Tag Archives: Education

Noche de Muertos 101 ~ Day of the Dead

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“Noche de Muertos” is a Mexican tradition celebrated primarily on the 1st and 2nd of November of each year. The day of the dead celebration has become very popular around the world, perhaps because of its colorful papel picado, fun calaveritas de azúcar and beautiful ofrendas. Although this is a great way to introduce the festivity to little ones and young students, it is important to understand and respect this tradition. Then, it will be truly cherished and awaited each year by generations to come. For more than 600 years, indigenous groups in Mexico have been performing different types of rituals to honor, interact and relate to life after death. Indigenous Mexico accepts death as part of a lifecycle without beginning or end. It is believed that the souls of the dead return for a visit to celebrate a family reunion. Families gather a few days before to prepare for the arrival of their loved ones. This can be at home, the cemetery or both. The items prepared and gathered are the food, drinks, and personal items the deceased loved. Also, personal items and tools are gathered for their journey back. The offering is an expression of love and acceptance of the cycle of life.

I believe that what is truly important to understand is that these two days are an opportunity to be with family and the community. A Maya professor states: “We celebrate togetherness with our dearly departed”.

Lasy year, I had the privilege of spending Noche de Muertos in Michoacan state. Here is a short video of the Tzintzuntzan’s procession. It was magical!


Great Resources:

Elementos imprescindibles para recibir a las ánimas

Noche de Muertos en Michoacan

A day of the Dead Story: Those Good Old November Days 

Day of the Dead: Celebration, History and Origins

For the niños

Two of my favorite storybook for Día de los Muertos!

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Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
By Judy Goldman
Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead Noche de Muertos 101 ~ Day of the Dead

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Yo Recuerdo a Abuelito
Un cuento del Día de los Muertos
By Janice Levy
I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story / Yo Recuerdo a Abuelito: Un Cuento del Día de los Muertos (Spanish and English Edition) Noche de Muertos 101 ~ Day of the Dead

Looking for Printable Activities to teach Día de los Muertos?

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Hopes and Dreams Create Powerful Classroom Rules

Last week I attended a Responsive Classroom workshop where I learned how to create powerful classroom rules based on the hopes and dreams of my students. Powerful, simple and clear classroom rules allow students to fulfilled their social, emotional and academic dreams.

How to Create Powerful Classroom Rules?

During the beginning of the school year, brainstorm what hopes and dreams each student has for the new school year. Give them a day or two to decide which one they will like to share with their classmates. You can share your dreams and hopes as their teacher too! Create a display with all of their hopes and dreams.

Here are some great samples I found on the web.
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Once you have created a beautiful display for their dreams and hopes, you can start chatting with your students about what makes good classroom rules. To create your classroom rules ask them what type of rules there has to be to fulfill each and one of their hopes and dreams. If my hope is to make new friends, I have to be kind and respectful. If my hope is to learn how to write in cursive, I need to practice and do my homework.

Once you have recorded everyone’s ideas, draw three columns on a chart paper to create three rule categories. These three categories (place, each other and self) will help your classroom rules be clear, easy and short. The first category is about the space we use to learn and play. If we want to be able to learn and play, we need to take care of our school furniture and materials. How we treat each other is the second category. The last one is about taking care of yourself. This category can be confusing for your students but probably a few of their ideas already recorded fit into this category. For example, if I want to learn how to write in cursive, I will need to practice and pay attention to the lesson. Therefore, I need to be responsible for my own learning.

Your classroom rules can look like this:

Use school materials carefully.
Let everyone learn.
Be ready to learn.

Creating together straightforward and positive classroom rules together will help your students have a sense of belonging and ownership, which is essential to adapt successfully to a new environment.

If you will like to learn more about Responsive Classroom approach here is a Q&A.

Creating everyday rules in a Responsive Classroom

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Going Back to School!~ Words of Inspiration.

This time of year teachers and parents are scrambling in preparation for going back to school and adjusting to the changes of our summer lounging days. Today in preparation for this process we have some inspiring words of wisdom from a Eliana R. Molina a very talented Spanish teacher that thrives at creating a nurturing environment for students and herself. These are her thought on beginning the new school year with love and perspective.

~As the new school year approaches and summer-time comes to an end, many teachers begin to prepare mentally for their return to work and all the planning that comes along with it.  For many teachers it will be their first-year teaching, for some it will be back to their old stomping grounds, and yet for others, like me, it will be taking one’s teaching experience to a new school district, in a new city and state.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” and I completely agree with him.  You see, moving is never easy.  However, change is good because you are being given the chance to change the world.  Perhaps you may want to promote culture or diversity in the new school district you’re about to join or the same one you taught at last year.  You might bring some new ideas to the new school that will bring many teachers together in conversation or perhaps share something you learned over the summer that will inspire a colleague or student.  The whole point of change is we are all given the opportunity to do so, to take the opportunity to add something, to make a difference.

Regardless of how many years we have under our belt in teaching, and how many years we have at a particular school, getting ready for the school year entails preparation and work.  Coming up with new ideas for lesson plans, planning strategies and even making sure you have all the school supplies needed in the classroom can seem easy to achieve, but it is very time consuming and takes patience and collaboration.

During the first week that teachers report, there is work to be done and new things to learn as a district, school and department.  Teachers must get back into the routine of waking up early again and attending staff meetings and staying after school, helping students, grading papers and volunteering.  The list can go on and on and seem endless!!

Teachers need to make sure that their classroom area is ready with the right amount of desks and chairs to seat all students.  I always make it a habit to make sure that the proper technology equipment is installed properly and working. That does not exclude making sure the needed supplies are in the classroom, such as a stapler, a pencil sharpener, rulers, glue, tape, scissors and more.  You might find out that the school has adopted a new textbook or started using new software that you will need training on, which takes away from preparing yourself and the classroom for the upcoming school year.

In all, preparing for a new school year, I have learned that there is no beginning or end for the things that need to be done before school starts.  Schedules, routines, textbooks, classrooms, and people are constantly changing and routines can be interfered with unexpected meetings before or after school.  There is never a good enough list that will prepare you for the first days of school 100%, but you can rest assure that you will learn the ropes and you will meet great people who have all been in your shoes at one point and are willing to help ease the anxiety that might be building up.  Remember to take a deep breath and enjoy each day because after all when your 10 months of work are up for the year, you will get to have your summer break again to just look back at the first day of school and think with a huge smile, “I made it and changed the life of many!” ~ Eliana R. Molina

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You will change the life of a Child!

Monarca Language has free printables  and spanish education material for you just become a member.

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Friendship & Cooperation at School

It is February and we are so excited about starting the sweetest month of the year with you! You will probably be making some type of friendship crafts  at home or at school. While doing these crafts, talk about what friendship means and how friends and family makes us feel.

There are many social skills that are learned and developed through friendships and social interactions.  One social skill that is key to nurture during early childhood is cooperation. Cooperation allows children to resolve conflicts and practice emotional self-regulation and empathy—often letting go of something they want for the good of the group.

Do you know a game or activity that nurtures cooperation?

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Cooperative game ideas:

Activities and worksheets about feelings and emotions:

win fee Friendship & Cooperation at School

Bundle activities about feelings and emotions

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Spanish Children’s Series Book Giveaway

Do you want to incorporate more Spanish into your child’s life? Awesome! We have a thoughtful giveaway to help you succeed. Monarca Language sponsored by Santillana USA is giving away a set of 5 children’s books of the famous books and television series Caillou.

  • Caillou en el dentista
  • Caillou en el restaurante
  • Caillou mi primer paseo
  • Caillou en el teatro
  • Caillou en la biblioteca
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Book Giveaway! Set of 5 books of Caillou

Tres possibilities to win! To enter follow the instructions on Rafflecopter.

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Choose all 3 and increase your chances of winning.

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