Friday, January 27, 2017

Teacher's Guide Re: Immigrant & Refugee Children

I was really happy the other day to find this online educator's guide regarding immigrant and refugee children. With the recent executive actions and anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of the White House, it's important that teachers and school support staff be aware of what their rights are concerning their immigrant and refugee students.

For example, did you know that ICE is prohibited from conducting raids in the following locations?

  • schools (including preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities, and other institutions of learning, such as vocational and trade schools);
  • hospitals; 
  • churches, synagogues, mosques and other institutions of worship, such as buildings rented for the purpose of religious services;
  • funerals, weddings and other public religious ceremonies; and
  • public demonstrations, such as a march, rally or parade.

There is also a federal law - the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - that prevents schools from sharing student information without parental consent to federal immigration agents if the information would potentially expose a student’s immigration status. Even if they have a removal warrant/deportation order, the school is still at liberty to refuse to share student information.

The guide shares facts about undocumented students, answers frequently asked questions about immigration raids, gives ideas and tips on what you can do to support these students and their families. It also gives advice on how to take action outside of the classroom.

You can download the guide at the Teaching Tolerance website. The download includes tear-and-share resources for students and their families.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spanish Reading Apps & Websites

Yesterday in a Facebook group that I'm a member of, someone was looking for websites that reward their children for reading in Spanish. I believe her child was in kindergarten. So I shared a bunch of links to posts on my site with resources and realized, that maybe I needed to compile them into a single post to share with all of you. So here you go! If you have discovered other great resources, please share them so that I can add them here for other moms raising bilingual children. (You'll get full credit!) Thanks!!!


I prefer apps myself simply because my internet is so expensive, I don't want my kids playing games online that have lots of videos and animations that suck up all my data. Over the years, I've reviewed a LOT of Spanish apps for kids. So just click on the link below to look through them. They are all good (or I don't do the review), but my favorites in terms of engagement are those by Aprendes Con, Mundo Lanugo, and Kitu Kids.


There are tons of Spanish websites available for children. Some of my favorites are the ones created in Spain and Latin American countries. I'm pretty picky and don't typically like or share those that simply have video games for kids. I like the education component, so here's a list of sites that have reading games and activities in Spanish.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Children's Sci-Fi & Fantasy Titles Featuring Latino Characters

Earlier this month, I shared with you a new Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction & Fantasy for older teens and adults. Today, I thought I'd put together a list of books or book series for this same genre, but for younger children and teens. Below, you'll find fantastic children's sci-fi and fantasy titles all featuring Latino protagonists, most of them in English, but a few in Spanish, too.  Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

The Data Set Series by Ada Hopper

The Data Set Series
by Ada Hopper

(For children 8 and older; English only)
Psst! If you love the Magic Tree House series, you'll love this one!

Danger! Action! Trouble! Adventure! Introducing The DATA Set, a brand-new chapter book series for young readers.

What would happen if your next-door neighbor were a mad scientist?

Gabe, Laura, and Cesar live on a quiet cul-de-sac. They are the whiz kids of Newtonburg Elementary and each specializes in their own subject. In fact, everyone in town lovingly refers to them as the Data Set. However, their quiet days of learning take a sudden turn for the exciting when they meet Dr. Gustav Bunsen—a mad scientist who throws the kids into a wild spiral of adventures.

When Dr. Bunsen’s latest invention, a growth ray, hits several tiny animal toys, the mini beasts don’t just grow, they come to life! The DATA Set love their new tiny pets…until they continue to grow. Now there’s an actual elephant in the room—not to mention a chimp, a giraffe, and a dinosaur. When the beasts wander off, it’s up to the DATA Set to track them down. But will they catch the mini beasts before they grow big enough to start trouble in town?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The DATA Set chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!

Moving Target Series by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Moving Target Series
by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

(For children 8 and older; English only)

Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?

Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destiny--a legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie must--with the help of some friends--decipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.

Ambassador Series by William Alexander

Ambassador Series
by William Alexander

(For children 8 and older; English only)

Gabe Fuentes is in for the ride of his life when he becomes Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy in this alien sci-fi adventure from the National Book Award–winning author of Goblin Secrets.

Gabe Fuentes is reading under the covers one summer night when he is interrupted by a creature who looks like a purple sock puppet. The sock puppet introduces himself as the Envoy and asks if Gabe wants to be Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy. What sane eleven-year-old could refuse?

Some ingenious tinkering with the washing machine sends Gabe’s “entangled” self out to the center of the galaxy. There he finds that Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force—and Gabe himself is the target of an assassination plot. Exactly who wants him out of the way? And why?

Back home, Gabe discovers that his undocumented immigrant parents are in danger of being deported. Can Gabe survive long enough to solve two sets of “alien” problems? He runs for his life, through Minneapolis and outer space, in this fast-paced adventure from a National Book Award–winning author.

Lowriders in Space Series by Cathy Camper

Lowriders in Space Series
by Cathy Camper

(For children 8 and older; English/bilingual)

Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team's favorite cars of all are lowriders—cars that hip and hop, dip and drop, go low and slow, bajito y suavecito. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash—just what the team needs to open their own shop! ¡Ay chihuahua! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe? Striking, unparalleled art from debut illustrator Raul the Third recalls ballpoint-pen-and-Sharpie desk-drawn doodles, while the story is sketched with Spanish, inked with science facts, and colored with true friendship. With a glossary at the back to provide definitions for Spanish and science terms, this delightful book will educate and entertain in equal measure.

The Dead Club by Manuel Ruiz

The Dead Club
by Manuel Ruiz

(For children 8 and older; English only)

Grey Gomez is an eleven-year-old boy who is having a bizarre week. First he dies, then wakes up in the afterlife with a tomboy, a baseball player, a beauty queen and a science geek. They learn that Purgatory is broken and are soon thrust into a frantic search through the Underworld to find out why. With the help of an Oracle and the Grim Reaper himself, Grey and his new friends develop extraordinary abilities that aid them on their quest to discover the truth.

Diego's Dragon Series by Kevin Gerard

Diego's Dragon Series
by Kevin Gerard

(For children 8 and older; English or Spanish)

A Boy, A Bloodline, and A Magnificent Journey. An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. He shakes his hand and leaves him to his friends. The students crowd around Diego, asking for permission to hold it. After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead. Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth's connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide. As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny. In the climactic journey, he frees his people and suffers a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.

El Lago de los Milagros by Paola B. Sur

El Lago de los Milagros
by Paola B. Sur

(For tweens and teens; Spanish only)

El Lago de los Milagros, habla sobre la eterna lucha entre el bien y el mal, y de la intensa batalla interna que libramos todos los seres humanos y la capacidad de elegir nuestro propio destino, en un mundo donde los sueños son la verdadera razón de ser y los que nos dan la vida; Agatha, la gran Hechicera de Lubathar, tiene en sus manos la posibilidad de mantener el equilibrio, pero una amenaza pone en riesgo su tarea dejando a merced del destino las vidas de los seres humanos de Danvar y las criaturas de los sueños de Molthar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

6th Annual Invent It Challenge

One of my favorite parts of running MommyMaestra is being able to share fun opportunities for your children or students. I especially love it when there are contests that both homeschoolers and students in traditional classrooms are eligible to enter.

The Global Spark!Lab INVENT IT CHALLENGE is a competition that encourages students ages 5 to 21 around the world to find solutions to global problems. This year's Challenge invites kids to think about a real-world environmental issue and design a planet-friendly solution. When asked to identify and solve a global health issue, last year's winners created a wearable warning system that helps prevent frostbite, a massage rope to aid injured athletes, and an ingenious water filtration system.

The Challenge offers eligible children from around the world the opportunity to showcase their creative thinking on a global stage, with the opportunity to win exciting prizes such as:
  • a patent consultation from Nelson Mullins, 
  • LEGO kit, 
  • books from Smithsonian, 
  • and subscriptions to Cricket Media's Science Magazines.

Individual students and entire classrooms serving children between the ages of 5-21 are encouraged to participate.

As part of the Invent It Challenge, kids are guided to look at the world around them and think about the environmental challenges facing people and their families, communities and the world. Specifically, the Challenge encourages them to tackle issues such as water scarcity, climate change, air or water pollution, endangered species and natural resource loss.

I would love to see a Latino student win this year! You can find way more information on the Invent It website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Los Bloguitos: A Spanish Blog for Children

Do you know about Los Bloguitos? It is the most wonderful Spanish blog for children that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! Run by my Latino children's author René Colato Laínez, this blog is a delightful compilation of stories, poems, illustrations, and more written completely in Spanish for children.

Spanish-dominant and Spanish-learning children of all ages will benefit from the site, which boosts literacy skills and supports imaginative development through short stories, poems, word searches, comic strips, anecdotes, and fun activities. Small children will enjoy looking at the short videos and illustrations while having the poems and short stories read to them. Older kids can enjoy reading the excerpts for themselves or by contributing works of their own.

Yep, you read that last part right. Your Spanish-speaking students or children can submit their own work to be featured on the website.

In addition, there are many talented authors and illustrators who contribute to the site. So it is an excellent example of the diversity of the Latino voice and culture.

What a great tool this is for developing a Spanish learner's vocabulary, as well as a way to develop a child's confidence in writing and illustrating!

If your child has a piece published on Los Bloguitos, please let us know so we can share it!

Monday, January 16, 2017

PBS KIDS Launches New 24/7 Channel

Did you know that starting today, PBS KIDS is launching their new 24/7 channel? It's part of their mission to make high-quality, educational television available to families at any time of the day or night. 

Families will be able to access the new channel on-the-go with the digital live stream which complements on-demand clips and full episodes (these continue to be available for free on the PBS KIDS Video App and streaming via Viewers will be able to watch the station-branded live stream through and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices, tablets and over-the-top platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast.

To be honest, I'd much rather my kids be watching PBS KIDS than most of the junk that's on now. IF my kids are going to be watching TV, I'd rather it be educational. And fortunately, my kids love shows like WILD KRATTS and ODD SQUAD.

While it is important to limit your child's screen time, it sure is nice to know that there is a channel you can let them watch without having to monitor it for commercials and inappropriate shows. Thanks, PBS KIDS!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Triptych Activity {Bilingual}

On Monday, we'll be celebrating MLK Day across the country. His speech has been on my mind a lot the last few weeks. Last year, I created a writing activity for children in upper elementary/lower middle school. And earlier this week I shared a free, simple color-by-number activity for introducing Martin Luther King, Jr. to younger children in preschool and lower elementary.

Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Triptych Activity

But I have one more printable I want to share. It is designed to make children think about what they would like to see happen in our country. In this writing triptych, kids can read a little bit about Martin Luther King, Jr. and read some quotes from his famous speech. They can color it, and draw or paste a picture of themselves on one of the folds of the triptych. Then they can think about the quotes and write a few words (short paragraph) sharing their own hopes for this country.

Other MLK Resources

I would recommend that you pair this activity with one of the books from my list of 5 Books to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Read the book(s) first and then hand out the activity and give your student(s) time to complete it.

The activity is available in English and Spanish and you can find it here in my TpT store.


Other Posts You May Enjoy

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction & Fantasy

As my oldest child enters junior high and prepares for high school, I've been researching more and more upper-level materials. And I know that many MommyMaestra readers have more than one child, some with teens who are navigating high school. So when Wings Press reached out to me about reviewing their new title for young adults, I agreed.

This post uses Amazon affiliate links.

Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction & Fantasy is a collection of two dozen stories centered around Latino sci-fi. What was that? I imagine you asking. For most families, this is something rare and intriguing. Although there are more and more science fiction books or series for children emerging with Latino protagonists, this is not a genre commonly found on bookshelves in libraries or bookstores. This particular book is best geared for older teens and adults.

What makes this particular anthology so fascinating (aside from the incredible stories themselves) is the list of U.S.-based established and new authors who have contributed such mind-blowing pieces. They are diverse with roots in eight different Latino cultures. Ana Castillo, Kathleen Alcalá, and Junot Díaz are just a few of the talented authors whose work is featured in this book. Here's a peek at the table of contents to give you an idea of the contributors and the titles of their works to whet your appetite:

Editor Matthew David Goodwin, an assistant professor in English at the University of Puerto Rico, has done a remarkable job assembling this collection. Rich in science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism, these short stories will challenge the imaginations of readers. In one story, a woman travels to a small town in northern Spain to learn about her family's heritage only to be transported back in time. In another, a sheriff is called out to the outskirts of a small town in New Mexico to investigate a UFO siting. And in one tale, we get a glimpse into the lives of vampires. Latin American folklore shows up in a modern U.S. city and the result is creepy and mysterious. From Texas to the Dominican Republic to outer space, this book takes us on an adventure through space, time, and cultures.

Some of the tales left me spellbound and I couldn't stop reading until I had finished the story. But I'll admit that some left me scratching my head wondering what in the world just happened. Ha!

I love that the book is so creative in terms of presentation. Not all of the stories are written the same way. Some are short stories, others are poems, one is a play, and there is even a story told through pictures.

It's important to note that this book is not for younger children. A few of the stories have strong language and there are some graphic scenes.

But if you have a teen who reads and studies Latino literature, this is a must-have. The diverse voices and writing styles represented help young readers to explore literature and introduce them to the limitless imaginations of writers.

Best of all, it shows that the Latino experience can be expressed in any genre; there is no limit on authors and illustrators. And likewise, your child's culture goes with her no matter where her interests lie.

Homeschoolers and high school classrooms alike will benefit from incorporating this title into their required reading.

This book is available on Amazon:

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Spanish Interactive eBook: Coco y Coca tienen miedo

Today, I'm delighted to share with you a new book written by my friend, Carolina DuFault. If you don't follow her blog, La Clase de Sra. DuFault, you should stop by and check it out. On it, she shares tips and information for the Spanish classroom.

Carolina also spends a lot of her time creating printables and eBooks, such as this one.

Coco y Coca tienen miedo is an interactive book that engages your child. Every page invites the reader to use his imagination to draw the characters or setting. The books is carefully designed to develop a child's reading comprehension and creativity. I love that children can read the passage at the bottom of the page, and then fill in the blank spaces on the pages to complete the picture.

I especially love that this activity allows children to see their own ideas and drawings become part of a book. What a great way to nurture a future author or illustrator!

The story itself is simple: Coco and Coca are two Doberman Pinschers who are very friendly and smart. But sometimes they are misunderstood. This book talks about prejudice and gossip, which we often give more attention to than what we should. Young readers will go on Coco and Coca's adventures and learn that there is more to a story than what you might think!

You can find Coco y Coca tienen miedo (afflink) on Amazon. And to check out more of her wonderful printables, visit Carolina's TpT store.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Coloring Activity

Next Monday, we'll be celebrating the life of a man who fought valiantly for civil rights in a time of great upheaval. Despite the threats to his life, Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke up for the freedoms and equality of all people.

Now more than ever, we as a country need to remember those beautiful words that King spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. We must strive for a world in which all people are treated with respect and all children are appreciated for their unique qualities. We must reject actions and laws that discriminate or foster violence and hostility. And we must establish a country in which people are not judged based on their skin color, but by their actions alone.

Last year, I shared a writing activity for children in upper elementary/lower middle school. Based on King's speech, it only takes 20 - 30 minutes to complete and helps students to think about the question: What would make the world a better place?

This year, I have a simple color-by-number activity for introducing Martin Luther King, Jr. to younger children in preschool and lower elementary.

It's bilingual and it's free. Enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Free Download: Spanish Words Ending in "ción"

I'm so excited to welcome back MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! for another year!

This month's freebie from Spanish for You! is a set of worksheets that you can use to help your child with those pesky Spanish words that end in "ción."

This printable 2-page activity comes with an audio file for learning proper pronunciation. Your little Spanish learners will learn key words such as "educación," "celebración," and "acción."

Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

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!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Día de los Reyes Writing Activity

Does your family celebrate Día de los Reyes? If so, you may enjoy this printable Día de los Reyes writing craftivity! It's such a clever way to get your kids to practice writing and have fun doing it.

Día de los Reyes Magos Writing Activity

This writing activity available in my Día de los Reyes Decorations Packet. It includes cutouts of various colored sneakers and letter writing pages so students can write to the Reyes with a wish list in English or Spanish. Then they just roll it up and stick it in the sneaker that is pasted to a sheet of colored construction paper. It's super fun!

Supply List

For this craft, you probably have everything you need at home, but if you don't. You can click the affiliate links below to order them from Amazon.

Other Resources in the Decorations Packet

The Decorations Packet also includes:

• a festive banner to print and hang, 
• photo booth props, 
• and shoebox decorating sheets for those who put out a box of grass for the camels. Each sheet contains a different scene for children to color in, and the sheets are available for small and large boxes...

Other Posts for Día de los Reyes

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#TpTAñoNuevo Sale Ends TONIGHT

Hey! Have you heard? There's another awesome sale going on and it features top-notch products in Spanish from some really talented teachers on TpT.

Each teacher participating in the sale has listed a couple of their best Spanish materials at 50% off their normal price, and many have their entire stores on sale, too.

I've listed my Spanish Reading Comprehension Passages: 10 Latinas in History packet and La Casa del Árbol Activity Pages for Books 1 - 3 packet at half off, plus put my entire store on sale for 20% off.

And don't forget that I have some really wonderful products for available for learning about and celebrating Dia de los Reyes!

But here's the catch: The sale ends TONIGHT (Tuesday, Jan 3rd) at midnight!

So if you're looking to stock up for the year or just want a few products to make it through the week, now's your chance! 

Just head over to TpT and search the hashtag #TpTAñoNuevo or click here.

Happy shopping!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bilingual 2017 Resolution Chart for Kids

¡Próspero Año Nuevo!

2017 has arrived and I greet it with renewed energy and optimism. As I have done for the last couple of years, I'll be having my children sit down to think carefully about the coming year and set some goals for their education.

I want to start off the new year sharing with you a free download that will help guide your children and encourage them to set their own goals for the year. I think kids should have a vested interest in learning and by including them in the planning process, I think we empower them to see their education as not just something they have no control over, but a responsibility they enjoy.

Don't worry! The chart is simple and easy. It asks them to list three items in four different categories. This should be fun, so don't pressure them to write down the same responses that you would write. :)



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