Virtual Learning with Bluebee Pals: Teaching Social Skills
With the recent educational focus on remote or distance learning, it can be challenging for teachers and parents to teach social skills in a virtual environment. It’s easier to learn and practice social skills with a partner or group whether it is face to face or via teletherapy. Bluebee Pals are excellent tools to help teach social skills, whether face-to-face or online.
What Are Bluebee Pals?
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps and activities with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
The five core competencies of social and emotional learning:
Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. Using books, apps, and Bluebee Pals, you can make learning and practicing social skills loads of fun!
The following are some favorites that can be used to teach social skills virtually via your teaching platform with your favorite Bluebee Pal, to address individual student needs.
Social Skills Apps:
*Social Story Creator and Library: Easily create, share, and print social stories using pictures, recordings, and text. Also contains 20+ready to go social stories. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/social-story-creator-library/id588180598
*Let’s Be Social-Social Skills Development: Includes 20 social skills lessons with the ability to also create and personalize your own lessons . The topics include personal interactions, navigating the community, school behavior, handling change, and social relationships. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/lets-be-social-social-skills-development/id1140153485
*Conversation Builder: Targets conversational skills, turn-taking, initiating conversation, and staying on topic. There are 160 conversations to choose from and the student can either initiate or respond to conversations.
*Social Detective: This app covers expected and unexpected behavior, understanding others’ comfortable and uncomfortable thoughts, social toolbox items, and making smart guesses.
*Autism and PDD Picture Stories and Language Activities: There are 5 different themed apps: Friends, School, Community, Home, Family. They contain functional stories depicting children behaving in various situations. At the end of the story select WH questions, yes/no questions, or text match language activities. Answers are automatically scored and the student receives immediate feedback!
*Between the Lines: There are 3 apps for different ability levels. The main focuses are listening skills, body language, and expressions. The app uses real videos, pictures, and voices for a variety of social situations.
Social Skills Books:
*Epic: A high quality, extensive digital library, free for teachers.
*YouTube: Search social skills videos for children for many social skills videos! www.YouTube.com
*Story Creator: Use any of your favorite books to create your own Bluebee Pal read aloud!
It’s December! If you have been thinking about getting a Bluebee Pal for your classroom or child, now is the perfect time! Children’s eyes light up with joy when they receive a Bluebee Pal. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, my students adore them! Bluebee Pals make treasured friends, even as they help teach important educational lessons. Engaging children in literacy and communication are challenging during these unconventional times in education; Bluebee Pals offer a comforting, huggable companion enabling children to learn beyond a screen.
We are offering a discount PROMO CODE bluebee20 at the Bluebee Pals Shopping Cart during this Holiday Season. Bring a smile to a child’s face and purchase one of our talking plush animals as part of your classroom essential tools or buy as a unique gift for your child. Bluebee Pals are a versatile educational tool for all early childhood and special needs children. ENCOURAGING social-emotional skills, reading, singing, and all educational activities at home or in school https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
Bluebee Pals make awesome gifts!
What Are Bluebee Pals?
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps and activities with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Here are some of our just-for-fun favorites that we love to use with our Bluebee Pals:
*The Night Before Christmas https://apps.apple.com/us/app/night-before-christmas-narrated-classic-fairy-tales/id960192865
*The Snow Man https://apps.apple.com/us/app/snow-man-narrated-classic-fairy-tales-stories-for-children/id948236983
*A Charlie Brown Christmas https://apps.apple.com/us/app/a-charlie-brown-christmas/id476508724
*Sleigh Bear https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sleighbear/id1445593675
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas https://apps.apple.com/us/app/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas/id1016686482
*Sleigh Bear https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sleighbear/id1445593675
What is Early Math
Math in early learning sets the stage for a child’s ability to comprehend logic and the abstract at an early age. “The term “early math” refers to a broad range of basic concepts such as counting (1, 2, 3); quantity (more, fewer); shapes (circles, squares, triangles); spatial relations (over, under); measurement (tall, short; bigger, smaller); and patterns (red, blue, red, blue). Because children are naturally curious, they explore these concepts as they interact with their environment. Infants begin to learn math before they can sit up. They notice differences in quantity, they compare the shape and size of objects, and they use early math concepts when they play and in other aspects of their daily lives. https://www.edimpactlab.com/api/sitecore/MediaLibrary/ActualDownload?fileId=%7B3360C48F-576D-44A8-AB63-EA259BABC359%7D&fileName=Developing%20Math%20Skills%20Early%20Childhood.pdf&fileData=Developing%20Math%20Skills%20Early%20Childhood.pdf%20-%20%7B3360C48F-576D-44A8-AB63-EA259BABC359%7D&fileMime=application%2Fpdf
Why is Early Math Important?
Math is an important part of learning for children in the early years because it provides vital life skills. Math helps children to develop the ability to think critically and solve problems. Both are integral to success in school and in life. “Research suggests early math skills are a better predictor of academic success than early reading skills.
The more math-oriented activities kids do before kindergarten, the better they’ll understand math in school. Early math skills foretell higher aptitude in high school math and higher rates of college enrollment. Math is the language of logic
…Math builds reasoning, which leads to comprehension. Developing a mentally organized way of thinking is critical. To make that happen we need to provide high-quality math education at an early age.” https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/early-math-equals-future-success/.
Activities to Foster Development of Early Math Skills:
Bluebee Pals are a great tool to use when teaching and reinforcing math skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into peer groups to practice skills. Paired with reading, storybooks and math apps, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes educational skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking and singing” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started! Reading books
, telling stories, and using “math talk”
are easy, effective ways to integrate and promote the development of early math and early literacy skills. Using children’s book and math apps provide many ways to teach and reinforce foundational math skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Book App Examples:
Math App Examples:
Math Games and Activities:
- Use puzzles, building blocks for stacking and manipulating, board games, and card games. Chutes and Ladders, Pop the Pig, Hi Ho Cherry-O and Candyland are great beginning games. Games with dice and number spinners reinforce counting.
- Use shape-sorters. Talk about each shape—count the sides, describe the colors.
- Count and sort. Gather together a basket of small toys, shells, pebbles or buttons. Count them and sort them based on size, color, or what they do (i.e., all the cars in one pile, all the animals in another).
- What size is it? Notice the sizes of objects in the world around you: That pink pocketbook is the biggest. The blue pocketbook is the smallest. Ask your child to think about his own size relative to other objects (“Do you fit under the table? Under the chair?”).
- You’re cookin’ now! Even young children can help fill, stir, and pour. Through these activities, children learn, quite naturally, to count, measure, add, and estimate.
- Sing songs that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Songs reinforce patterns (which is a math skill as well). They also are fun ways to practice language and foster social skills like cooperation.
- Use a calendar to talk about the date, the day of the week, and the weather. Calendars reinforce counting, sequences, and patterns.
- The long and the short of it. Cut a few (3–5) pieces of ribbon, yarn or paper in different lengths. Talk about ideas like long and short. With your child, put in order of longest to shortest.
- Pattern play. Have fun with patterns by letting children arrange dry macaroni, chunky beads, different types of dry cereal, or pieces of paper in different patterns or designs.
- Graphing games. As your child nears three and beyond, make a chart where your child can put a sticker each time it rains or each time it is sunny. At the end of a week, you can estimate together which column has more or less stickers, and count how many to be sure. (https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/299-help-your-child-develop-early-math-skills).
In most parts of the country, schools are beginning to open up for the new school year. Students and teachers will be wearing masks and following new safety guidelines to help protect from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Although most students have been wearing masks in public over the summer, it’s a good idea now to start getting them used to wearing masks for longer periods of time.
*Have conversations with your child about wearing a mask! Be frank with them and even discuss the obvious “This feels weird doesn’t it? Do you know why we have to wear it?”.
- You might practice wearing a mask during a tv program, playing games or when reading a story.
- Use books and videos with pictures to start a conversation and open up feelings about what is going on.
- Use appropriate vocabulary to see if they really know what it all means.
- Don’t assume that a child knows how to express what they are feeling. Children with limited language skills may be experiencing big emotions that they don’t know how to deal with.
Bluebee Pals are great tools to use to help your child understand reasons for and to practice wearing masks and using safety precautions. Let your child pick a mask for themselves and for their Bluebee Pal and they can practice wearing masks together! Use your Bluebee Pal to “read” Bluetooth connected stories, or read and record your own books in your own voice for your child. You can also practice social distancing with your Bluebee Pal!
*Keep everything upbeat and lighthearted to make them feel safe.
Here are some excellent resources about masks and safety to check out!
Smiling From Ear to Ear: Wearing Masks While Having Fun Paperback – By Kaitlyn Chu Let’s Smile From Ear to Ear! We’re all having to get used to wearing face masks in our daily lives. Let’s see how our favorite animals wear their masks and still have fun! Smiling From Ear to Ear is all about showing kids that they can wear face masks to protect themselves and those around them and still have fun. It was created to address kids’ fears and struggles by normalizing face masks in everyday activities using a playful and imaginative approach.
The Social Distance King: Introducing Queens and Kings to Social Distancing by Eric Desio The Social Distance King sensitively introduces the topic of social distancing to kids. With recent changes in the world, we all find ourselves living…differently. The Social Distance King is a great way to entertain children and also expose them to what social distancing might mean to them. And kids, most importantly, this book helps us learn in a FUN, entertaining and thoughtful way!
Lucy’s Mask – by Lisa Sirkis Thompson Are your kids confused and anxious about wearing a mask? Lucy’s world turned upside down. She’s bored. She can’t be together with her friends. But when she finds out her mom is making her a new mask her boredom turns into excitement. Lucy loves masks! She dives into her toy box full of costumes and opens a world of imagination and make-believe adventure, far beyond the walls of her room. Of course, she doesn’t realize that the mask her mom is making is not a costume at all but one that will keep her safe and make her a real-life superhero.
A Little SPOT Stays Home: A Story About Viruses And Safe Distancing – by Diane Alber What is happening right now? Why do we have to stay home ? What is safe distancing? Why can’t we see our friends? How can we stay safe? A story that is easy to understand and provides education, gratitude, and hope. It empowers young children, to take action and helps them to understand viruses and why remaining home and safe distancing is both important and necessary right now. It will help children and their family to stay safe and have a positive outlook to overcome their emotions of anxiety and sadness during this difficult time in their life. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1951287312/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzRk1RMFNVTFFNMjRNJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzg0MDg0UlJFVkFIMVcwQ0ZNJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA1OTQ1NTAxWDlBWE1VQ1k3WjFJJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfZGV0YWlsJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
SHARONA CORONA ; Children’s book about coping and bravery ; Great book to help explain kids about the CORONA Virus Kindle Edition by Dvir Cohen https://www.amazon.com/SHARONA-CORONA-Childrens-bravery-explain-ebook/dp/B0868R35X5/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2F4ZDA5476RZA&dchild=1&keywords=sharona+corona+book&qid=1595878403&sprefix=Sharona+corona%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-1
Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick. Achoo! Cough! F-L-U-S-H! What to do? Rather than focus on what germs are, this book teaches the basics of not spreading them: Cover up a sneeze or cough. Hug or blow kisses when you’re sick. And most of all, wash your hands! Child-friendly words and full-color illustrations help little ones stay clean and healthy. Includes tips and ideas for parents and caregivers. https://www.amazon.com/Germs-Sharing-Board-Book-Behavior/dp/1575421968/ref=sr_1_2?crid=126VR2N7I4L5G&dchild=1&keywords=germs+are+not+for+sharing&qid=1595878803&sprefix=Germs+are+not+%2Caps%2C180&sr=8-2
When Virona the Corona Came to Town –by Hailey Glynn Readers follow the main character, MaryEllen, through a story that details experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. The goal of this story is to shed light on a time of uncertainty and fear in a child-friendly way. https://www.amazon.com/When-Virona-Corona-Came-Town/dp/B088VSTSY3/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1PLB98R4KL1IT&dchild=1&keywords=verona+the+corona+book&qid=1595875192&sprefix=Verona+the%2Caps%2C177&sr=8-1
Why Do People Wear Masks? https://youtu.be/iE6L-4tO-rs
Social Narrative: Staying Healthy Coronavirus COVID 19- A free social story to save-print-edit as needed.
A collection of FREE Ebooks about the Corona Virus: https://nycdoe.libguides.com/COVID-19ebooks/free
Before the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the use of teletherapy in speech therapy and education was limited. Most education was done in a traditional face-to-face manner in a set physical location such as a school building. With schools unexpectedly closing across our nation in the spring due to safety concerns, educators were taxed with quickly learning and establishing new and flexible ways to teach their students using a wide variety of technology and teletherapy. Teachers learned to use Google Classrooms, Zoom meetings, created Virtual Classrooms, Boom Cards, and more! Using an internet connection, web portal, and two-way live video, students and teachers learned to interact as if they were in-person sessions. The use of teletherapy is expected to continue to grow as schools develop plans and educational options for the 2020-2021 school year.
Teletherapy opportunities are vast and include hands-on activities, interactive games, and unique educational plans. For the youngest students, a parent, or other adult is on the end with the child providing cueing and any “hands-on” techniques that might be needed.
***Even with all of the exciting new ways to teach virtually, teachers continue to use their most favorite, tried-and-true classroom resources in their online sessions!
Bluebee Pals are an example of a wonderful classroom favorite that are well suited to use during virtual instruction. Use them in your teletherapy sessions the same way you would use them in a traditional education setting!
What IS a Bluebee Pal? The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. The FREE Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected with a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
* Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
* Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
*Your Bluebee Pal can become the teacher with your favorite text-to-speech app.
* Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
* Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
* Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
Bluebee Pals can easily be transitioned to use in teletherapy!
***Please visit the Bluebee Pals website to learn more about these excellent teaching tools.
Hooray! It’s summertime! School is out and kids are free to play and just be kids! But wait…this is not just any summer! This is the summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Why does that matter? This school year was cut short for almost all students by at least 3 months. That is 1/3 of the school year! Although the schools and teachers scrambled to offer some type of educational services virtually and/or through packets mailed to students, educational instruction and progress took a major hit and a significant number of students will show skill regression in the fall when school begins again.
Even in the best of times, 100% of students experience summer learning loss if they don’t engage in educational learning activities over the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 25% of academic learning is lost by children over summer vacation. This number would be expected to increase following the tremendous loss of instruction this year.
The “Summer Slide” is the phrase used to describe the slide backwards that many children normally make in reading and math skills over the summer months when school is not in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t practice educational skills during summer vacation actually lose up to 3 months by the time autumn rolls around. It takes teachers 4-6 weeks to reteach material that has been lost over the summer.
**You can combat summer slide by encouraging your child to devote a small bit of time each day to keeping up skills. Just like with playing a sport, Reading and Math are skills that must be practiced… It is important to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer so they will not fall victim to the summer slide.”
- Read EVERY day! Read non-fiction, fiction, ebooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud! For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Most libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer.
- Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
- Plant a garden. Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive.
- Take a field trip to a museum, zoo or local park with walking trails. Keep a journal about your travels.
- Learn a new word each week! Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
- Enroll in a quality summer program that will provide your child with opportunities to build their critical thinking skills.
- Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
- Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
- Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
- Did I mention READ?!If your child does nothing else this summer make sure he/she is reading!
Great News! Bluebee Pals are a wonderful way to encourage summer reading and combat the Summer Slide! Kids love to be connected! By reading their favorite book apps with Bluebee Pals and online reading sites for 20 to 30 minutes a day, your child can maintain and improve reading skills over the summer! They make excellent reading buddies! www.bluebeepals.com
Suggested Summer Reading Sites:
*Storyline Online by SAG-AFTRA Foundation is an award-winning children’s literacy app that features celebrated actors reading children’s books.
*Little Stories Pro by Little Bee Speech features eighty-two 100 word stories that support reading fluency, comprehension, receptive and expressive language skills.
*Reading Comprehension Camp by Smarty Ears is specifically designed to encourage language growth and comprehension. Contains 50 stories on multiple levels and comprehension quizzes.
*Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos by Epic! Creations Inc is a leading digital library for kids with instant, unlimited access to 35,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos and quizzes for children 12 and under. There is a monthly subscription plan for home and a free plan for educators.
*HOMER Reading: Learn to Read by Homer is a personalized reading program for kids 2-8. This award-winning app has been proven to increase early reading scores by 74% with just 15 minutes a day. There is a monthly subscription plan for home, and a free plan for educators.