Monday, November 30, 2020

Holiday Gifting: Nacho Books

 Holiday Gift Ideas: Nacho Books

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Nacho Books. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

I hope you all had a lovely holiday last week. It was very different for us. I celebrated at home with just my husband and kids. We missed getting together with extended family, but their safety means more to us this year. 

Today, I'm kicking off another week of holiday gift recommendations! And I'm starting with one of my favorite resources for families who are homeschooling bilingually or in Spanish.

Nacho Books

I've shared these amazing books before on MommyMaestra, so I'm sure you've probably seen them. For families raising bilingual children and who are looking for resources to help their kids learn to read in Spanish, check out NACHO workbooks. They are entirely in Spanish and are recommended for those students who are familiar with Spanish or parents who speak Spanish and want to teach their students/children. The method has been used for more than 60 years and has helped millions of people learn how to read and write in Spanish. Nacho Books offers those books and its variations in Math, Reading Comprehension, Drawing, and more! (Seriously, did you know that they had books in subjects other than reading?!? I didn't!)

These books are great for students PK-2nd grade.

Get a discount!

Nacho Books are offering a discount code for Spanish teachers and/or homeschool moms that subscribe to their website. The discount code is: SPANISHTEACHER  

It'll give you 25% off of your entire order.

Upcoming Giveaway

Also, be sure to check back here for a holiday giveaway in December with Mommy Maestra that includes titles that are not shown in their website yet! SO exciting! I can't wait to share them with you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Giving Tuesday: Elementary School Library Book Drive



This year, Giving Tuesday is especially important. SO many people are struggling and in need. So I've been looking around trying to decide where to give whatever is within my means to give.

Now, more that ever, I want to teach compassion and generosity to my children. Even though this year our Christmas will be smaller, I still want them to see it's important to always give whatever and whenever you can. 

So when my daughter's school sent home a fundraiser for spreading kindness, it caught my eye. They were selling T-shirts to raise money for Maudrie M. Walton Elementary whose library had been involved in arson and ALL of the books were destroyed...either by fire, smoke, or water. The school serves children in Pre-K through 5th grade. Further investigation showed that the school was located in a low-income neighborhood - predominantly Hispanic and Black. 

I bought a T-shirt. But looked for ways to do more because, you know, I have a soft spot in my heart for books and young children and the impact that the former has on the latter.

While I was ruminating on whether or not I could host another book drive similar to the one I did last year for migrant children, I stumbled upon this NBC article and read that one was already being hosted by the Junior League for Fort Worth

So far, 200 books have been donated to the school, but they have to replace ALL of the books that were ruined by the fire. The Junior League has stepped in to help by setting up a wish list on Amazon. I scrolled through it and there are a lot of great books there. (I noticed, in particular, that there were several of my favorite bilingual titles if you scroll way down the list.) 

So if you have $5, $10, or even $20 to spare, won't you please consider donating a book to help restock this school library? The wish list even includes a shipping address written at the top in the description. 

I'm purchasing a book from their wish list and packing a box of books that have been sent to me to review over the years to donate. Join me in helping and giving. 

School libraries are so very, very important to a school community. They provide children with a safe space to learn, study, and dream about the possibilities of the future. They are a refuge and a classroom. And the books inside bring the world into a child's life. 

Giving Tuesday is a week away. It always falls on the Tuesday following Cyber Monday. So that gives you time to start planning on how to give, if you haven't already.

This Giving Tuesday, please consider donating a book or two to this elementary school and help children in need of support and kindness.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bilingual Thanksgiving Printables

 

It's Thanksgiving week! Are you crazy busy like me? This is the first year I'll be cooking the entire meal on my own (with help from my kids). If you're also running around planning, decorating, and cooking, you may be looking for a few downloads that you can just print off and give to your kids to keep them busy. Here are a few I've created over the years. 

Enjoy!




Introduce your young students to Thanksgiving with this fun activity pack!

There are 44 pages total (15 in English, 15 in Spanish, and Answer Keys) with activities that focus on the following concepts and skills:
  • counting
  • spot the difference
  • measuring
  • puzzles
  • vocabulary
  • tracing
  • featured letter
  • beginning sounds
  • maze
  • writing papers


A Bilingual Thanksgiving Storybook

Boost your child's vocabulary and reading skills with this Thanksgiving storybook. Designed for kids PreK through 1st grade, this story lists things for which children often give thanks on this holiday, so the student will enjoy coloring while learning the words for "friends/amigos," "family/familia," "grandma/abuelita," and more. Just choose the book that best suits your needs:

• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• English only (for ELL)
• Spanish only (for Spanish learners)



Boost your child's reading and writing skills with this minibook of Thanksgiving words. The pages show items typically associated with Thanksgiving, so the student will enjoy coloring while learning the words for "corn/maíz," "turkey/pavo," "harvest/cosecha" and more. Also available in three book format. 



Learn about acrostic poems with these Thanksgiving-themed acrostic poem writing pages! Includes directions and examples in both English and Spanish, as well as 5 different acrostic pages with prompts of varying length and difficulty. There's also a blank page to allow children to use their own focus word.



While you are planning your menu for Thanksgiving, why not take the opportunity to turn this time into a teachable moment and spend some quality time with your kids? I've created these free Thanksgiving recipe cards (available in English and Spanish) so your child can write down your family's favorite recipes for the holiday. It would make a wonderful family heirloom or even a lovely gift to share with family.



Friday, November 20, 2020

Holiday Gifting: Canticos

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canticos. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

This week, I've shared gift ideas for kids in elementary, middle school, and high school. Today, I'm focusing on preschool. And, of course, you know who my go-to for bilingual gifts for this age range is: Canticos!

Seriously, y'all, for toddlers and preschoolers, you absolutely cannot beat all the amazing bilingual books, toys, and other resources that are available from Canticos. I'm looking forward to buying some books and puzzles for my 3yo. Why? Because I absolutely love how all of them are geared to helping prepare our nenes for preschool and beyond by teaching those important concepts they need to grow and develop. 

Especially now, when so many parents suddenly find themselves teaching preschool at home and are searching for those resources that will help them in their family's bilingual journey.

Read on to learn about all the fabulous collections that Canticos has created for families!

**All orders placed this month will ship December 1st. And be sure to follow them on social media because they are offering discounts on all of these products and the app subscription throughout this month and next!



Bilingual Firsts Collection 

Ages: 2+
$12.99 - $13.99 (individual books) $44.99 (entire collection)

I love that you can buy these books individually or as the whole collection. The Bilingual Firsts Collection is designed to give children foundational math, literacy, and social emotional skills as they start their bilingual journey. Each book covers a new concept, with beautiful original illustrations and adorable bilingual characters to help along the way. The concepts include: First 100 WordsLetters A-ZNumbers 1 to 100, Shapes & PatternsOpposites, and Feelings. These are all important concepts that your child should learn in preschool as they prepare for kindergarten. And the last three books listed above include interactive flaps to further engage your child's curiosity.



Bilingual Puzzles

Ages: 2+ 
$9.99 (puzzle pairs)  $24.99 (jumbo puzzles) 
Play and learn in English and Spanish with these fun puzzles, each one featuring 10 pairs! Your child will learn their numbers and opposites in two languages, setting them up for their bilingual learning journey.

Your child will love discovering a new friend with each instrument along the way. Finish the 18-piece puzzle to see the whole Canticos crew in this musical celebration!

Assemble the 30-piece puzzle one way and sing the song in English, then flip the pieces over and do the same thing in Spanish with a few extra letters (Ch, Ll & Ñ)! Your child will learn their letters in English and Spanish, setting them up for their bilingual learning journey.

Alphabet recognition is the most reliable predictor of reading ability! The more letters children can recognize at an early age, the higher their potential for academic success.



Bilingual Stroller Cards

Ages: 2+ 
$11.99 (35 cards)

Are you getting exercise by running or taking walks around your neighborhood or local park with your child in a stroller? Why not take advantage of those moments and provide them with a learning opportunity to keep them busy? These stroller cards would be great for car seats, walkers, and even high chairs, too!

Build your child's vocabulary anywhere with these portable stroller cards that are fun to look at and easy to take on-the-go. Your child will learn their first words, as well as their colors and shapes in English and Spanish, setting them up for success in their bilingual learning journey...

Speaking a second language helps kids develop a better attention span, improves their ability to multitask, and increases educational performance as they grow.



Bilingual Preschool App


You may remember me sharing the Canticos' Bilingual Preschool App last month. I wrote up a complete review here. If you are looking for educational apps that will develop your child's bilingualism, this is it! The app is a clever compilation of a lot of the amazing videos Canticos has created over the years, plus additional activities to nurture learning and reinforce preschool concepts. And it is 100% ad free! Click the link above to read a complete review. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canticos. I only work with companies that I feel are a good fit for MommyMaestra readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Holiday Gifting: FluidStance's Slope


 

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

Today's Holiday Gift recommendation is for those of you with older children who are learning at home. One of the issues that my 14yo has struggled with has been having enough desk space when it comes to online classes. Especially, if he needs to take notes or work out math problems. 

Since they were old enough to start solving complex math equations, my kids have always tried to use a small dry-erase board for math work. But if you homeschool, you know how that sometimes goes because that dry-erase board gets used for a lot of stuff and sometimes it just disappears right when your kid needs it. So then we resort to good old pen and paper, which I usually feel guilty about because all we do is throw it out when they're done. 

So a while ago, I was contacted by FluidStance and I was intrigued to learn more about the Slope. So they sent me one, and - wow! - I love it for my kids!

The Slope is a personal desktop whiteboard. It's PERFECT for students who are using desktops at home. It's made of 100% heavy-duty steel (perfect for magnets, but don't use magnets near your computer!) and is powder-coated using a low-emissions method. The gentle angle (slope!) is great for taking notes using any dry-erase marker and it even has a groove at the top to hold your writing utensil. It also has a phone dock with a hole that allows your charger to plug into your phone, so you can charge it while you're working, OR so your kid can watch a video/zoom class on their phone while typing notes/writing assignments on the desktop. And it won't scratch your desktop because it has felt bumpers on each end to protect the surface underneath it.  

Here's a shot of my 14yo using it for solving Algebra 1 math equations:
(P.S. - Shout out to Teaching Textbooks, our favorite online math program!)

My 16yo wants her own to work out her Analysis math equations on it up in her room. 

Seriously, it is a math and science student's best friend. And I will admit that I've been secretly craving it for myself because I often jot down numbers and notes while working. 

It costs $59, which is a little pricey, but totally worth it because it will last forever! 

So if you're looking for something unique to give your older children this coming holiday season, consider the Slope! Find it here on FluidStance's website.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a Slope for review purposes. However, I only agree to promote items that I know will be of interest or use to other parents. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Holiday Gifting: Barefoot Books Mindful Activity Pack

 

Finding ways to relieve anxiety is high on many people's list this year. But we don't often talk about it when it comes to children. 

This is dear to my heart because my oldest has struggled so much this year with anxiety. And once it starts in one area, it seems to just keep spreading to other areas of their lives. I have often wished over the last 8 months that I had somehow taught her the tools to deal with anxiety when she was little. 

That's why I love this mindfulness activity deck from Barefoot Books. 

Mindful Kids: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus, and Calm is designed for children as young as 4 years old and there's no limit over that! 

This boxed card deck includes 50 creative mindfulness games, visualizations and exercises divided into 5 categories to help children feel grounded, find calm, improve focus, practice loving-kindness and relax. Whimsical full-color illustrations on both sides of the cards break down each practice into easy-to-follow steps. Tips on individual cards plus an 8-page instructional booklet show modifications that make these activities inclusive for children of all abilities.

I love that these are available in English...


...and Spanish!


I strongly recommend buying these as an essential teaching tool for your children! I wish I'd had them when my older kids were younger, and I'm planning on buying them for my youngest...who will "share" them with his older siblings. ;) 

If you're interested in getting your own, you can purchase them directly from Barefoot Books or click on the links below to get them from Amazon. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Holiday Gifting: Reading Eggs


The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Reading Eggs. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Do you know about Reading Eggs? It's been around for quite a while now, and I have often seen it mentioned in homeschool circles. So when Reading Eggs reached out, I finally had a chance to check it out more closely and see if it is a good fit for MommyMaestra readers. It absolutely is. 

What is Reading Eggs?


Reading Eggs is an online program designed to support your child as they learn to read. Created for children ages 2 - 13, the site is full of online reading games (there are SO MANY GAMES!) and activities that children love and which helps develop their literacy skills through lots and lots of practice - without it feeling like work

Ten million children around the world use this program. Yes, I wrote that correctly! And the reason is that the program is really fun for kids and is effective. It is based on scientific research and centered around the five essential keys to reading success:
  1. phonemic awareness,
  2. phonics,
  3. vocabulary,
  4. reading comprehension, and
  5. fluency.
If you are a homeschooler, it is critical that you understand these concepts. Click here to learn about them and how to apply them in your child's reading development.


As you can see from the image above, the site offers five different levels of learning. When they begin, your child takes a placement test that matches them with the right level. And, yes, that's a math section at the end. For those of you whose children are struggling with memorizing math facts or who has negative associations with math, this section will help!

As they progress through the program, kids can earn golden eggs (hello? Reading EGGS!) as awards and then use them to buy special reward games or items for their avatar or their house. And they can also earn certificates of achievement.




Things I love best about the program


There are two things about the program that really stand out for me. First, the program has more than 2000 online books and EVERY ONE of them ends with a comprehension quiz. And second, parents can access detailed progress reports on their child. If you have more than one child using the program, no problem. Your dashboard keeps track of everyone's progress and you even get emailed in‑depth reports every time your kid completes a map. 

I also love that the program is self-paced and your child can repeat any activity/game as many times as they want to reinforce the concepts being learned. This is really important for struggling readers.

And finally, Reading Eggs is a kidSAFE certified website. This is SO IMPORTANT TO ME as a parent. I don't have to worry about ads all over the place to distract and tempt my kids. And knowing that it is a safe place for kids to play is gold. With so many other sites I have to worry about who my kid is interacting with or who has access to their information. That's gotten harder as my 14yo has grown. But I have a 3yo now that I have to start worrying about. I'm looking forward to trying this program with him without fear of what he sees and who he meets.




November deals


Right now, Reading Eggs has several holiday promos going on FOR NOVEMBER:

  • First, they are offering FREE week‑by‑week program guides for homeschoolers for Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. Each guide provides a 36‑week teaching and learning sequence for Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, making it easy for parents to cover and track essential learning outcomes. You can download the guides here.

  • Second, Reading Eggs is also offering a 30-day free trial for parents and their little learners to try the online homeschool program. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and you'll get instant access to hundreds of online lessons, activities, kids' books, and printable worksheets – perfect for your family's homeschooling needs.

  • Additionally, from November 1 through Thanksgiving, Reading Eggs is offering free shipping on any products including their workbooks, flashcards and mega book packs.

  • For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Reading Eggs is offering 62% off a family subscription for up to four children. (WOW!) The sale will start on Thanksgiving and go through Cyber Monday.

Learn more!


If you want to learn more, visit their site

They also have a YouTube channel that features testimonials from other parents and getting started tutorials.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Holiday Gifting: Whistlefritz Gift Sets



The time has come to share my annual recommendations for holiday gift giving! And I'm starting off with these awesome gift sets from MommyMaestra sponsor, Whistlefritz. Giving the gift of a second language is a life-long treasure that can only benefit your child. And I know a lot of MommyMaestra readers are always looking for Spanish resources. 

LA GRAN COLECCIÓN 

Join the language-learning celebration with La Gran Colección, an entertaining and award-winning collection of live action, animation, and festive Latin music that teaches kids Spanish!  Created to be enjoyed again and again, each of the five videos in this multimedia set immerses children in Spanish vocabulary themes that are appealing to children, such as animals, toys, seasons, and birthday parties.  

It’s non-stop fun as children interact with vivacious host María, playful peers, and charming animated characters.  The fun continues with four lively Spanish-learning music CDs that combine upbeat original songs and traditional favorites with world music rhythms. 

Bonus features: La Gran Colección includes Spanish and English subtitle options for adults and older children.  Translation guides and lyrics are available for free download from the Whistlefritz website.

Here's a video trailer for the collection. Take a look!



And because I know some of you are also teaching French, or are looking into adding a third language to your child's language skills, Whistlefritz also has a gift set for le francais...



THE FRENCH COLLECTION


Get the language-learning party started with The French Collection. Six lively programs encourage children to speak in French, sing in French, even dance in French! This multimedia set includes 4 videos and 2 music CDs featuring live action, animation, and irresistible music, as children embark on a French-learning journey with live host Marie, playful peers, and animated friends. 

Packed with fun, laughter, and music, The French Collection is an ideal introduction to French for kids!  Includes French and English subtitles and downloadable translation guide and lyrics. 

And here's a video trailer for it, as well...



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MommyMaestra sponsor, Whistlefritz.

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Mini-Lesson on Bill Meléndez



Last month, I shared the new Peanuts playlists that they released in honor of the 70th anniversary of the iconic comic strip. While doing a little research, I was delighted to learn about Bill Meléndez and the amazing impact he had on the animation industry. If you don't know who he is, read on!

Who was Bill Melendez?

Bill Melendez was a Mexican–American animator, voice actor, producer, and director. His real name was José Cuauhtémoc Meléndez and he was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. His father, who was passionate about Aztec history, named him after the valiant and final Aztec emperor. 

In 1928, José’s family moved to the United States. José loved art and drawing and when he was old enough, he studied art at Chauinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts). 

When he was 22 years old, José sent copies of his drawing to Walt Disney, who turned around and hired him. José began his career as a cartoonist working on big Disney films such as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi, as well as various Mickey Mouse shorts. But Disney claimed his “ethnic” name was too long for the the credits and had to shorten it. From then on, he was known as “Bill” Melendez.

By 1941, Disney had seen many great successes on screen. Cartoonists, who had been promised pay raises only to have them retracted, became angry, especially after top animator and strike leader Art Babbitt was fired. The next day, they went on strike in the famous 1941 Disney Strike. The U.S. president (FDR) eventually sent a federal mediator to settle things and Disney eventually agreed to the formation of the cartoonists’ union.

But Bill’s relationship with Walt Disney was damaged and not long afterward, he was hired by Warner Brothers Cartoons where he was an animator for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. He worked on the characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig, among others.

Bill Melendez & Charles M. Schulz

In 1948, he left to begin producing and directing television commercials (he created thousands of them!) and during this time, he met Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. The two formed a strong and lasting friendship. Bill was the only person Charles would allow to animate his Peanuts characters for television. In total, he was involved in around 70 TV specials and took the lead after Charles Schulz passed away. Bill was also the voice actor for the Snoopy and Woodstock characters.

Bill founded his own company - Bill Melendez Productions - in 1963. It still exists today and is run by one of his sons, Steven Melendez.

He also animated the 1979 TV special “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” as well as specials for the cartoon strips Garfield and Cathy.

Over his lifetime, Bill received 22 Emmy and 5 Grammy nominations, 8 Emmy Awards, 1 Oscar, and 2 Peabody Awards. 

He died in 2008 at the age of 91.

Video Interview & Photographs

The Television Academy Foundation conducted a four-hour interview with Bill Melendez in 2001. Don't worry! You don't have to watch it all in one sitting! It's been broken up into segments for you to watch on their website. It's excellent. Here's a snippet in which he describes how he came to be the voice actor for Snoopy...


You can also see some great photos on Looney Tunes Wiki.


Printable

In honor of Bill's birthday this Sunday (he would have been 104!), I created this one-page reading passage to share with your students or children. It has most of the information you read above. You can get it for free for a limited time by signing up for my newsletter. If you are already a subscriber, keep an eye out for it in your inbox this coming weekend!

Or you can purchase it directly from my TpT store.

A mini-lesson on Bill Melendez


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Book Review: Me & the World

The following is a sponsored book post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

There's a new book on the market that as a homeschooler and parent raising global citizens I absolutely love! Have you seen Me and the World: An Infographic Exploration?

This post contains affiliate links.

For kids who love technology - especially its data style of presentation - this title is a must have. Me and the World by Mireia Trius is a colorful book that is rich in information about global communities all packed into carefully organized infographics. Seriously, there is SO MUCH information here, you can pick up this book again and again and learn something new. You can spend a long time on one or two pages, so you might even be able to break it up and read a little bit one day and a little bit the next. Take a look at some of the pages...



The topics of the infographics focus on things that children are curious about: the popular pets in different countries, the most popular names around the world, breakfast foods, bestselling books, different houses found across the globe, what kids wear to school, and so much more. 

It's a small story within a much bigger one as it follows the story of Lucia from Spain. She's our guide in this book that takes readers around the world, then around again to see new things, and then around again! Lucia tells us with each infographic what her life is like as it relates to the topic. Then the reader can look around the page to see what it is like in other countries.

Mireia Trius (the author) is actually the founder of Zahorí Books in Spain. Before she started her publishing company, she was a gallery owner and art representative. So she has a great eye for creating innovative books for children. Don't you think?

You can find Me and the World here on Bookshop.org

And on Amazon here:

This book is also available in Spanish - the language in which it was originally written.



Monday, November 9, 2020

Calico Spanish for Elementary Students


The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Calico Spanish. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

YEARS ago, I wrote a review of Calico Spanish as a resource for teaching Spanish at home. At that time, it was a great program. Since then, they have continued to grow their curriculum and have now completely revamped and updated it, embracing new technology and the needs of modern families. Calico Spanish has changed dramatically and is now an engaging online program for schools and families. 

Today, I'm focusing on their homeschool program designed for children ages 4+. 

The Curriculum


When you sign up, you gain access to 365 lesson plans, 32 video stories, 27 song videos, 15 storybooks, 99 activity sheets, 549 flash cards, 24 posters, and 20+ games. That's a LOT of content!

You start off by choosing the level that best suits your child's needs. There are four total, each with a different theme and skill level. It is a scaffolding curriculum, building on what your child has learned in the previous level. Each level teaches specific concepts and vocabulary. The four themes are:

  1. A: I Am Special 
  2. B: I Love My Family
  3. C:  I Live Here
  4. and D: Welcome to the Farm
Here's an example of what your child will learn in level B:


Calico Spanish online program for elementary

If you are worried by the amount of screen time your child will have, then let me reassure you that your child doesn't spend the whole lesson staring at a screen. Each lesson includes activities and resources for offline learning. Although it is 100% digital, you can still print resources for free, or order professionally printed ones. These resources include flash cards, posters, and games your child can use offline.

The Lessons


When you open your level, the first thing you see is an introduction capsule that contains an introductory PDF for that level that you can open or download and print. You'll also find a lesson checklist and a student progress checklist, both of which you can view or download. 

Then you can open one of the eight units in each level. The daily lessons are carefully laid out for you and presented in bite-sized chunks to fit a young child's attention span without overwhelming. EVERYTHING you need is included in each online lesson. You simply scroll down from one activity to the next. And you can easily navigate from one day's lesson to the next using the tabs at the top of the page... 

Calico Spanish online program for elementary



I'm also very happy to see that each level includes 4 to 5 capsules dedicated to culture. I think that is one really important element of learning a new language and it's hard to teach effectively without also teaching about the cultures that speak the language.

Calico Spanish online program for elementary

Calico Spanish online program for elementary

I think, though, that what children will love best about the program is the story-based approach and the fun animated characters. In addition to the stories, there are also songs, animated video clips, and game-based play.  

Calico Spanish has done all the work for you. All you have to do as a parent is sign up and follow the lesson plans. It's no-prep and easy for parents to implement, and fun for your kids.

Over the last six months, I've read comments from a LOT of parents who don't speak a lick of Spanish, but had their children enrolled in dual language/immersion schools. This is a program that allows monolingual parents to teach Spanish to their children who find themselves learning at home for virtual schooling or homeschool. I love that this available for them!

Pricing


The price is also unbelievably reasonable considering the program. Do you know why? Because the COO of Calico is a HOMESCHOOLING MOM of three! She gets it. 

Homeschoolers have three options: pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Honestly? The best savings is the annual subscription which works out to only $7.42 a month!!! (Whaaa?? I know! Crazy!) Really, even $16 a month for daily lessons is a steal. Find the exclusive homeschool pricing here.

Calico Spanish online program for elementary

But you know what I ALWAYS say: Print sample pages or use the free trial of ANY curriculum you are considering before you buy it. I love that Calico lets you try the program for free for one week. Their free trial gives you access to 8 full units (2 per level) for 7 days. TRY IT YOURSELF.

I think you will love it. 

Special Black Friday Deal for MommyMaestra Readers!


MommyMaestra.com readers can purchase the full curriculum access for just $1 for the first month.  The subscription automatically renews at the regular low homeschool price of $16 per month, and families can cancel anytime.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received access to this program for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

New Alphabet Books


I've often talked about my obsession with abecedarios, or alphabet books. So when some new titles landed on my desk recently and wanted to share them with you. I know many of you love them as much as I do!

The following links are affiliate links.


¡Todos al Rodeo! A Vaquero Alphabet Book
by Ma. Alma González Pérez

What an absolutely fabulous book! With full text in both English and Spanish, this alphabet book takes the readers on an in-depth look at the history of el vaquero. Children will LOVE the subject matter, as well as the images used to represent each word (and letter) of the alphabet.

From arena to lazo/lasso to rodeo, the author focuses on Spanish words that have been absorbed/adopted by the English language in the tradition of linguistic borrowing. I think your children will be fascinated to read about the origins of so many words associated with cowboy culture.

As I mentioned, this book doesn't have illustrations, but instead uses actual photographs that feature Hispanic influence. And the back of the book also contains a picture glossary and a list of Mexican and U.S. rodeo events. 

This is the third alphabet book in a series by the author.


ABC: Discover Critters from A to Z 
by Rosa C. Lopez

I follow artist Rosa C. Lopez on Instagram. She's the illustrator of the Martín y Pepe book series, which I absolutely love! So when I saw she had a new book out, I bought it. 

ABC: Discover Critters from A to Z is such a sweet book for helping children learn their alphabet. Rosa's warm and whimsical illustrations are engaging for children. Each letter of the alphabet includes an animal that begins with the letter, and few words about what each one is doing. 

It's important to note that the book only shows capital letters, so keep that in mind if you are looking for one that shows both upper and lowercase.

My 3yo enjoys the illustrations and the simple storyline. And at the back of the book, there are a few pages to allow children to practice writing their letters. 


Olinguito, from A to Z! ~ ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!
by Lulu Delacre

Olinguito, from A to Z! ~ ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! is a rare glimpse into the heart of a cloud forest. We're there on a mission: to help the zookeeper from Washington, D.C. find the elusive olingo. Along the way we discover beautiful treasures. There is a richness to the illustrations that captures the reader. You can read about the whole process of creating the layered illustrations here on Lee & Low's website and here on the author's website.

Each page of this book is filled with the flora and fauna that are unique to cloud forests. Lulu's attention to detail makes this book especially remarkable. You'll find plant and animals that few people in this part of the world have seen in the wild, such as orchids and bromeliads and Collared Inca Hummingbirds and Spectacled Bears.

The best part of the book is the full text in both English and Spanish. And it should be obvious to any bilingual speaker that the book was originally written in Spanish and then translated into English. Not that the latter is poor in any way, but simply because the Spanish is so well done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Pumpkin Spelling Dice Game in Spanish


Perhaps nothings says fall like a pumpkin. For my family, as soon as October 1st rolls around, we go on a pumpkin hunt to find a few to carve and decorate our front porch. If you have a pumpkin-loving family as I do, then you'll love this month's free download from our wonder sponsor, Spanish for You!

This month's freebie is a Pumpkin Spelling Dice Game to help your young Spanish learner. This two-page download comes with instructions and a game board. It's fun and I think your kids will LOVE it. 

Click here to download this file

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!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Words of Peace for Today

So much anxiety in our country today. I wanted to share something simple to help us all be at peace for our children. I hope these help us all. 






Monday, November 2, 2020

A More Complete History: Hispanic Activists

Traditional history programs have long omitted or downplayed the critical role that Hispanics have played in U.S. history. But many of these activists have advocated and created sweeping social change or contributed to the restitution of societal wrongs through their actions.

That is why I'm so pleased to share with you a grant project that I've finally completed and published on Teachers Pay Teachers.

A More Complete History - Unit 1: Hispanic Activists is a comprehensive Teach for Justice unit that focuses on five important (and often forgotten) historical figures of the 1900s. Designed for high school students, this 150 page unit is comprised of lesson plans for both in-person and virtual learning. It uses articles and mini-documentaries as secondary sources. And it includes: 

  • challenging pre-reading questions,
  • literal comprehension questions,
  • higher-level questions,
  • social-emotional connections, 
  • essay questions, 
  • project based learning options, 
  • vocabulary worksheets,
  • and research & present topics. 
Answer keys and options for worksheets and summative assessments that allow for differentiated learning are also included.

The five figures covered in this unit are:

  • Jovita Idár
  • Sylvia Mendez
  • Ralph Lazo
  • Willie Velásquez
  • and Helen Rodríguez Trías
These are in-depth lessons to challenge students and highlight figures who have fought for equality in the press, education, politics, health, and society. They fought not just for their own families, but for Hispanics as a whole and other marginalized groups.

These lesson plans are only available in English as they are centered around English secondary sources.

If you'd like to see a sample, Lesson 4: Willie Velásquez is available free for download.


If you use these lesson in your home or school classroom, please let me know. I welcome feedback. And if you send me a few photographs, I'll send you a special gift. 

This project was made possible by the Teachers Pay Teachers' Teach for Justice Grant Program. I'm so thankful to have been selected to participate.

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Daylight Savings Activity for Children


Tonight, before we go to bed, most of us will be setting our clocks back. For some, it is a blessed extra hour of sleep...unless you have small children like me. 😭

Have you heard (or participated) in Tinkergarten's Annual Fall Lantern Walk? I just found out about this lovely tradition that is designed to help kids welcome the end of daylight saving time and shed light and positivity on an already challenged year. 

This national event is normally held in groups outdoors and led by local Leaders but will be held virtually this year, keeping families safe and allowing anyone to join from anywhere around the world! Kids are asked to create homemade “lanterns” and to make it extra special, add a positive thought or a special memory from this year. Families can sign up to receive this year’s toolkit and join in activities leading up to the event.

On their website, you can watch the how-to video so you can help your child make their own lantern using VERY simple materials.

What a lovely way to help children learn about Daylight Savings and help them adjust to the shorter days.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Día de los Muertos Workshop Series



Friends, here's a series of workshops that I absolutely do not want you to miss! 

The Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center has partnered with local museums in Fort Worth, TX, and is hosting several online Día de los Muertos Workshops. All of them will be conducted on their Facebook page via Facebook LIVE. 

NOTE: If you live in the DFW area, they will make free kits available for pickup prior to each workshop!

The first one is TOMORROW. If you have an opportunity tomorrow, Saturday, October 31st at 12 pm CT, join the virtual event that is hosted in partnership with the Amon Carter Museum, who will be showing you how to make TWO pieces of art:

  1. a José Guadalupe Posada-inspired print, and
  2. a Justin Favela-inspired piñata
The event is FREE and will be presented in both English and Spanish. Here is a list of the materials you'll need for the projects. 

Here's a peek at the instructors and the projects:


The second one is on Saturday, Nov 7th from 12pm to 1pm CT in partnership with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. In this workshop, you'll learn all about Monarch Butterflies. They will talk about their life cycle, how to attract them to your gardens, as well as their interesting and mysterious migration. Participants will get to make a monarch glider as part of this class. Printed templets and pennies will be provided for this activity.

And the final one is on Saturday, Nov 14th from 12pm to 1pm CT. In this workshop, the Kimbell Art Museum will teach two 30-minute workshops that explore art, family ancestry, and our favorite delicious foods! They’ll begin with a storybook reading and discussion about what our names mean to us, followed by a mixed-media painting activity celebrating the story of our names!

The second session, inspired by ofrendas and family cooking, takes a closer look at tasty treats in Kimbell still life paintings with a related bookmaking activity to help you start your own collection of family recipes.

**To ensure that you don't miss any of these, click the links above to be taken to the Facebook page where you can click on "Interested" so you'll receive notification reminders.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Monarch Butterflies & Day of the Dead


A couple of weeks ago, my boys and I were walking on our property to a section that has a bunch of pine trees to collect some pine cones. When we arrived, I was delighted to see a Monarch butterfly flutter past my face. And then I saw another one. And another one. 

Pura alegría. 

Later that evening, we went walking again in the woods and they were everywhere. I realized that it was my very good fortune to be witnessing the Super Generation on their fall migration to Mexico. They arrive at their destination - the Oyamel fir forests of Michoacán, Mexico - right around the time of Día de los Muertos. And so, it is no surprise that these beautiful creatures are now closely associated with the folklore surrounding Day of the Dead. 


A Remarkable Journey

But the Monarchs that arrive in Michoacán, are not the same ones that left it the previous spring. In fact, each year, it takes four generations for the butterflies to complete their journey from Mexico to Canada and back again. This is their cycle:

  1. In March, the butterflies leave their wintering grounds in Mexico and begin laying eggs as they make their way north into the southern United States.

  2. 1st Generation: Those eggs laid in the south hatch into caterpillars who grow into butterflies to lay more eggs as they continue their journey north. 

  3. 2nd Generation: These butterflies hatch and lay eggs in the north.

  4. 3rd Generation: These also hatch and lay eggs in the north.

  5. 4th Generation: This final generation hatches in the north and begins its long single journey to their southern wintering grounds in Mexico. If they survive the winter, they will begin their journey north and lay eggs as they pass through northern Mexico and the southern United States. 


Dr. Fred Urquhart, a Canadian biologist who together with his wife, Norah, had been studying the butterfly for more than 30 years. They had identified the migration routes of the Monarch and wondered where it was that the butterflies were migrating to. They were convinced it was somewhere in Mexico.

In 1972, he hired two naturalists - Catalina Aguado (shown above) and Kenneth C. Brugger - in Mexico to look for the Monarch's winter habitat. Three years later, they discovered it. (Read the original article here.)

There are only 12 locations where the Monarchs overwinter. The oyamel fir forests are found in the volcanic mountainsides of central and southern Mexico and western Guatemala. These high-altitude cloud forests experience cold temperatures and occasional snow... which makes them surprising overwintering grounds for these delicate creatures. 

Did you know? The Spanish name oyamel comes from the Nahuatl word oyametl: oya, "to thresh"; metl, "agave"; literally "threshing agave"). 

The habitat's future remains a concern. Especially after the death of Homero Gómez González, the former logger who became an environmental activist who was very vocal against illegal logging. He managed El Rosario butterfly reserve and was a champion for the preservation of the oyamel and the Monarchs. Homero's tortured body was found floating in a well two weeks after he'd gone missing.

The Super Generation

Monarch butterflies typically live 2 to 6 weeks... except for the fourth generation which makes the long migration from Canada to Mexico in the fall and back up to the southern U.S. in the spring. It can live as long as 8 to 9 months!

How do they do that?

And they make an incredible journey of more than 3,000 miles, sometimes flying 50 miles each day. 

How do they do that?

These fragile insects rely on their environmental temperature to warm or cool their bodies. In fact, they can't even fly if their body temperature drops below 86 degrees. And yet, they migrate not to a warm climate, but to a high-elevation forest where cold temperatures are common.

Why do they do that? Why bother to migrate if they are able to survive such a winter climate?

And finally, these butterflies make the incredible journey to return to the EXACT same place that their GREAT GREAT GRANDPARENTS overwintered the year before. 

How. Do. They. Do. That?

Day of the Dead

It's certainly no wonder why the little Monarchs are so revered by the Purépecha, an indigenous group from Michoacán, who believe the butterflies are actually the souls of their dearly departed. 

This video was produced last year and has been going around social media for a few weeks now. It's absolutely beautiful, so I decided to go ahead and share it. (Nati and her Abuelita are my favorites!)



This video takes you to El Rosario and talks about the discovery of the wintering grounds. 



Learning More...


If you want to learn more about Monarch butterflies with your children, I strongly recommend you visit the site, Journey North. There's SO MUCH INFORMATION on this website! In fact, I wrote about them 10 years ago to highlight their Symbolic Migration program, which just completed its 25th anniversary this year. (I wish I'd remembered them and shared the program with you a few months ago!)

In addition, the Texas Butterfly Ranch is hosting its 5th Annual MONARCH BUTTERFLY AND POLLINATOR FESTIVAL and has online content available through the end of this month (that means SATURDAY!). But what touches my heart the most about this place is that they tag butterflies and I read this on their website:
Monarch butterflies move through Texas each fall on their way to the Mexican mountains to arrive in time for Day of the Dead. In this year of COVID-19 and a raised awareness of social injustice, we celebrate the spiritual aspect of the migration. For centuries, perhaps millennia, the return of the butterflies to Mexico each fall has been associated with the souls of lost loved ones, as they typically arrive in the Mexican mountains in time for Day of the Dead. As a gesture of hope and healing, all 600 butterflies tagged this year as part of our Festival will be done so in the names of those lost to COVID-19, social injustice and other causes.

Go check out their site and enjoy the online videos they have posted before they are removed!


Free Download

To wrap things up, here's a printable activity for your kids. Print the following on cardstock and help your child put together this Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Flip Book!

Click here to download

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