Tag Archives: Learning

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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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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Celebra el Día de….children’s book giveaway

With all the Holiday celebrations let’s take the opportunity to teach the history behind these special days. Monarca Language sponsored by Santillana USA is giving away a set of 5 children’s books by the distinguished Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.

  • Celebrar el Día de Acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby
  • Celebrar el Cinco de Mayo con un jarabe tapatío
  • Celebrar Halloween y el Día de Muertos con Cristina y su conejito azul
  • Celebrar el Cuatro de Julio con Campeón, el glotón
  • Celebrar Kwanzaa con Botitas y sus gatitos
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5 Set Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy children’s book giveaway. Celebrar!

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

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Preschools of the World and Bogotá, Colombia

Recently I was able to visit my home country of Bogotá, Colombia. I traveled with my 15 month old and we had a blast. The trip was filled with the usual ups and downs that come along with many hours of flight and change in routine. However he had a great adventure. I watched him explore the new scenery within the busy cosmopolitan city that is Bogotá and enjoy the beauty of it’s surrounding hills and mountains. One of the highlights of our visit was a morning as a guest in the preschool, Mi Pequeño Mundo. My son and I took in the sun and greenery as we toured the school. He played in the difference in play structures and enjoyed a glimpse of preschool in another country.

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Mi Pequeño Mundo, Bogotá, Colombia

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Preschools of the world.


This preschool although in a the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, a city of 8 million inhabitants, has a large beautiful green terrain. Here children run and play in varied outdoor playgrounds when they’re not busy in class. I loved seeing the excitement of the children, from having a guest visitor, while others worked and focused on their classes and tasks. We got the pleasure to attend a music class. In the class the teacher played the accordion! Since the holidays are soon approaching we danced to and sang a few villancicos Colombianos (Christmas carols). We also had the opportunity to visit a cooking class. In this school students take a cooking class once week. As we walked in the room the air was full of the scent of sweet dough baking in an oven. Children here bake cookies, cakes and Colombian food such as arepas.

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Playing is key for children to learn.

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Classroom in Bogotá, Colombia.

Have you had a chance to visit other preschools of the world? What ideas have you brought back with you? As for us, we will start making traditional food from Colombia together. I think these holidays we’ll make chocolate caliente and arepas con queso.


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Do you use a chalkboard in your classroom?

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Creating a friendly environment for children.


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Moving, running and playing is all part of learning.

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Tuckered out after a day of playing and learning at preschool.

By Alex Mendez

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It’s almost Thanksgiving Day, Let’s Teach Children to Express Gratitude

¡Gracias! Thank you! Thanksgiving Day let’s teach children to express gratitude.

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Let’s Teach Children to Express Gratitude.

As children we were all told to say those words to express gratitude for someone’s kindness.  Raising polite and grateful little humans has always been the job of the adults.  Of course, children copy what they see and hear, particularly from their parents.  When was the last time you were able to reflect on your gratitude?  What are you thankful for this year?  Today?

When November hits the calendar, many families start making plans for Thanksgiving Day.  What’s for dinner?  Who are we inviting to share it with us?  What do we need to buy for the groceries?  Will our favorite football team be playing a game on TV?  We are often in a rush to do the holiday “right” that we bypass the true sentiment of the holiday.  Since the focus becomes so much on the success of the Thanksgiving Day feast, it may be easier and more meaningful to focus on the things and people we are thankful for as soon as the month of November hits the calendar.

This November, challenge your family members to think about their gratitude each day of the month.  This is a fun and easy task for each family member because age is not a barrier for this activity.  All you need are a pencil, small pieces of paper and a container such as a mason jar, an empty pail or a big manila envelope.  Ask each family member to write down something they feel thankful for, and help the little ones write down their thoughts, too.  The young ones can also draw a quick picture and you can write down their explanation of the drawing.  Do this each day, and place the pieces of paper in the container your family chooses to use.

Do this each day of the month, and on Thanksgiving Day during dinner take the Container of Thankfulness and share the sentiments in it.  It will be uplifting to hear all of the beautiful words each of your family members has shared for the month.  Whether someone is thankful for relatives, a toy, or an event that occurred on a particular day, it will be a delight to relive those thoughts together.  Moreover, it will build a habit in your children.  Your children will learn that regardless of how tough things may seem on a particular day we all have plenty for which we should be grateful.

I encourage you to try this small activity with your family.  Expressing and feeling gratitude is what brings humanity together.  This activity will give you a glimpse into the hearts of your family members while also giving you the opportunity to share your sentiments with them.

There is so much to give thanks for each day.  Reflect and have fun.

~By Diana P. a “mamá latina”

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