Wednesday, May 28, 2014

8 End-of-Year Teacher Gift Ideas

The school year is coming to an end! Honestly, I wouldn't mind if my kids would go year-round, but their teachers need a well-deserved break! They work very hard in the classroom and always end up doing school related work at home. Teachers need time to regroup, time to rest, and time to focus on next year. Yes, they even work summer hours.

So if you would like to show your appreciation, have your child take a little gift to Mr. or Mrs. to show their gratitude as the school days come to a close. It doesn't have to be expensive! Some schools allow parents to do group gifts and some people decide to make their own. You decide!

I pulled together 8 end-of-year gift ideas you can buy for your child's teacher with just a few clicks from your mouse.

1. Personal Stationery: 10 cards $15.90 You can't go wrong with a personalized gift like this. It's perfect for home or school and there are so many cute designs to choose from.

2. Ceramic Travel Mug: $12.95 This "double wall" ceramic mug is my personal favorite. The lid doesn't leak and nothing feels better than a real ceramic mug that travels well. 

3. Tote Bag: $28.00 Perfect for teacher's summer trips to the beach or a brand new bag for September. Totes have been reinvented and are much more stylish then ever before! Click HERE for another tote idea!

4. A Bestseller: $16.94 Teachers love students and parents who read for pleasure. Why not give one of your favorite books as a gift? A bestseller that everyone is talking about is such a great idea too. 

5. Summer Scarf: $14.99 A scarf is such a nice gift no matter what season we're in. Teachers love fun accessories as well. Here's a great one for male teachers! 

6. Small Charm: $26.00 We gave our oldest son's teacher one of these over the holidays. When my son sees her wear it, he notices and beams with pride! 

7. Personalized Gold Star Paperweight:  $20.00 A great gift for male and female teachers. Who doesn't need a good paperweight? Especially when children are around the teacher's desk all day long!

8. Class Photo Book: $8.00 and up For the second year in a row, our class has done a class yearbook for our teachers. Parents can submit their own pictures to the designated class parent who puts the book together. We have also added pictures of handwritten notes and illustrations the children create for their beloved teacher.

Do you have any other suggestions? Please share in the comments below!

Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Spanish Printables on Pets

This month's freebie from our sponsor, Monarca Language, is perfect for little animal lovers!

The sequencing story cards introduce your preschooler to different pets and new describing words, and the Word Search page expands your child's vocabulary as they find the different pets in Spanish.

And if your family enjoys these printables, check out these cute videos...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crafts, Books, and Recipes for Memorial Day

© nito -

Are you celebrating Memorial Day today? A few years ago, I shared this fun collection of crafts and recipes for the holiday. So I thought I'd do the same today. Here are a few ideas that we love from around the web:

Easy Decorations for Your Kids to Make
Patriotic Pinwheels - Love these super cute pinwheels from Kinser Event Company. They're great as both table decorations and toys for keeping the kids busy!

American Flag coasters - Technically, these are just puzzles made from craft sticks, but I think if you brace them by gluing them to additional craft sticks on the bottom, they would make great coasters!

Patriotic Luminarias - Aren't these tissue paper luminaries great? Use electric votive candles to be extra safe!

Yummy Recipes to Make with Your Kids

Roasted Poblano Cheddar Cheese Burger - My mouth began instantly salivating the moment I saw this recipe on Sweet Life Bake.

Steak Fajitas with Grilled Onions, Peppers, and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Chimichurri Sauce - Oy!! Why not fire up the grill? These steak fajitas on Muy Bueno Cookbook are making my mouth water. Have your older kids help prepare all the ingredients.

Berry Pavlova - Presley's Pantry has a colorful and super yummy dessert for you. And what kid doesn't like to help make dessert?

Paletas de fresas con crema - From my favorite food blog, The Other Side of the Tortilla, comes this easy recipe that may be more your kid's style.

Then wash it all down with...

Agua Fresca: Agua de Tuna Roja - Agua frescas come in a variety of flavors. This is not an easy phrase to translate; literally it means "fresh water" but I prefer to translate it as "refreshing waters." They are tasty, light, and easily quench your thirst. They are one of my favorite things about summer...and one of my kids' favorites, too! And this recipe from The Other Side of the Tortilla looks incredible!


Don't forget to sit down and read...

Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas noches Capitan Mama (affiliate link) by Graciela Tiscareno-Sato and Linda Lens to remember Latino veterans!
Con mucho cariño...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PBS KIDS Super Vision App for Parents

I'm VERY big on monitoring what my kids are accessing and playing online or via any digital format. As recommended, they are not allowed to have a TV or computer in their rooms. Instead, our school computer is in our school room where everyone can see what is on the screen.

It's not just their safety and innocence that I'm worried about. I also like to know what they are learning from the various educational sites on which they play games. But that isn't always easy. When my kids are on, I don't really worry about what they're learning, even if I don't always know what they are learning simply because I know that PBS KIDS has my children's well being in mind and I trust them.

Still, I was pretty pleased to learn that PBS KIDS just launched a new revolutionary app designed specifically for parents that will give them the “super power” to engage with their kids in the digital medium as never before. Parents need all the tools that they can get to help them track their children's progress and keep them safe online.

PBS KIDS Super Vision
The new, free app is a first-of-its-kind tool that parents can access conveniently from their mobile phones anytime, anywhere, to see what their kids are watching, playing, and learning on, and help them make the most of their children’s PBS KIDS screen time. (Remember to always limit your child's screen time each day!)

With the PBS KIDS Super Vision App, now available on iPhone and iPod Touch, parents enter a simple code on their mobile device to start receiving:
  • Real-time information on what their child is playing, watching and learning on;
  • The ability to remotely set a Play Timer from their mobile device that will put to sleep on their child’s screen, easing the transition from playing online to another activity, such as dinner time or bed time;
  • Related activities that they can do with their child off-screen to extend the fun and learning goals of the games or videos their child plays on;
  • An Activity Summary to view the top educational skills, shows, videos and games their child used on
The PBS KIDS Super Vision App will mean peace of mind for parents like us, while our kids build key skills in the safe and educational environment that provides. The app works anytime, anywhere – the connection doesn’t require physical proximity – making it easy for busy parents to check in on their kids’ online activities while they are on the go.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Monday, May 19, 2014

One Mother's First Year with a Spanish Immersion School

Thankful for guest posts! Have you been thinking about putting your child in a Spanish immersion school but need some help deciding? Here's the perspective of one mother, Francesca, whose child is finishing up her first year in Spanish immersion kindergarten. I hope it helps!

Loving our Spanish Immersion School

As it turned out we had more choices than we expected for Texas public schools. We had our regular home school, an Applied Learning Center, a nearby public Montessori school, Spanish immersion, and of course the very small part-time homeschool that she had been attending for preschool. All of our friends and pretty much every other mom in town was desperate to get into that Applied Learning Center, so the chances of that seemed slim. We still applied and we did not get in. When I called to ask about our other choices this wonderful voice said, "Have you considered Spanish Immersion?" and instantly it clicked! Of course!!! We immediately went down there to peek in on the class and we signed her up that day!

Of course Spanish immersion is perfect for our family, why did we not think of it or look for it ourselves? Honestly, I didn't think there was anything like that available through our public schools. My husband and I have traveled extensively - we love the world and languages. My mother is a Spanish teacher and I grew up going to Spain in the summers with her and her group of high school students. Strictly speaking I never took Spanish. I just absorbed. So I can understand quite a lot, read some, and write very little. I have always been disappointed and embarrassed by my level of Spanish. I feel like after all those summers I should have been fluent. But it is hard to practice Spanish with kids from Texas and the many German, Dutch, and French kids I met in Spain while traveling. So there was more English spoken and them trying to teach me German, than there was Spanish practice. 

"I wanted it to become part of her naturally."
I really wanted my daughter to have a strong foundation in the Spanish language at the start and not just speaking. I wanted her reading and writing and singing! I wanted it to become part of her naturally. We met her dynamic teacher and he told us about his kindergarten class, and the amazing things they did in class. We saw his kindergarten students - after only being exposed to Spanish for three months - following his directions (in Spanish), answering him (in Spanish), speaking to each other (in Spanish) and singing to us (in Spanish)! He then told us he was heading to Spain that summer before our daughter started kindergarten to take some classes for a month. So I insisted he go to Ávila where my mother lives and have my mom show him around. He did go and he says it was the best part of his entire trip! 

Julianna has always loved classes and preschool so she was very excited to go to kindergarten. She had no trouble transitioning. She came home the first few days saying he would not speak English to them and she did not understand him at all. However none of the other kids did either so it's not like she was alone in not understanding. She had not been exposed much to Spanish at all before this. After a few weeks she came home saying a few words, singing a few songs. We both nearly sobbed and fell over with joy upon hearing the first song she sang us in Spanish! After a month it was totally normal that school was in Spanish. She is still very shy about speaking Spanish to anyone or even us, but I know she can. Her teacher sends is videos of her taking and doing science, computers and math all in Spanish. They make QR codes, grow plants for science, garden for food, they learned to dance the Mapalé, they dance flamenco, they call my mother in Spain and talk via Skype in class, they draw their versions of Picasso paintings, they make ice cream, they do addition, subtraction, they are starting multiplication and so much more. When we go up to visit her class she and the other students must only speak Spanish and she does. She speaks with a beautiful accent. She writes in Spanish and knows where all the accents go! She also writes in English. She had learned to read by November (and we had been working on that for a long time) in Spanish and it made reading in English so much easier for her. 

It has made me practice my unused Spanish. She corrects me all the time. She finds it baffling that I know any Spanish at all. She says "Yyyyou know thaaaaat?" It is mind blowing to us that she can do it so effortlessly and seamlessly. It frustrates us that she does not want to speak outside school but we are letting her set her boundaries, after she refuses to speak in Spanish to us, we say things like,"We are so proud that you are learning Spanish and we love to hear you speak. We know you will show us how well you can speak when you are ready." We are trying not to push it. But then we get cards for Valentine's day and Mother's Day from her written in Spanish and she will read them to us. Sometimes we act like we have no clue what a word means in order to coax her into reading it to us. Honestly, we could not be happier.

The school that houses her Spanish immersion school is a nice school, with good people and it is a mix of African American and Hispanic and very few white families. I am so glad we chose it. She has made good friends and there are only nine kids in her class this year. A few more may join in first grade but she will have this small class until sixth grade. This fall they are opening a World Languages Academy that all of the Spanish immersion students in the school district will have the option to attend. It will go through high school. They will introduce another language in sixth grade. The cherry on top is that it happens to be right in our neighborhood! My mother-in-law said a few days ago that she was getting a better education than her other grandchildren who are attending the most expensive and highly acclaimed private schools here in Fort Worth. We recommend Spanish Immersion to everyone! At the beginning I thought, "Well if she only learns to speak a little Spanish and nothing else I will teach her to tell time and whatever else they do in kindergarten. Well, she has far surpassed that! There is no way I could do multiplication in Spanish!


Francesca is a mother of two, learning to do homework in Spanish along with her daughter. She teaches preschool at a part-time homeschool.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Be Back Soon

Dear Readers,

I'm struggling with some major medical issues right now and will have to take a break from blogging. I hope to be back next week, so please bear with me and enjoy the break! I hope to catch up soon.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

World Soccer Championship Activity Pack for Kids

It has been a busy week of traveling for me, but I wanted to slip in one more great resource for Soccer Mania Week here on MommyMaestra. I had the wonderful pleasure to contributing to the creation of this activity pack for kids centered around - yes - soccer!

Created for kids in Pre-K through 4th grade, this amazing printable pack comes with 54 activity pages ready to download and print off for your child or student. From building vocabulary skills to learning the flags of the various countries participating in this year's soccer championship in Brazil to keeping track of the goals made by each team, this kit has a little something for everyone in early elementary.  There's even a huge set of cut out and fold hexagon book team pages for all of the teams participating in the June championship.

I'm so honored to work with this set of multicultural bloggers on this project. Their work is phenomenal, and you will love it!

So keep your kids busy learning this summer with this fun activity pack. They can participate in the Soccer Mania, too! You can see more sample pages and purchase your own copy over on the Multicultural Kid Blogs' website.

A big, giant GRACIAS to MKB for letting me contribute to this fun project!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

7 Brazil and World Cup Internet Resources for Kids

Here at Mommy Maestra, we continue with all things World Cup! In our home, we definitely have the fever. My oldest can not wait for June 12th to arrive and his little brothers will surely catch on when they realize there will be futbol on our screen every day, all day, for a whole month!

Diego is seven, a huge soccer fan, and the World Cup will help him learn much more about the sport. This includes learning as much as he can about the host country, Brazil. I have done a little research to find websites that will expand his knowledge about the South American country, as well as sites that will keep him posted on scores and standings.

Here are 7 internet resources to introduce to your own child so they can enjoy the World Cup to the fullest.

Science Kids offers interesting, fun, and quick facts on Brazil for kids. They also offer links to expand children's knowledge on topics such as the Amazon Rainforest and the Amazon River. Easy to read!

National Geographic Kids is a gorgeous site with beautiful photography. I spent quite some time on it! Here you get more facts on Brazil with a little more substance in a magazine-style format.

Time for Kids features an Around the World section for many countries. It includes eight pages of sightseeing guides, a history timeline, native lingo and even what a typical school day entails in a country like Brazil.

Enchanted Learning is another site full of straight facts on countries but also includes printouts of worksheets and maps for kids to work on. Look closely because some printouts are only for site members, but not all!

Britannica Kids is still your trusty encyclopedia except it's online! I love that kids can discover information based on the subtopics that appear after the initial search. Just type in "Brazil" for you to see!

Activity Village will be one of our top sites to go to for World Cup activities. They offer free printables, worksheets, bookmarks, coloring pages...tons of great work to keep your child occupied throughout el mundial.

Sports Illustrated Kids is going to keep your children busy every single day with updated team scores, players' personal stories and fun games.

Let us know what you think of these sites and if you have some to recommend, please share! 

Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Books about Soccer for Kids

This post uses affiliate links. When you make a purchase via one of these links, it helps support my family and the running of MommyMaestra. 

Continuing with Soccer Mania Week, I'm sharing with you today some great children's literature centered around the sport of soccer/fútbol. Get those kids reading this summer with some wonderful stories about this popular sport.

The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Kids' Handbook

by Carlton Books

spiral-bound, Amazon $9
(this is NOT an affiliate link)

This is the World Cup companion every kid needs while watching the world's most exciting sports competition! Official mascot Fuleco, a friendly armadillo, tells children all about his home and the host country, Brazil, and there's everything a fan needs to know about the stadiums, top players, and statistics. Adding to the fun are quizzes, games, stickers, a tricky double-page search-and-find puzzle, and a foldout back jacket with a fill-in progress chart—so soccer-crazy kids can record match results as the games progress.

Pelé, King of Soccer/Pelé, El rey del fútbol 

by Monica Brown

hardback, Amazon $14

Do you know how a poor boy from Brazil who loved fútbol more than anything else became the biggest soccer star the world has ever known? Turn the pages of this book to read the true life story of Pelé, King of Soccer, the first man in the history of the sport to score a thousand goals and become a living legend. Rudy Gutiérrez's dynamic illustrations make award-winning author Monica Brown's story of this remarkable sports hero truly come alive!

¿Sabes cómo un niño brasileño pobre que amaba el fútbol más que nada en el mundo se convirtió en la estrella más importante del deporte? Lee este relato y entérate de la historia de Pelé, El rey del fútbol; el primer hombre en la historia del deporte capaz de marcar mil goles y convertirse en una leyenda viva. Las dinámicas ilustraciones de Rudy Gutiérrez destacan vívidamente los momentos recreados por la escritora premiada Mónica Brown en este extraordinario libro.

hardback, Amazon $9

Learn all about twenty-eight of the best players competing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, from unstoppable scorers like Messi and Ronaldo to crafty playmakers like Iniesta and Modric, and ironclad defenders like Philipp Lahm and Thiago Silva.

Get the inside scoop on their strengths and weaknesses heading into the showdown in Brazil.

 by Rene Colato Lainez
paperback, Amazon $13
(NOT an affiliate link)

Carlos is not sure that his favorite sport can be played with an oval-shaped ball. Chris is not sure that it can be played with a round ball. It may not be a good idea to play with a kid who is so different He doesn't even know how to play this game! Wait. It looks kind of fun. Let's give it a try!

Carlos no cree que pueda jugar al fútbol con una pelota ovalada. Chris no cree que pueda jugar con una pelota redonda. Quizás no es nuena idea jugar con un niño tan diferente... ¡Ni siquiera sabe cómo se juega! Un momento. Se ve como divertido... ¡Vamos a probar!

by Juan Pablo Lombana
paperback, Amazon $5

64 pages full of fascinating facts about soccer and its history. From the earliest game played in China 2000 years ago to the richest soccer player of today, from the origin of the word "soccer" to the strangest injuries ever seen in a game, this book rocks with loads of anecdotes and trivia that will make you the best-informed soccer fan ever!

Just in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when the whole world will be suffering from soccermania!

64 páginas llenas de datos fascinantes sobre el fútbol y su historia. Desde el juego parecido al fútbol que se jugaba en China hace dos mil años hasta el futbolista mejor pagado de la actualidad, pasando por la edad de oro del fútbol femenino, las lesiones más extrañas jamás sufridas, el origen de la palabra "soccer" y mucho más.

Justo a tiempo para la Copa Mundial de Brasil, 2014, ¡cuando el mundo entero se contagia de futbolmanía!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soccer Mania Week!

In just a few short weeks, the World Cup begins in Brazil. I know how passionate many people are about futbol, so I'm dedicating this week to soccer-related posts, particularly those centered around this biggest soccer championship.

I'm kicking off the week with a special guest post by Laura Pheneger who blogs at Mommy Maleta, a super fun and educational site. I hope you enjoy it!

Interior View of Brazil’s National Stadium where the World Cup Final will be played
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo taken by Danilo Borges and produced by the official website of Copa 2014

Gearing Up For The World Cup

How many moms, dads and kids out there are ready for the month of June to arrive? I know I am. After all, it's the time of year for ice cream, swimming, picnics, catching lightning bugs and watching the 32 best soccer (more widely known as football) teams around the world battle it out to win the coveted title 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions!

Wait a second, what was that last one again?

That "last one" that I just mentioned is, none other, than the biggest sporting event in the world called the World Cup. It is estimated that over 715 million people watched the 2006 World Cup Final in Germany. In 2010 the World Cup took place in South Africa and it was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.

Now, if you like math (or read the first paragraph) you’ll notice a pattern here that will tell us when the next World Cup will take place. The World Cup competitions I mentioned took place four years apart, in 2006 and 2010. So when is the next one? You got it - 2014! This event has actually taken place every 4 years since 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, because of World War II.

This year the World Cup will take place in Brazil starting Thursday, June 12th when Brazil plays Croatia in the opening match, and will end on Sunday, July 13th. This is the second time that Brazil will be a World Cup host country. Brazil also hosted in 1950. Brazilians are very proud to host the event and they have reason to be. Brazil holds a record of winning the World Cup five times, and they are the only team that has played in every tournament. There are 12 host cities in Brazil where the matches will take place.

FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, announcing 2014 World Cup host nation Brazil
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Photo taken by Ricardo Stuckert, Agencia Brasil

Beyond the sporting element, the World Cup is a world geography lesson waiting to happen. Here is a great graphic that shows where the 32 qualifying national teams competing this year are located on a world map. You can also go to this 2014 World Cup Wikipedia site, where I found the graphic, to see the teams’ national flags and tournament seedings.

Graphic Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author:  2010_world_cup_qualification.png:Jlsa
derivative work: IgorMagic (talk)

Status of countries with respect to 2014 FIFA World Cup:
  Team qualified
  Team eliminated
  Team did not enter World Cup
  Country was not a FIFA member at the start of qualification

To find out more about Brazil check out my blog over at Mommy Maleta. You can read this interview and find out what 10-year-old Naomi of Brazil has to say about the World Cup. You can also learn how make your own World Cup soccer stadium tabletop game in my craft section. I look forward to your visit!

Oh, and one last thing. When June rolls around and the World Cup matches are underway, go FIFA World Cup to learn even more about this event and follow all the action.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Assessment Organizers for Bilingual Ed & Spanish Teachers

One of the most important aspects to teaching is actually tracking our children's/students' progress. For those who teach in a school setting, assessments are critical for monitoring when/if students reach benchmarks or if they are struggling in any given area. May's freebie from our sponsor, Lectura para niños is a set of Spanish assessment organizers

How to Use these Assessment Organizers  

Leah says:

I have an assessment that I use throughout the year. The first assessment, I write on this paper and keep it for their portfolio. I transfer their data to the scoring assessment page and from then on assess monthly for progress throughout the year. Once they have mastered, I only assess the areas of need.

The other is a page that I keep in the homework folders for the kids. I tell the kids if they have time, they can practice this page for fluency. I do NOT expect them to read the entire page at once, only little by little. At the end of the year, most students are able to read both pages (back to back) within 10 minutes or so.

Download this Set of Spanish Assessment Organizers

Here are the three files for you to use in your classroom.

And don't forget that you can find more of Lectura para niños posts and downloads here on MommyMaestra.

Other Posts You May Enjoy 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Lakeshore's Are You Ready? Game Shows

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, it's time to revive my Summer Learning series. On Tuesday you learned about the Latino Children's Summer Reading Program to keep your kids busy and boost their literacy skills throughout the summer.

Today, I have a really fun product to share with you. We recently had the opportunity to review one of the Are you Ready? Game Shows from Lakeshore. These game sets are available for children in kindergarten through 5th grade. We received the 3rd grade set and absolutely loved it.

Lakeshore’s Are you Ready? (Kindergarten – 5th Grade) Game Shows - $29.99

These games are designed to help parents know if their child is ready for the upcoming school year.

First we set up the game (it's super easy). You just choose a set of cards - it comes with 6 different games - and set them up on the gameboard with the dollar amounts facing out in the following pattern:

Then you and your child(ren) take turns selecting a card. You must solve the problem on the back of the card in order to win the amount of money indicated on the front.

The little green tray on the front helps you keep track of which ones your child answers correctly or incorrectly. It's important to know which ones your child stumbles on so that you can help your child practice their skills in this particular area before school starts.

The game also comes with a score track to help you keep track of the problems your child misses so that after you finish playing, you (the parent) can visit Lakeshore's site and receive an instant online assessment that pinpoints any areas where a child may need additional help. It also provides FREE printable activities that focus on those exact skills that need sharpening. Also, Lakeshore suggests some product recommendations to build those skills even further.

This 6-game set includes 198 playing cards, a game stand with discard tray, play money, reward coupons, and a score track.

So you could play this game every other week during the summer to keep your kids busy thinking and maintaining those skills frequently lost to "Summer Brain Drain." And the online component for parents helps you take an active role in your child's readiness for the coming school year.

The best part is that you can play this came as a family. We got the 3rd grade edition, as I mentioned, but my son (who's in 2nd) and my daughter (who's in 4th) and I played it and had a great time. We're looking forward to playing it some more over the summer. 

To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show®, enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon! Expires 7/31/14.
Disclosure: I received this product for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed above are strictly my own. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

L4LL's 2014 Latino Children's Summer Reading Program Opens

L4LL Latino Children's Summer Reading Program

I've been neglecting this blog lately. And the truth is that it is because I've been working almost non-stop on this year's L4LL Latino Children's Summer Reading Program.

And I'm SO PLEASED to announce that registration opens today!

Like last year, you can subscribe to the program for free and download our 2014 Reading Lists featuring Latino children's literature titles written by and about Latinos. And you can also download our free summer reading kits that include a pledge to read, reading logs, and a certificate of achievement to recognize your child's reading efforts over the summer. And yes, they are still available in English AND Spanish.

But this year we have added an exciting new element to the program. Our Premium Subscription gives your family access to our new DIY Summer Reading Camp that includes more than 100 printable activities to boost your child's literacy skills. Designed for children in 2nd through 6th grade, the 100 printables are divided into 10 engaging themes, such as Art, Music, Sports, and many others. These 10 themes are meant to cover our 10-week summer reading program. Each week, your family can explore a different theme together and try a different activity each day. While parental guidance and participation is encouraged, it is not required for children who are reading at grade level. All of the themed camps include additional reading recommendations for Latino children's literature related to each theme. And all of them are full of culturally-based crafts and activities.

UPDATE: A SPANISH version of all these printables now available! You can purchase the individual files each week for only $6 through your free subscription, or just get them all at once with a Premium subscription.

Additionally, if you are concerned about the materials meeting educational benchmarks, you might be happy to know that all of the 10 themes are Common Core aligned.

If you don't care about Common Core, then you can rest assured you don't have to worry about it. ALL of the printables were designed with children (my own!) in mind FIRST and created to be engaging and FUN while helping to develop literacy skills. There is a modest fee of $50 for the Premium subscription. This one time payment covers the entire summer and gives access to every printable in our summer reading program. That equals $5 a week.

However, MommyMaestra readers get 10% off the cost of a Premium Subscription. Just enter the coupon code mm1410 when you checkout.

While the L4LL Latino Children's Summer Reading Program officially runs from June 1st to August 10th, you can head over there today, subscribe and receive immediate access to our program downloads so you can start preparing for June 1st.

ALL subscribers (both those who subscribe to our Freemium and Premium subscriptions) can take part in our summer reading program and all of those subscribed families who submit a list of 8 books that your child(ren) read over the summer are automatically entered to win great prizes, such as free school supplies, Nexus tablets, Google Play gift cards and more.

So head on over to and sign up today!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Printables on the REAL History Behind Cinco de Mayo

If you are looking for fun activities to teach your children about the REAL history behind Cinco de Mayo and the significant impact that the Battle of Puebla had on U.S. history, don't forget that I have a bilingual mini-book coloring book available in my TpT store and here in my MommyMaestra Shop

Both this and the next printable are instant downloads, so you don't have to wait around to get the materials. Just purchase, download, and print! 

This book includes coloring pages of items related to the history of the holiday, as well as brief descriptions in English and Spanish that are easy for young children to understand.

Cinco de Mayo Worksheets

For older children, I also have this brief reading passage. It is a one-page history on the Battle of Puebla and Cinco de Mayo available in on TpT and my MM Shop. From Benito Juarez's decision to stop paying foreign debts for two years to the significance of the battle on U.S. history, this informational text is written for students in 2nd - 6th grade. It includes an 8-question comprehension quiz plus answer key.

Other Cinco de Mayo Resources

My other Cinco de Mayo printables include booklets, and interactive notebook, and writing pages.

If you are looking to dive deeper into the history of Cinco de Mayo, check out this children's biography about General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín:

There are a lot of children's books about Cinco de Mayo coming out now. Be careful! Some of them are very bad about spreading stereotypes. Here are the ones that I like:

Here is an informative video for classrooms about Cinco de Mayo, but it does not tell the complete history or explain why the Battle of Puebla was significant for it's impact on the U.S. Civil War. 

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Want "Adventure Mom" Gifts from Best Buy this Mother's Day

This is a sponsored post.

As we mentioned yesterday, Mother's Day is only a week away. When I asked my kids what kind of mom they thought I was, they said Adventure Mom right away. I thought whaaa...? But then we started looking at pictures (like all these shown above) and talking about our daily lives and the truth is, when you homeschool your kids like I do, adventure can't help but end up an adjective to describe not just you, but your whole family.

We explore. We travel. We go on field trips. Even our own backyard is full of discoveries just waiting to be discovered. And I like to document it all.

So when Best Buy asked me what kind of mom I am from the following list, it was easy to answer.  Do you see yourself in any of these?

o Fitness Fanatic – she can run a mile as fast as she can pack a lunch.
o Foodie – she can cook a celebrity chef under the table.
o On-The-Go – she closed a deal, signed a new client and made it to soccer by 5:00.
o Adventurer – she’s got the traveling bug; always looking for a great family adventure.
o Entertainer – she’s the hostess with the mostess
I imagine most moms are a mix of these, rather than just one, though.

Anyway, Best Buy has set up a Gift Center for Mother's Day. So I clicked on it and then I snuck a peek at the gifts for the "Adventure Mom" (that's me, you know), and - Oooo! Oooo! I sure would love a

GoPro - Hero3+ Black Edition Camera!! 

We're talking heavy duty, people. Waterproof, auto low light mode, wide angle know. All those things you need when you have kids who like to go on adventures with you. You can shoot pictures or videos with this baby. And given that my last video camera uses Hi-8 cassettes, I'm thinking it is probably time to upgrade, no? I think I could even qualify for free shipping. And don't forget that Best Buy has a low-price guarantee, so if you find it cheaper somewhere else, just tell them and they'll price match!

But to be honest, this GoPro is probably out of our price range. We have some big expenses coming up (I really need a new car before I get left stranded somewhere), so I knocked some sense back into me and looked at the other items, such as the Canon - SELPHY CP910 Wireless Compact Photo Printer, which would also be super cool for quickly printing up pictures for my kids to use in homeschooling or scrapbooking projects.

If you are in the same boat as me and would like to get a nice Mother's Day gift for yourself this year, then it might help to know that Best Buy is hosting two Mother's Day Twitter Parties on Friday May 2nd at 12:00pm CST and Wednesday May 7th at 7pm CST . They'll be giving away BB gift cards and two Insignia Flex 10.1 Tablets. Just tweet #GreatestMom with your favorite Mother's Day Gift ideas from Best Buy.

One last thing: If you happen to fall into the Fitness Fanatic Mom category, here's a coupon for 20% off all Misfit Shine products. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I am a Best Buy Brand Ambassador and was compensated for this post. However, all opinions shared above are strictly my own (including the photo at the very top!).

Mothers Who Teach: 10 Gift Ideas for You

Teacher's Appreciation Day and Mother's Day are next week! Some of us are just that - Moms who teach! What a coincidence that the two hardest, but most rewarding jobs are celebrated on the same week. Hmmm. I would have preferred the two were a little further apart so that I could look forward to the next batch of chocolates and flowers at another time of year.

I'm not sure why the two special days are so close, but I do know that most of us will not be creating our own festive crafts. We hope that someone will help our little ones pick out a nice card and bring us a simple breakfast in bed. What we can do is to make time (even if it's just taking a little time) for ourselves. A little treat is always needed, yet we are probably the worst at doing this. Making so many other people a priority is the norm in our lives, but we are better mothers and teachers when we are good to ourselves, too.

Here are 10 gift ideas for all mothers who teach. Pick one, two, or all and enjoy!

Take yourself out to a movie. If Frozen is the only movie you have seen in the past few months, it's time to check out another inspiring film. Even if you go on your own, it's a great form of relaxation and a two-hour break from reality.

Eat lunch out on your own. Before I started teaching and way before having children, I never went out to eat on my own. Now, I crave a quiet lunch or dinner often. There are days I can't remember if I fed myself! Sadly, many moms and teachers don't get to enjoy the simplest of all pleasures...because of lack of time.

Buy flowers. My students and children know I love fresh flowers. The delicate bouquets fill my heart with joy and I have always bought them for myself. When someone else gets them for me...they get extra credit points!

Eat chocolate. And cake and wine too! Little bits of indulgence makes life sweeter. Treat yourself and toast to a job well done.

Splurge on a spa treatment. All it takes is one hour. Have someone pamper you next week. Even a simple manicure or pedicure feels so good. How about an hour-long massage? Yes, please!

Spend a quiet day or night in. I must confess, as much as I love my Hubby and three boys, I need a little break from them once in a while. They are loud! Sometimes the best gift is when my husband takes them all out for an hour or two. It is rare for homeschooling moms and stay-at-home moms to ever have the house to themselves. Enjoy it!

Get Spiritual. Whether it is going to church or a yoga class, try these activities alone as well. I haven't experienced a more spiritual and mind-clearing hour than when I attend mass or yoga on my own.

Retail therapy. Even the smallest of purchases does a mind good. Consider it a well-deserved present you bought yourself.

Spend a day with your own mom. Our own mothers and other experienced women we look up to can be considered our first teachers. These are wise, kind, brilliant women who nourish our minds and souls. Your biggest confidants would appreciate a special dinner or whole day with just you. Go ahead and plan this for you both.

Don't do a thing.  You know how hard you work? Enough said.

P.S. If you are looking to buy gifts for someone, take a look at Appreciating Those Who Teach and Bilingual Books Celebrating Mothers.

Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over
at My Friend Betty Says... 
She is the mother of three beautiful boys.


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