Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hello, my name is Mireya Marroquin Dunn. I have been following MommyMaestra for almost two years. I have found her website to be very insightful. Some of the materials that are reviewed are geared for preschoolers & elementary grade children. However, I have been able to find some useful materials online for older kids. I have been homeschooling my teenage son for about 2 1/2 years. He has Dyslexia. I could not watch him struggle anymore at a public school (brick & mortar) class setting with his learning differences, and private school was just way too expensive to fit into our budget.

In his high school curriculum, he is required to take a health class for a credit in order to graduate from high school. Since I have to find different approaches to teach him, I have looked for materials that have audio readings or videos for him. I was so thrilled when I found This site is supported by the Nemours Center for Children's Health Media, which is a part of The Nemours Foundation. It's a nonprofit organization created by philanthropist Alfred I. duPont in 1936 and devoted to improving the health of children.

They give great information on health issues such as:
  • prenatal care, giving knowledge, advice, and comfort for parents
  • great articles on homework help, and how the body works for young kids
  • and, (what I find very resourceful for my son) answers, advice and straight talk for teens
What is so great about this site is that these articles are available in audio; just click on the speaker button. It reads the text for you in a computerized tone, but it's still easy for my son to follow along with it. There is an array of topics such as Food & Health, Sexual Health, Drugs & Alcohol, School & Jobs, and many more. They stay on top of the "Hot Topics" or recent issues our world is dealing today. 

There is even a link for educators. KidsHealth in the Classroom offers educators free health-related lesson plans for all grades and subject areas. Each Teacher's Guide includes discussion questions, activities, and reproducible handouts and quizzes – all aligned to national health education standards. I have to admit, I use these guides to discuss these issues with my son.

This site even has videos on certain topics. It offers a Q&A feature and even recipes. You can even access it on your mobile devices. 

A big plus is that the site is available in Spanish (with audio!), as well. 

This site, in my opinion, gives great information about health for all ages. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

App Review: World Music for Kids with Daria Music

As I strive to raise global citizens, we study world cultures as much as we can in our homeschool lessons. One of the ways that I do so is through music. So when I had the opportunity to review this free new app on World Music for Kids from Daria Music, I was pretty thrilled and I think you will be, too!

Name: World Music for Kids with Daria Music
Subject(s): music, world cultures
Brief Description: An interactive app for kids that teaches children about world music, instruments from all cultures, and songs that bring you to Africa and back.
Price: FREE
Language: English
Ages: 3 - 8 years
Device: iOS, Android

Nothing gets my kids learning faster than when they are excited about the subject and want to learn it. And it is hard for my kids to be bored with a subject that gets them up and moving or wiggling in their seats. Daria is a talented children's performer who has traveled the world in search of rhythms and instruments to engage her young audience.

Daria's World Music App makes learning about world cultures fun through music. It includes:
  • Puzzles, 
  • Match-3 Games,
  • Videos, 
  • Songs, 
  • Books, 
  • Drag & Drop Puzzles, 
  • Matching games, 
  • Maker games, and more.
We enjoy the stories that describe each instrument and where it comes from. We also love that she's used children as the main characters so that my kids can see how kids make music around the world. It's more fun to learn about things from other kids who are having fun. (And it makes my kids a little more enthusiastic about playing the piano!)

This is such a creative app that is good for parents and children to explore together, or for children to enjoy on their own. My kids loved learning about instruments they'd never heard of or seen, as did I. And I have to admit, I spent a good deal of time playing the game shown at the bottom of this post!

I highly recommend this vibrant, music app for all children.

A few notes: 

You do need an internet connection to run this app. 

Also, this app does offer in-app purchases, but they are simply of Daria's CD albums, which are fabulous. You can disable this option in your tablet settings as I have so that my kids can't buy anything without my permission.

Thanks to Multicultural Kid Blog for allowing me to review this app!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: Monster Slayer

Monster Slayer ~ Exterminadora de monstruos
by Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri

I have two children that are two years apart in age. Pretty much every day they alternate between playing and bickering. While I know how much they love each other, they still have those occasional moments when one of them wishes he or she were an only child. Sometimes it drives me nuts. So that's why I could totally relate to this new bilingual picture book.

Monster Slayer is the story of little Gladys Elizabeth who has one very annoying problem: her little sister Annaliz! Every day it is something: On Monday, when they go shopping for dresses, Mami wants to buy a matching pair for both girls...but Gladys Elizabeth is not a fan of the idea. So on Tuesday, she tries to pay her neighbor $1.25 plus her little sister in exchange for one of her neighbor's new puppies. The week drags on with Gladys Elizabeth getting in trouble day after day. Until Friday night arrives and with it a terrible nightmare! Green monsters are on the attack, but Gladys Elizabeth shouldn't be afraid because her champion is close by.

This book is beautifully illustrated by Lina Safar who also illustrated Barbieri's other books: Rubber Shoes...a Lesson in Gratitude and Pink Fire Trucks. As you can see, the watercolor drawings are vibrant and a great match for this story.

Monster Slayer also comes with full text in both English and Spanish. It is the third book in this series featuring Gladys Elizabeth as a child. I love that all of Barbieri's books focus on values and lessons that children must learn. Parents and teachers will appreciate this book as a tool for teaching about family relationships, tolerance, and sibling rivalry.

Visit Barbieri's website (Chucho's Books!!) to learn more about her books and to make a purchase.

Friday, February 19, 2016

February Bilingual Multimedia Materials Giveaway

Time for our monthly giveaway from two of our favorite Latina authors: Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy! These multimedia materials are used in their free download, a Transformative Calendar. Parents and educators will love the monthly suggestions of books and poems appropriate for different dates throughout the year.

This month's multimedia giveaway includes:

Books + DVDs

1. Ojos del jaguar from Puertas al Sol Quince Años Edition by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy + DVD El encuentro mágico con el folklore infantil by Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy

2. Poesía eres tú by F. Isabel Campoy art by Marcela Calderón + DVD Huella de mi palabra by F. Isabel Campoy


3. The Malachite Palace * Jordi’s Star *The Unicorn of the West read by Alma Flor Ada

4. Como una flor poems by Alma Flor Ada, music and voice Suni Paz

Book + CD:

5. Música amiga Number 3 Canción y alegría by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, music by Suni Paz.


FIVE (5!) lucky MommyMaestra readers will win one of these materials. 

To enter to win, just use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 18, 2016

NASA Offers Free Comic that Teaches the Water Cycle

One of the science concepts that all children are expected to learn in school is the water cycle. And now there is a new FREE resource to help your child learn about it. NASA's education site has taken the love of comics that most children have and created new education materials.

I have one child who loves comic books. I closely monitor which ones he reads (since some can be pretty racey), but love when I find educational ones that help him learn specific concepts.

Raindrop Tales is available for free online. It is the result of a NASA online challenge:
In the Spring of 2013 the GPM education and outreach team launched the "GPM Anime Challenge" - an invitation for artists of all ages from around the world to develop an anime character to help demonstrate GPM educational science themes of the water cycle, weather and climate, and technology. Anime, short for animation, is a Japanese style of art that has filled shows and comics that are popular around the world. After receiving over 40 submissions, a panel of NASA scientists and outreach specialists selected two grand prize winners and two runners-up from three different age categories.
Anyway, this is a fun learning tool if you have a little comic lover.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Alphabet Lotería - Lotería abecedario

Do you have little ones that are learning their ABCs? If so, check out my Alphabet Lotería/Lotería abecedario!

For a year or so, I've been working on this new printable. I wanted to create a children's version of the popular game using images with significant meaning in Hispanic culture. And I wanted them to work in both English and Spanish. This was really hard! But I'm really pleased with the final product.

As you probably know, Lotería is a traditional Mexican game of chance similar to bingo. Players each get at least one tabla (game board). But instead of using ping-pong balls marked with numbers, the lotería cantor (singer) selects a card and calls out its name or describes it with a riddle.

This Lotería can be played in multiple ways to enhance alphabet learners and includes:
  • A brief history of Lotería
  • Ways to play
  • Ways to win
  • 12 tablas (game boards) - 6 in English, and 6 in Spanish
You can download it here on MommyMaestra, or visit my TpT store and download it here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Captain Mama's Surprise/La sorpresa de Capitán Mamá Available for Pre-Order

I'm so excited to be able to share with you the news that the Good Night Captain Mama book is now officially a series! You may remember my review a couple of years ago of this ground-breaking book that highlights a Latina in the military. 

Now, author Graciela Tiscareño-Sato has created a sequel. "Captain Mama's Surprise ~ La sorpresa de Capitán Mamá" takes young readers into the depths of a KC-135 Aerial Refueling Tanker. But this time, the story is told by 7-year-old Marco. 

I don't believe there are any other children's books that feature minorities - specifically Latinas - in military service, which makes this series so valuable. I love how the author not only describes the duties of the individual officers, but she also includes an activity at the back of the book to extend the learning after the reading is done. In this case, there is an art project involving the KC-135.

And yes, it comes with full text in English AND Spanish!

The illustrations by Linda Lens, are simply fabulous and help the reader to experience the same things that young Marco and his 2nd grade class do in the book. The details of the airplane especially help to make the story come alive for the reader.

As we saw with the first book, "Captain Mama's Surprise" also comes with an embroidered patch for your child to add to his or her collection. The book is now available for Pre-order with an expected publication date of July 4th. Books ordered direct from the publisher will be received within 10 days of ordering ahead of pub date.

Teachers! The publisher is also offering a special educator's package that includes 31 books & patches for your students. You can Pre-order directly from the publisher website.

This book is a wonderful tribute to the Latinas who have and currently serve our country. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

5 Ways to Celebrate the Launch of Ready Jet Go! & Giveaway

Tomorrow (Monday), a new series is premiering on PBS KIDS. Ready Get Go! is a stellar new show whose goal is to nurture your son or daughter's love of science through space exploration. The premise is simple: Jet Propulsion is the new alien "kid" in town and he takes his young friends on adventures to explore our solar system and the effect it has on our planet, such as gravity, tides, and moon phases. The multicultural cast of characters is adorable.

I love that the show helps kids learn about astronomy and earth science concepts. In fact, one of my favorite parts is the live-action interstitial that features Dr. Amy Mainzer, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory astrophysicist. She uses the time to demonstrate awesome science experiments your kids can do at home, takes field trips to science-based places, explores new technology and interviews scientists.

So how can you prepare your kids for the show or continue to nurture their budding interest in astronomy or other earth science? Here are my five recommendations. Don't miss the giveaway at the end!

1. Read it!

Reading about a topic is a great way to spark a child's interest, especially if you (the parent) are reading aloud to your child. Here are some really awesome books that will capture your child's imagination and sense of wonder about the universe!
(affiliate links)
  1. Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find ... by Michael Driscoll and Meredith Hamilton
  2. Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations by C. E. Thompson
  3. Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit
  4. 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar
  5. The Kids Book of the Night Sky by Ann Love and Jane Drake

2. Launch it!

I don't know a single child who doesn't love a good rocket. Mine are no exception. This weekend, in fact, after watching a preview DVD of Ready Jet Go!, my son braved the frigid wind outside to launch a hydro rocket that PBS KIDS sent us for this review. Over and over he went from the kitchen (filling up his rocket) to the back porch so he could launch it. Your child may enjoy doing the same! You can find easy-launch rockets at your local toy or craft stores, or you can order them online at Amazon. My son played with one similar to this one (aff).

3. Play it!

There are so many really fun games and products about astronomy available on the market now! We played the Space Matching Game, which features photos from the archives of NASA. You can find it and other space-themed learning products here on the Chronicle Books website.

4. Color it!

Little fingers might prefer to spend time coloring their own constellations, such as these. You can download them for free and others over on the Ready Jet Go! website. You'll also find online games and video clips of the show.

5. Find it!

Head outside on a clear night and look up! Find all those wonderful constellations above our heads. If you need help identifying them, there are some great apps and other tools designed just for you.

For iOS:

For Android:


To help you encourage and develop your child's interest in space and our own planet, one lucky MommyMaestra Reader will win a DIY telescope kit and a world map placemat.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

Happy learning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I'm a PBS KIDS ambassador. I received a DVD promo and products to review for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rosita's Strawberry Cream Cheese Tortilla Wraps

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with HBO and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

In addition to bird watching this weekend, we're getting ready for our annual homeschool Valentine's Day party. Every year, we get together with other homeschoolers in our group to exchange cards and play super fun themed games. It's something we look forward to because it gives us an excuse to celebrate our friendships.

On Valentine's Day itself, I typically make homemade French toast for breakfast and place a card and little gift at my children's regular place at the dining room table. My kids rush off to make me handmade cards or crafts. It may be a Perler bead coaster in the shape of a heart, a sketch of one of our animals, a heart-shaped LEGO masterpiece, or a poem. I'll cook my kids' favorite meal and bake my husband's favorite dessert. We don't go crazy buying extravagant gifts, but prefer to give instead a heartfelt regalito just as an extra special way to show our love for each other.

Because love and friendship is what this life is all about, no? And that is why I love this little Sesame Street Valentine’s Day behind-the-scenes clip of Rosita teaching Abby how to say words of affection in Spanish in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Even though my kids are older now, they still enjoy watching clips like this one from the show (they especially love watching parodies about movies and characters the love, like this one and this one).

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Carmen Osbahr, the talented Latina behind the Rosita muppet. She is funny, vibrant, smart, and just as lovable as the characters she makes come alive on screen. And more importantly, she is making a difference in the lives of children all across the country - especially Latino children who have the opportunity to relate to and learn from the bilingual Rosita and Ovejita characters. I absolutely loved meeting her.

In fact, I have a little Rosita doll that sits on the headboard of my bed. She's frequently the first thing I see in the morning and a reminder of everything I love: children and education. My kids sometimes sneak into bed with me in the morning and reach out for her. Or if I am sick, they'll tuck her into bed with me to comfort me. They think it is fantastic that mama has a doll.

So in honor of Carmen and Rosita and Valentine's Day, I decided to make a special yummy (and healthy!) recipe to take with us to today's Valentine's Day party. The recipe is below...and don't miss the great giveaway from Sesame Street!! Be sure to tune in to watch your favorite characters on Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET on HBO. They have a special Valentine's Day episode airing tomorrow morning that I know your kids will absolutely love.

How about you? How does your family celebrate Valentine's Day?

Rosita's Strawberry Cream Cheese Tortilla Wraps

3-4 flour tortillas (burrito size)
1 tub of cream cheese (softened)
1 package of fresh strawberries

First, thoroughly wash your strawberries and slice them up, discarding the tops. 

Next, spread the cream cheese over one tortilla. Take your strawberry slices and arrange them on top of the cream cheese leaving an inch or so clear around the edges.

Starting at one end, tightly roll up the tortilla. Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends. Then cut the roll into sections, maybe an inch and a half wide or so.

Carefully arrange the sections on a plate and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count

If you are looking for something else to do this weekend (besides celebrating Valentine's Day, that is), I've got a good one for you! And it doesn't matter where you live in the world.

This weekend is the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This event was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people just like you and me walk outside and count birds. You can count the number of birds you see out your window, in your backyard, at your school, at the park, in the country, at a lake, or wherever you want for as long as you want!

It all starts tomorrow. All you have to do is tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, Friday through Monday, February 12-15, 2016. Then upload your information to the GBBC's website. You'll have to create a free account, if you don't already have one like us. But this account gives your family or classroom access to other fun citizen science projects that are free.

Citizen science projects are ones in which project leaders rely on global citizens to volunteer a few minutes of their time observing or participating in activities that meaningfully contribute to scientific research.

Last year, the GBBC had people in more than 100 countries counted 5,090 species of birds on more than 147,000 checklists. If you have a budding photographer on your hands, you can even share your bird photos by entering the photo contest.

Why do we need to count birds?

We've all seen the dramatic shift in weather patterns on our planet in recent years. But scientists don't exactly know how these changes are affecting other species. The GBBC helps scientists at Cornell University learn about the changes in populations and migrating habits of bird species around the world.

Our home in the country is a haven for songbirds all year long. The photo at the top of this post is one I took at this time last year of an Eastern Towhee visiting our bird feeder. Here are some other birds that we see outside our windows...

(left to right) Tufted Titmouse, White-Throated Sparrow, and a Chickadee

If you are worried you won't be able to identify the birds you see, here's some great news: You can use the online bird ID guides on the GBBC website or you can download a bird ID app to your phone or tablet. I love the Merlin Bird app! It makes identifying birds super easy. And it is available for iOS or Android.

We've done this before and had tons of fun. We'll be doing it again this weekend. I hope that you'll join us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bilingual Candy & Gift Graphing Charts for Valentine's Day

Bilingual Candy and Gift Graphing Charts

After our Valentine's Day party on Friday, I have no doubt that we will be coming home with a load of candy and other Valentine's gifts. So I'm ready to turn that into a teachable moment with this new set of candy and gift graphing charts.
Bilingual Candy and Gift Graphing Charts

There are simply 4 decorative charts ranging in numbers for young mathematicians. They are great for students who are learning to count or are developing their number recognition. My kids are older, so I'll just be using them as a fun activity to help them practice their graphing skills. The first chart is for early learners with a range of 1 - 5, the next two have ranges of 1 - 10, and the final one (shown here) goes up to 20.

All of the charts are in English and Spanish.

If you'd like to use these with your kids or students. You can find them here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Free Bilingual Valentine's Day Cupcake Toppers

Are you in charge of cupcakes for your child's Valentine's Day party at school? Don't forget I have these printable Bilingual Valentine's Mobile and Cupcake Toppers that I created a few years ago. They are still pretty popular and super cute! Just print, cut them out, and glue the matching toppers together (English on one side, Spanish on the other) with a toothpick sticking out the bottom and you're done!

It is part of my complete bilingual Valentine's Day decoration set that comes with:
  • mobile instructions & images
  • cupcake toppers
  • napkin and bottle wrappers
  • Valentine's banner
  • valentines or place cards
And be sure to check out my Valentine's Day Pinterest board for other clever ideas, and my Minecraft Valentines Pinterest board if you have a Minecraft lover at home.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Free Download: Valentine Card Game in Spanish

Who's ready for Valentine's Day? Your young Spanish learners are! Thanks to MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! and their downloadable Valentine Card Game. Spanish for You! shares free monthly activities that help your child to learn Spanish in a fun way.

This month's download is super cute and introduces Valentine vocabulary such as corazón, beso, chocolate, flores, and many more. The rules are easy; just print the cards, deal, and play. The first player to get 3 and 4 of a kind wins! Parents, if you or your young students aren't sure about the pronunciations, you'll enjoy the accompanying audio to help you with the pronunciation of each word.

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, February 2, 2016

Free Download: Beginning Sounds Review in Spanish

It's time for another great download from our sponsor, Lectura para niños! Today's download is a sample of worksheets reviewing beginning sounds in Spanish.
Leah says...

Here is your February’s freebie! This is a sampling of a bigger book. With this book, each new section of the book has several practice pages from the “NEW” letters in each theme. The kids practice writing the begging sound from each picture, then they have to decide which picture starts with the beginning sound. There are enough pages to practice in class as well as send home for homework. I like this book because the students will have had enough practice in class which will allow them to do the homework on their own without help.

For more awesome Spanish materials, especially those that teach children to read in Spanish, check out Lectura para niños on FacebookTeachers Pay TeachersBlog, and Pinterest.


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