Thursday, March 26, 2020

GIVEAWAY: José-Luis Orozco's ¡Muévete!

Friends, I have a special treat for you today! The talented musician, José-Luis Orozco has a new album out. ¡Muévete!: Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body (aff link) is energetic, fun, and the perfect way to get your little ones moving at home!

José-Luis created this album with your child's fitness in mind. With each and every song, children are encouraged to get up and move. They clap, stomp, dance their way through each melody. There are nine songs sung twice; once in English and once in Spanish. You'll recognize a couple of traditional ones such as Los Pollitos. But I'll admit it, my favorite is Monica!

José-Luis is just so energetic and his humor is infectious. You can tell that he truly loves and enjoys singing and dancing with the children. And they love him, too, as you can see from the video below.

What I like best, I think, is that he has been true to children's education from the very beginning. His songs teach children so many important skills. From numbers to colors to science and more, his songs are a valuable addition to a child's elementary education. I'm not the only one to say so, either.

Did you know that three times in his life, he's been invited to sing at the White House? And he has sung for several Central and South American presidents!

Today, he's released the first music video to go with his new album. It's fun to watch AND sing along! Check it out and share it with your children...

The Giveaway

José-Luis has kindly offered to send a copy of his new CD to two (2!) MommyMaestra readers.

To enter the giveaway, please use the rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Free Download: Bilingual Alphabet Pages

Many parents are opting to preschool their children at home. So much has happened in recent years -- maybe too much for some of us. They/we are taking the extra time to spend with their little ones and keep them safe while learning those important skills and concepts that preschoolers need to master. One thing I had started working on before Covid-19 burst upon the scene and took over our lives was this set of bilingual alphabet pages for my toddler. He's still young, so it is an introduction for him. And hopefully, a way to keep him engaged while I am helping his older brother with school.

Printable Bilingual Alphabet Worksheets

This set of alphabet pages is unique because I chose images of items that all start with the same letter in both English and Spanish. So you can choose whichever language you prefer to use with your child. Just print the letter you are looking for and share it with your child. 

Ways to Use Them

These pages are versatile and may be used any way you want. But if you are looking for some suggestions, here's what I recommend:

  • Choose the language you want to use (English or Spanish).
  • Give your child the page and let them color the images.
  • Ask them if they know what letter is on the page.
  • Point to the letter and say its name, then say the sound it makes. Start with the capital letter and then repeat with the lowercase letter.
  • Point to the images at the top of the page and say their names. Be sure to emphasize the beginning sound of each one (ex., ah-ah-aguacate or ah-ah-avocado).
  • Have them practice writing the letters on the lines at the bottom of the page.

How to Add Variety

Some children love repetition. They enjoy the security of knowing what to expect. In this instance, following the same routine with these alphabet pages is important. 

But some children (like my youngest) love the unexpected. I change things up for him this way: Depending on the letter, we decorate it a totally different way each time. Here are some different ways to "color" a letter:

  • use crayons
  • use markers
  • use colored pencils
  • use play-dough to fill in the letters 
  • use dot markers
  • use Q-tips dipped in washable paint
  • use fingerpaints (washable!!!)
  • use watercolors
  • use chalk
  • use stickers to fill the letters
  • use stamps to fill
  • dip a pencil eraser into paint or stamp ink and fill the letters with dots
  • glue yarn inside the letters
  • glue pasta to them
  • glue buttons in them
  • glue pompoms in them
  • fill the letters with beans
  • fill the letters with rice
  • fill the letters with Cheerios
  • fill with water bottle caps
  • place miniature figures (dinosaurs, horses, etc.) inside the letters
  • use Legos to fill them
  • cover the letter shape with sticky notes

There is no limit. Use your imagination!

Great Activity to Keep Younger Children Busy

It's been hard to keep my oldest son focused on his school work. And my preschooler is getting into everything and demanding our attention when I'm trying to help his older brother. So these pages are one activity that makes him feel like he's also doing school with his brother. And they also keep him occupied while I teach my older child.

If you are also in the same boat with little ones underfoot making school time difficult, I hope these  help you as much as they help me! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

15 Children's Biographies Celebrating Women

Since now is a great time to just spend reading as a family, I want to devote my next few posts to sharing books that I think you will enjoy. Some are new. Some aren't. But they're all fantastic reads. All of them will be available in print versions (hardback or paperback), but some of them are also available digitally. Which is awesome because you just buy it (or not! See below.) and read it instantly without it touching anyone else's hands.

This post contains affiliate links. 

First, do you know about Kindle Unlimited? It's part of Amazon's digital reading service. If you get Kindle Unlimited, you can choose from more than 1 million titles to read, or choose from thousands of audiobooks to listen to. You can also browse through this month's popular magazines. And, no, you don't have to have a Kindle to use this service. Just use the app!

I prefer print books, but I know a lot of you already use Kindle, so I'm going to try and remember to tell you when the book is also available that way.

Let's read!

First, I want to focus on books that celebrate women...because it is Women's History Month! Many of these will be about Latinas. Your kids can use these books when researching the remarkable accomplishments and contributions that women have had in world history. Then they can use these free writing pages to write down what they've learned.

Be Bold! Be Brave!¡Sé audaz, sé valiente!
11 Latinas who made U.S. History
by Naibe Reynoso
(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

A bilingual book that highlights 11 Latinas who excelled in various fields including medicine, science, sports, art and politics. By presenting the true biographical stories of these outstanding Latinas in rhyming verses, young readers will easily follow their journey to success. Some of the women highlighted include Antonia Novello (first female Surgeon General in the U.S.), Ellen Ochoa (first Latina to go to space), Sonia Sotomayor (first Latina Supreme Court Justice,) Rita Moreno (first Latina to win an Oscar), Selena, and Pura Belpre (first Latina to incorporate and promote bilingual literacy in Public Libraries).

(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

Psst! It's also available in a bilingual board book version.

by Monica Brown
(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

This bilingual book allows young readers to enter Celia Cruz's life as she becomes a well-known singer in her homeland of Cuba, then moves to New York City and Miami where she and others create a new type of music called salsa.

by Jonah Winter
Before Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her seat in our nation's highest court, she was just a little girl in the South Bronx. Justice Sotomayor didn't have a lot growing up, but she had what she needed -- her mother's love, a will to learn, and her own determination. With bravery she became the person she wanted to be. With hard work she succeeded. With little sunlight and only a modest plot from which to grow, Justice Sotomayor bloomed for the whole world to see.

by Susan B. Katz 
(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

In this chapter book for kids ages 6-8, you’ll learn about how Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman ever to serve as a judge on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before she fought for equal rights and made history, Ruth was a curious kid who loved to read about strong women who were making important changes. You can get inspired, too, with this unique standout among Ruth Bader Ginsburg children’s books for grades 1-2.

In school, Ruth wished girls could have as many opportunities as boys. She soon learned that by studying and working hard, she could change her life―and the world. Of all the Ruth Bader Ginsburg children’s books, this one really lets you explore how she went from a Jewish girl during World War II to one of the most celebrated leaders in America.

by Margarita Engle

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

by Eva Chen

Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to eXtraordinary You―and the Zillion of adventures you will go on?

Instagram superstar Eva Chen, author of Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, is back with an alphabet board book depicting feminist icons in A Is for Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World, featuring spirited illustrations by Derek Desierto.

by Duncan Tonatiuh
(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

by Anika Aldamuy Denise 

An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

by Teresa Robeson

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

by Rebecca Ann Langston-George 
(**FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. Discover Malala's story through this powerful narrative telling, and come to see how one brave girl named Malala changed the world.

by Sarah Warren

Dolores is a teacher, a mother, and a friend. She wants to know why her students are too hungry to listen, why they don't have shoes to wear to school. Dolores is a warrior, an organizer, and a peacemaker. When she finds out that the farm workers in her community are poorly paid and working under dangerous conditions, she stands up for their rights.

This is the story of Dolores Huerta and the extraordinary battle she waged to ensure fair and safe work places for migrant workers. The powerful text, paired with Robert Casilla's vibrant watercolor-and-pastel illustrations, brings Dolores's amazing journey to life. A timeline, additional reading, articles, websites, and resources for teachers are included.

by Jess Keating

Learning about sharks: Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn't imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn't think women should be scientists.

Sharks are beautiful: Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. Like Jack and the Beanstalk but under the sea, Eugenie dove down to discover a world of wonder beneath the water's surface. She earned the name Shark Lady with her many discoveries about these beautiful creatures. Through her accomplishments, this star girl of the sea taught the world that sharks should be admired, not feared, and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

by H. Joseph Hopkins 

Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.

Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.

by Stephanie Warren Drimmer 

Everybody needs a role model! Discover true stories of superstars, war heroes, world leaders, gusty gals, and everyday women who changed the world. From Sacagawea to Mother Teresa, Annie Oakley to Malala Yousafzai, these famous women hiked up their pants and petticoats and charged full-speed ahead to prove girls are just as tough as boys...maybe even tougher. Complete with amazing images and a fun design, this is the book that every kid with a goal, hope, or dream will want to own.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

(Mostly) Free Online Learning Programs

Suddenly, everyone is going to be homeschooling. Total freakout happening all over the place. Haha. But seriously, most of the families I've talked with say they'll be going to online teaching/learning. Teachers have to figure out how to teach remotely and kids will be having to learn the same way. It's great for the schools that have a plan in place.

For those of you who don't have schools setting up online teaching, this post is for you. Today, I'm going to share those (mostly) free programs available online to keep your kids learning. I've divided them up by first cross-curricular programs, then by subject.

First, I want to share this daily sample schedule that Quirky Momma shared on their Facebook page. It's awesome. I believe I used something similar whenever I first started homeschooling and needed some sort of structure for our days. I can't believe we have drifted away from it. Use this as your base and adjust it as needed. I'm going to!

Now, here are the great programs that are available to you online.


  • Scholastic Learn at Home - FREE (PreK & K, 1st & 2nd, 3-5th, and 6th+) This is really an awesome resource! I love it. 
  • Khan Academy - FREE (all grades) My favorite part about Khan is that you can scroll to the bottom of each page and find links to all the subjects they offer.
  • PBS Learning Media - FREE (all grades) Tons of videos and lesson plans
  • TED-Ed videos - FREE video playlist
  • ABCMouse - Free 30-Day Trial then $$ (AGES 2-8) offers lots of learning opportunities.
  • ***Ivy League MOOCs - FREE (I'm going to say 11th grade through college) This is the one I'm most excited about: A list of free online courses from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale.
  • $3.50-6/month depending on subscription (PreK-5th) Lots of printables available through this one. But not free.
  • BrainPop Free version has limited materials/access. Subscriptions are pretty pricey. Free total access only through school. (Middle school) Also available in French and Spanish. It has great content, but can be expensive.





  • Big History Project - FREE (7th - 12th) this remarkable resource is by 
  • - FREE Amazing resources for history teachers by the British educator Russell Tarr including interactive simulations, quizzes, games that can easily be used for online learning.



Friday, March 13, 2020

Bringing Calm to the Chaos: School Counselor Recommendations

My cousin's wife is a school counselor. She granted me permission to share her fantastic newsletter with you all. There are so many excellent resources in it for helping your child cope with the dramatic changes happening in their lives.

(Use the scroll bar to see the entire newsletter. Click on the images to see the full pictures.)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Resources for Helping Kids Understand the Coronavirus

News about the coronavirus is dominating all social media, news outlets, and even word of mouth. A big question for parents is "How much should I tell my little one?" And even more important, "How do I keep them safe?"

Young children

Friends, for younger children, I have to tell you that once again, it is PBS to the rescue. Last week, they published this awesome article with tips for parents on how and what to tell your kids about COVID-19.

The main three points?
  1. Keep it simple,
  2. Reassure children that they are safe,
  3. Emphasize simple things your family can do to be “germ busters” such as washing your hands and practicing healthy habits.
And they also include an excellent list full of links to PBS KIDS videos, games and activities all about handwashing and staying healthy. 

Here's one example from our friends, Rosita and Elmo (in English & Spanish)!

Older Children

And for older kids, you may have already seen this excellent video from BrainPop. It's part of their free resources...

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Printable Resources for Women's History Month

Did you know March is officially Women's History Month? Have you been looking for resources to use in your classroom/lessons? Here are a few printable packets with reading passages that feature amazing women throughout world history. 

Teach and inspire at the same time!

Women in World History 
from Multicultural Kid Blogs

I contributed to this really comprehensive packet by MKB that features 20 women in world history. There are reading passages, reading comprehension questions, and lots of worksheets to boost reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Take a look at some of the pages here. 
You can also find this packet in their TpT shop.

10 Latinas in History Reading Comprehension Passages

It features 10 amazing women who have had an impact on world history: Ellen Ochoa, Isabel Allende, Dara Torres, Frida Kahlo, Linda Ronstadt, Dolores Huerta, Sonia Sotomayor, Carolina Herrera, Rita Moreno, and 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. 

Introduce your students to women in world history with this fun packet! These fact files may be used as individual bookmarks or as a fandex. It features 18 historical figures. Sorry, this one is only available in English. (I just haven't had time to translate it yet!)

Introduce your students to Dolores Huerta with this easy, no-prep, printable poster and glossary!

Same type of packet, but featuring the young activist for girls' education, Malala Yousafzai. 

And this one features Susan B. Anthony!

Last (and probably my favorite!) is this brief history of the Adelitas - or soldaderas - of Mexico. Learn who they were and why they are an important part of the history of the Mexican Revolution. This informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade. It includes an 8-question comprehension quiz plus answer key.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Aunt Katie's Place: Bilingual Audiobooks for Language Learners

This is a sponsored book post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It may use affiliate links.

It has been quite a while since I've taken the time to talk about audiobooks. But make no mistake, I believe that audiobooks are an essential part of learning. A few years ago, I dedicated a whole week to them and wrote about the many benefits that they provide to beginning, intermediate, and advanced readers. I urge you to read that post to learn why you should incorporate audiobooks into your own classroom or life at home.

So I was pretty open when I received an email from a new author who is launching a new series of books with a free audio download to accompany each one. The first book, Gracie: A bilingual adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is now available in THREE versions: Spanish/English, German/English, and French/English.

There is so much to love about this first book! The illustrations, the storyline, the audio... every last one of them is sweet and lovely and engaging. When you first open the book, you are directed to the author's (Kathryn Leslie, aka "Aunt Katie") website - dubbed Aunt Katie's Place - to download the free audio. You have two options: a bilingual version (English and the target language), or an immersion version (target language only). I chose the bilingual version to go with my book. 

When I first sat down to read it with the accompanying Spanish/English audio, my 2-year-old happened to walk by and he was immediately captivated. He climbed onto my lap and quietly listened and looked at the illustrations as I turned the pages in time with the audio. He pointed to different items on each page as we read along. 

Oh, my goodness. The audio. It's just ADORABLE! And so professionally done. I can't tell you how much we enjoyed listening to it. The Spanish translation is beautifully done by Paula Torreiro, a high school English professor in Spain.  And the music and sound effects really give the story life... they even kept my 2-year-old's rapt attention. (No, 2 is not the target age range!) 

Katie tells the English side of the story, which is perfect because this first story is based on the author's real-life experience when she and her mother found Gracie (the subject of the story) in a parking lot and went on to adopt her. In fact, in the back of the book, you can see a picture of Gracie with Katie's mom, Nancy. 

And the ink and watercolor illustrations are just perfect. They were drawn by Argentine artist, Anita Morra. In fact, you can watch a short video that shows how Morra created her illustrations for Gracie: 

In addition, the back of the book contains a Look-and-Find section of beautiful plants native to the Ashe county area of North Carolina. The author challenges the reader to look for the plants inside the pages of the book. It's so educational!

And I love how personal and authentic this series is. For example, the dog barks heard in the audio is from the real Gracie! And the lovely music written for the audio was composed by Aunt Katie's talented brother, Peter. Go visit the website to learn more about this excellent book series. You can tell that Katie has poured her heart and soul into creating this quality product! 

Want a peek before you buy? Watch the book trailer...

Special Deals!

Now here's the awesome news: Aunt Katie's Place offers special deals to libraries and teachers who purchase multiple books. These deals include bookmarks, mini posters, wall posters, and table tents.

And here's the even more awesome news: Mommymaestra readers can get 15% off their purchase at Aunt Katie's Place with the code: mommymaestra20. This offer is only good on the author's website (link above) and is good through June 2020.

NOTE: The hardback versions are only available directly from Aunt Katie's website. Everywhere else (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target) only offer paperback versions. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Free Download: Months Sentence Building Lesson

Enero, febrero, marzo...Time to learn the months of the year in Spanish thanks to MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! 

This month's freebie is all about January through December and some of the vocabulary most closely associated with them. The four-page file contains an instruction page, followed by a set of month cards, picture cards, and word cards. Just listen to the audio file first, then build your sentences. 

Looking for some books to reinforce this lesson? I've got you covered!

Here's a great set of bilingual books. Buy the set or individual months.

Or here's another one that you may prefer. Los meses del año all in one book!

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!


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