Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Links: Jamoncillo to Free Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebelión de los animales :: ORCA

Learning Math through Play :: Simple Homeschool

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

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

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

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

Con mucho cariño...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to Make Tissue-Paper Marigolds

DIY Paper Marigolds Tutorial

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

A little background: 

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

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

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

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

DIY Paper Marigolds Tutorial



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you enjoy making your own!

Want to find this post again? Pin it!

How to Make Paper Marigolds

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Free Coloring Page for Día de los Muertos

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

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

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


Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day of the Dead Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

Con mucho cariño...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

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

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

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

This post contains affiliate links.

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

Lesson Plans 

• As always, Deep Space Sparkle is my go-to for art lessons. Here's one for Picasso.

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

Read Write Think has this page full of classroom activities.

Incredible Art has a couple of  lessons for elementary, middle, and high school students.

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

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

• This is an excellent biography on the artist.

• Older kids may prefer this page from Artsy. It provides visitors with Picasso's bio, over 500 of his works, exclusive articles, as well as up-to-date Picasso exhibition listings. The page even includes related artist & category tags, plus suggested contemporary artists, allowing viewers to continue exploring art beyond our Picasso page.

Coloring Pages

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

Super Coloring has this self portrait page.

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


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


Games & Crafts

• If your students enjoy drawing, check out these 10 video tutorials on How to Draw Like Picasso.

• Crayola has an activity based on Picasso's Cubist style. 

• Here's a great little art lesson from Kids Art Week for drawing a dog - Picasso style!

• Spaceships & Laser Beams has a lot of ideas for throwing a Picasso-themed party.

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

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



These links are to YouTube. As always, parents and teachers should watch the videos first to make sure they are appropriate for their students. If you'd like to share them with your students without giving them access to YouTube, check out the cool tool Video.Link

Pablo Picasso for Elementary Students :: Designs by Carisa is fun.

• Watch Picasso Make a Masterpiece :: the Royal Academy of Arts - this is fascinating!

• Where Did Pablo Picasso's Genius Come From? :: National Geographic (Shown below)

Lesson Plans about Other Artists

Art Supplies

Here are the art supplies that you might be looking for. The top row is for younger children and the bottom row is for older kids:

Picasso-Themed Learning Toys

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Links: Parenting Quiz to Student Essays

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trabajos de Geografia/Geography Activities :: 2 Pequeños Traviesos

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

It is time for Spain! :: Kids Go Bilingual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pelé Lesson Plans, Books, Videos, and More

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

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

Articles about Pelé

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson Plans and Printables

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

Reading is Fundamental offers these printable guides for families and educators.

Here is a free coloring page that I put together after the legendary soccer player died. 

I also have a reading passage dedicated to Pelé that can be found in my Reading Comprehension Passages: Famous Afro-Latinos

Videos on Pelé for Kids

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

Children's Books About Pelé

And, of course, you can't ignore the fantastic children's book, Pelé, King of Soccer/Pelé, El Rey del Fútbol, by the talented Monica Brown. She even has a curriculum guide to accompany the book free for download on her website. Here's a great read aloud of it on YouTube by Mr. Alicea's Arcade of Knowledge:

Have fun!

Last Updated: 12/29/222

Con mucho cariño...

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping Traditional Games Alive for Fun and Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

Con mucho cariño...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teacher's Discovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Con mucho cariño...

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Teensy Survey with Incentive...

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

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

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

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

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

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

And muchisimas gracias for helping me to grow this blog.

Un besito a todos,


Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Links: Yearbooks to Auditions

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

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

Making Math Fun with Card Games :: The Homeschool Classroom

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

How To Homeschool Like A Pro :: Simple Homeschool

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

Recruiting Your Homeschool Faculty :: Chalcedon

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


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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

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

photo by Paul and Jill

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

This post contains affiliate links.

Day of the Dead Lesson Plans

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

  • New Mexico Junior College Museum has shared this downloadable lesson plan for K - 2nd grades that comes from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

  • Vanderbilt's College of Arts & Sciences has this Day of the Dead lesson plan available for 3rd through 12th grades (designed for 5th grade). 

  • World Language Cafe has these 9 Day of the Dead Spanish activities and lesson plans.

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

  • And MommyMaestra has several articles with a list of resources, including a brief history of Día de los Muertos for children, as well as information on José Guadalupe Posada.

Family-Friendly Day of the Dead Websites

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

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

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

Day of the Dead Apps


Día de los Muertos Printables

  • First! Download your FREE Day of the Dead Activity Calendar

  • Are you building your own ofrenda this year? Why not download my printable ofrenda labels to help explain the elements on your table to visitors? It even includes free-standing labels to place next to framed photos of loved ones, with space to write their name, relationship, and likes/hobbies.

  • Check out all of my Day of the Dead printables! From notecards to minibooks to triptych activities, I have you covered!

  • Do you have older students? Let them try their hand at creating their own Calavera Poetry

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

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

  • has a nice collection of coloring pages

Crafts & Supplies


Additional Resources

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

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