Friday, June 30, 2017

KidVentor Toy Challenge

It's time to get your thinking caps on!

Fat Brain Toys is looking for the next best Fat Brain Toy and they're asking kids to invent it. They want a toy that is truly engaging and that promotes real play. No boring activity that other kids will lose interest in after 5 minutes.

Here are the dates you need to remember:
Contest opens: Tuesday, June 27th 
Contest closes: October 17th 
Finalists announced: October 18th 
Fan voting begins: October 24th
Winner announced: November 14th
Winner's toy presented at Toy Faire NY: Feb 17th, 2018

Two experts from Fat Brain Toys, two from MAKE, and two inventors from around the globe will judge the submissions and decide which one’s truly the best. And if they win, they’ll get…

  •  a $2,500 scholarship
  •  $500 in toys
  •  A Prize Package from MAKE
  •  Invention presented at the New York City Toy Fair and potentially sold around the world
To get started, visit Fat Brain Toys' KidVentor page to read the short list of a few things your kids should consider as they attempt to flesh out their big idea.

You can also submit your idea on this page.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 Fun Products to Get Kids Outside

Keeping kids active and entertained during the summer can be challenging. I try to send mine outside as much as possible. But sometimes I need fun games or other products to encourage them to spend that time outdoors. One of my go-to resources for inspiration is Hearthsong. This year is no exception.

Here are seven products I found on their site that are super fun. I'm listing these in order of age range, starting with products that the youngest kids can enjoy.

This post uses affiliate links.

Giant Kick Croquet Game

Giant Kick Croquet Game ($34.98) Ages 4+

Kickball plus croquet equals....super-sized outdoor active play! This outside game for kids combines the fun of running and kicking a ball (kickball), plus the added attraction of guiding it through a course of wickets (croquet). Practice your aim AND kicking skills while playing a fun game!

You can make the course as hard or as easy as you wish just by the way you space the seven wickets, so many ages and skill levels can get a kick out of it. Challenge a friend or a sibling, team up with mom or dad, and enjoy an afternoon of kicking and laughing!

The game comes with two giant 14" diam., cloth-covered balls, seven colorful wickets, and two finish flags. Some simple assembly required.

Inflatable Easel with Paints

Inflatable Easel with Paints ($49.98) Ages 3+

Nurture your child's inner Diego Rivera!! How fun is this inflatable easel? It's huge! Enjoy art anywhere—even (and especially) outdoors—with this heavy-duty vinyl inflatable easel. It makes a popular gathering place at birthday parties and play dates, where kids can paint (or finger paint) with abandon right on it, then just hose it off to be ready for another day. Includes four paints, four shaped sponges, and a paintbrush. Just inflate to start creating. Approx. 5½'H.

Jumbo 3-in-1 Adjustable Three-Square Game Set

Jumbo 3-in-1 Adjustable Three-Square Game Set ($139.00) Ages 6+

Combine three favorite classic games, oversized playing pieces, and an adjustable net that suits every age—and you've got the perfect backyard activity for the whole family! Large lightweight rackets (three included) are easy to grasp while players volley the oversized birdies (two included), volleyball or tennis ball.

The sturdy net forms three playing squares (each 6'W); double-up the net on one side for a more traditional two-player set up. And if you want to adjust the net for smaller players, simply remove the middle pole to shorten the height from 5½'-3¾'.

This portable game comes with a carrying bag so you can take it with you wherever the family wants to play—on vacation, at the beach or at a friend's house. Easy adult assembly required. Eight ground stakes and a needle pump are included. Please note—the net does not stand on its own and must be staked into the ground.

Hanging Lounge Chair

Hanging Lounge Chair ($89.98) Ages 4+

My kids so want this!! Reading outside in a hammock is one of life's greatest pleasures and a wonderful way to raise a reader.  Wherever your favorite place to hang out may be, this Hanging Lounge Chair will hang there to really get comfort off the ground. Made of softest polypropylene, it's still heavy duty. It’s a great way to stay home and get away to places where dreams are born. Approx. 54"L x 20"W.; 200 lbs. maximum weight limit. Adult installation required.

Pick-Up-And-Go Ping-Pong Table

Pick-Up-And-Go Ping-Pong Table ($189.00) Ages 6+

My kids LOVE ping-pong! I wish that I'd had this table for them when they were smaller. It would have provided endless hours of fun - year round, too! This favorite family game folds to go wherever the family goes, and sets up in seconds. Carefully crafted to replicate a regulation ping-pong table except for the size (which is close), it goes from a standing 59"L x 27" x 26" to a portable, packable 30"L x 27" x 5" in a snap. Includes net, two colorful paddles, and three balls, and weighs 29 lbs. Adult assembly required.

Portable 3-in-1 Pro-style Soccer Trainer Goal

Portable 3-in-1 Pro-style Soccer Trainer Goal ($169.00) Ages 5+

Goooool! Your young soccer player can play like a pro with the Goal for It!® 3-in-1 Pro-Style Soccer Trainer Goal. Turn your backyard into a soccer field!

Our training goal combines three ways to play—and practice—into one. With the depth of a professional-style soccer goal/cage, kids can use the cage to practice scoring goals, or easily switch out the panels to practice rebounder or target shots, improving their soccer skills while having fun!

Makes for engaging outdoor active play and encourages kids to hone soccer skills. Sturdy plastic stakes hold their ground against even the most determined play. Adult assembly required.

Deluxe Backyard Tetherball Game

Deluxe Backyard Tetherball Game ($169.00) Ages 5+

Now your kids can enjoy an exciting game of tetherball in the backyard with regulation equipment that's as safe and sturdy as the schools with our Deluxe Backyard Tetherball Game. This fun outdoor activity is great for kids of all ages and athletic abilities!

Kids serve and bat at the ball. Who can wrap the rope all the way around the pole first? Easy to set up, the institutional-quality, galvanized steel poles fit together with push-button ease; then plant right into the ground where they'll last a long time (ground sleeve included; suggest setting in concrete).

This game also includes a heavy-duty swivel attachment, an authentic ball (color will vary), and a pump—so let the fun begin! Needle to pump up the ball is located in the handle of the pump.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Monday, June 26, 2017

Read Around the World: Rooster-Gallo

For the last several years, I've enjoyed participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Read Around the World Summer Reading Series. It's an opportunity for your family to travel the globe from the comfort of your own home... or library! Over the summer, MKB blog members share their favorite book recommendations to help our children travel around the world through literature.

Today, it's my turn to share a book with you. My book's age range is 0 - 5 years old, so I chose this lovely book by the Argentine-Mexican poet, Jorge Luján.

You can purchase Rooster Gallo via The Latin Baby Book Club (aff link).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bilingual Homeschool Planner

One of my most popular downloads continues to be the free bilingual PreK homeschool planner that I shared several years ago to help parents get started with and keep track of lessons for their preschooler. So for a long time, I've been thinking about offering additional homeschooling printables for older students.

Over the years, I've used a lot of different ways to organize our lessons. I started out with a simple blank notebook that I wrote in - and it worked great. But as my kids grew, lessons became a little more complex. And then I won A Simple Plan planner from a friend. It was fantastic. I used that a few years. 

But sometimes, I needed something specific to supplement the planner. So I've been creating my own record keeping pages for years. I finally made time to expand them and make them available in both English and Spanish for MommyMaestra readers. For families thinking about homeschooling, this set of bilingual homeschool planning sheets will help you get started.

A Bilingual Homeschool Planner

My Bilingual Homeschool Planner is a set of 140 pages of record-keeping templates, including:

• cover pages
• binder spine label
• curriculum organizer
• extra media list
• subject overview
• weekly subject schedule
• monthly schedules
• attendance record
• field trip log
• reading lists
• weekly schedules
• subject schedules

Just select the pages that best suit your needs, print, and go! I recommend keeping them all together in a 3-ring binder. I've included cover pages in three different styles. All the pages are available in English and Spanish, as well as black-and-white or full color.

What is a growing bundle?

The best part of this packet is that the value of this bundle will increase as more resources are added. If you purchase it, you will be able to get any future additions to the bundle at no charge!

This planner is available for purchase in my shop.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

230 Juegos para toda la familia

During one of my trips to my favorite bookshop, I stumbled upon another treasure for bilingual families.

Published by Combel Editorial (out of Spain), 230 Juegos para toda la familia is a collection of hundreds of games for children to play alone or together with their friends and Spanish, of course! This is NOT a translation, but the real deal. I get requests all the time from parents and teachers looking for authentic books that were originally written in Spanish. This is one of those. It is probably best suited for children ages 4 to 10 years old.

It is perfect for nurturing your child's Spanish skills during the summer or year round! Inside this book you'll find more than 85 pages of:
  • patio games
  • strategy games
  • travel games
  • water games
  • outdoor games
  • magic games
  • seasonal games
  • party games
  • games of chance
  • card games
  • group games
  • crafts
  • track games
  • solitaires
  • tongue twisters and riddles
  • songs
  • cut-out games, and more!
The illustrations and layout make this book lots of fun for children to read, too. Take a look...

The final section includes templates, such as markers and game boards, for some of the games that your kids can cut out (or print and cut out, if you want to be able to use them over and over again).   

I bought all of the copies that the bookshop had so I can offer them to you. But I only have three copies. They are all in excellent condition, practically new, though the cover of one has some shelf wear. So if you are interested, you can purchase one from my shop

Monday, June 19, 2017

7 Other Construction Kits for LEGO Lovers

One of my biggest challenges during the summer is keeping my kids off tech. That means finding projects to keep them busy. If this sounds familiar to you, then you'll enjoy my posts this week with ideas and products that are geared to challenge and engage!!

I'm listing these in order of age range, starting with products that the youngest kids can enjoy.

This post contains affiliate links.

Lincoln Logs 100th Anniversary Tin (Ages 4+)

I can't believe that Lincoln Logs have been around for 100 years! That just proves how special this product is. This set is made entirely of wood, just like the originals.

If there's one thing that doesn't change, it's history... and Old West play! This gift tin is perfect not only for this generation, but the sturdy logs can be passed down! Start a family tradition, or add onto a classic set, because these Lincoln Logs are compatible with other Lincoln Logs sets. The included design is for the old Meeting House from 1925. A thriving frontier town needs a great log-built Meeting House. Get the roof in place before winter storms and torrential rains hit the village! Put together hitching posts so the horses don't wander off into the wilderness.


GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank (aff) (Ages 4+)

Do you have a younger engineer you want to encourage? Think GoldiBlox! In this kit, Goldie has to find a way to give her dog, Nacho, a bath. One problem: Nacho hates water and loves being a dirty dog. After many tries, Goldie finally comes up with the perfect contraption: A dunk tank! Introduces the real-life STEM concept of hinges and levers. Designed for tinkering and creative exploration, GoldieBlox toys build spatial skills and confidence in problem-solving. All GoldieBlox toys are inter-compatible.

Ruby Rails Sky-High Cable Car (aff) (Ages 6+)

Help Ruby Rails, Goldie’s BFF, build a gondola ride and soar high above Bloxtown! Combine plastic construction pieces and durable chipboard to construct the two towers, and connect them with a pulley to send Ruby swinging right over the kitchen sink. Introduces the real-life STEM concept of tension.

Designed for tinkering and creative exploration, GoldieBlox toys build spatial skills and confidence in problem-solving.  All GoldieBlox toys are inter-compatible. Comes with 32 pieces, including Ruby mini-figurine. Hundreds of how-to building videos online to help spark creativity in young engineers.


14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit (Ages 8+)

This kit is recipient of the "Best Green Products Award 2013" from Dr Toy and Creative Child Magazine has anointed it with "Top Toy of the Year Award" and "Kids Product of the Year Award." This robot can be transformed into 14 different robot modes which include a multitude of comical and functional movements. The user can easily change from a Wagging-Tail Dog to Running Beetle to Walking Crab to Surfer to Speedster to Zombie Chaser! The robot kit provides unique accessories and parts that make the robot move on land and water.


These Engino construction kits because I have a major LEGO-lover who enjoys building things. I love that these are not gender specific! Boys and girls alike will love these projects. 

STRUCTURES: Buildings and Bridges Set (Ages 8+)

Learn all about buildings and how they literally support our lives! Construct different types of bridges and find out how their architecture design provides massive weight support. Discover all the types of forces applied and how engineers manage to reduce their effects.

Build 9 working models such as a house, a pyramid and various types of bridges: beam, arch, truss, cable-stayed and suspension bridge.

Simple Machines (Ages 8+)

The SIMPLE MACHINES set is a combination of the basic 5 sets of "Discovering STEM" series and covers all Simple Machines mechanisms. These mechanisms offer a mechanical advantage and are crucial elements of many machines and devices. They are designed to multiply or reduce force, increase or decrease speed and convert one type of motion to another.

Build 60 working models that cover the subjects of levers, the wedge, the wheel and axle, the screw, the inclined plane, the pulley, as well as the more advanced gears and linkages!

Gears and Worm Drives (Ages 8+)

Learn how Gears can easily reduce or increase speed, change force or transfer motion from one position to another. Discover how Worm drives are used to greatly reduce rotational speed and how screws can convert rotational motion to linear, while greatly increasing force.

Build 12 working models such as an experimental crane, a gearbox, a carousel, a helicopter, a screw press and a crane with a rotating arm.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Friday, June 16, 2017

We Are the Dinosaurs Children's Book by Laurie Berkner

We Are the Dinosaurs book
This is a sponsored book post. Affiliate links may be used.

YEARS ago, when my children were toddlers, we sometimes watched Noggin when we went to visit my mom (she had satellite). I only remember one or two shows, but the main thing that stands out in my mind are the music videos we used to watch that featured Laurie Berkner

We LOVED them. 

The music and the short music videos made my kids jump up and dance around like little madmen. Even I knew the words by heart...and not in an annoying way. In fact, we enjoyed them so much, I almost jumped for joy when I found her CD in Target.

Since then, those kids have grown into tween/teens and their interests have moved on, but I still recommend her to parents of toddlers and preschoolers because her music hasn't lost any of its magic and remains a favorite of parents across the U.S.

In fact, Laurie is still going strong and released a new album last year.

But what I think is even more exciting, is that she just released her first children's book based on one of those first songs that I remember so well. 

We Are the Dinosaurs (aff link), has the most adorable illustrations featuring young dinosaurs who play and eat and sleep their way from page to page. Before you know it, your child will be marching and stomping all around the room with them!

If you are already familiar with the song, you'll love seeing those lyrics spread across the pages of this book. But you'll also enjoy reading aloud the additional text which brings the story of these little dinosaurs to life. 

We Are the Dinosaurs book

We Are the Dinosaurs book

We Are the Dinosaurs book

Probably the only thing that would make this book better would be if they had included a CD with the actual song. But no worries! You can always watch the music video...

...or better yet - buy the album!!

Dinosaur Shape Matching Activity

And to add some extra fun to this book (as if the song and book weren't enough!!), here's a free printable for your preschooler! I think it would be a great activity to have your child do after reading the book together. Can they match the shapes?

If you want even MORE DINOSAUR activity ideas, don't forget my post with 17 Dinosaur-Themed Crafts for Kids, It has tons of great ideas.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Spanish Video for Babies & Toddlers: Vocales

This is a sponsored post.

Spanish is a very phonetic language, and words are formed around the sounds that the vowels make. Therefore, it is very important to learn those sounds early. Fortunately, the vowels in Spanish always make the same sound, no matter where they are located within a word. So when José Dominguez listened to his children speaking Spanish, he had an idea for a product to help children learn proper pronunciation.

José is a physical therapist who is raising his four kids in a bilingual home. He is originally from Venezuela and his wife is from Pennsylvania. But he noticed that his kids were struggling with learning the pronunciation of Spanish words.

"Even though I speak only Spanish at home (and my wife only English), my children's pronunciation has never been that of a native speaker due to the way they make the sounds of the vowels," José says. Instead, he noticed that the way they pronounced their Spanish vocales was the same sound made by the English vowels, probably because they were exposed to those sounds more often than the Spanish sounds.

So what did he do? He created an animated video to help young children learn the proper sounds of the vowels in Spanish. I absolutely love it when parents see a need and create products or services that help not only their own children, but others, too!!

Designed for children ages 0 - 5, the video makes learning the vowel sounds fun through colorful characters, original songs, and repetition.

I, personally, don't encourage parents to let their babies watch TV, but you could certainly download the video to your computer and simply play the music in the background to help train your child's ear to the Spanish sounds! And perhaps, José will consider making a CD or MP3 version available, too? But for toddlers, this video reminds me of something they might see on Sesame Street or PBS KIDS.

If you have noticed your own children pronouncing Spanish words with an English accent, this might be a great tool for you to use. The DVD is available for $10.99, or you can go download a digital version now from their website.

Here's a peek at the video. As you can see, it is professionally done!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Free Download: Spanish Summer Sentence Pieces

Spanish Summer Sentence Pieces Printable Activity

By now all of you should be done with school... unless, of course, you homeschool through the hot summer months so that you have more time to play and enjoy the cooler weather during the rest of the year.

Regardless of whether or not you're kids are in school during June, July, and August, summer is an important time to keep practicing those Spanish speaking skills. Or maybe you've decided to learn Spanish as a family during the summer! Either way, I strongly recommend MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! Their free download this month for MommyMaestra readers is all about summer sentences. Your young Spanish learner will discover new vocabulary related to summer with this fun activity.

This post contains affiliate links.

Printable Activity for Building Sentences in Spanish 

This printable 4-page activity comes with an audio file for learning proper pronunciation. The activity includes vocabulary cards and a worksheet, plus directions for how to use the cards to create sentences in Spanish, how to play the Memory game, or the super sentence challenge game.

Tools to Supplement This Activity

You may find these tools helpful for extending the learning and use them with this activity. 

Juego de palabras game

Magnetic Poetry in Spanish Kit

A Budget-Friendly Spanish-Learning Curriculum

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!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fun Printables for Bilingual Summer Learning

MommyMaestra Summer Fun Sale
Are you looking for games and activities to keep your kids busy this summer? Maybe you're looking for ways to keep your kids off tech. Or maybe you need a boredom buster for a long road trip. Or maybe you are an educator looking for materials to use in your summer program.

Whatever your situation, I hope you'll consider some MommyMaestra printables that are available in both English and Spanish! Great for ESL, Spanish learners, and bilingual children looking for fun activity sheets, here are a few of my most popular products for summer. They are a great way to sneak in some learning and avoid summer brain drain!

Psst! Don't miss my Summer Fun Sale and get 30% off all my digital downloads this weekend only! Just use the code SUMMERFUN.

Bilingual Travel Games from MommyMaestra

Taking a road trip? My Bilingual Travel Games are loads of fun! The set includes the following games in English and Spanish:

  • Red Car, Blue Car 
  • The License Plate Game
  • Travel Bingo
  • Rhyme Time
  • Word Puzzles
  • Search & Find
  • and more!

La Casa del Arbol Activity Packet from MommyMaestra

Summer time just seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to The Magic Tree House series... in English OR Spanish! I have several versions of this printable packet available. It includes activities to supplement your child's reading of the first three books in the series. You can get the English version, the Spanish one, or the combo packet.

Lucha Libre Coloring Pages from MommyMaestra

Looking for some culture? Introduce your children to one of the most popular Mexican sports! My Lucha Libre Coloring Booklet includes text that describes the most popular elements associated with this Mexican version of wrestling.

Alphabet Lotería from MommyMaestra

You might also love my Alphabet Lotería Activity Pack! It comes with a brief history of Lotería, ways to play, ways to win, and 12 tablas (game boards) – 6 in English, and 6 in Spanish. I did my best to choose items that reflected the Latino culture and that began with the same letter in both English and Spanish. :)

For a dip into art history, consider this Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera packet. It features a kid-friendly biography of the couple and their marriage, reading comprehension quiz, short reading passages about each artist’s style of art, activity pages for creating a self-portrait and a mural, and recommended reading to extend the learning.

10 Latinas in History from MommyMaestra

And last, these reading comprehension passages on 10 Latinas in History is super popular! It comes with one-page reading passages about the following 10 famous Latinas:
  • Ellen Ochoa
  • Isabel Allende
  • Dara Torres
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Dolores Huerta
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Rita Moreno
  • Sor Juana de la Cruz
I’ve also included reading comprehension worksheets that focus on facts and vocabulary from the passages, a matching activity, dictionary reference, and complete the sentence. An answer key is included.

These are only a few of the fun products available in my shop or via my TpT shop. I hope you'll take a look around. And if you purchase any, I'd love to see how you use them with your kids! Share a photo on the MommyMaestra FB page!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bug Camp 2017

Bug Camp 2017

Lots of free activities and online camps are happening this summer and I'm looking forward to sharing a lot of them with you so that you can find the one that best suits your family. I've already told you about the free summer reading program for Latino children. Now I'm happy to tell you about another!

Cricket Media's BUG CAMP 2017 offers nine weeks of reading-focused fun, from downloadable stories and games, to recipes and easy craft ideas, and outdoor activities, all crafted by Cricket Media magazine editors for various age and grade levels.

Bug Camp 2017

BUG CAMP 2017 is a feature of Cricket Media's new Keeping Tech in Check initiative, launched this spring in conjunction with the Parents' Choice Foundation. A "Random Activity Generator" at will lead to even more ideas for family activities this summer. With the tagline, "a balance, not a ban," Keeping Tech in Check offers a wealth of tools, tips, and resources to help families find the right balance between technology and real-life experiences.

If you have a young nature lover, then this may be the program for you!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Sonrisas Spanish for Elementary & Middle School

Sonrisas Spanish for Elementary & Middle School
This is a sponsored post with Sonrisas Spanish. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A little over a week ago, I shared with you a new preschool Spanish curriculum available from Sonrisas Spanish. Today, I'm happy to follow up with a description of their elementary and middle school curricula!

Name of program: Sonrisas Spanish: Levels 1, 2, & 3
Target age: Prek - 8th grade
Amount of materials: Moderate
Price: $389 - $575

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to review Sonrisas' Level 1 curriculum. Since then, the creators have continued to improve and expand their program to include two additional levels for older students. So I when they asked me to share an update of their program, I was happy to do so.

Sonrisas Level 1 ($489.00) was designed for students in PreK through 5th grade. It comes with:
  • Teacher's Manual
  • Student Portfolio (workbook)
  • Level 1 Resource CD
  • 2 CDs w/lyrics
  • Calendar Time Guide (see my review here)
  • 69 small, full-color posters
  • and 4 large, classroom posters.
There are 35 lessons in all that cover basic Spanish concepts and vocabulary. The teacher's manual is EXCELLENT; it's very thorough. Beginning with the methodologies behind the curriculum (together, the creators have more than 30 years experience teaching Spanish), the manual also covers the best practices for using the curriculum, how to use the lesson plans, song lists, reproducible templates, and much more.

Each lesson comes with...

The lesson overview 

It is structured around three main sections: Circle Time, Story Time, and Art Time. During Circle Time, children learn new vocabulary and phrases. They listen to songs and/or poems. Story Time is (you guessed it!) all about getting a chance to listen to a read aloud related to the material presented. (The books are sold separately.) And finally, Art Time allows students to express their creativity and create a hands-on project related to the topic of the day. 

The lesson procedure 

This section gives you more detailed instructions, including what supplies you'll need, how to organize your lesson, and the order in which you should teach each activity.

The art project procedure 

This is pretty self-explanatory, but it lists the materials you'll need and the instructions for completing the activity.

The Student Portfolio is a valuable resource, too. Each lesson comes with a student assessment page, an activity page, and (my favorite part!) a Home Report page that you can print and send home to parents with suggestions on how parents can enrich their child's learning at home.

Sonrisas Level II ($575.00) is for intermediate students in 2 - 6 grades. It is set up with the same format, plus an additional section. Partner Time allows your students to interact with each other and practice their newly learned vocabulary and skills. There are 37 lessons in total for this level.

Again, the Student Portfolio is an important addition for reinforcing the concepts that are learned in class and allowing students to practice outside of the classroom. It is similar to the one included in Level 1, with the addition of one more type of page (to complement the additional section in the lessons): Partner Time. 

Sonrisas Level III ($389.00) is best suited for elementary and middle school students in 4th - 8th grades. This level deviates quite a bit from the others. It is definitely geared to older children. Instead of individual lessons, this program is divided into units that focus on specific grammar concepts. Each unit also features a specific cultural tradition. So for example, Unit 3 covers the verbs ser and estar while exploring el coquí from Puerto Rico.

Each unit is divided into 10 lessons. There is also a greater emphasis on written Spanish. Each lesson opens with a Calendar Time, then moves on to a TPR activity and then spelling. After that, each lesson has a different activity.

For example, the final activities in Unit 3 are: 
L1 - Culture Introduction (reading about el coquí)
L2 - grammar lesson
L3 - students write a part 1 of a story
L4 - continues working on part 1 story
L5 - begin working on part 2 of story writing
L6 - continue writing part 2
L7 - begin writing part 3 of the story
L8 - continue writing part 3
L9 - talks about getting the meaning of a word or phrase from the context in which it was used
L10 - ends with Partner Time

The Student Portfolio is more advanced and includes six different types of pages: 
  • Grammar Lesson
  • Grammar Exercise
  • Communication Strategy
  • Reading 
  • Partner Time
  • Assessments
  • and Home Reports
Overall, it is obvious to me that a lot of thought and work has gone into creating this program for elementary and middle school students. The Teachers Guides are comprehensive providing the teacher with everything they'd need to teach Spanish for a whole school year. 


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