Thursday, March 31, 2016

Free Printable: Cesar Chavez Coloring Activity

Technically, we're on Spring Break this week, but I couldn't let Cesar Chavez's birthday go by without some sort of acknowledgment! So to celebrate, here's a simple coloring activity to introduce your preschooler to this famous human rights activist.

And don't forget, I have a Cesar Chavez page full of lesson plans, activities, coloring sheets and more for older children! So much good stuff out there now.


Monday, March 28, 2016

New Barefoot Books in Spanish & Giveaway

Do you know about Barefoot Books? The independent children's book publisher creates some of the most visually stunning books that capture a child's imagination. When my children were younger, I purchased quite a few of their titles, specifically ones that come with a CD so that my kids could listen to the audiostories.

They also have a small collection of bilingual and Spanish-language books. You may remember one of my family's favorites, The Parrot Tico Tango/El loro Tico Tango, which I reviewed a few years ago. With audio and music by the Amador family, it is such a fun read!

Anyway, they now have a few new Spanish-language titles for you to enjoy.

Floro, el dragón vegetariano is a really fun story. It's about the war between one kingdom and the dragons that plague it. Led by Comecarne, the dragons enjoy raiding the castle every night searching for a tasty princesa. The valliant caballeros finally decide that enough is enough and it is time to come up with a plan to put an end to Comecarne and his marauding dragons. But during their hunt, they capture the wrong dragon by mistake. Floro is actually a vegetarian dragon!

Their other new title is Las crepes de Mama Panya. I love that this book introduces kids to world cultures with this African tale that describes what life is like in Kenya. Your kids will follow Adika and Mama Panya and discover what happens in their daily life. It includes a map, descriptions of animals, a glossary with Swahili words, and even a recipe so your family can make your own spicy crepes!

To explore Barefoot Books' other Spanish-language books, or to purchase theses, click here.

I'd like to thank Maceo Cabrera Estevez, the independent Barefoot Books ambassador who reached out to me to let me know about these new titles. The links in this post are her affiliate links, and if you make a purchase from them, you'll be helping her out.


Maceo has generously donated one of each of these books to be given away to one MommyMaestra reader!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Lola Levine Website

Do you have a Lola Levine fan in your home or classroom? This awesome series by one of my favorite Latina authors - Monica Brown - is a set of chapter books featuring Lola. The half Peruvian and half Jewish 2nd grader is spunky and clever. Spanish words are spattered throughout making these books even more appealing to children from bilingual households. It is the perfect little series for young readers. Not too heavy, it is a fun collection to help develop your child's love of reading.

And now, the series has its own website! While you're there, be sure to download the free Educator's Guide to help you integrate Lola into your class lessons.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Teacher Advisors for WGBH Wanted

Are you a full-time science teacher in K-12? If so, check out this opportunity. I'd love to see some of you apply!

WGBH, in partnership with NASA, is looking for the next generation of STEM educators!

"Bringing the Universe into America's Classrooms," a WGBH/NASA partnership for the development of digital learning resources for STEM learning, is an opportunity for K-12 educators to help design and test new instructional models and digital media tools. Produced by WGBH, these resources will feature WGBH and NASA content and be distributed at no cost via PBS LearningMedia. We're looking for 50 teacher advisors to help us with this mission.  Are you up to the challenge? 
Full-time classroom teachers who teach topics in physical, earth and/or space science are invited to apply here. Advisory term runs from May-December, 2016. Applications are due April 11, 2016 at 11:59 EDT. Applicants will be notified if they were selected by May 2, 2016.   

Please see our information page for further details, including timeline and what to expect. Contact Carolyn Jacobs, carolyn_jacobs@wgbh with any questions.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mariachi Lesson Plans, Books, Activities, and More

I had so much fun researching this post! Learning about Mariachi music is a wonderful way to explore the Mexican culture. I hope you find some resources below that help you teach your students about this unique art form - from the distinctive costumes they wear to the instruments they play.

This post contains book affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, MommyMaestra receives a small commission so I can buy more books for my own kids.

Lesson Plans

Printables & Online Learning Materials

Activities & Crafts

(affiliate links)


Well, of course, you know I can't put together this post without showing a few videos, especially one of my favorite little charro, Sebastien! Below are three very different Mariachi bands playing in their own unique styles.

And for little children, here's an excellent video, "If I Had a Mariachi" by 123 Andrés:

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dallas EEI Offers Free Programs for Local Teachers/Homeschoolers

Are there any MommyMaestra readers who are teachers or homeschoolers in the Dallas, TX, area? If so, read on about this fabulous resource!

The City of Dallas Environmental Education Initiative has a number of bilingual programs for grades K-12 that teach recycling and water conservation to elementary and middle school students. They also teach the program to educators so that they can continue the work in the classroom. After the classes, the teachers are eligible to pick books to keep in their classroom. You can go and do training pretty much anywhere in the Dallas area and private schools are welcome to participate, as well. Homeschool organizations are eligible, too!

The best part? If you are within the Dallas city limits, the programs are free!

If you go onto the site under the “Our Programs” tab you can see all of the programs available. Right now they are working with a graduate student who is renovating a couple of green spaces within two DISD schools. They go in and plant flowers and new grass, add benches and butterfly gardens. It’s really cool and the City provides the materials. Their folks provide the teaching and labor. There are City of Dallas folks that help with the “certifications” of the revamps of the green spaces and students help, as well. It’s really a nice program.

The 45-minute K-5 programs are TEKS-aligned and include hands-on activities. They are provided by certified teachers who visit your classroom and bring all the materials.

You can also find videos in English and Spanish on their YouTube channel. They cover basic concepts about environmental responsibilities. Here's an example:

With Earth Day coming up, I bet these would be a great supplement to any science curriculum.

If you sign up for a program, tell them MommyMaestra sent you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Books for Raising Powerful Latinas

Are you raising a young Latina in your home? If she's like mine, she may be strong-willed, independent, creative, and a budding entrepreneur. Perhaps she needs some positive role models to help inspire her and guide her as she journeys toward womanhood.

Or maybe you have a shy introvert who needs a little nudge to come out of her shell and present or pursue her ideas.

Either way, you won't want to miss my latest article for where I share 10 Books to Help You Raise a Powerful Latina. What a great way for celebrating Women's Hisotry Month!

Which titles did I miss? Which ones would you add?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Free Download: Women in World History Trading Cards Template

How I love Women's History Month! It provides me an opportunity to teach my daughter the inspirational stories of powerful, amazing women who weren't afraid to make their mark on history. I use books, the internet, and materials that I create myself, such as these Women in World History Trading Cards.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, MommyMaestra receives a small commission.

This month we're studying 18 important women in history:
  1. Cleopatra
  2. Amelia Earhart
  3. Joan of Arc
  4. Ellen Ochoa
  5. Coretta Scott King
  6. Eleanor Roosevelt
  7. Celia Cruz
  8. Marie Curie
  9. Malala Yousafzai
  10. Frida Kahlo
  11. Pocahontas
  12. Queen Isabella I
  13. Anne Frank
  14. Florence Nightingale
  15. Isabel Allende
  16. Indira Gandhi
  17. Sirimavo Bandaranaike
  18. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
I chose these women for their diverse backgrounds and impact on history. I hope my kids might learn from both their triumphs and their mistakes. To help me teach them, I'm using some materials I created. First, I'm using my Women in World History Fandex. It's a complete study in itself with each leaf featuring a different woman including the years she lived, where she was born, and for what she is best known. I use worksheets to help them learn key facts, as well as hese trading card templates.

And because I'm really thrilled to be participating in Multicultural Kid Blogs' second annual Women's History Month series, I'd like to share these Trading Card Templates with you! They're blank, so your kids can research each woman and write in the information they learn on the cards. And they can be used in ANY LANGUAGE. The templates are available in both black-and-white and full color. You can use the Fandex I created, or your kids can use the internet (I would recommend Kiddle or GoGooligans) or BOOKS!

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Join us for MKB's Women's History Month series, which celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below!

Don't miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest:

March 2 A Crafty Arab
March 7 Mama Smiles
March 8 Hispanic Mama
March 10 Peakle Pie
March 11 MommyMaestra
March 17 Living Ideas
March 24 All Done Monkey

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Free Download: Initial Syllables in Spanish

It's March and baby birds will be hatching soon and learning their little songs. So this month's freebie from our sponsor Lectura para niños is a perfect fit because it teaches beginning Spanish readers beginning syllables! 

Today's download is a sample of their syllables of the week book. Leah has updated this book with all new clipart. This one is a must have for beginning Spanish readers because there are over 200 pages of syllable work in this book! 

If you love these sample pages and would like to get the whole book, you can find it here.

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Free Download: Songs for Learning Spanish

This month, MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! is changing things up a bit! They have a new line of materials coming out to supplement their products: learning songs in Spanish.

The songs are made to go with their Mi vida (My Life)-themed learning package for grades 3-8, but because they are themed, others can use them, too, at home or for their classes. The songs are: My House, My Room, My Family and Friends, My Activities (which is the freebie), and My Classes.

Spanish for You! will have more songs coming out, too. The next group of songs will go with their Conversaciones-themed package. There will be five songs. They will be: The Park, The Mall/Shopping Center, The Movie Theater, The Restaurant, and The Grocery Store. They will be available this spring, probably sometime in April.

These songs are great because they provide a learning music resource for bilingual children learning to read and those just learning Spanish as a second language who fall in the elementary and middle school age range. The focus on a theme for each song makes them very flexible for any teacher to use and for Spanish for You! users, they are a perfect match to the material. They'll have more songs coming out in the months ahead with other themes.

So if you love this song as much as I do, you'll want to check out their other songs here on their website.

This free download is for personal or classroom use only!

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, March 8, 2016

Curious Minds: 40 Hands-on Activities to Inspire Learning

When I was growing up, science and history books were boring. I waded through endless texts of facts and figures. As a homeschool mom, I'm determined to create a different experience for my kids. Fortunately for me, times are changing and there is a growing number of materials to engage children by capturing their imaginations and piquing their curiosity.

This post contains affiliate links.

One of those materials includes the new book, Curious Minds: 40 Hands-on Activities to Inspire a Love of Learning (aff) by Ty Kolstedt and Dr. Azeem Vasi.

This book is awesome!

It helps your kids explore otherwise difficult or boring concepts through real-world challenges. There are six parts to the book covering:
  • Physics & Math
  • Chemistry
  • Language Arts
  • Earth Science
  • Social Studies
  • & Biology

Each part has at least six DIY projects (some have more), and they are so much fun. I love that as a teacher, I know exactly what skills I'm targeting with each project. The activities start off plainly stating what the content area we are exploring and what the primary skills focus is. Then comes the treat: You get a mini-lesson! You'll read what the "Mission Objective" is and "Learn the Lingo" associated with each with each project. Then there is a list of materials that you need (most of which is stuff you probably already have around the house) and your "Plan of Attack" or directions. In addition, there is a section at the end of each project called "Taking It to the Max" which provides ideas for exploring the concept further after having learned the basic principle.

In the few weeks that we've had the book, I've been using it to supplement our science and social studies lessons. So far we've made different types of parachutes, studied the effects that freezing has on the volume and mass of water, and explored globalization by investigating which countries produced some of the items in our home. Next, we'll be learning chemistry as we try to make our own pickles out of cucumbers! Other experiments in the book explore concepts such as figuring out how boats float, decomposition, the story of ink, quicksand, immigration, democracy, water pH, and yeasts and molds, and more.

This is the type of hands-on learning that makes my kids excited about learning.

Written for kids ages 9 - 12 years old, this book is easy for them to read on their own, but some of the projects do require parental supervision.

This book is a must-have for homeschoolers and families with children in a traditional school setting alike. Even if your kids are learning science in school, they will love completing these projects over the weekends. You can purchase your own copy of Curious Minds here (aff).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Makes College a Reality for Latinos

This is a sponsored post with Hispanic Scholarship Fund. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, there was never any question about whether or not I would attend college. My mother talked about it in everyday conversations.

"When you go to college..."

"Work hard so you can pick the college you want..."

"While you are in college..."

"You should think about that after college..."

So in my mind, it was always a part of my future. It was a goal toward which I was working. I was excited about it. I knew that it was the path to fulfilling the plans I had for my future. And once I was actually in college, my whole life changed (but that's another story).

I never really worried about how we were going to pay for it, though. I know now that my mother did. She agonized about how we would afford for me to attend. I applied for a couple of scholarships, and received one, but in the end, I was fortunate because my mother was offered a position teaching journalism and broadcast news at our local university, which enabled me to attend at a greatly reduced rate.

But not every Latino family has that opportunity. And for too many Latino families, the expense is what causes them to not even consider college as an option for their children. Some have no idea that there are tools available to help them financially afford to send their children to college. They don't know about student loans, work-study program, or scholarships that are available specifically for Latino students.

Even more important is that too many Hispanic families don't realize that a college degree can be their ticket out of poverty. Because people with a college degree are more likely to make $1,000,000 dollars more in their lifetime than those who don't graduate from college.

RELATED: Top Five Reasons Why Latino Children Need to Go to College

The point of all this is that as parents, we have many powerful tools at our disposal for making college a reality for our kids. Daily conversations is by far, the most impactful tool because it creates a mindset that sets everything else into motion. And we have to start when our kids are little, so they are conditioned to love learning and to view education as one of the keys to a happy life.

Taking this cue from my own mother (and childhood), I've been talking about college with my own kids for years. Even though the are only in 4th and 6th grade now, I can see the impact when my daughter asks me questions about which colleges have the best bioengineering programs, or when they ask me questions on what it was like when I went to college. I love it best when I hear them say things like, "After I get out of college, I'm going to..."

If we talk about our kids going to college starting when they are small, then it becomes a part of their future - they take it for granted that they'll be going to college and will work toward that goal. And as they get closer to it, they'll actively look for other resources to help them with the financial side of things.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is one of the companies that is making it possible for Hispanic students to attend community colleges or large universities. 

Students and parents can visit the The Hispanic Scholarship Fund website to find the latest information and to apply for scholarships. You'll also find the HSFinder, an online tool  to share and find great information about scholarships, financial aid, careers, internships and more. They even have resources for DREAMers.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is supported by many companies across the country, including Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. who is now an official partner. All these companies are showing their support of Hispanic students by financially backing the Hispanic Scholarship Fund so that it can make so many scholarships available.

How much does the Hispanic Scholarship Fund give?

For the last 40 years, they've provided merit-based scholarships to undergrads and graduate students ranging from $500 - $5,000. This type of funding helps pay for tuition costs, living expenses, books, etc.

Please share this with any family and friends who have teenage children that are thinking about going to college! This program could make the difference in whether or not they apply and/or attend.

Here are some important dates for you to remember:
  • Scholarship Application opens: January 1
  • Recommender Portal opens: January 15
  • Recommender Online Form due: March 30
  • Scholarship Application closes: March 30
  • Notification for Scholarships: June- July
  • Scholar/Waitlist Documents due: August- October
  • Scholarship Awards disbursed (pending receipt of all required documents): November-December
So what are you waiting for? It's never too early to starting thinking about college! Get over to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and explore all that they have to offer.

And if you are the parent of a college-bound teen, check out all of my posts with resources for you here.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review: Olinguito, from A to Z!

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

by Lulu Delacre

It's no secret; I love alphabet books. Even though my kids can now read circles around me (not really - but they're lightyears ahead of most kids their age), that doesn't stop me from collecting ABC books. And when it is a bilingual abecedario? Woo! I simply must have it.

This review contains affiliate links.

So when I heard that my friend Lulu was working on an alphabet book, I was (naturally) excited. She is not only a dedicated children's writer, but also one of the most talented artists illustrating children's literature. And her latest book is certainly a visual masterpiece.

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

But it isn't just the artwork that delights me and my family. It is the content. You may remember that my husband and I met when we were both working at a zoo. That was 23 years ago. Since then we have traveled quite a bit to many countries in search of rare animals to photograph, conserve, or research. Imagine my delight to discover that each page of this book is filled with flora and fauna that are unique to cloud forests. Lulu's attention to detail makes this book especially remarkable. You'll find plant and animals that few people in this part of the world have seen in the wild, such as orchids and bromeliads and Collared Inca hummingbirds and Spectacled Bears.

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

In my opinion, Olinguito, from A to Z! is a must-have for any home library.

Teachers: this book works well with lessons and unit studies of cloud forests, Ecuador, wildlife, conservation, zoology, animals, Earth Day, science, and nature.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Free Download: Dr. Seuss Bilingual Printable

It's Read Across America Day! And I'm celebrating with another free download. I hope you enjoy this fun little worksheet to get your little ones rhyming. It's available with both English and Spanish text.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Kiddle: New Google-Style Search Engine for Kids

When my son was only five or six years old, he accidentally stumbled on a completely inappropriate YouTube video when he was searching for "Store Wars", a Star Wars parody video we'd watched as a family.

That one incident led to a lot of effort on my part to protect my kids from dangers online. I removed the browser access from the iPad, switched all the computers over to Chrome and logged them in using my name with the safe search settings locked on. But despite this safe search option, there are still things that slip through. The reality is my kids often need access to the search engines in order to research and complete school projects.

You can only imagine my delight at learning yesterday that a new company has launched a visual search engine for kids that is carefully curated by editors and safe search. Children can use Kiddle to search the web, images, videos, and news in a safe manner. When a child enters keywords into the search bar, the first three links in the lists go to sites written specifically for kids and hand-picked by the editors, who also select the next 3 or 4 links to web pages with simplified text that children can understand. And then the rest of the links are to more complex sites that are curated by safe search.

And the videos to which the site links are safe, too. Most of the ones I found went directly to SprogTube.

So yes, you could do a search on Miley Cyrus without having her twerking video coming up in the results. In fact, I tried typing various things myself into the search bar and was pleased to see that it redirects kids with a gentle admonition:


One of my current stresses is Minecraft. My kids constantly want to look up videos or instructions for it. I agonize over letting them watch the instructional videos and try to always be around when they do in case there is something I don't want them to learn. (ALWAYS monitor your child's time online! NO computers in bedrooms where you can't see what is on that monitor whenever they are online.)

In addition, Kiddle doesn't collect any personal information and clears its logs every 24 hours to protect your child's privacy.

But my favorite part is that the company realizes that this is a partnership with parents and it uses parents to help it manage the content displayed. So if you run across something inappropriate and undesirable, you can submit keywords or even whole websites to be blocked.


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