Bluebee Pals are versatile educational tools for the classroom! Indeed, they can be used in a variety of both tech and non-tech ways to support early foundational skills. Students love to use them both ways as classroom learning partners!
Reading Skills: Tech-Use Bluebee Pals to connect with any book or reading app. Let your students enjoy a digital book while your Bluebee Pal reads aloud to them. This is also a great activity for group time. Students can follow along with the text (books with high-lighted text are especially nice). Students can also create their own books and record in their own voices, with their Bluebee Pal reading in the student’s voice. They love to hear themselves speak and this gives them excellent feedback on their oral reading skills.
Non-Tech-Let your students practice their oral reading skills by reading out loud to their Bluebee Pal buddy. We often break into small groups for oral reading practice. This is a great way for students to practice reading and intonation skills, and to gain reading confidence. Students can also orally practice reading and spelling their weekly vocabulary words with their Bluebee Pal tech companion.
Language Skills: Tech–There are a multitude of apps available to practice language skills such as sequencing, categorizing, grammar, wh-questions, sentence construction, and basic concepts.
Categories Learning Center by Smarty Ears
GoSequencing by Smarty Ears
Non-tech-When teaching early skills, use a friendly Bluebee Pal and have a play-pretend tea party or picnic! You can practice most of the same skills without connecting Bluebee. Practice taking turns, using pronouns (ex. Give the cup to him) positional and basic concepts (ex. Put the spoon next to Bluebee Pal), wh-questions (ex. Who has the blue plate?), categories (ex. Give all the red cookies to Bluebee Pal, Show Bluebee all the things you can eat). You can easily model and imitate your targeted language goals with students and Bluebee Pals in a group setting.
Articulation/Speaking Skills: Tech- Connect your Bluebee Pal to articulation and phonics practice apps to help your students practice and learn articulation skills. Your Bluebee Pal will say the sounds, words, phrases and sentences out loud for the students to practice, or can “speak” in your students’ voices when they use an in-app recording feature to capture their practice productions.
Articulate it! Pro by Smarty Ears
Non-tech: Have your students practice their sound production skills out loud with their Bluebee Pal! Say a word or sentence with the target sound. If they say it correctly, the student earns a point. If it is incorrect, give a point to Bluebee! Have them practice until they earn Bluebee’s points back! Let them also practice self-monitoring skills by taking their own data as they practice with their articulation picture cards and a Bluebee Pal.
Listening Skills: Tech-Connect your Bluebee Pal to a favorite listening comprehension skills app to practice listening for information with your snuggly friend. Additionally, it is essential that children are read to on a daily basis in their early years to foster listening, reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and cognitive skills. Tales2go is a wonderful audio book app that offers thousands of age appropriate selections for listening pleasure!
Tales2Go by Tales2Go, Inc.
Non-tech-Play a listening game with your favorite Bluebee Pal. If the student listens and answers questions correctly, he earns a point. If he is incorrect, Bluebee gets the point. Who can collect the most points? Students enjoy playing with and learning with Bluebee Pals!
Social Skills: Tech-It’s tons of fun and lots of thrills to connect your Bluebee Pal to your smartphon
e to practice greetings, real conversations and taking listening and speaking turns! My students love to answer calls using Bluebee! The teacher or another student can stand with the phone within the Bluetooth range, out of sight, and practice conversations!
Practice your favorite social skills game apps and create and narrate your own social skills stories with your Bluebee Pals!
Social Quest by Smarty Ears
Non-Tech-Invite your favorite Bluebee Pals to your social skills group (non-connected). Students can practice social greetings, conversational turn-taking, questioning, play-pretend skills, and more, as they “teach” Bluebee the social rules!
What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is any device, software or equipment that can help kids with learning and attention issues work around their challenges so that they can learn, communicate and simply function better. These products can make a significant impact on student learning. They can help kids become more successful and productive students, which can help grow their confidence and independence.Ranging in levels of sophistication, assistive technology is an ever-growing and dynamic field.
Here are some examples of assistive technologies:
“No Tech”—These items include pencil grips, post-it notes, slanted work surfaces, paper with raised lines, tactile numbers, letters or objects, magnifying bars, work organizers and weighted pencils.
“Low Tech”—These items include answer buzzers or buttons, talking calculators, microphones, switches, and tap lights.
“High Tech”—These include specialized keyboards, software applications, Text-to-Speech technology, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, computers, word processors, augmentative communication devices, classroom amplification systems, and computerized testing.
Here are a few of our favorite affordable classroom assistive technologies:
Tips: Having the right AT tool can make a huge difference for your child’s education. A good way to choose an assistive technology tool is to start with a specific struggle or need that a child is displaying.
Bluebee Pals are one of our favorite assistive technology learning tools! Bluebee Pals “speak” when connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone or to apps on a tablet. Their mouths open and close and their head turns in a natural speaking position which makes them come to life. They are perfect snuggly study buddies for engaging students in reading practice while reading book apps, practicing skills in educational learning apps, and in practicing and learning social skills. Used with any targeted apps with voice narration, they motivate students to want to interact and learn. They are especially fun to use when recording your child’s own voice!
Nothing captures a child’s interest quicker than robots! They are very useful, hands-on tools to keep children actively engaged while learning, and can help with teaching a variety of subjects including STEM, motion, directionality, sequencing, estimation, problem solving, programming, and math skills. They also help students practice and build social skills while working in peer groups. You can create and measure angles, learn sight reading words, strengthen coding skills, or just use robots as a fun engagement tool. With robots, children think they are playing but they are actually learning. Robots are available for all ability levels, from beginning coding to advanced. They are particularly suitable for special needs students. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Jimu Robot BuzzBot and MuttBot Kit
Bee-Bot and Pro-Bot, by Terrapin Software
Cozmo, by Anki
Audio Recorders and Buttons:
Many e-books have audio files and self recording features (for auditory feedback) and smartphones and tablet computers come with text-to-speech software that can read aloud anything on your child’s screen. If a child struggles with writing or taking notes, an audio recorder can capture what the teacher says in class so your child can listen to it again at home. Fun button recorders allow the user to make choices, practice speech, give messages, practice spelling words, and record short answers.
*Timers: Wristwatches, Hourglass Timers, Visual timers
These inexpensive devices help kids who have trouble with pacing. Timers can be used as visual aids to show how much time is left to complete an activity. If a child has difficulty transitioning from task to task, timers can help him mentally prepare to make the switch.
Fun Time Timer by CodigoDelSur
Reading guides are good tools for kids who have trouble with visual tracking or who need help staying focused on the page. The plastic strip highlights one line of text while blocking out surrounding words that might be distracting. The strip is also easy to move down the page as your child reads.
For those with attention challenges and/or sitting still, students have the opportunity to wiggle or bounce while still being productive using wobble stools and exercise balls. Inflatable seat cushions are also available to help kids with sensory processing and attention issues. The cushion can provide enough movement and stimulation to help a child maximize his focus.
Depending on your child’s math issues, it might be appropriate for him to use a basic calculator in class. There are also large-display calculators and even talking calculators. A talking calculator has built-in speech output to reads the numbers, symbols and operation keys aloud. It can help your child confirm that he has pressed the correct keys.
Free Talking Calculator by Roundhouse Software LLC
Personalized learning refers to efforts to tailor education to meet the different needs of students. It involves “instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated” (The United States National Education Technology Plan 2017). To put it simply, personalized learning is a learning experience designed for each student with their specific needs in mind. Typically, technology is used to facilitate personalized learning environments. There are a multitude of resources available to address personalized learning.
Bluebee Pals are fun, motivating and engaging and can be easily integrated with any of the featured apps!
Here are a few App Recommendations:
Splash Math Grade K-5 Math Learning Games by StudyPad, Inc.
This math learning app features interactive content, personalized/adaptive learning, games, progress reports, a scratch pad for rough work and more. In the adaptive learning feature, topics start easy and build based on the user’s progress. Medium and hard levels are unlocked based on performance. For even more engagement, connect your Bluebee Palto narrate and provide feedback!
Bitsboard Flashcards & Games by Happy Moose Apps
This app offers a variety of learning tools and games in hundreds of topics. Users can learn a language, master vocabulary words, learn to read, improve spelling and more. It’s customizable and tracks answers so users can easily see what they’ve mastered so far and what they need to work on more. Bitsboard personalizes games based on the individual player’s skill and knows when the user is ready to move on to the next challenge. Bitsboard games are fun to play with Bluebee Pals!
Brain Pop Jr. https://jr.brainpop.com/
Ideal for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, BrainPOP Jr. offers standards-aligned movies, quizzes, games, and activities covering Science, Reading & Writing, Math, Health, Social Studies, and Arts & Technology. It encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas. All text is read aloud to facilitate comprehension.Bluebee Palsare great friends to help you work and learn!
Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech
Articulation Station Pro provides students with the opportunity to record and listen to their own voices as they practice pronunciation of sounds and words in conjunction with a narrator who speaks them. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, the app lets students play with letter sounds through word games, sentences, and stories. Through these activities, students can build self-awareness, correct pronunciation and letter and word recognition. Activities can be tailored to meet individual student articulation needs. Your Bluebee Pal easily connects to the app and helps students listen and practice. Record student productions within the app and your Bluebee will speak in your students’ own voices. They will be captivated!
Explain EDU by Explain Everything
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard that allows you to instruct in real time through interactive learning and lets students demonstrate knowledge by becoming the teacher (the best way to know if you know something is to explain it to someone else). It is an excellent tool for creating and designing presentations, forcing students to articulate their understanding, and collaborating with their peers.
Educreations by Educreations, Inc
This is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool you can use to teach/explain any concept. Screencasts allow teachers to duplicate and provide each student with his or her own teacher-created personalized video lesson. Each student controls the lesson and can work independently. They can pause, rewind, and listen to their teacher again. Additionally, those who miss class no longer lack the instruction, instead receiving the same lesson presented to their classmates.
Seesaw: The Learning Journal by Seesaw Learning, Inc.
Seesaw is a student-driven, digital student portfolio that inspires students to take ownership of and do their best work. Students are able to express themselves and reflect on their learning. Teachers find or create activities to share with students. Students take pictures, draw, record videos and more to capture learning in a portfolio. Parents and teachers see their child’s work and leave comments and encouragement.
Nearpod by Nearpod
Nearpod is a classroom tool for teachers to engage students with interactive lessons & assessments that students can access on any device. Teachers control the lesson, pushing content to student devices, which students complete at their own pace. Nearpod increases student engagement with lessons that require their interaction. Use Nearpod to collect and deliver video, web content, images, slides, PDF’s and assessments to your students in an single, organized collection for the lesson.
ClassDojo by ClassDojo, Inc.
Students need personalized learning when it comes to classroom management in addition to instruction. Class Dojo provides teachers with a platform to track student behavior and assign positive and negative remarks. In addition, teachers can send instant messages to specific parents and share photos from the class. Students can choose their own avatar.
Google Classroom: A member of the Google Apps for Education suite of services that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes.
Try Adding To Circle Time!
Bluebee Pals are uniquely suited for use during group circle time reading practice! Children love reading buddies, and Bluebee Pals make awesomely perfect reading friends!
It’s easy to do without spending a lot of extra time! Just connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth (Android or iOS) to your favorite storybook apps; make your own classroom books using a story creator app; carry-on a conversation, type in the text of your own book, or make up your own stories by using a text-to-speech app; or utilize narrated YouTube book videos! Here are some ideas to get you started. Have fun!
1. Book apps
Connect your Bluebee Pal to any of your storybook apps to make storytelling come to life! Your Bluebee Pal will “read” any story, with natural head and mouth movements! Children will become immediately more engaged and attentive! Pause the app at any time to discuss the book and ask questions with your students! Some book apps allow the user to record/retell the story with their own voice! Some of our favorite book apps:
Even Monsters Are Shy by Busy Bee Studio: Ben helps his new monster friend overcome his shyness.
Three Little Pigs vs The Wolf by Irene Deev: A classic fairy tale comes to life!
Oscar Goes to the Zoo with WordWinks and Retell, Record & Share by You Tell Me Stories Foundation: Oscar learns that there is nobody he would rather be than himself
2. Create your own stories!
My Story School eBook Makerby Bright Bot, Inc.: Create and share ebooks and movies using your own voice, drawings, stickers, and photos!
Book Creator for iPad by Red Jumper Limited: Easily create your own books! Add music, narration, video, text! Share with family and friends.
3. Text to Speech
Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman: Interact with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions, carry-on a real time conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read.
4. YouTube videos:
Do a simple search for your favorite book by name, or search for children’s read aloud books. Here are a few to get you started.
The Rainbow Fish https://youtu.be/QFORvXhub28
No, David! https://youtu.be/5XTb_Vi2VFU
Go Away Big Green Monster https://youtu.be/c5aBlzg0548
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle https://youtu.be/KbtBoNE3vRw
Do you want your child to be a better reader? A better writer? A better communicator? Experience increased academic success? Instill in them a love of reading at an early age! One of the early predictors of academic success in young children is the amount of reading they do.
As a Speech Language Pathologist, many parents ask me what they can do at home to help their children. My advice always includes daily reading. Based on experience, I highly recommend that parents use Bluebee Pals to help cultivate a lifelong love of reading and create a special bond with their children! I have used Bluebee Pals in my classroom as reading buddies for several years and I have seen the difference they can make in exciting children about reading and learning! You and your child can use Bluebee Pals as daily reading buddies with traditional books, or with book apps! A combination of both is an excellent way to spread reading enjoyment. Bluebee Pals, along with interactive digital books, make books come alive!
Reading with your child daily:
*Improves vocabulary and language skills
*Improves reading comprehension
*Boosts brain development
*Supports cognitive development
*Improves concentration and discipline
*Improves imagination and creativity.
*Exposes children to different experiences
*Prepares children for academic success
Some of our favorite book app collections:
9 Dr. Seuss Beginner Books by Oceanhouse Media
Nosy Crow Fairytales Bundle by Nosy Crow
Tips for reading with children of any age:
*Set aside daily time reading time. Find somewhere quiet without any distractions.
*Ask your child to choose a book and sit close together. Encourage your child to hold the book/tablet/Bluebee Pal themselves and/or turn the pages.
*Point to the pictures and encourage your child to talk about the book. Talking about the characters and their situations helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of response time. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel. If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
*Above all else…make reading fun and enjoy the time together with your child!
Bluebee Pals June 2018
Helen has been integrating Bluebee Pals in her speech therapy classroom at school for the past 2 years. She and her students have enjoyed every minute of learning with them! Now, the new 4.0 Robotic Head Bluebee Pal Pro with free Bluebee Pal Educational/life Skill App has been introduced into her class and taken their educational fun to the next level! https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
The Bluebee Pal Pro is a full-sized, friendly-faced plush animal that is remarkably soft, pliable, and sensory soothing for kids of all ages. There are plenty of friends to choose from: Monkey, Lamb, Lion, Zebra, Puppy, and Bear! The Bluebee Pals are special Bluetooth speaker enabled educational toys that can be connected to any Bluetooth device. Play any app and your new friend will “speak” and read any storybook app, sing with your favorite music, and you can even talk with them through your phone! The new Bluebee Pal Pro has a gentle, naturalistic head movement while speaking which makes them come to life! Remarkably, the Bluebees now come with their own fun, free companion app that is chock full of content! It leads you easily through the simple set-up with a tutorial video and provides tips and ideas for parents to use to engage their children in learning activities. The app has a fun voice recording feature, mini-games, activities, and a cool house to explore and interact with! There are even easy links to a resource section (for parents)!
Bluebee Pals can be used just for the fun of it or can be incorporated into highly engaging educational activities. Helen’s students absolutely love them, and their Bluebee friends are part of the school family! They use them for articulation and language and AAC therapy frequently and they are a “most requested” activity in our speech room!!!