awakened on Earth but he doesn't know who or what he is or where he came from. He befriends a young boy named Luca, who introduces him to the planet Earth using his handy "Lucapedia." 

I think this show is pretty engaging for young children because the main characters are all puppets. It is well done, but has very simple dialog for a younger audience. 

----

There are several other series that are fun and instructional for children, but you'll have to visit their YouTube channel to learn more about them! I think you'll like how diverse each of the shows are - there's something for everyone! 

And if you visit their website, you can download and print coloring pages that feature characters from their popular shows.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Free Online Game: Number Pair Staircase 2

Once again, I've partnered with Education.com to bring you a fun educational activity! You might remember the DIY Dino Bones Activity I shared with you earlier this year. Now, they are sharing an online math-boosting game to share with your children.

Remember, Education.com is an ad-free, online learning program is for students in Pre-K through the 5th grade. Designed to help boost your child's math and reading skills, you'll find tons of online games, printable activity pages, tutorials, and more to keep your kid busy learning.

Today's activity is the Number Pair Staircase 2. It's a great way to sneak in some addition learning!
Finding number pairs that equal 10 is an essential foundational skill. Work on this and more math concepts with Education.com's collection of number games.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Camp @ Home Calendars

Summer Camp @ Home Calendars

Have you been using the MommyMaestra Summer Camp at Home packet this year? If so, I just wanted to let you know that the calendars have all been updated with some new materials.

The packet is a way for parents of 6 to 10 year olds to keep their kids busy entertained and learning at home. Can't afford to send your child to a summer camp program? Don't have time to take your kids to a program every day? No worries! You can just have them do summer camp at home. :)

The program is very flexible and gives you several options. Do you want your kids imagination to control their activities? We've got a simple calendar that just offers the media. For example, one day might be clay and the next day might be paper. Your kids have to decide what to make using that media.

Another calendar has a theme for each day. So Mondays are Art days, Tuesdays are dedicated to Outdoor Play, and so on.

Summer Camp @ Home Calendars

The final calendars are much more involved with a specific activity for your child to complete. There are three (June, July, and August). At the beginning of the month, the parent looks through the calendar and writes down any supplies they might need for the activities (I've included shopping lists) or books to read. Then each day, the child completes the assigned activity. Don't worry, they are all fun! From making a mini llama piñata ornament or coloring an alebrije to reading summer poetry or downloading a math app, every day is something different!

So enjoy the summer with my free Summer Camp @ Home calendars.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

8 Skills Every Literate Child Must Master



Although defined as the ability to read and write, literacy itself is a complex combination of skills. It goes far beyond simply reading and writing. In reality, literacy is the root of all human communication. It requires an ability to identify and interpret messages - spoken or written -  and the ability to effectively formulate and communicate a response.

For children, part of becoming literate requires learning - and mastering - the following skills:

  • print awareness
  • letter identification
  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics
  • reading fluency
  • vocabulary
  • comprehension
  • writing
  • spelling & punctuation

The first step for children is to learn print awareness. This is simply their ability to understand and use print as a communication tool. Kids learn that books are for reading; the words relay information and tell a story. Signs in our environment provide directions, information, or warnings.

Letter identification comes next. Teaching letter identification should begin in preschool at the latest. Really, parents should be reading to their babies and toddlers daily, pointing at words and letters, and creating a print-rich environment for their children through toys, books, artwork, posters, puzzles, alphabet blocks, and more. There are also countless activities dedicated to developing a child's ability to identify the letters of the alphabet. You can find many fabulous ideas on my Pinterest Letter Identification Board.

Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/, requires phonemic awareness. In simple terms, it is associating specific sounds, called phonemes, with specific letters. English is a bit crazy since it often associates multiple sounds to single letters. We have 26 letters in our alphabet, but we have more than 44 phonemes. For example, the letter Y makes four sounds, as seen in the following words: sky, gym, yoyo, baby. And once you begin combining letters, the number of sounds explodes!

Phonics is the ability to put those phonemes, or letter sounds, together to create words. Teachers always say, "sound it out" to children learning to read. It is a system for learning to read written language. Phonics is closely linked to decoding, the skill associated with interpreting symbols - in this case: letters and words.

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression. Fluency, in my opinion, takes more time and practice to master. Children who read fluently don't focus on one word read it out loud, and then move on to the next in a choppy manner. For example:

"Maya. The. Cat. Is. Black. And. Traps. Birds. In. The. Yard. And. Eats. Them."

By the time the child has gotten to the end of the sentence, they don't remember what color Maya was because they were focused on decoding one word at a time. Fluency is much smoother and develops after decoding has been mastered so that the child is already looking ahead to the next word and/or thinking about what they just read.

It is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Over time and with practice, fluent readers automatically recognize words and quickly group them together to gain an understanding of the information being relayed.

Other elements of fluency include rhythm and emotion. When fluent readers read aloud, they sound like they are having a conversation. There's no hesitation and they emphasize certain words. Their voice rises and falls. Listening to audiobooks is an excellent way to help a child learn inflection and rhythm. Reading poetry is another great way to develop these skills.

Developing vocabulary is the next step. If children have a limited vocabulary, it can be hard to communicate effectively. Vocabulary goes beyond decoding to the actual meaning of words. The more words you know and whose meaning you understand, the greater your vocabulary, the better you are at communicating.

Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process it, and understand its meaning. How well a child is able to comprehend text is influenced by their traits and skills, one of which is the ability to make inferences. An inference is basically an educated guess. You come to a conclusion based on something you read.

"María drove her car to the panadería to stock up on pan dulce."

From this sentence, I would infer that María is not a child and that she has a sweet tooth. Why? Because she must be old enough to drive her car and she is buying a bunch of sweet bread. (Of course, she might be buying it for another reason, but I would need more information.)

Developing a child's reading comprehension skills requires the parent/teacher to stop and ask the child questions about what they've read.

  • Why do you think he did that? 
  • What do you think will happen next? 
  • How did he feel about what just happened? Why?

The questions need to require more than yes or no answers. They should require the child to think about what they've just learned and recall important events or information.

Equally important to reading is the ability to write well. Literate children not only know how to read, but also how to respond and express their own thoughts or relay valuable information in written form. Children should be able to transfer their thoughts to paper in an organized and sequential manner.

And finally, we have spelling and punctuation. These go hand in hand with writing because a misspelled word can either distract the intended reader, or worse, relay the wrong information. Remember María? What if she walked into the panadería and saw this sign:

"Don't touch the pan dulce with your hands - please use tongue"

While María might actually enjoy tasting all of the pan dulce first, the abuelita waiting in line behind her might object and prefer that María use the TONGS instead.

Correct punctuation also provides the reader with guidance for decoding the information being presented. We've all seen the following meme on why grammar matters:

Carlos loves cooking his dog and his family.

No, Carlos is not a cannibal. He actually enjoys cooking, and he enjoys his dog, and he enjoys his family. But punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence dramatically.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Free Download: Spanish Summer Bingo

Is your family melting during these hot summer days? Are the kids going stir crazy in the house when they can't get to the pool? Are you looking for games and activities to keep them entertained (and maybe learning just a wee bit)?

If you're one of the families learning a new language (Spanish!) this summer, here's another wonderful printable game from MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! Your young Spanish learners will discover new vocabulary related to summer with this fun activity.

This 2-page activity comes with an audio file to help young students learn proper pronunciation. The activity includes directions and a bingo board template.


Are you looking for some Spanish or bilingual books related to summer? Here are my suggestions...




Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Friday, June 30, 2017

KidVentor Toy Challenge



It's time to get your thinking caps on!

Fat Brain Toys is looking for the next best Fat Brain Toy and they're asking kids to invent it. They want a toy that is truly engaging and that promotes real play. No boring activity that other kids will lose interest in after 5 minutes.

Here are the dates you need to remember:
Contest opens: Tuesday, June 27th 
Contest closes: October 17th 
Finalists announced: October 18th 
Fan voting begins: October 24th
Winner announced: November 14th
Winner's toy presented at Toy Faire NY: Feb 17th, 2018

Two experts from Fat Brain Toys, two from MAKE, and two inventors from around the globe will judge the submissions and decide which one’s truly the best. And if they win, they’ll get…

  •  a $2,500 scholarship
  •  $500 in toys
  •  A Prize Package from MAKE
  •  Invention presented at the New York City Toy Fair and potentially sold around the world
To get started, visit Fat Brain Toys' KidVentor page to read the short list of a few things your kids should consider as they attempt to flesh out their big idea.

You can also submit your idea on this page.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 Fun Products to Get Kids Outside

Keeping kids active and entertained during the summer can be challenging. I try to send mine outside as much as possible. But sometimes I need fun games or other products to encourage them to spend that time outdoors. One of my go-to resources for inspiration is Hearthsong. This year is no exception.

Here are seven products I found on their site that are super fun. I'm listing these in order of age range, starting with products that the youngest kids can enjoy.

This post uses affiliate links.


Junior Soccer Goal Set with High-Impact Vinyl Nets ($39.98) Ages 3+


Goooool! Great goals for younger soccer players, these nets are incredibly versatile! The two high-impact vinyl nets fit easily in the backseat of a car, along with the set's 6" PVC ball, 4 safety cones, inflating pump, and 8 ground stakes. Take them to the park or school or the beach; use them on any surface, and have a great game!



Inflatable Easel with Paints ($24.98 - $29.98) Ages 3+


Nurture your child's inner Diego Rivera!! How fun is this inflatable easel? It's huge! Enjoy art anywhere—even (and especially) outdoors—with this heavy-duty vinyl inflatable easel. It makes a popular gathering place at birthday parties and play dates, where kids can paint (or finger paint) with abandon right on it, then just hose it off to be ready for another day. Includes four paints, four shaped sponges, and a paintbrush. Just inflate to start creating. Approx. 5½'H.



Hanging Lounge Chair ($12.98 - $69.97) Ages 4+


My kids so want this!! Reading outside in a hammock is one of life's greatest pleasures and a wonderful way to raise a reader.  Wherever your favorite place to hang out may be, this Hanging Lounge Chair will hang there to really get comfort off the ground. Made of softest polypropylene, it's still heavy duty. It’s a great way to stay home and get away to places where dreams are born. Approx. 54"L x 20"W.; 200 lbs. maximum weight limit. Adult installation required.



Flag Quest ™ ($74.98) Ages 5+


When it comes to outdoor family fun, these flags lead the way! The Quest's six large course flags and 10 mini marking flags (2 start, 2 checkered, 6 numbered) make it easy and fun to create easy-to-follow courses for exhilarating outdoor games, including obstacle courses, relay races, agility courses, egg-and-spoon races, and more. Also includes a carry bag for easy portability to picnics, family reunions, gym classes, the backyard, craft fairs, and more — you'll also have fun discovering other uses for them. Adult assembly required. Fun on the run!



Pick-Up-And-Go Ping-Pong Table ($159.00) Ages 6+


My kids LOVE ping-pong! I wish that I'd had this table for them when they were smaller. It would have provided endless hours of fun - year round, too! This favorite family game folds to go wherever the family goes, and sets up in seconds. Carefully crafted to replicate a regulation ping-pong table except for the size (which is close), it goes from a standing 59"L x 27" x 26" to a portable, packable 30"L x 27" x 5" in a snap. Includes net, two colorful paddles, and three balls, and weighs 29 lbs. Adult assembly required.



Aquaticz Skeball Toss ($29.98) Ages 6+


This amphibious five-hole target sets up on an angle so you can toss, bounce, or skip balls into it—in the water or on land! A rousing addition to any outdoor-game collection, this versatile target is molded of EVA foam and includes 6 EVA foam balls and baskets to catch them. Approx. 33½"L x 8¼"W.


Night Zone Capture the Flag ($29.98) Ages 6+


Capture the Flag, the traditional outdoor-active game that keeps kids moving and smiling all summer long, is especially exciting at night, thanks to this game set’s two light-up flags (and included two light-up bases). There are many ways to play the game, all of them fun!

Capture the Flag requires a playing field of some sort. Whether indoor or outdoor, the field is divided into two clearly designated halves, known as territories. Players form two teams, one for each territory. It is also suggested that teams wear dark colors at night to make it more difficult for their opponents to see them.

Two teams each take one flag. The objective is to capture the other team‘s flag, located at that team‘s “base,” on their side of the playing field, and bring it safely back to their own base. If one team has the opposing team‘s flag on their territory they may be tagged because they have the opposing team's flag; these players are then, depending on the agreed rules, either:  out of the game, designated as members of the opposite team, sent back to their own territory, frozen in place until freed by a member of their own team, or “in jail.”

Monday, June 26, 2017

Read Around the World: Rooster-Gallo




For the last several years, I've enjoyed participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Read Around the World Summer Reading Series. It's an opportunity for your family to travel the globe from the comfort of your own home... or library! Over the summer, MKB blog members share their favorite book recommendations to help our children travel around the world through literature.

Today, it's my turn to share a book with you. My book's age range is 0 - 5 years old, so I chose this lovely book by the Argentine-Mexican poet, Jorge Luján.

You can purchase Rooster Gallo via The Latin Baby Book Club (aff link).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bilingual Homeschool Planner Giveaway


One of my most popular downloads continues to be the free bilingual PreK homeschool planner that I shared several years ago to help parents get started with and keep track of lessons for their preschooler. So for a long time, I've been thinking about offering additional homeschooling printables for older students.

I've been creating my own record keeping pages for years, so I finally made time to expand them and make them available in both English and Spanish for MommyMaestra readers. For families thinking about homeschooling, this set of bilingual homeschool planning sheets will help you get started.

My Bilingual Homeschool Planner is a set of 140 pages of record-keeping templates, including:

• cover pages
• binder spine label
• curriculum organizer
• extra media list
• subject overview
• weekly subject schedule
• monthly schedules
• attendance record
• field trip log
• reading lists
• weekly schedules
• subject schedules

Just select the pages that best suit your needs, print, and go! I recommend keeping them all together in a 3-ring binder. I've included cover pages in three different styles. All the pages are available in English and Spanish, as well as black-and-white or full color.

What is a growing bundle?

The best part of this packet is that the value of this bundle will increase as more resources are added. If you purchase it, you will be able to get any future additions to the bundle at no charge!

This planner is available for purchase in my shop.


THE GIVEAWAY

Just for fun, I'm giving away copies of this set to 5 lucky MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, just use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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