Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Free Download: The Letter "E"

This month, we continue with our free downloads featuring the vowels of the Spanish alphabet.  MommyMaestra's sponsor, Spanish for You!, shares with you an easy mini-lesson on the letter "E."

This 3-page mini-lesson will help your young Spanish learner use and pronounce the letter "E." The file includes an introduction and two storyboard activities. As always, it comes with the audio file to help you learn proper pronunciation.

As a bonus, check out these books about the Spanish vowels!

Remember! 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!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New PBS KIDS Show Helps Nurture Creativity in Preschoolers

When my kids were little, being creative was easy. All I had to do was keep my art cabinet stocked full of basic goodies: drawing paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, rulers, glitter, pipe cleaners, scissors, glue... yada-yada. My house was full of art, inventions, crafts, and such.

But I've noticed that as they grew, these items were used less and less. Today, I usually have to give my kids specific projects to get them to ask for art materials.

According to some information from PBS KIDS that I read, creativity "defines our ability to be successful in the workplace, solve complex problems, enhance our socio-emotional skills, and craft several stories a day." The first workplace spaces that popped into my mind were PR firms, graphic design studios, and publishing houses. But if you really, really think about it, pretty much EVERY workspace benefits from employees who can solve complex problems and be creative in their day-to-day work.

The same information sheet said that "kids lose their creativity as they age." And that "the creativity scores of American children have consistently cropped every year for the last 28 years." How sad is that? And how do I stop that from happening with my own kids?

I think, that with my older two, I'm still motivating them to be creative with various projects and art class. My son also has a room FULL of LEGOS and spends lots of time creating his own masterpieces.

But now I have a little baby and I am giving this whole issue more thought. Starting when your kids are young is important. Do you nurture your preschooler/elementary child's creativity?

PBS KIDS is thinking about this issue, too. And tomorrow, Monday, February 19th, they are launching their first series dedicated entirely to the arts and creativity: PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC! Based on the best-selling book series by Victoria Kann, the show follows the adventures of Pinkalicious, her brother Peter, and their neighborhood friends. It focuses on encouraging its young viewers to engage in the creative arts and self-expression.

Pinkalicious is an artist at heart who imagines creative possibilities everywhere she looks. The show is designed to help your preschooler explore the arts with:

  • Creative Problem Solving: the characters model creative problem solving and the power of teamwork.
  • Everyday/Everywhere Art: Art and beauty can be found in everyday objects and in every moment throughout the day.
  • Community Through Art: The arts help define communities, connect neighborhoods, and help us learn about each other and the larger world.
  • Communicating Through Art: Artistic activities contribute to learning skills, helping children communicated thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

I think that as a society, we are starved for creativity. You can see evidence of it in the explosion of adult coloring books, the zentangle craze, and the renewed interest in needlework. Just walk into any bookstore and you'll see arts and crafts books in the entryway prominently displayed.

I see it in myself all the time now. When I was younger, I happily flitted from one creative project to the next. But over the last 15 years or so, I became so focused on mothering, I forgot about my own creative needs. That's why I love creating printables so much now. And I want to help my kids nurture their own creative spirits and not get lost like I was for years.


Four Ways You Can Nurture Your Child's Creativity

  1. Draw: Research indicates a connection between seemingly distracted scribbling and greater info retention and creativity.
  2. Mold: Making things with your hands is a large part of finding your flow, and flow is highly correlated with happiness!
  3. Look: Changing your perspective to see in a different light can lead to new ideas (try the rose-colored glasses!)
  4. Play: Music can create happiness, which can broaden your mindset and enhance your desire to explore

So if you have a preschooler, be sure to check out the new PBS KIDS show, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC tomorrow, Monday, February 19th, on your local PBS station!

Disclosure: I am a PBS VIP. I received information about the new show and the products shown above for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

CLEP Study Guides for High School Students

(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Study.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Did you know that your high schooler can take a test that would count as college credit if he or she passed? Did you know that a great way to save money when sending your kid to college is to go ahead and have them earn college credits so that they don't have to retake basic classes in math, history, literature, foreign language, and more?

Two ways to do this is by taking AP or CLEP exams. You may be familiar with the AP program since many high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes. At the end of the school year, students can take the 3-hour test in May.

But there's also the College Level Exam Program (CLEP), which are generally considered to be a better fit for self-motivated students with strong study skills, as they will need to prepare for the material on their own. Unlike the AP Exam, CLEP is offered year-round. This means that students may take as long as they need to master their chosen field or skill set. And for these reasons, I highly recommend them for homeschool students.

CLEP Study Guides

Today's post is for all of my readers with children in (or going into) high school. I frequently get questions about preparing high school students for college. So when Study.com approached me about sharing their CLEP Study Guides, I agreed to take a look and see if it is a good fit for MommyMaestra readers...and it definitely is!

You may or may not know that CLEP exams are prior learning assessments offered by The College Board that allow students to earn real college credit just by passing a test. Study.com's product includes comprehensive study guides and practice tests to help students prepare for these exams, earn that credit, and save money on their college education.

(Please note that College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which is not affiliated with Study.com!)

At the time of this post, Study.com has 31 CLEP Study Guides covering Business, Composition & Literature, Foreign Language, History & Social Studies, and Science & Mathematics. There are thousands of prep questions, more than 3,000 prep video lessons, and help available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So let's take a look at the actual courses. Just for haha's I selected Spanish because I figured that would interest many of you.

There are three tabs for each course:
  1. Overview
  2. Syllabus
  3. Exams
The Overview section gives you a course summary and lists the actual chapters for the entire course. Each chapter contains a certain number of lessons (the number of lessons varies according to the chapter topic).

What I like best on this page, though, is the Course Progress bar that shows you how much you've accomplished and how much you have left to go. And to pick up where you left off, you can just click on the video next to the bar to resume your lessons in order.

The Syllabus section not only tells you about the course but also about the actual CLEP exam, and how you can register to take it.

And finally, under the Exams tab, you'll find practice tests for each chapter of the course, as well as a study guide and test prep for the actual CLEP. For example, in the Spanish course, there are 34 chapters that you cover, and therefore, 34 practice tests that you can take.

Once you finish, you will also receive a certificate that proves you completed the course.

One of Study.com's company goals is to help students earn the most credit possible, and their CLEP product is a great avenue to help them further that goal by helping students pass their CLEP exams so they can earn transferable college credit at a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost compared with taking a course at a traditional college or university.

As far as pricing goes, it appears that there are three subscription levels. Take a look:

You can try it out yourself with their five-day free trial. And I do encourage you to try it. But be sure to cancel your subscription if you decide it's not for you or your child.

As a homeschooler, I really like the fact that the courses are self-paced. So my kids can move as slowly or as quickly as they'd like. If my daughter has time to do 6 lessons one day, but only time to watch one lesson video the next, then it's not a problem.

My oldest child will be starting high school next year. Before we moved back to Texas, we had planned to enroll her in early college so that she would have already completed two years of college by the time she finished high school. Now that we've moved away from that opportunity, I'm exploring other options to help us get those courses completed and out of the way so that a) we can save money when it is time for her to go to college, and b) allow her to focus primarily on the courses that interest her once she gets there. Taking the CLEP tests is one way we can do that and using Study.com's CLEP Study Guides is definitely worth the time and money.

On a side note, I happened to notice that Study.com isn't just about CLEP and college prep. While looking through their courses, I found that they offered lessons for K - 12, College, and Graduate & Post Grad. I'm looking forward to exploring this more with my 6th grader. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Free Bilingual Valentine's Day Bookmarks

Free Bilingual Valentine's Day Bookmarks

Aren't these bilingual Valentine's Day bookmarks absolutely adorable?!? And they're free to download!

This post contains affiliate links.

Subscribe to the MommyMaestra Newsletter

Do you subscribe to the MommyMaestra newsletter? If you do, be on the lookout for this month's issue. There's a free download of these fun, bilingual bookmarks available just for you!

If you haven't signed up yet, I hope you'll consider doing so! I send out monthly updates sharing new printables and the occasional freebie. ;)

Bilingual Bookmarks to Celebrate Valentine's Day

If you'd like to get your free download of these super cute bilingual bookmarks, click this link to sign up!

What You'll Need for This Activity

Here are the supplies you need for this printable activity:

How to Use Them

This low-prep printable activity is super fun for students. 
  1. Just print on plain cardstock the version of your choice (English or Spanish). 
  2. Then cut out the bookmarks using a paper cutter (fastest) or scissors. 
  3. Next, have your students color in the images.

  4. (Optional) Cut out rectangular pieces of cardstock just 1/4th of an inch larger than the bookmarks to use as a background frame. Red and pink are great colors to choose. Or have your students choose the color of their choice and measure and cut the backer, if they are old enough.
  5. Center the colored layer on the backer piece and glue together.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: ALMA and How She Got Her Name

ALMA and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

I am always looking for books that empower children or that help kids feel better about themselves. So I absolutely fell in love with this new book out by Juana Martinez-Neal! The storyline is one to which I'm sure many children can relate.

This review contains affiliate links.

When I was growing up, I was always sad that my name was so simple: Monica Olivera. No middle name. No middle NAMES. Nada. I was envious of my Spanish cousins who had longer names. I felt that I had gotten cheated of picking who I wanted to be. Oh, eventually I grew up and found comfort and love in my given name. But I do remember those long ago days, especially when I'm doing research for packets that feature Hispanic men and women. (Did you know that Celia Cruz's real name was Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso?)

Enter ALMA and How She Got Her Name (aff). The story is about young Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. Phew! That's a mouthful, no? Poor Alma feels like it is too long. Until her Daddy begins to tell her the story of her name and the remarkable people whom she is named after.

Does your child have several names? If so, have you ever taken the time to sit and tell them the story behind their name? Maybe you named them after a close friend or a beloved family member. Maybe you named them after a place that is special to you. Or perhaps you chose a name based on its meaning. Whatever the case, I feel like children want to know why their names are special to their parents.

This book is Martinez-Neal's debut picture book as an author-illustrator. And, yes, the illustrations are really, very good. The careful use of color makes the images pop! And I absolutely love, love, LOVE how culture permeates the pictures in this children's book and Spanish words can be found throughout. Here's a peek:

The best part of this book, in my opinion, is that it is available in both English and Spanish. What a treasure this would be for home libraries!

Teachers: This book works well with lessons and unit studies about Hispanic culture, families, Hispanic family traditions, meanings behind names, family stories, family history, father-daughter relationships, self-worth, and more.

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bilingual Valentine's Day Storybook

In need of a quick, noprep bilingual printable for Valentine's Day? Check out my Bilingual Valentine's Day Storybook!

Boost your child's vocabulary and reading skills with this Valentine's Day storybook. This story lists things that children often enjoy on this holiday, so the student will enjoy coloring while learning the words for "balloons/globos," "candy/dulces," "hugs/abrazos" and more.

NOTE! This file contains THREE books:
• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ELL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bilingual Winter Games Puzzle Cards

Are you looking for materials to increase your child's vocabulary in English or Spanish (or both!)? Check out my bilingual Winter Games puzzle cards. They come in three versions: bilingual, English only, or Spanish only.

Simply print on cardstock and cut the cards out. Then have your students find the matching halves. Or, if you have the time, print the black-and-white versions and allow your students to color in the images before cutting out the cards.

You can find your copies in my TpT store or MommyMaestra shop.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dual Immersion Parent Workshop

Today's post is for my California readers! Anyone in the Redondo Beach area? If so, check this out.

This coming Saturday, Latina Mothers Collaborative is spearheading a workshop for parents raising bilingual children. The workshop will have three sessions (see descriptions below) that address how to incorporate Spanish into your child's education. The sessions are being led by a group of amazing women who are empowering Latina moms through their work and products.

Registration is limited and on a first come first serve basis. Every family will receive a goody bag with treats, information, and valuable resources for bilingual education for your family. Psst!! It includes a copy of my children's book, Linda and Reuben Learn at Home, thanks to the publisher, Read Conmigo!

Each participant will also receive an entry for RAFFLE PRIZES!!! (I sure wish I lived in Redondo Beach!)

Please, RSVP via email to latinamothersc@gmail.com to receive your registration link.
Price: $25 per couple
Date: Saturday, February 10th, 2018
Time: 2:00pm-5:30pm
Location: My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids
1603 Aviation Blvd
Suite #11/12
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Here's more information from Latina Mothers Collaborative:

Ever wonder how to start or incorporate Spanish into your child's education? We all know that education styles are NOT a one size fits all. @latinamotherscollaborative, @myescuelita, & Multilingual Learning Network brings you three different workshops that will include the following:

Spanish Enrichment

Irma Vazquez from @myescuelita will review best practices in second language learning and how to create a bilingual setting for Spanish enrichment at home.

Spanish Homeschooling

@carolina_adame will facilitate a conversation around Spanish curriculum and bilingual best practices in a homeschooling setting. She will explore materials and supplies needed to enhance your program and create a network of parents and homeschoolers to support your goals.

Dual Immersion Programs in Public Schools

Dr. Olga Grimalt will facilitate a discussion around the process of applying for Dual Immersion programs in the surrounding areas, Olga will highlight and describe features unique to Dual Immersion within the public school system. She will share a roadmap for various pathways to this goal.

Arroz Con Pollo and Apple Pie author, Maritere Rodriguez Bellas (@latinaboomermom), will also be on hand to answer questions and enhance the conversation around common experiences that parents face as newly arrived families or as established families... books will be available for purchase! Take advantage of this opportunity and have Maritere sign your copy!

This will be the first of many workshops that the organizers are planning. I hope you all have the opportunity to attend if you are in the area! Let me know how it goes. ;)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Spanish Books about the Olympics

Of course, I can't share books about the Olympics without including some that are in Spanish. Unfortunately, there just aren't that many books on this subject available for kids. :(

However, I did find a few that might be fun for children. Pay special attention to the second recommendation. It's not a translation, but a book written in Spanish by a native speaker. The last two are for older students, but they look fun, too. You can ask for any of these at your local library, but I'm not sure they'd have them. So I've included my affiliate links below so you can purchase your copy from Amazon. Please note that I haven't read any of these, excpept for the original English version of the Magic Tree House book. Therefore, I've shared the book descriptions directly from Amazon for you to read.

La casa del árbol # 16 La hora de los Juegos Olímpicos

by Mary Pope Osborne
In adventure 16, Jack and Annie travel to Ancient Greece to see the Olympic Games. There is only one problem -- no girls are allowed in! Jack knows his sister will not take no for an answer. Will she find a way in?

Ages 6 - 9

Leo y los juegos olímpicos

by Christian Gálvez
The Olympic torch, which marks the start of the Youth Olympic Games in Rome, has arrived in Da Vinci. But something terrible has occurred: someone has given a strange drink to the best athletes in the city, putting them into a deep sleep they can't wake up from. Who is behind this mysterious case? Leo and his gang must take their place in the Olympics while trying to find the guilty party. Will they be able to win a medal to top it off?

Ages 6 - 9

1.000 datos locos de los Juegos Olímpicos

by Aníbal Litvin 
íNo te pierdas este libro! Un recorrido por la historia de los Juegos Olímpicos, desde sus inicios hasta hoy, en el que encontrarás información sobre disciplinas, participantes medallas y situaciones curiosas.

Ages 12+

Olimpikedia: Guía para ser un experto en Juegos Olímpicos

by Víctor Andrés Pochat 
Olimpikedia es una guía ágil, dinámica y entretenida para entender los pormenores de cada deporte olímpico. Está formada por un capítulo para cada deporte que contiene: formato y reglamento; medallero histórico; países que lo dominan; el trasfondo político y social que influyó en su desarrollo.

Una vez que lo haya consultado, el lector sabrá, no sólo quiénes son los deportistas más laureados de la historia, sino que también conocerá los secretos de la imbatibilidad de Corea del Sur en arquería femenina, a qué se debe que los keniatas deslumbren en atletismo o por qué China acapara el tenis de mesa. También se sorprenderá al enterarse de que la pluma de bádminton es más veloz que la pelotita de tenis, que Brasil obtuvo cinco títulos mundiales de fútbol pero nunca el oro olímpico, por qué la bandera de los Juegos Olímpicos tiene seis colores o cómo el nadador Michael Phelps ganó más medallas de oro que el 80% de los países del planeta en toda su historia.

Ages 12+


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