Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teacher Feature: Lidia Barbosa from KinderLatino

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

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

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

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

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

Why have you chosen to blog about bilingual resources for Kindergarten

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you find the inspiration for your printables?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¡Hasta pronto!

Do you know a great teacher (or website) who should be featured on MommyMaestra? Please contact me!