Bluebee Pals Tutorial Videos Click Here

Fuzzy friends engage children with autism in instruction

 

Mott Road Elementary School speech-language pathologist Jacqueline Cullen introduces the plush BluebeePal, Parker the Monkey, a student by speaking into an iPad microphone. The interactive learning tool is not only soft and cuddly, it also captures attention and enhances learning experiences by moving its head and mouth to relay recorded messages, talk, read, sing and play games with children.

Meet the Bluebee Pals: Soft, fuzzy and huggable, these stuffed animals are helping Fayetteville-Manlius elementary students with autism engage and focus while in the classroom. Through an existing partnership with researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District was asked to collaborate on a study to determine if students diagnosed with autism are more focused and attentive following directions from an adult or a Bluebee Pal. In June 2018, the district received a donation of 10 Bluebee Pals from LauraJiencke, CEO and founder of Kayle Concepts, through the company’s Bluebee Pals Project, a nonprofit organization that donates the cuddly characters to be used as an assistive technology tool to enhance speech therapy and special education instruction.      

The 13-inch tall stuffed animals equipped with state-of-the-art technology connect with apps through smartphones, tablets, laptops or any Bluetooth-enabled device. Their mouths and heads move while they read stories and sing songs, engaging young students and assisting teachers with instruction. “Who doesn’t love a stuffed animal that is soft and cuddly?” said Lisa Miori-Dinneen, F-M’s assistant superintendent for special services. “I think it’s innovative to pair it with technology to engage and motivate children’s learning while providing comfort at the same time.” The district’s speech and special education teachers in each of the district’s three elementary schools are informally using the Bluebees.

 

So far, the Bluebees have proven to be a motivating tool, said Mrs. Miori-Dinneen. Children on the autism spectrum typically lack eye contact and engagement, but videos of the F-M students using the Bluebees show them intently watching the Bluebees’ mouths move, holding them closely to their ears to listen to them talk and following the directives the Bluebees give, such as touching a specific image on an iPad screen.

“It’s definitely novel and a nice enhancement to engage kids in instructional activities,” Mrs. Miori-Dinneen said. Recently at Mott Road Elementary School, speech-language pathologist Jacqueline Cullen used an iPad microphone app and a Bluebee to relay a set of directions to a student. The student watched and listened to the Bluebee, then immediately followed the directions to stand up and clap three times. The Bluebee also read an e-book displayed on the iPad and asked the students questions about the pictures on the screen. “Since the inception of the Bluebee Pals Project in 2015, Bluebee Pals have become an effective assistive technology tool for therapists and educators in obtaining language and educational goals with children with autism,” Jiencke said. “We are thrilled the Fayetteville­Manlius School District has utilized Bluebee Pals in its classrooms and the positive impact they provide as a creative learning tool in achieving communication and educational objectives.”

The Bluebees project is in addition to two other research projects the district is participating in with Dr. Howard Shane, a Harvard Medical School associate professor and director of the Center of Communication Enhancement at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. (VIS) is a communication method that uses visual supports-such as videos, pictures, and iPads-to enhance and expand the language and communication skills of students diagnosed with autism.Just in Time (]IT) instruction focuses on the effects of language and behavior of children with autism when directives are delivered through wearable technology, such as an Apple watch. F-M is the first and only school district that Dr. Shane and his colleagues have worked with.

 

ARTICLE Published: Fayetteville Manlius School District Newsletter Fall 2018

Bluebee Pals and Imums Favorite Holiday Apps

The iMums wanted to share their favorite Christmas holiday-themed apps favorites with you
Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities, and an extra carol. 
The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media have been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker. 
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story.
Santa’s Suit is Missing by Ginger Whale Apps is a story about Christmas Eve and it is snowing at the North Pole. It is your first day in Santa’s workshop, but all the work is done, the presents are packed, and the other elves are sleeping. You are feeling disappointed to have missed all the fun, when suddenly your Santa Phone beeps – Santa needs you!! Santa has lost his suit and needs a new one before he heads off to deliver the presents. You rush to the village to find him the perfect outfit. What will you get first? Boots? A hat? A suit? There are lots to choose from, will you get him a traditional Santa outfit or something different? Maybe a ballerina outfit or an astronaut suit? A Jester’s outfit or your own unique combination? Once you made your choices you take the suit back to Santa – but what will he think? You’ll have to read Santa’s Suit is a missing story to find out.
Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas.
’Twas The Night Before Christmas by BlackFish is a traditional version of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas, with fun interactive elements, seasonal music and sound effects this is well worth downloading. I like the ability to customize the book and to record your own narration and that you get it both as a stand alone book and in the bookshelf app. Overall, if you are looking for a nice traditional version of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas, illustrations with a warm, cozy feel, fun interactive elements, seasonal music, and sound effects this is well worth downloading. I like the ability to customize the book and to record your own narration. I also like that you can choose to have it as either a stand alone book or in the bookshelf app (without having to buy it twice) and that the two link up seamlessly. I would also recommend checking out the Blackfish children’s Bookstore app and downloading the free books to check them out.
Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24, over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills. 
Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys!
The app features an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!
A Very Yo Gabba Gabba! Christmas by Cupcake Digital a universal app for iOS that features five mini games within the app including building a snowman with accessories, making a Christmas tree complete with ornaments, creating and dancing with gingerbread men, making your own holiday drinks including the addition of whipped cream, sprinkles, and other treats, and making snow globes with friends from within the app! As you complete the various activities your creations are displayed on the screen along with the sleigh. This app is designed for preschool through early elementary school.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play by Oceanhouse MediaEvery page is a present waiting to be unwrapped, a present given such careful thought, it is guaranteed to delight and bring a smile to its recipient. This highly interactive app brings a beloved Dr. Seuss Christmas book to life with outstanding narration and excellent animations. It tells the story of a Grinch who hates Christmas so much he decided he would stop it from happening in a town called Whoville. He thought that he could accomplish this by taking everything away that was related to Christmas such as presents, Christmas trees, and decorations. To his surprise, his scheme did not work. The spirit of Christmas, you see, was not found in the physical things that represent it, but inside people’s hearts. What a beautiful lesson to learn and remember this holiday! Emergent readers will enjoy the Read To Me and Auto Play options where words are highlighted as the narrator reads the story.

Have a Holiday Sing-a-long with Bluebee Pals


Most kids love to listen to music and sing.
Singing is one of the best activities during the holidays for young children and can be done anywhere – in the car when out and about or to reinforce everyday routines at home or school. Singing promotes development on so many different levels. Not only does it build language and vocabulary skills, but also teaches kids about social and cultural traditions, enhances thinking skills and provides an overall sense of well-being. And if fingerplays or movement is added, it helps kids retain the material by synching speech and other sensory systems with the body. Did you know that your Bluebee Pal comes ready right out of the box to help your children learn the joy and comradery of singing with others?

 

Finding appropriate music can sometimes be hard or frustrating. Here are a few of our favorite ways that bring our Bluebee Pals to life. Follow these easy steps to get started.

  • Turn on your Bluebee Pal and pair it with a device. Usually, this is found under “Bluetooth Devices” within the settings tab. Devices such as a phone, tablet, or even an AI device such as Amazon Kids or Google Home can be paired with Bluebee.
  • Select your album, playlist, or app, and tap the play button. Like magic, Bluebee will automatically begin to sing. The realistic head and mouth movements will transform Bluebee into a real-life friend.
  • Set back and enjoy yourself! You can add microphones to make it authentic. We have found the plastic dollar store type microphones work well as they help amplify voices – but not too loud.

 

 

Spotify is one of our favorites as families can search for music or songs, make playlists, or explore playlists made by others. Spotify can either be used as a free service or as a subscription service. The difference being that the subscription service offers the options to download music to your device, listen offline, and to eliminate pop up ads that may interrupt or be inappropriate for kids in play.

 

 

Amazon Music, Google Music, or iTunes are all subscription services that function much like Spotify. There are free options to use in home or with a hotspot, but to download music, create playlists to listen offline, and to eliminate ads you’ll need to subscribe.

 

 

 

YouTube is a favored and universal hub for children’s music and educational videos. Be sure to view any music video to check out its content before playing it for a child. Even You Tube Kids may have some content that is inappropriate slip through YouTube’s filters. Report anything that seems off putting.

 

 

Whatever your choice, remember that holidays are a time to connect, share, and enjoy each other. Happy Holidays!

Bluebee Pals Tech Companions Beyond the Screen



As a mom, I’m conscious of my kids time on their tablets or devices.  I think about #screentime and try to make sure we have a good balance of both device time and outside play.  We have even figured out ways to use our tech toys beyond the typical games and use them for education, role play and fun.
Ideas to Enjoy Bluebee Pals Beyond the Screen!

1) Have a tea party with your favorite Bluebee Pal – now that they are weighted you can even place them in a chair and they will sit.
2) Have your child pretend to deliver mail to various people including your Bluebee Pal.  They can use a catalog or make their own mail for delivery. Have them describe who they are delivering the mail to, counting, and colors
3) Bluebee Pals make great friends talk to.  Encourage your child to sit and read with your Bluebee Pal turned off.  This time of year especially we enjoy sitting and reading books at night.  I encourage my son to help turn pages, count and he loves snuggling with Parker.
4) Play dress up.  Dress up your Bluebee Pal in your favorite costume, shirt or clothing that your child may be wearing or have outgrown.  My son loves fitting Bluebee into sweaters (3T or larger) works best.
5) Hide and seek – hide your child’s toys around the house.  Have them play hide and seek to find them.  When my son finds an object I have him tell me what it is, what color is it and place it in a basket.  This is a great game for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and can be modified based on age.
6) Play musical chairs stuffed animal style – turn on some music and pair your Bluebee and then move around the stuffed animals until the music stops.  
7) Play freeze dance – this is a great activity that can be done both inside and out and is a great way to get energy out.  Kids dance to their Bluebee Pal with music and when the music stops they freeze!
8) Make an obstacle course for those chilly or snowy days when you can’t spend much time outside.  Use couch cushions to make pillows, stomp your feet, clap your hands.  Get your Bluebee involved too!
9)  Cleaning up toys – my kids hate to clean up their toys after they play.  We make it a game complete with music (the Cleanup song) and baskets to put the items in.  We set a timer for 30 seconds and see who can clean up the most toys. 

I hope these tips are helpful to you in thinking about ways to get kids active, having fun and playing all at the same time.  Adding in Bluebee gives it that fun extra reward!

The Importance of Reading and How Bluebee Pals Can Help!

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

*Promotes empathy

*Builds self-esteem

*Prepares children for academic success

 

                                                   

 

                                                                 Some of our favorite book app collections:

 

9 Dr. Seuss Beginner Books by Oceanhouse Media


https://itunes.apple.com/us/app-bundle/9-dr-seuss-beginner-books/id1343308588?mt=8

 

 

Nosy Crow Fairytales Bundle by Nosy Crow

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app-bundle/nosy-crow-fairytales-bundle/id1169999172?mt=8

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                 

                                                          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!

 

Holiday Apps for Bluebee Pal

If you are planning on celebrating your holiday with Bluebee Pal, check out these holiday app recommendations! With the recommendations are tips for facilitating language, learning and fun! 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a perfect app to pair with your Bluebee Pal. Features include: tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, read along with highlighting narration, read it yourself, or enjoy auto play, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track minutes spent reading, pages read, and more in the Parents section. There are also tons of activities as well! The app includes seven different mini games and games that are embedded in the story.

Your child will have endless fun with Toca Hair Salon: Christmas Gift. This app also pairs well with Bluebee Pal providing all of the sound effects and sharing in on the fun of giving Santa a makeover. This app is free, creative and can help your child explore all different actions, colors and different hair styles. After decorating Santa, let your child explore how to make their Bluebee festive for the holidays! Maybe a bow or a festive ribbon can do the trick!

Check out this free and inventive app titled, My Hanukkah. Include in the app is a story, activities and coloring pages. Bluebee Pal can help make this app even more interactive by reading this story to your child. The colorful pages and soothing voice combined with the interactive features of the app will keep your child engaged and learning. The activities included in the app are Play the Piano, Shapes, Spot The Difference and Brachot. The app also comes in 5 different languages! My Hanukkah also includes a game to create your own song for Hanukkah so that Bluebee can help sing along. 

Do you need more recommendations of holiday apps? Check out my post from last year with  Holiday Apps for Bluebee Pal.  To check out iMum’s Top Christmas apps, click here. Check out my other app reviews for Bluebee Pal here.

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal Assistive Technology Tools at ASHA

The ASHA Convention is the premier annual professional education event for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Bringing together approximately 15,000 attendees, the Annual Convention provides unparalleled opportunities to hear the latest research and gain new skills and resources to advance your career. More than 300 unique businesses exhibit each year, making the ASHA Convention an exceptional one-stop opportunity for attendees to find practical solutions and for exhibitors to reach ASHA members and related professionals.

 

NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro 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. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. 

The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to our app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.

The Bluebee Pal Project featured a booth of the NEW Bluebebe Pal Pro Tech Buddies and Life/Style Companion App!

https://www.bluebeepals.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Speech-Therapits-Bluebee-Pals.pdf?x24864

Key Ways to Use Bluebee Pal as an Assistive Technology Tool: An SLP Perspective

What is assistive technology?

According to Assistive Technology Industry Association, “Assistive technology (AT): products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.”

Bluebee Pal Pro is a “plush learning tool to learn, communicate, and connect to technology” that comes in a variety of animals and colors. Once connected via Bluetooth to a tablet; Bluebee can add extra engagement to your storytelling experience. Instead of the voice coming directly from the iPad, allow Bluebee Pal Pro to tell your child’s story. It also can be an excellent strategy to use in a group therapy or classroom with one Bluebee Pal or more. The Bluebee Pal Pro can be passed around, so each student gets the opportunity to use this helpful tool. This assistive technology tool is excellent for turn taking, increased engagement, language and learning goals.

To read an article written by Punam about Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App click here.

Goals and AT

Use Bluebee Pal for storytelling! Check out this article here or check my review on Storytime with Bluebee and Nick Jr Book App, The Big Green Monster or create your own stories with Pictello.

Bluebee is perfect for helping to build social skills for conversation! Check out this post on using Bluebee Pal for conversations here.

Are you working on cause effect activities with an emerging communicator? Bluebee Pal can be an ideal companion for these apps. Some suggested apps are Babies Musical Hands and Five Sharks Swimming.

Building literacy with Bluebee Pal can be fun and engaging for children with Bluebee Pal. Whether it’s just beginning to expose your student to letters and sounds or building more complex phonological awareness, Bluebee can help build these skills. Some apps to check out are Letter School and Endless ABC.

Learning daily living skills is an important part of becoming more independent. Part of what making following steps for daily living more complex and challenging with so many steps involved. Check out how to use Bluebee Pal with Choice works here.

Learning to communicate! Communication devices are a type of assistive technology for both children and adults with complex communication needs. I have written many apps reviews on how to incorporate Bluebee Pal. To check out these reviews, click here and check out the AAC apps listed on the left sidebar. To learn core words with Bluebee Pal, click here 

Make your AAC assessment interactive with AAC Genie and Bluebee Pal! Check out this article here on how to best use both the app and Bluebee Pal.

Are you working on learning actions and categories with your student? Bluebee Pal can help build engagement and make the process a multi-sensory approach. Check out my review here of Actions in Video, Learning Adjectives and Category Therapy Lite 

 

 

The iMums Favorite Christmas Apps

The iMums wanted to share some of our Christmas and holiday themed app favorites with you. Below is a short summary of each of the apps along with links to our reviews as they have been completed. We hope that you will enjoy these apps as much as we have with our families. Many of these are ones we load onto our devices year after year to enjoy – and some stay on all year round! In our family, we pick a new holiday themed book to read every night – these are some of our digital favorites among The Mums. Come visit us at The iMums for more great tech and app reviews! Looking for more great app reviews – check out this page on Bluebee Pals. Reading with our kids is one of the favorite things to do with our iKids.

The iMums Christmas apps #1
Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities and an extra carol. Read iMum Mary’s review

A Charlie Brown Christmas + iMessage Sticker Pack! – Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

The iMums Christmas apps #2
The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media has been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on
Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker. Read Fides review.

The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #3

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story. Read our review.

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad – Little Critter – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #4
Felt Board Christmas by Software Smoothie has become a quick favorite in out home this season. It is similar in every way to the original Felt Board but comes with a huge assortment of Christmas themed pieces such as the nativity, Santa, reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread cookies, snowmen, ornaments, and stockings. Read Fides review
Felt Board Christmas – Software Smoothie

The iMums Christmas apps #5
Santa’s Suit is Missing by Ginger Whale Apps is a story about Christmas Eve and it is snowing at the North Pole. It is your first day in Santa’s workshop, but all the work is done, the presents are packed, and the other elves are sleeping. You are feeling disappointed to have missed all the fun, when suddenly your Santa Phone beeps – Santa needs you!! Santa has lost his suit and needs a new one before he heads off to deliver the presents. You rush to the village to find him the perfect outfit. What will you get first ? Boots? A hat? A suit? There are lots to choose from, will you get him a traditional Santa outfit or something different? Maybe a ballerina outfit or an astronaut suit ? A Jester’s outfit or your own unique combination? Once you made your choices you take the suit back to Santa – but what will he think ? You’ll have to read Santa’s Suit is Missing story to find out. Read iMum Mary’s review

Santa’s Suit is Missing! – Ginger Whale Pty. Ltd.

The iMums Christmas apps #6
Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas. Read iMum Mary’s review

Tacky’s Christmas – Oceanhouse Media

The iMums Christmas apps #7
Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24 , over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills. Read iMum Alison’s review

Cookie Doodle – Shoe the Goose

The iMums Christmas apps #8
Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys! The app features an an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!

Five Little Monkeys Christmas HD – LoeschWare

The iMums Christmas apps #9

The Witch and the Christmas Spirit is by SlimCricket is a brand new app for iOS. The Witch is getting read for a Halloween adventure when her friend Peepo the Elf calls and says that a terrible illness has spread across the North Pole. He asks the Witch to come and help Save Christmas! Will they be able to? Enjoy this Free app with IAP that includes games, 3D pages and more!
The Witch and the Christmas Spirit – SlimCricket

The iMums Christmas apps #10
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station is a leveled reading app containing 30 different Christmas stories. I loved sharing these Christmas stories with my sons and helping them read at the same time!
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games – The Learning Station, LLC

This post was originally made on The iMums in 2015 at http://bit.ly/1IK2fRo. It is republished with permission.

Ambassadors at work for Bluebee

Bluebee Pal Ambassador Program

Our educators, therapist, parents and even kids ambassadors use a variety of our products at home, classrooms, and work in different settings including therapy, Pre K-3 level teaching, and professional development presentations. Bluebee Pal Ambassadors have firsthand knowledge of our products, and an understanding of how they enhance the learning process for students, teachers, homeschoolers, and the education community. They know the challenges and changes that teachers and students are facing and help us to adapt to the continuously evolving education system.https://www.bluebeepals.com/ambassadors/

 

How Bluebee Pals Ambassadors Support US

  • App Recommendations and App Reviews with Bluebee Pals.
  • Submitting Workshop Proposals: Bluebee Pal Seminars utilizing Apps and Smart Boards with Bluebee Pals.
  • Evaluating our products for content, ease of use, and how well they assist students in the learning process.
  • Writing stories for publications and blogs.
  • Providing feedback on Bluebee Pals products, website, and general marketing information

 

Bluebee Pals Tech Companions Inspire Learning

Bluebee Pals Learning Companions: Who are these huggable interactive animals tech companions that provide parents an opportunity to re-enforce learning and social skills in home settings. These exciting NEW learning buddies with FREE Life/Skill Companion App are a wonderful holiday gift for any child ages 3-8.https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Helen Wagner( Speech Therapist): I often use our classroom Bluebee Pals during therapy to work on reading, talking and playing skills! My students really relate to their Bluebee therapy friends, and look forward to learning with them! Teaching and learning begin at home. Parents are the first and most important teachers in the early, developmental years. Young children learn essential, foundational speech, receptive and expressive language, social, pre-reading, cognitive, numeracy and communication skills necessary for future academic success through meaningful play and lots of language-rich learning opportunities. 

 

Read, Read, Read!

Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading daily to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents can give their children. Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning about the story, and practicing story retelling.

 

Talk, Talk, Talk!
Parents need to talk to their children! Talking and commenting on the world around them is a great, natural way to teach children. Examples: In the grocery store: “How many yellow fruits do you see? How many green vegetables? Let’s buy three red apples”. In the car: “Let’s see how many blue cars we can count” or “How many things can people ride in to go somewhere”? “Let’s look for things that are orange”. “Can you find a stop sign? What colors are in a traffic light”? At home during interactive play: “Oh, wow, I see that you are racing your red car and your blue car. Which one do you think will go faster”? Simple commenting and talking about what you and your child are doing and seeing and asking questions is a powerful educational tool. Commenting on the world around them will build and reinforce basic concepts, numeracy, turn-taking, pragmatic skills, receptive and expressive language, critical thinking and reasoning skills, problem-solving, grammar, and more.
Play, Play, Play!
Play with your children! Lots and lots of learning takes place during play! Play dolls, play trucks, play games, play marbles, play pretend! Provide opportunities for you preschoolers to interact with peers! Beginning games such as Candy Land, Spot It, Pop the Pig, I Spy, Zingo and more are great for practicing social skills, turn-taking, sharing, numbers, colors, matching and categorization skills. Playing and learning through songs and finger-plays such as “Itty Bitty Spider, 5 Little Ducks, etc, is a great way to teach rhyming, sequencing, memory and basic concept skills. Learning through play provides powerful opportunities for cognitive growth.

Award Lists 2018 Playonwords Top 10 PAL

Playonwords LLC Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2018, Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys, Games, Books and Media That Spark Fun and Encourage Language

Respected speech-language expert Sherry Artemenko announces her Top 10 PAL product lists by category representing the only industry recognition promoting language development through great play. Parents and educators alike value Sherry’s nearly four decades of experience and benefit daily from her popular blog, playonwords.com, consulting practice, media appearances and articles.

 

PAL Top Ten Seal Playonwords.com: Play is how children develop emotionally, cognitively and in language.

Regular interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko, to a unique set of the best toys, games, books and media that have the chemistry to develop language while delivering great play. Today, Playonwords is announcing it’s annual “Top 10 PAL Award Picks of 2018” by age and product category. Our Top 10’s take the guesswork out of giving great holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents use our lists to shop for smart toys with lasting play value.

Winners are assessed and reviewed by Sherry with input from parents, kids and educators. Observing kid’s play in action, combined with her critical eye for language potential, Sherry awards products and writes insightful reviews offering practical tips on how to maximize the educational value in each winner on playonwords.com.

Language catalyzing PAL winning toys and games are powerful additions to a child’s learning tool box, since children learn through play, and language is integral to learning! Our 2018 Top 10’s include a number of great winners that inspire imagination and story-telling with engaging props from Schleich’s “Croco Jungle Research Station” to Geomagworld’s “Magicube Story Building” Promoting children’s literacy skills is a strong theme throughout this years’ winners as children can form letters with large, bendable Art Rods, practice language skills with an interactive Bluebee Pal, or respond to the newest 3D LeapStart Pad, learning concepts, letters, vocabulary and reasoning. The toy industry continues to value new games to build EQ (emotional quotient including social language skills) with exciting tools like EQtainment’s “Q Moment AR” and MindWare’s “Silly Street Character Builders.”

For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or language development, it’s about going deep on both. Her expertise has been built on science and more than 17,000 hours of client experience. Each set of Top 10’s represents a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common – they are trusted lists of fun products that boost learning through play.

Here are 2018’s Top 10 PAL Picks – See her reviews at http://www.playonwords.com

TOP 10 BOOKS AND MEDIA

  • Bluebee Pals-Lily the Lamb-Talking Educational Learning Tool & Life Skill  App ..https://www.bluebeepals.com/product/lily-the-lamb-talking-educational-learning-tool/
  • Crayola Ultimate Light Board
  • Go-With-Me ABC Backpack by LeapFrog
  • LeapStart 3D Learning System by LeapFrog
  • LeapStart Peppa Pig by LeapFrog
  • Learning Friends 100 Words Book by LeapFrog
  • Moonlite by Spin Master
  • My First Learning Tablet by LeapFrog
  • Q Moment AR by EQtainment
  • The Big Fun Workbooks by Highlights Press

TOP TOYS: INFANT

  • Bright Lights Soccer Ball by VTech
  • GearZooz GearBuddies Lion & Mouse by VTech
  • Learn and Spin Aquarium by VTech
  • Magicube Freebuilding Cubes by Geomagworld
  • Play & Move Puppy Tunes by VTech
  • Touch & Discover Sensory Turtle by VTech

TOP 10 TOYS: TODDLER

  • Go! Go! Smart Wheels Launch and Chase Police Tower by VTech
  • Go! Go! Smart Wheels (Police Car, Truck, Helicopter) by VTech
  • Magicube Mix and Match 9 piece by Geomagworld
  • Magnetic Board (Dinosaur) by Bigjigs Toys LLP
  • Make a Mat by Makeamat.com
  • Multi-Spout Sprayer by Hape
  • My Little House by Smartfelt Toys
  • Piccoli Horses Classic Plush
  • Sensory Railway by Hape
  • Tad’s Fridge Phonics by LeapFrog

TOP 10 TOYS: PRESCHOOL

  • BRIO World- SmartTech Engine with Action Tunnels and Washing Station
  • Fire Station by Hape
  • Frog Life Cycle by Folkmanis, Inc.
  • Long and Tall Puzzle 123 Rocketship by The Learning Journey International
  • PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck by Spin Master
  • Pop Oh Ver Kitchen Counter Top by Kangaroo Manufacturing
  • Pop Oh Ver Stove Set by Kangaroo Manufacturing
  • Reindeer in Here
  • Sharingland Cardboard Playhouse Kits
  • Silly Street Character Builders by MindWare

TOP 10 GAMES: PRESCHOOL

  • 500+ Sight Words Flash Cards Bundle Kit by Think Tank Scholar
  • Acorn Soup by MindWare
  • Catch! by MindWare
  • Chugga Choo by MindWare
  • Code Hopper by MindWare
  • Five Little Fish by Ravensburger
  • Hoyle Super Me! by The United States Playing Card Co.
  • Magicube Story Building by Geomagworld
  • Quercetti Rami
  • Where’s Mr. Wolf? by Blue Orange Games

TOP 10 TOYS: SCHOOL AGE

  • Art Rods by Underdog Educational
  • Crayola Color Chemistry Lab Set
  • Croco Jungle Research Station by Schleich
  • GraviTrax Starter Set, Expansion Pack and Accessories by Ravensburger
  • Kruselings by Hape
  • Magicube Word Building by Geomagworld
  • Mobile Vet With Hanoverian Foal by Schleich
  • My Story Dolls by Faber-Castell
  • Playful Chef Chocolate Studio and Shoppe by MindWare
  • Ravensburger VW 3D Puzzle

TOP 10 GAMES: SCHOOL AGE

  • Anomia Kids by Anomia Press
  • ARTributes by Simplyfun LLC
  • Big Money by Wonder Forge
  • Blank Slate by USAopoly
  • CODENAMES : Disney Family Edition by USAopoly
  • Disney Villainous Game by Wonder Forge
  • Not Parent Approved
  • Otrio by Spin Master
  • Shadows in the Forest by ThinkFun, Inc.
  • WordAround 2 by ThinkFun

Each holiday season, millions are spent on kids’ toys, games and books. These PAL winners above are not only great fun but also encourage rich language development. Think “tastes like ice cream, fortifies like spinach,” optimizing your toy purchases to build language while maintaining all the fun. Now’s the time to be intentional about your child’s toy chest, game drawer, bookshelf and tablet!

ABOUT PLAYONWORDS, LLC
Playonwords.com was founded by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko. Her 35 years championing language rich play, esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.

Students at Pre-Kindergarten Meet Bluebee Pals

Bluebee Pals Go to Pre-Kindergarten

 

Bluebee Pals Sammy and Lily made a visit to students at Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool in Orlando, Florida this past month. I introduced Bluebee Pals to PreK 2.5 year old and PreK 3.5 year old classrooms. They loved it so much that they told all their friends to join them, making Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool the newest Bluebee Pals Project site! Ms. Llesiris Cores Nieves and Mrs. Wanda Rodriguez were the first two teachers to begin using the Bluebee Pals with their young students. The preschool director, Ms. Nellie Rosado thanked me profusely for the donations and opportunity to become the next Bluebee Pals Project site. I knew that I had to invite Bluebee Pal creator, Laura Jiencke to witness the PreK teachers, students and Bluebee Pals in action!

Llesiris, a teacher that recently moved from Puerto Rico, loves the excitement and attention use of Bluebee Pal Sammy brings to her classroom as well as his ability to provide great English language models to the students. She incorporates Sammy into her circle time using tech-to-speak apps to call the students to circle time, greet the students and provide models for vocabulary. Sammy engages the students during educational songs including the number rock, social skills practice, and imitating body movements.

Llesiris provides her students with a wonderful fun-loving and structured environment with a repetitive sequence of movement activities and songs to teach numbers, letters, shapes, colors, greetings, student names and social skills. Her incorporation of Bluebee into her routine and lessons was seamless and fun for the students and staff!

Wanda Rodriguez, a teacher who was formerly a professional clown, took to use of the Bluebee Pal Lilly into her classroom immediately after receiving the donation from Kayle Concepts. She uses puppets including a lamb daily in her classroom routines. Lilly the Lamb has become best friends with the other puppet animals that Wanda uses in the classroom. Bluebee Pal communicates with the classroom puppets, translating their messages to the students and teacher. Wanda noticed her students love to hear Bluebee Pal sing and play music during their dance lessons and story time. Bluebee Pal often helps the students demonstrate their understanding of the academic content by asking comprehension questions and providing answer models.

What a joy it was to see the love Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool had for the Blubee Pals. We appreciate their dedication to their students and the learning environment. What fun the Blubee Pals are having there! Keep it up!..https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

-Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP

Bluebee Pals Ambassador

 

 

(AAC)Assistive Technology and Bluebee Pals

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App

 

The world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) has been evolving and progressing at a rapid pace. AAC is the use of a method of communication other than verbal language. “Alternative” indicates that the system is being used as an alternative to verbal language and “augmentative” indicates that the system is being used to supplement verbal language. AAC users may be completely non-verbal, have limited verbalizations, and/or have vast verbal language that is unclear to communication partners. AAC modes include the use of photos or symbols on communication boards and books as well as low (paper overlays on electronic boards) and high tech communication devices (touchscreen devices). High-tech devices used to be only provided by a limited number of companies that created the hardware (tablet) and software (communication vocabulary system) at a very high cost. The invention of tablets such as the iPad/iTouch and Android devices have made high-tech AAC even more accessible and affordable. Users can communicate their wants/needs, make statements, ask questions and participate in social interactions with the use of their Alternative Augmentative Communication system.

At the start, the field of AAC often focused on teaching AAC users to request highly desired items like food or toys and labeling nouns and verbs. The vocabulary taught and used was often very specific such as “I want cracker”, “bathroom”, “ball”. Over time a vast amount of research has guided therapists, users, and caregivers towards more effective AAC use. What we have learned is that 80% of the words we use in English to communicate across various settings are not specific nouns and verbs, but instead what we call “core words”. Core words are frequently occurring abstract words that can be used to communicate many messages across many topics. They are words like “it”, “go”, “you”, “see”. Many low-tech and high-tech AAC systems are providing core word vocabulary to the user on their front or home page to allow fast and effect communication across all settings.

The more AAC users hear and see core vocabulary being used by their communication partners on their devices and the more they are aided to use it themselves, the more they will be able to communicate with the world! Bluebee Pals, a plush interactive educational tool is being used by therapists and educators across the nation to increase participation in therapeutic and educational activities for students with Autism with use of their AAC devices as well as any technology (we are talking iPads, tablets, smartphones) they access! These furry companions connect to all iOS and Android Devices and pair with all apps with a narrative or voice output. Bluebee Pal’s patented technology allows its mouth and head to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language, singing a song AND connecting with AAC devices. 

 

With their donation initiative, The Bluebee Pals Project, numerous therapy centers and schools have been gifted Bluebee Pals to use during academic lessons and therapy sessions.

  • LaVesta Feagin, an Assistive Technology Specialist at the Center for Independent Living, used Bluebee Pals to bridge interactions between the seniors at her center and visiting children during her “Foster Grandparents” event.“The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!”
  • “I have seen an increase in engagement with students. For example, a student that rarely ever participates with the class has shown interest in the Blubee and will participate with the group/teacher most of the time if the Blubee is used”  -Rebecca N. – Curriculum Instructional Specialist – Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE)
  • “In my classroom, we are learning communication skills using our favorite tech learning tool, Bluebee Pals! Children absolutely love them and are so very motivated to interact with them! Through the use of our Bluebee Pals, my students have shown tremendous progress with their speech and communication goals”! -Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SL
  • “They are very easy to use, and with the Bluetooth you can make the intervention very client-centered. I also like how soft they are, you can barely tell that there are any electronics inside.” -Hannah Lambert, OTAS

Individuals who are learning to use their new AAC device have often only hear the voice output through the speakers of their device. By connecting their device to a Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth connection, the AAC user is able to control the plush companion and make it say whatever they wish! It is quite a novel and unique experience for the AAC user to experience their “voice” emanating from the plush companion!

Laura Jiencke, president of Kayle Concept and Bluebee Pal creator, is thrilled to see how her interactive tool has been able to provide children with Autism and AAC users with great entertainment while assisting in educating and developing communication skills. Bluebee Pals PRO can be purchased at www.bluebeepals.comas well as www.amazon.com. Interested in being part of the Bluebee Pals Project donation initiative? Submit a request at www.bluebeepals.com/contact-us/.

 

Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP: Bluebee Pals Ambassador and Speech-Language Pathologist in Orlando, Florida: Punam Desormes is a graduate of the University of Florida Masters in Speech-Language Pathology program. She has been working in the private and ESE school settings for 15 years. She also works as a clinical education at the University of Central Florida School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

 

 Ten Language and Learning Goals with the Bluebee App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Ten Language and Learning Goals when using the Bluebee App

Making choices: Making choices with the Bluebee Pal App is easy with this app. When the app begins, a child gets the option of choosing a Bluebee Pal (choice between the Sammy the Bear, Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Rylie the Zebra, Parker the Monkey, and Hudson, the Puppy). After the child chooses their favorite Bluebee Pal, they get to choose their favorite color balloon, category and then the room they want to explore.

Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects. I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.

Following directives: Throughout this app, the child is required to follow 1-2 step directives such as feeding Bluebee Pal, putting him sleep, brushing his teeth and much more! If your child needs more help with following directives, give prompts as necessary.

Literacy goals: This app is ideal for emerging readers! The mini-games help children recognize sounds and letters in a fun and interactive manner. With one mini-game, a child is required to put the right letter where it belongs on a qwerty keyboard.

Daily Living Skills: This app incorporates a variety of daily living skills including hygiene, cooking and cleaning up. During these opportunities, a child will be able to engage in these daily living tasks that they can relate to on a daily basis. This can be carried over into the home environment by going through the hygiene routine with Bluebee Pal and then doing the same with your child.

Actions: Learning actions is such an important skill and vital for creating grammatically correct sentences that are communicated well. This is a goal that should be facilitated and modeled as the child is playing the app. For example, the parent/educator can model, “Bluebee is ______his teeth” and have the child fill in the action. Bluebee engages in so many actions with this app so goals can be targeted in many ways and can also help build vocabulary.

Expand vocabulary: A child can expand their vocabulary by interacting with the various objects within each room. During each room activity, there is an opportunity for a child to explore different vocabulary. For example, when the child touches the water bottle, it says “water bottle”. This continues for a variety of objects in each room. Use this vocabulary during conversation to help your child store these new words in long-term memory. Also, focus on descriptive words as well!

Sequencing: When playing with this app, help your child recall various tasks in order. For example, when Bluebee Pal is in the bathroom, he first gets in the shower and gets wet, then gets washed with soap, and then finally needs to get dried with the towel or the hairdryer. When the sequence is done, review the steps in taking a shower and ask specific questions. For example, “What did Parker the Monkey do first?”

Negation: Learning and understanding negation is so important for various communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and expressing an opinion. In this app, a child has to follow directives with negations embedded it the sentences such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light.”

Inferencing Skills and Improving Visual Awareness: Explore various puzzles, a maze and mini-games and target inferencing and critical thinking skills. Throughout the story, a child has to figure out specific situations within a context. For example, after taking a shower, Bluebee Pal is wet. What does he need to do? Does your child or student have difficulty with visual perception? In one mini-game, a child is required to find all of the Bluebee Pals within the scene which can help build those visual awareness skills.

 

 

Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP,is a certified speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two children. She has been working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for more than 15 years in a variety of settings and currently works with both children and adults with autism and other varying disabilities who have complex communication needs. 

Advance Learning Academy and Bluebee Pals

Advance Learning AcademyAdvance Learning Academy is a private school in Maitland, Florida that values the uniqueness of all children. They are dedicated to creating a diverse community of learners by providing innovative, effective instruction that promotes academic excellence and social growth. The Bluebee Pal Project has donated Bluebee Pals to this creative school who promotes education through creative forms of technology. Thinking “outside the box” in personalized learning is a must to any early developmental education.

 

Small Class size—-Innovative, Evidence-Based Curriculum—-Integration of Technology: Advance Learning Academy will provide scientific observations based on implementing Bluebee Pals Learning Tools into their curriculum and measuring students performance. Their mission is to create a diverse community of learners by providing innovative, effective instruction that promotes academic excellence and social growth. The curriculum is flexible and adaptive to allow students to learn where they are and then advance their learning. Children are given the opportunity to acquire knowledge a variety of ways… not just one. It’s not one-size-fits-all and it may happen for a student through critical thinking, communication, collaboration or even creativity.

 

Message from the Principal: Our school’s focus on active learning allows for more student engagement and improves motivation. We know that part of providing a 21st-century education is not only having the technology but connecting students and learning in innovative ways.

 Our expert faculty develops individualized goals for every student to help create a program that is tailored to their specific needs. We provide a variety of special activities – art, music, yoga, physical education, and gaming as well as an engaging After School program.

 Programs like positive behavior support help improve behavior, develop classroom families and a positive, healthy school climate.

The social and emotional aspects of learning are important elements of our educational program.  We want all of our students to feel safe, respected and loved.

We are a school that treats parents as partners in their child’s education. Learning must occur both at school and at home. Together as a team, we provide the very best education for our students.



 

Stacy Taylor, MA, B.C.B.A.
President/Clinical Director
Advance Behavior & Learning
140 Advance Point 
Maitland, FL 32751

Halloween 5 Apps for Preschoolers

Bluebee loves Halloween with all its fun activities. Dressing up and trying out new roles for pretend play gives kids a chance to take on another’s perspective. Young children often have a blurred line between reality and make-believe, so putting on that princess’s dress is the way to being royal – at least for a while. However, there’s a lot of novel stimuli coming at your child during Halloween, so it makes sense to use Bluebee to help your child prepare for changes in routines and what to expect. The Halloween Holiday Apps listed below are all grand ways for kids to explore what the celebration is all about. It also habituates a child to the sights and more importantly the sounds of the holiday. Here are some of our favorite Halloween apps to get you started:

Yum Yum Letters: Learn and Trace by Kindermatica is an outstanding app for beginning to grademovements and make markings within a pathway. Kindermatica has seasonal themes within the app to keep its content current. The Halloween Theme contains a spooky but friendly spider, pumpkins, and atmospheric fun. With Blueebee there to deliver the instructions to the app, your child will be unstoppable. On opening, each letter is introduced as well as its formation. The letter is then formed by using either the finger or a stylus. Bluebee always uses a stylus, and I would encourage the use of one if your child’s hand is ready for a writing utensil. One of the things I love about most handwriting apps is that kids must practice proper letter formation to proceed, and Yum Yum Letters has kids practice the formation of each letter three times with slightly different backgrounds and prompts to help ensure carry-over and promote independence. Once they have practiced, they are rewarded with a game – that furthers spatial skills involving symmetry.

I look forward to Sago Mini Monsters Halloween update every year. This is an app that can be used for children that have mastered single causation in play, and need more of a challenge. The Halloween version has kids bring up a monster face from the green slime pits. He is then dusted off and painted, given new accouterments, and then feed all sorts of treats and goodies. There is a price to pay – and as Bluebee knows – if you eat a lot of treats, you need to brush your teeth. I love how daily routines are reinforced in this app. Brushing teeth is often hard to incorporate into a young one’s day. And practicing this in-app presents an opportunity to familiarize them with the sequence to the task and make it non-threatening. In Sago Mini Monsters, Bluebee plays the music to the app, helping children to self-regulate and attend through the rhythms presented.

Go Away, Big Green Monster! Is an action-packed app that can be Read Along with the exciting author and narrator, Ed Emberley, Read Along with a child narrator, Read by Myself, or have the Story Sung in an upbeat jazzy tune.  The benefits to this playing are both learning about the vocabulary for body awareness, but the ability to anticipate and sequence a story. We use this app in therapy all year round as its liveliness is simply infectious.

 

Trick or Treat Little Critter is an interactive storybook by OceanHouse Media that explains the customs of Halloween to little folks. It describes in detail the expectations and roles to play at Halloween as well as all the great benefits to Trick or Treating. It always amazes me how a few kids have no idea what is going on during Halloween because no one has explained it to them. Often there is not an older sibling or friend that explains what the holiday is like in Kid’s Terms that would make it remotely interesting and something that they should invest time and effort into participating. Too many kids, the thought of dressing up in something uncomfortable, staying out late, and all the noise is just too much. Once they have an idea of the benefits to be reaped in terms of attention, candy, and fun…they are all in. OceanHouse Media is a company that always comes to the rescue in explaining the world and its customs to kids.

BabyLit Build and Play Frankenstein tells the tale of Victor Frankenstein and how he came to make the lonely purple monster as well as a play section of dressing up Frankie. In the parent’s section, there is a summation of the original book. Although the summation is not meant for young children, it does provide parents with talking points of appreciating all life and the richness of our differences the world over.

 

 

Revised and updated for 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip to Puddingstone Place with Bluebee Pals

Bluebee Pals took a road trip this week to see Puddingstone Place, a comprehensive treatment center for children with special needs and their families. This amazing center offers Speech, ABA/Behavioral Services as well as Occupational Therapy that transcend typical school-based approaches. Treatment emphasis is on using evidenced-based clinical practices developed at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) created by the world renown expert on communication disorders, Dr. Howard Shane, is cutting-edge, thoroughly researched, and centers on the whole child. By using state of the art technology, it takes advantage of children’s strong visual preferences in learning. Most of the children seen at the center have a diagnosis of Autism or ASD, but Puddingstone Place welcomes all children with needs and includes seeing children with:

  • Global developmental delays
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Pragmatic Communication Disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • …And children with other diagnosed and undiagnosed developmental, sensory, and communication delays.

The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) helps kids become more effective communicators by capitalizing on children’s strong visual skills. Visual supports can be customized using both low tech and high-tech options that makes treatment relevant to each child. The flexibility helps kids to make sense of what is being taught and be able to generalize material to facilitate function. Check out Dr. Shane’s Book on the Visual Immersion Therapy for more information: Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism: A Guide to the Visual Immersion System.

On arriving we were greeted by the center’s energetic and dedicated staff. The rooms were open and inviting. It felt comfortable and child friendly. Decorations were cheerful and uplifting without visual and auditory clutter that often distracts or overwhelms children. The staff who are already familiar with Bluebee, fell in love with Bluebee with the newest Bluebees that have both head and mouth movements for more realistic interactions. Heads were spinning with the possibilities of what Bluebee may bring to enhancing the lives of children. Laura Jiencke, the founder of Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pals Project, described treatment ideas as well as pictures of the Bluebee in action. Did you know that Bluebee can be used with AAC devices, musical playlists to promote movement, and pragmatic language skills through the use of the phone feature?

Bluebee Pals wants to thank all the staff for their hospitality, and best wishes for success!

 

 

 

Bluebee Pals Awards Inside Creative Play

The NEW release of the  4.0 Bluebee Pals was the top choice for (#FAVOFTHE MONTH) in Creative Play Retailer Magazine this July. In addition, these huggable tech companions were featured on the cover of Creative Play this April and won “two awards”: 2018 Plush Toy of the Year and Product of the Year.

The trade magazine covering the children’s retail industry. What makes Creative Play Retailer stand alone is its ability to provide the specialty store market with top rated reviews of products that are endorsed by Creative Child Magazine, parents and educators.  

 

 

NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion life skills and educational app, that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.

The wonderful thing about Bluebee Pals is that they are a ready and able playmate, confidante, and teacher hidden inside a stuffed animal. They can be paired with any device that is Bluetooth enabled or used as a beloved toy unplugged.

 

 

 

 

Try using your Bluebee Pals to:

Rehearse upcoming events by acting out what is going to happen and have Bluebee respond with any anticipated concerns. Children can also rehearse independently by playing an app with your Bluebee Pal as a guide – which helps build independence and confidence.

Master language skills, manners, and turn taking. Simply listening to a story read by Bluebee will help increase vocabulary.

We’ve all gone to “tea parties” and I’ve heard that Bluebee loves a bit of cake with his tea. During your party, practice sharing portions. There are many food playsets that have a portion component. Games with definite turns are also a way to teach waiting – although your child can take Bluebee’s turn too! Using the phone component with Bluebee can add to imaginative and pretend play by having Bluebee communicating directly with your child.

 

Academy for Autism and Bluebee Pal Project

The Academy for Autism is a private school serving up to 60 school-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 2005 by two parents with Autism, the Autism Academy has focused on providing affordable specialized private education for low and middle-income families via research-based curriculum in classrooms set up with the TEACCH Model ( https://www.autism.com/treating_TEACCH ). The Academy for Autism also houses a therapy clinic on-site where students receive speech-language, occupational and physical therapies throughout the school day.
The Academy for Autism recently became a Bluebee Pals Project site and received 16 brand new Bluebee Pal Pros for use in the classroom and therapeutic settings. I had the pleasure of meeting with the Academy for Autism team just after the donated Bluebee Pals arrived! The team of teachers, teacher assistants, speech and occupational therapists gathered to learn about how to incorporate Bluebee Pals into their academic and therapeutic activities to increase engagement and participation. Several therapists and teachers had already paired their Bluebee Pals to classroom tablets and cell phones to play their student’s favorite songs and academic apps. Together we explored this tech tool deeper and discovered many ways that the Bluebee Pals could enhance lessons they were already providing daily. 
The occupational therapists shared that many of her students were working on handwriting goals. These tasks can be tedious and boring for some students. – Bluebee Pals to the rescue! Bluebee Pals can be paired with apps such as Handwriting Heroes and Kiddopia – ABC for students to work on letter tracing while their plush friend talks and sings along. When paper and pencil handwriting tasks are required, Bluebee Pal can add excitement by “telling” students what letters to write via letter songs and text-to-speech apps controlled by the therapist or teacher.
TouchMath Counting app came to life when paired with Bluebee Pals by an Academy for Autism classroom teacher. TouchMath,(www.touchmath.com) a leading multi-sensory math teaching approach, is frequently used to help students with special needs learn numbers and operations. When paired with the app, Bluebee provided fun and interactive auditory feedback as the user activated touch points on TouchMath numbers. 
The Academy for Autism teachers got some laughs in when using Google Hangouts to surprise each other with Bluebee to Bluebee calls! From there the teachers and staff did what they do best, kept the creative juices flowing as they came up with numerous apps and activities to use as they begin their journey within the Bluebee Pals Project! We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

****Punam is a Speech Therapist and Teacher/Mentor for kids with Autism. As a strong advocate of Bluebee Pals, she will be tailoring insightful articles and reviews of products that she has handpicked to go hand-in-hand with Bluebee, helping your child advance.

Bluebee and the Fayetteville-Manlius School District 

 Bluebee Pals were donated to the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District as an assistive technology tool to engage communication and learning in special needs classrooms and participate in research with Boston Children’s Hospital. Our tech buddies provide companionship and encourage communication when connected to Bluetooth enabled mobile/ tablet devices and paired with apps with a narrative.

The Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District is a K-12 public school district located in the Town of Manlius in Central New York, enrolling approximately 4,800 students. F-M serves a large portion of the Town of Manlius, including the villages of Manlius and Fayetteville, as well as portions of Jamesville and Pompey. The district is partially funded by and governed under the authority of the New York State Education Department, whose standardized examinations are designed and administered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New YorkThe district has been recognized statewide and nationally for academic and athletic excellence.

 Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District and Boston Children’s Hospital( SOURCE www.fmschools.org)

Fayetteville-Manlius School District special education staff and administrators established a partnership with researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Northeastern University to introduce a research­based, cutting-edge instructional methodology and strategies to teach students diagnosed with autism and moderate to severe communication disorders.

 

“Imagine a room filled with technology that has the potential to shape how children on the autism spectrum learn. Then picture a team of teachers, therapists and IT specialists driven by the singular purpose of accelerating communication and learning for these children. Well, stop imagining because that is the essence of the Mott Road program,” said Dr. Howard Shane, a Harvard Medical School associate professor and director of the Center of Communication Enhancement at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Shane served as a consultant for F-M during the 2015-16 school year and provide training in 2016-17 to all of the district’s special education staff on his Visual Immersion SystemVisual Immersion System (VIS) is a unique communication method that uses visual supports – such as videos, photographs and pictures, along with technology such as iPads and Apple watches – to enhance and expand the language and communication skills of students.

During the 2017-18 school year, the district formally partnered with Dr. Shane, along with Dr. Ralf Schlosser, a professor from Northeastern University, and other researchers, to bring VIS to a Mott Road Elementary School class of seven students diagnosed with autism. Fayetteville-Manlius School District is the first and only school district that they have worked with. “The progress and growth of our students participating in this project have exceeded all of our expectations,” said Lisa Miori-Dinneen, F-M’s assistant superintendent for special services. “The VIS methodology has been life­changing for our students and their families.”

2018 Bluebee Pal Tools Introduction into the VIS System

Dr. Shane described some of his recommendations for using the Bluebee Pal Parker and friends for directive teaching, symbolic play instruction and other ideas into the curriculum, he is developing in a research-based classroom in the F-M School district. The school is excited about introducing Bluebee Pal Tools into the hi-tech classroom.

  • The class will have 7 children with autism.  There will be a lead teacher, 6 teacher assistants, 2 speech paths, 1 OT.
  • Tech will include smart boards and tablets, iPads, the capability for parents to log in from work/home and view their child in school. Parents have all been given our Visual Immersion Book.  
  •  Bluebee Pal Educational Tools

 

Lisa A. Miori-Dinneen: Assistant Superintendent of Special Services.

My favorite photo is Suzy using the Ipad and Bluebee. She is so engaged with Bluebee and this was the very first day she was exposed t it( amazing)! As I mentioned to you, I am writing an article about your generosity for our newsletter in October as well as how we have been involved with the research study and will include photos of the children using the Bluebee Pals. I will periodically send you updates with videos and photos from the class as well as other classes that are using the Bluebee Pals.

 

Choice Works App with Bluebee Pal

Choice Works App: With Back to School in full swing, do you have students or a child that needs more visual supports? Does your child have trouble with transitions?

Check out my these Choice Works apps below to help with transitions! With Bluebee Pal at your child’s side providing the verbal output, transitions can become more fun and interactive!

To download the app, click here.

Choice Works

I have been using this app, Choice Works for many years with both children and adults with Autism as well as other disabilities. The Choiceworks app is functional and educational learning tool for helping children complete daily routines (morning, day, & night), understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting). This app is specifically designed to help with transitions, optimize visual learning, reduce behaviors and optimize easy transitions. The app is user friendly for parents and educators and very flexible in the way that it can be customized for each child. Here are some key features below as listed on the app store:

■ Four boards: Schedule, Waiting, Feelings and Feelings Scale
■ Image Library preloaded with over 180 images and audio 
■ Add your own images and record your own audio for limitless customizability 
■ Attach video to any board image
■ Easily create profiles to personalize and manage multiple users
■ Save an unlimited number of boards for multiple children or different routines 
■ Speaks boards out loud with pre-recorded audio 
■ Time saving essentials like search and auto-save
■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks app users 
■ Ability to print boards or save as PDF

Get Bluebee to be your choice works assistant!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth
  2. Click into the desired page such as schedules, waiting, feelings or feelings scale (e.g. School schedule)
  3. Each time you click on the icon of a pre-existing page you get the verbal feedback plus a short video that’s already installed! When making a customized page, add your own verbal output for Bluebee Pal.
  4. When you drag the icon over to the all done category, Bluebee will tell you “all done”
  5. This is just the beginning with the app! Explore with your child and your Choice Works assistant, Bluebee Pal!

Are you looking for a visual calendar to accompany Choice Works? Check out the Choice Works calendar!

To download the app, click here.

The Choiceworks Calendar is a  picture-based learning tool that helps children learn what is happening day-to-day throughout each month.  This app provides a visual calendar for children that have difficulty with time concepts and need those crucial visual supports. With this customized app, you can easily add or delete events as needed and take advantage of the features listed below. This app is extremely functional and can save a tons of time for a parent or educator. Adding images and events is done in a snap with this user friendly app! Print out the calendar and have it handy at home or in the classroom.  See these features below as listed on the app store:

Key Features 
■ Easily create a visual calendar of upcoming events in a few minutes (examples: holidays, when visitors are coming, doctor appointments, vacations, sleepovers, parent returning from a trip or military duty)
■ Image Library preloaded with over 275 images and audio
■ Add your own images using your photo library, camera or use the preloaded image library to record your own audio and edit captions for limitless customizability 
■ Create multiple personalized calendars for use with multiple children or in a classroom setting
■ Count Days Until: animated counter for the number of days until an upcoming event (example: How many days until my birthday?)
■ Speaks the daily schedule
■ Built-in visual timer
■ Automatically adds holidays
■ Easily add reoccurring events
■ Notifications and alarms with visual and audio alerts
■ Search and auto-save features
■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks Calendar app users 
■ Ability to print month, week or day for offline viewing or save as PDF

Get Bluebee connected to the fun calendar activity!

  1. Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth.
  2. Add your events and let Bluebee Pal will tell your child the name of the event.
  3. Do you want your daily schedule read to you? Bluebee Pal can do that! 
  4. Do you have an exciting event coming up? Bluebee can count down the days for you! 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal Project and The Arc of Indiana

 

Bluebee Pals were donated to the Arc of Indiana to support the special needs community in providing assistive technology tools for parents and therapists. We share the positive impact that technology provides in opening doors to motivate learning and communication in home and school settings.

 

 

The Arc of Indiana was established in 1956 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who joined together to build a better and more accepting world for their children.

With over 27,000 members and 43 chapters in Indiana, and 140,000 members in over 700 chapters nationwide, The Arc is on the front lines to:

  • Empower families with information and resources to assist them in their journey of raising a child with a disability to lead a full and meaningful life.
  • Empower people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to be self-sufficient and independent to the greatest extent possible.
  • Inspire positive change in public policy and public attitudes.
  • Prevent disabilities through education about the dangers of drugs and alcohol while pregnant and advocating for all women to have quality prenatal care.
  • Serve as a spokesperson and advocate for families and their loved ones.

The combined strength of local Arcs, state Arcs and The Arc of the United States makes The Arc the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.


Since 1956, The Arc of Indiana has been here to help Hoosiers with developmental disabilities and their families realize their goals of learning, living, working and fully participating in the community. Our main focus continues to be providing a resource for families to come together and help advocate for a better life for their children. Today we have 43 chapters located throughout Indiana serving thousands of individuals each year.

On behalf of The Arc of Indiana, I would like to thank you for your very generous donation. We are in receipt 26 cartons of Bluebee Pals. We truly appreciate your generosity. The Arc was very excited to receive Bluebee Pal  Leo the Lion and Sammy the Bear Bluebee Pals for their children’s programs. I will let you know more feedback as it comes into us. The one story I’ve heard so far is about a little girl who’s grandfather called her using Sammy the Bear.  He lives very far away. They were able to place Sammy up to her face and Grandpa made kissing noises over the phone. She could feel Sammy’s lips move and was so excited to get kisses from Grandpa!

Thank you for helping us help others. 

Jill Vaught – Director of Organizational Advancement

 

StoryToys Hungry Caterpillar Play School

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of the most beloved stories for preschoolers. It portrays the ability to transform or change who we are and what we can become. StoryToys Entertainment Limited has retained the magic of the book by empowering children to seek out and explore early learning concepts in their app: Hungry Caterpillar Play School. The app currently coincides with international early learning standards and objectives for Preschoolers and contains an introduction to help parents learn how to use the app for the benefit of their children. What makes Hungry Caterpillar Play School so stellar is that the content is continually evolving to stay on top of current evidence-based practices in learning. It is a subscription-based service that can be bought on a monthly or yearly basis. Let’s take a peek inside and see what makes this the first choice for parents.

 

INSIDE THE APP

There are 5 components to explore each with corresponding songs and activities. By mixing songs, movement and activities, children are continually receiving a variety of sensory input to attend and complete the sections of the curriculum. One of the things I had not recognized when previewing the app before playing with kids is that they audio was designed to help kids remain calm and focused. Although the music is looped, it does not become repetitive as much as it helps to settle and ground children within the activity. Below are the sections that your little one can select.

 

Colors, Shapes, and Puzzles (Spatial Relationships)

Letter Recognition (both upper and lowercase), Early Tracing, and Name Recognition Activities

Early Math and Pattern Recognition

Books and Stories to both Listen and attempt to recognize words for Beginning to Read. At the beginning to Read section, once children recognize that letters form words they can tap on a word to hear it sound out.

Creativity and Art Center – which allows kids to create their own masterpieces – just like Eric Carle!

 

A secret center lies in the midst of every selection page. And that is the magnificent array of balls that appear on the screen! They can be counted, sorted, and thrown to one own’s heart delight. I love how kids can be drawn into not only the sheer beauty of color but also learn about the natural world by directly applying some of the concepts they are learning too.

IN SUMMARY

We at Bluebee love this app for its eloquence and its ability to readily engage children. The app is patient and inviting. If a wrong answer is played, the app quietly waits for correction. The subtle message to persist is present by being non-judgmental. Younger children love “doing homework” like their siblings, and we can’t think of a better app to begin their lifelong journey of learning. Bluebee loves to read the stories, sing songs, and sound out letters. Watch him sing the penguin song!!

 

Mindfulness Beginning Training with Bluebee Pals

Mindfulness is an essential skill for kids to be successful learners. But what exactly is mindfulness and why is there such a fuss in teaching mindfulness to young children? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. This ability to stop helps to reset and reorganize the body’s systems and is tied in with the ability to self-regulate and self-calm. The present overstimulating and rushed pacing of today’s world lends itself to disorganization. Disorganized kids usually have difficulty with attention, managing needed tools, and completing tasks. Calm kids can focus on the task at hand, see their options, and make better choices.

 

 

Kids don’t always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness. Yoga or other rhythmic movements (rocking or swinging) done in coordination with the breath can also be practiced.

 

 

 


Here are a few apps that Bluebee loves for beginning lessons in mindfulness:

 

One of the best introductions to mindfulness training for young children is Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street. Although the app does not support Bluetooth technology and cannot be played through a Bluebee Pal, by having a child hold Bluebee while playing they will receive valuable body input in learning to calm. By hugging Bluebee children will not only benefit from emotional support but also receive nice deep pressure hugs that will help a child focus and calm when viewing the app. The app contains 5 vignettes that are stressful to young children and the stories are all told with vocabulary that is familiar to a young child. In the app, children help a little monster apply strategies to cope with everyday struggles. It’s very reinforcing to help the little monster and it facilitates the desire to try the techniques within Stop, Breathe, Think.

 

Super Stretch Yoga is a classic app for teaching mindfulness of body. Using storytelling and video, kids learn to imitate motor acts that coordinate with the breath to quiet and focus. In the Adventures of Super Stretch, the emphasis is on trying and being in the present moment and not on perfection. This is a subtle but wonderful message for kids to begin to understand. The app contains 12 poses  that are modeled through both animation and viewing real kids doing the poses. The app is free and there are tangible additions such as flashcards and books that can be purchased through the website: www.adventuresofsuperstretch.com. Try having your child teach Bluebee the Poses for some extra fun.

 

For a more traditional app for meditation, check out Mindfulness for Children. It contains 5 guided meditations and 4 meditations that serve as stories in helping kids to relax in order to go to sleep. Most of the meditations include a body scanning component that serves as a ground or central point of focus. This helps kids stay centered so as to increase awareness of both body and mind. In addition, With this app, Bluebee can act as a facilitator for mindfulness and the screen can be put aside. With Bluebee whispering in your child’s ear, what better way to let go of the day’s struggles and challenges.

Naples Village School and the Bluebee Pals

The Naples Village School (Naples, FL)began as The Caring Place Preschool in 1985 as an outreach at North Naples United Methodist Church and remained that as a wonderful place for young children until 2000. That is the year the church relocated to the present campus and added The Village School. It began with K-2 and 37 students.

In 2006, the school was accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools and the Florida Kindergarten Council. The school continued to grow with a focus on Christ Skills, Gardner’s philosophy of multiple intelligences and teachers committed to the mission. After three years, parents asked for a middle school to be added and soon after added the middle school one grade a year to complete the eighth grade. During that period in its history, the school began to study STEAM education practices and in 2014 certified the entire staff in that philosophy of curriculum development.

 

BLUEBEE PALS  A EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY  TOOL AT THE VILLAGE SCHOOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The school has enjoyed a reputation as a STEAM school, being recognized internationally in that capacity with visitors coming to see how STEAM is taught at the school. Also, other programs developed including a strong performing arts department. Both of these aspects of the school are recognized in the community and indeed respected for leadership.

In 2013, the Board of Directors voted to add an upper school division in the fall of 2017. A capital campaign followed, and the new division opened in August 2017 with 17 students. A new classroom building and gymnasium completed the campus building program. New sports fields were added to include areas necessary for an expanded athletic program.

The school has maintained the original mission and enjoys a unique position in the Naples community. There are students from many different faiths in the student population and all are welcomed and included. The teaching staff has remained strong and committed and the school looks forward to continued health and growth in the independent world in Naples.

Speech Blubs App Meets Bluebee Pal Pro

Speech Blubs is a comprehensive speech therapy app that targets both assessment and treatment for children with speech and language delays and disorders. Once you download this free app, the assessment screens pops up and begins navigating you through a short screening process. The screening includes questions that address various aspects of language including: pragmatics (with various questions), hearing, play, comprehension, and talking. Once you are finished answering the quick screening, Speech Blubs sends an email with a pdf to your email so it can be easily shared with a therapist, teacher, etc. This quick assessment does not replace a speech and language assessment though. This is just a quick screening that can be a useful tool for a parent or shared with an SLP. Additionally, the app does not replace speech therapy! However, this app can be used in conjunction with speech and language therapy and can be wonderful tool for carryover.

 

This free app is a speech production app that targets early sounds, outdoor wonders, guess the sound, guess the word, numbers, family names, sing along, get into shapes, living colors, animal kingdom, ride your wheels (words for transportation), when I grow up (community helpers words), this is my body, yummy time (names of foods and drinks), first words, and mouth gym (speech therapy practices). It’s a fun and engaging app that keep your child engaged while working on specific speech production exercises. I also like how Speech Blubs also targets specific receptive tasks and takes into the account the power of using another child as a motivator through all speech exercises.

Once downloaded, you can activate your free 7-day trial and then opt for a subscription that costs $9.99. However, the app offers specials throughout the month that may reduce the cost. 

When reviewing this app on my blog, I asked Jerry, CEO of Speech Blubs some questions about his app. To read the interview, click here. To learn more about this app, click here.

Now that you know all about Speech Blubs, how can you use Bluebee Pal Pro to help with speech and language goals?

  1. Since one of the wonderful things about this app is that a child can watch the child’s mouth move on the screen it is suggested that the child first watch the sounds being made directly on the screen. For example, when choosing “Early Sounds” choose Monkey and make a “oo-oo” sounds like a Monkey. Once hooked up with Bluebee Pal such as Parker the Monkey, he can make a monkey sound! Record your own voice and Bluebee Pal will make your child’s monkey noise! 
  2. You can connect Bluebee Pal and have a child alternate between listening to sounds coming right from the device with the sound and words coming from the Bluebee Pal. This can help with carryover as well and it can be a way to practice the sounds. For example, when practicing a roar for a lion, Leo the Bluebee Pal lion would be perfect to practice that roar with!
  3. I think there are certain sections of the Speech Blubs app that work well with the Bluebee Pal Pro such as Sing Along and Guess the Word. Be creative with using Bluebee Pal! Given the flexiblilty of Speech Blubs and versatile nature of the Bluebee Pal, this interactive activity can add a nice engagement and carryover piece if used in the most optimal way! 

Are you looking for more speech production apps to use with Bluebee Pal? Check out Sayin It Sam here.

 

 

Bluebee Pal and Say it Sam Speech App

Sayin It Sam is a unique speech therapy app that was created by a hard working and dedicated mother, Nea Handscomb who wanted to create an app that would help children who struggle with speech production. The app has some wonderful features and is free!  When you start the game you have two free choices and then four locked choices that you can purchase via in app purchase for $1.99 each. The free choices include shapes and colors. When you activate the buttons, a young child’s voice named Sam says “Let’s play!” The next direction is to “say a color”. If you try to press on the shapes, nothing happens. It’s only activated by speech production which is ideal.

Throughout the game, a child is asked “What color is it?” throughout each category and after your child verbalizes the color, something happens (e.g. bird flies, balloon pops, dog barks, etc.) Throughout the game, your child will get words of praise to help encourage speech production. The app is colorful but not overstimulating which is ideal for many different types of populations including children with autism, sensory processing disorders, apraxia of speech and those children with speech and language delays.

This app is ideal to be used in a quiet environment where there is not too much extraneous noise around you. This is an ideal app to use at home or in a pull out therapy session. To learn more about Sayin It Sam app, visit her website here.

 

Let Bluebee Pal join the fun! -Say it Sam App
  1. Connect Bluebee Pal Pro to your Bluetooth on your device.
  2. With Bluebee by your side, your child will get encouragement from Bluebee Pal! Bluebee Pal Pro can also help give instructions to your child, which will in turn work on one step directives.
  3. Bluebee Pal Pro will also be asking “wh” questions such as “What color is it?” if connected which can also help target answer “what” questions. Bluebee Pal is fun and effortless in connecting so let Bluebee Pal help meet those speech production goals with you! 

Are you looking for more speech production apps? Check out Speech Blubs review here with tips on how to use Bluebee Pal with this app.

The Town Musicians of Bremen – a Tale of Respect and Dignity


The Town Musicians of Bremenis based on the illustrated storybook by Lev Kaplan. Originally a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, the author and illustrator pay tribute to the classic tale of four outcast and older animals seeking a new life as musicians. After traveling for a period, they grew weary and soon found an inn that had everything they needed for the night. But Alas, the inn was full of robbers and thieves. Although old, this quartet of a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster are crafty and smart – repeatedly outwitting robbers and thieves in acquiring a new home. I love the subtle message and moral to the story that despite displacement and loss, that we can triumph by teaming with others to open new doors. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/town-musicians-of-bremen/id1336152826?mt=8

 

The  App is visually stunning and rich in detail harking back to an era where imagination was king. The surrealistic landscape of the illustrations makes this a perfect bedtime story. Each page is filled with compositions using musical instruments in the landscape giving rise to spontaneous games of identification of objects out of context. I loved the mouse dressed in a jester’s finery on the page giving little ones a chance to scan and search to find him.

The story is just right regarding length for preschoolers and lends itself to a host of activities to pursue with Bluebee. Although it veers from the traditional story where the animals return home. It has a happy ending.

Here are a few ideas for activities and or lessons to pursue with Bluebee: 

  • Explore making music with either apps or musical instruments – Bluebee loves to sing!
  • Have a Parade with Bluebee leading other stuffies accompanied by a cacophony of animal sounds
  • Beginning teachings of respect for others and the value of teamwork
  • Believing in yourself and what makes us special – Bluebee can exclaim the strengths of your child either through the voice recording in the Bluebee app or a phone

 

Bee – 123 Kids Fun is an Eco Friendly App

Bee – 123 Kids Fun by RosMedia is a delightful eco-friendly app that takes a look at the life of bees and other pollinators. With the onset of Spring, it’s perfect for displaying the interconnection of all living things. Also, carefully placed within the narrative are typical pre-school activities to help develop the following direction, spatial relations, and visual-motor coordination activities. The pace is slightly slowed to allow time for processing the content and success in completing tasks. By providing the “just right challenge,” kids will continue to be motivated and confident, and thereby reinforce learning

 

 

Bluebee loves teaching children about the natural world, and there is much to discover with Bluebee as your guide. The Bee – 123 Kids Fun App is comprised of 4 units:

  • The life and function of bees in the production of honey and in growing food
  • Other pollinators and the importance of using safe products in gardens to protect pollinators
  • What it means to be an organic food
  • Actions that support the life of pollinators and the ecosystem

 

On opening the app, children first create a hive and a honeycomb frame to house their bees. To make the hive and honeycomb, kids must match shapes in a puzzle form. Each new task in-turn develops not only early learning skills, but also informs kids about the lifespan and function of all the bees within a hive – queen bee, drones, hive guards, nectar collectors, and forager bees. Games include shape puzzles, visual-motor coordination, sorting and matching games, and mazes to name a few. I do wish, however, that the game for the hive guards was not a boxing match with bee predators. Perhaps a game where kids must deflect moving predators by blocking access to the hive may be less aggressive.  In other units, the importance of pollinators in the production of food is stressed and how to differentiate between organic and non-organic foods. There is a brief message encouraging kids to become more aware of the responsibilities we all share in supporting our ecosystem. It is commendable that RosMedia wishes to instill the notion of responsibility and awareness at a young age so that children can form habits of mindfulness in their everyday actions and how it affects other living beings.

Bee – 123 Kids Fun would be a fun app for introducing environmental responsibility or modules about how foods are grown or insect helpers. The artwork is bright with a sense of humor, and content is always delivered on point to a pre-schoolers developmental level.

 

(ISTE)the International Society for Technology & Education


 

The Internationa Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. ISTE inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards.

 

 

 

Tech Terra represented a variety of educational products including Bluebee Pals at the 2018 Chicago ISTE Show on June 27-30. This is Bluebee Pals third year participating with Tech Terra and were thrilled to part of the ever-growing technology based educational tools that motivate and engage children to learn. Teaching for mainstream and special needs is challenging in today’s increasing reliance on technology. Bluebee Pals create a more humanoid environment bringing to life app based curriculum on Ipads and Smart Boards for children 3-8. In April, Kayle Concepts launched their upgraded version of Bluebee Pals with more robotic interaction and introducing they’re own educational/life skills app. The New Bluebee Pal app was a big hit at the ISTE Show as educators were drawn to the exciting Bluebee House where children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games.https://www.bluebeepals.com In addition, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless education and entertainment for all mainstream and special needs children.

 

Susan S. Wells, an educator, innovator and pioneer in the field of digital learning, innovative learning spaces and Makerspace design and development, is the founder of TechTerra Education and its Camp TechTerra, TechTerra Training, TechTerra Tools, and the TechTerra curriculum. In addition to her TechTerra Education focus, Susan serves as a Technology Strategist with groups across the country and internationally, focused on STEM, innovation and technology in the K12 education setting. She is current past President of the International Society of Education and Technology (ISTE) Mobile Learning Network, and served as K12 Education Outreach Coordinator for Shodor, a National Resource for Computational Science Education. Susan is a seasoned international speaker and presenter, in person and via webinar. http://www.techterraeducation.com

Educational Products & Parents Picks Award

Best Educational Products for Preschool-Aged Kids – 2018-Bluebee Pals

Children have endless excitement and creativity to learn when they are young and it’s up to us, as parents, to foster that creativity in unique and fun ways. Parents’ Picks Award chose the Best Educational Products for Preschool-Aged Kids because making sure kids are having fun and sparking their creativity will help mold a child’s brain for years to come.

In order to be a Parents’ Picks Award Winner, these products go through a rigorous approval process with over 50 criteria, including thinking skills, character building, engagement, ease of use, innovativeness, quality, durability, and creative thinking. These products come highly recommended and we hope you will love these award-winning elementary school products as much as we do. With over three hundred applications, we took extensive time with each product to whittle it down to our top picks. Here are the Best Educational Products for Preschool-Aged Kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion educational app that connects to all IOS and Android Devices. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. Bluebee Pals are a great assistive technology tool for educators, therapists and parents. Bluebee Pals are an effective smart device that motivates children to learn and communicate while having fun.     https://www.bluebeepals.com


The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to our app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps”  with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children. https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/

 

Avoiding Summer Slide with Bluebee Pals

Now that your kids have had a few weeks to enjoy the onset of summer, it’s time to tap into learning activities to prevent the dreaded “Summer Slide”. The phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” where kids lose skills over prolonged breaks is not an urban myth, but something that has been validated in research. Summer Slide is not limited to kids of school age, but can also be seen in preschoolers. Summer learning activities don’t necessarily need to be heavy handed. Activities of high interest can be tailored to maintain skills too.

 

 


 

 

 

With a little help from Bluebee Pals, kids can remain curious about discovering new interest areas and put to use those skills they’ve acquired throughout the year. Pairing learning activities with actual experiences is one way to gather and retain information. Who doesn’t like a field trip? In this first in a series, we will provide you with ideas of how to keep learning fresh with Bluebee Pals. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/

 


Summer Slide: Going to a beach whether it’s the ocean or a lake is always a family favorite. Here are a few apps to play if you are headed to the beach: 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media is loaded with educational games and videos. There are 7 different activities and 3 interactive extras to explore. Identifying what items are needed to take to the beach, beach art, and math and literacy games with a beach theme will help sharpen thinking skills, as well as help kids, plan out what to do on vacation. I love this app for an introduction to what goes on at the beach and what to expect.

 

Marco Polo Ocean is an excellent choice when exploring the ocean. This app combines a sandbox full of activities that serve as your child’s personal oceanic encyclopedia. Fun begins with a puzzle that examines sea life, boats and submersibles. What sets these puzzles apart are the fact that they are accompanied with a narrative describing the function and parts to each item. Once done, completed puzzles are thrown out in the water where kids can design their own oceanic landscape from the shore to the deep-sea floor. Moving the items around in their environments gives you a peek into how the sea animals interact and behave.

 

Just Grandma and Me the classic book by Mercer Meyer is one of the most endearing stories about summer fun. The story shares Little Critter’s adventures with Grandma at the beach. It facilitates language development through highlighted narration, words and pictures that can be tapped to reveal pronunciation, and the opportunity to record parents (or grandma) reading the book to their kids.

 

 

 

 

Preventing the Summer Slide with Bluebee Pal

Prevent summer slide with Bluebee Pal! It’s summer and time to play outside and be free! Summer can be a wonderful time for both children and adults to relax and be engaged in a variety of unstructured tasks. However, with all of that time off, it can also be a time for children to regress with their speech, language and reading without some intermittent instruction from caregivers or educators.

 

What is the summer slide? The summer slide refers to the loss of achievement gains from the past school year. Summer slide is normal for children but with children with special needs we have to be even more conscious about this regression. How can we prevent this summer slide? Exposing your child to language and literacy in a fun and engaging task can help.

To learn more about the summer slide, click here.                             

 

 

 

 

 

Six apps that help your child engage in various learning apps!

 

Phonics Genius app is an excellent app to improve your child’s ability to learn phonics!  The free app contains over 6,000 words and combines audio, voice and written words together. The words are grouped by phonics and support three unique learning modes.  This includes the following; play audio automatically and proceed to next card on click or hear audio only on click and move back and forth one word at a time by swiping left or right. To see the full review, click here.

 

 

Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To see the full review, click here.

Letter school is an app that can help your child write the letters of the alphabet. This app can make handwriting easier by providing the child with motivating and supportive stimuli with appropriate cues. For each letter, your child will learn the letter name, sound and a word that it begins with. Tap, Trace, and Name each letter when using Letter School. The app also includes lowercase letters and numbers 1-10. The app can also help with eye hand coordination and can help build a foundation for literacy and numeracy. To read the full review, click here. 

 

endless alphabet app Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate! Encourage your child to improve their literacy, spelling and vocabulary skills with Endless Alphabet App. Endless Alphabet app is an engaging and educational app that will help your child learn and have fun at the same time. As your child opens the Endless Alphabet App, they can swipe through up to 70 choices of words to explore. To read the full review, click here.

 

Create stories of your summer memories! Make a story about visiting the pool or your summer vacation. This can be used to elicit conversation and recall events when your child returns to the school in the Fall. It can also be used to help your child create sentences and work on literacy and language skills. Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and filling out the “About Me” section. To see the full review, click here.

 

The Bluebee pal App is a free educational and interactive app which can bring your Bluebee Pal to life! Don’t have a Bluebee Pal? No problem! This free app can be used without a Bluebee Pal. The Bluebee Pal App incorporates choice making and engagement when interacting with the app. It features five different rooms with specific tasks. Within each room, your child’s chosen Bluebee Pal can interact with varying activities, such as in the kitchen scene. Bluebee Pal can eat various foods, drink, and access different appliances and objects in the kitchen like the refrigerator, oven, mixer, water bottle, etc. During these scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play. To see the full review of this app and targeted 10 language and learning goals, click here.

Bluebee Pals and Princeton House Charter School

Bluebee Pals made an impromptu visit to Princeton House Charter School in Orlando, Florida. Princeton House Charter School is a Pre-K through 5th grade charter school serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a member of the Bluebee Pals Project. As a Bluebee Pals project site, Princeton House has been a recipient of these interactive plush educational tools with exceptional positive outcomes. During this visit, the students were thrilled to meet Bluebee 4.0, whose upgrades include moving head, increased upright sitting ability, and the Bluebee Pals App. With little demonstration, the students began exploring the Bluebee Pals app including its multiple rooms in which their favorite Pal could do things just like them! Students manipulated items in Bluebee’s living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen while learning vocabulary and following directions.

 

 

Making Bluebee talk with text to speech apps (Text to Speech!, Robot Talk) continued to be a hit with Bluebee 4.0 saying anything and everything they could imagine! Bluebee was also caught in action during small group reading tasks with Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB https://www.attainmentcompany.com/elsb) curriculum in which they were paired with the ELSB app. The teacher shared how her students with significant cognitive disabilities increased their attention to the activity when Bluebee was paired with the curriculum. The speech therapy department at Princeton House received a personal tutorial of the Bluebee Pals app and immediately began brainstorming what speech-language goals could be worked. A therapist or educator’s first question to that would be, well what did they come up with? See below “sharing is caring”: 

 

Speech-Language Therapy Goals with Bluebee Pals App

 

  • Requesting With Words/Phrases
  • Identifying and Labeling Functional Vocabulary
  • Following 1-2 Step Directions
  • Understanding Verbs in Context
  • Functional Play Skills
  • Retelling Events
  • Sequencing Skills/Steps

 

Thank you Princeton House Charter School for being a Bluebee Pals Project site! 

Trying out the new app and Bluebee 4.0? Let us know what you skills you or your student are working on by commenting or messaging us on Facebook @BluebeePalsInc:

 

 

The Magic of Reading with Bluebee Pals

One of the best features of the Bluebee Pal is its ability to suspend reality and bring the written word alive in a book. We all know that reading is one of the best ways to engage our children in interactive play and it also gives them an edge up on learning. Current research shows that babies benefit tremendously from listening to stories, and the earlier this routine is established, the better. By reading to Baby, he or she begins to pick up the nuances of language, its sequence, and structure. Most important of all, however, are the bonds that deepen because of shared experiences through stories. Stories inspire, they make us laugh, and they also tell us what to do. Reading stories with diverse characters informs kids of not only the experience of others but also to appreciate the idea of how family traditions across cultures may, on the one hand, be different but are so very much the same. All parents love their children and want them to succeed.

 

Joint attention is the cornerstone of communication. Joint attention is the ability to share experiences and to acknowledge another person as a witness. It can be as simple as pointing to a plane with a quick glance to see if the other person notices or sharing a laugh at funny faces. And it is through joint attention that the ability to imitate emerges and is strengthened. Books for early learners that can be used with Bluebee include hardback books, audio books, a combination of the two, or a digital version via a phone or tablet.

 

 

One of the most overlooked features to using Bluebee is using a phone or a voice recording app. Parents with jobs that keep them away from home may love phoning in, to read a story or may like the convenience of a voice recording app to record a book. Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if your child throws it in at the correct time. This will help synchronize memory, comprehension, and communicative intent. 

Another lesson from reading books is the ability to wait and listen. Once the sequence of a story is established, welcoming kids to interrupt, stop and ask questions, and ponder what if…allows for the imagination to take flight. I love when kids both anticipate and then try to come up with alternative twists within a familiar book. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/

 

 

Here are a few resources for great story finds. Remember to use the Bluebee app for any further questions on the use of its features. We would also love to hear from you, what stories do you like? What are your kids responding to?… and until then sweet play in the land of make-believe and crossing that bridge of the possibilities of imagination.

Goodnight Moon – the classic book by Magaret Wise Brown is ripe for learning the labels of common household items. This classic book can be found on almost any digital format. I do love having the book in conjunction as many kids will “read” the book to themselves, and sharing that recitation is priceless. In my clinical practice, I use this book every week.

Podcasts are also invaluable to a reading experience. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud series have narrations to many of their published books. I love these podcasts in that they teach children to wait and listen for auditory cues to turn the page. Thus pairing the storyline with the written material.

Oceanhouse Media has a catalog of children’s favorites from Dr. Suess to nonfiction books by the Smithsonian Institute. They are one of my go-to developers when searching for books.

For Social-Emotional Lessons, you can’t fair better than Peppy Pals. These books for preschoolers are engaging and invite discussion. They are magically matched to a young child’s attention span.

Pairing a book with audio versions (audio versions of books can be purchased on Amazon, or a book can be read by yourself through the voice recorder on the Bluebee Pals App is sure to make cherished memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal  Suited for Special Needs Learning!

Helen Wagner is a Speech Language Pathologist at Saxs Elementary in Anniston, Alabama. Since 2016, 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/

 

 

 

 

What is the NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal? 

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!!!

 

 

Parents can participate in their children’s education!

Read, Read, Read!

Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading daily to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents can give their children. Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning the story, and practicing story retelling.

 

Bluebee Pals to Establish Bedtime Routines Part 2


Transitions are difficult for all of us. Kids especially become more tense and apprehensive when needing to shift gears. Why? Because transitions disrupt the status quo and are an unknown factor of what to expect and what to do. Many children become rigid with a need to have a say or control events surrounding every transition throughout the day. These behaviors can be exhausting for both a parent and child. Using Bluebee for teaching and establishing bedtime routines is a win-win situation as it takes you out of the mix and may help the child initiate the ability to shift along with Bluebee. There is no need for a screen because of Bluebee’s mixed capabilities and functions. In Part one we went over things to consider when designing a bedtime regime for your family. Now let’s take a look at Bluebee, and how he/she can be used with your child.

 

 

Here are six ideas for Bedtime routines:  



  1. Practice Bedtime routines with Bluebee. Tuck him in, read a story, and give him a kiss good-night. Through play, kids begin to learn and anticipate what is going to come next. Young children have a blurred line between reality and fantasy, so watching Bluebee’s reaction may help them begin to imitate what to do. Be sure and go over how to fall asleep as well as any exceptions to the rules, i.e., Let Bluebee know that he/she can have three books read before lights out, but if he/she feels unwell to please call Mommy.
  2. Using the phone feature may bring about realistic responses to tough situations – by having your partner call and talk to Bluebee, you can discuss any ongoing fear or anxieties a child may have. Having that common thread with Bluebee may help a child not feel so isolated or alone.
  3. Children need to feel safe, and who better than Bluebee can give that reassurance all night long? Deep pressure squeezes and hugs help to release important neurotransmitters that can reset or organize our systems. This, in turn, can help us return to sleep if awakened during the night.
  4. Try syncing a playlist of soothing songs or lullabies to Bluebee. There are many soundtracks for sleep sounds such as a babbling brook, rain or meditative sounds. Pairing Bluebee with an Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot is easy. Amazon has many apps for Alexa to aid in relaxing and preparing for sleep. Search Sleep Sounds under Amazon Skills for possible selections.
  5. Sleep Stories are stories (really guided imagery) to help kids or adults to fall asleep. The app “Calm” has sleep stories and music for both kids and adults. It uses highly suggestive words such as slow, relaxed and lowers the volume and pacing of the stories gradually to help fall asleep.
  6. Podcasts also are great to use with Bluebee. Some podcasts can read books where a child can follow along, and some tell stories. Both improve listening skills and increase vocabulary by expanding the context of how both familiar and unfamiliar words are used.

https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Storynory Podcast

Nosy Crow
Stories Aloud

Stories Podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Routine and Bluebee Pals to Establish Part 1

Are you having difficulty with getting your children to settle at bedtime? Are they restless or looking for “one more” reason to get out of bed after lights off? Using Bluebee as part of your child’s bedtime routine can set up invaluable habits for good sleep hygiene. What’s that? Sleep hygiene is a set of routines or habits that establish a smooth transition to sleep well. Kids that have consistent routines can recognize that it is bedtime. They then begin to anticipate what is coming next and relax. Kids that don’t have established routines often barter or attempt to control transitions in attempts to decrease the stress of what’s to come because they don’t know what to do.

 

We all know that a good night’s sleep prepares you both mentally and physically for the day. But how do you not only prepare your kids as well as yourself for a good night’s sleep? As stated above, establishing a consistent routine is essential. Consistent does not have to be the exact same thing, i.e. When my oldest was just a baby; I used to read him the book Ducky Quack Quack every night. I read it to the point where I just couldn’t read it anymore. I didn’t give a hoot if Ducky quacked or not! And so, on the night I rebelled, my son would not go to sleep. I asked my husband, “What’s wrong?” and his response? “No Ducky Quack Quack”. I realized then; I had painted myself into a corner by not just reading a book but by reading the same book every time interfered with teaching good sleep habits.

 

Here are some suggestions, including using Bluebee to help set everyone up for some quality shut-eye: https://www.bluebeepals.com/parents/

  1. Make sure everyone in the family participates in some form of movement every day. Whether it is playing on a playground, dancing to oldies, or walking the dog putting some exercise in the day will help everyone sleep better. Exercise not only does your body good but improves sleep too. Although the rationale is not fully understood, regular physical movement promotes quality sleep, length of rest, and may reduce the stresses that may make your sleep restless.
  2. Establish a consistent routine – about 2 hours before bedtime. Announce its time to start getting ready for bed.
  3. Exposure to natural light helps the body naturally sync to the time of day. Daylight and the onset of darkness set up one’s own circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Begin by reducing or limiting screen time at night to allow the body to adjust to the time of day naturally. Some devices can be set to help reduce exposure to blue lighting for specified hours.
  4. Avoid heavy foods or carbonated drinks. These just become unsettling in tummies before lying down. Eating late at night may also establish an unhealthy routine and weight gain that prolongs going to sleep.
  5. Taking a bath or reading a book, are peaceful, quiet time activities that promote relaxation. While a warm bath fosters sleepiness, listening to a story has many benefits for both better sleep and healthier brains.

 

We will discuss how to use Bluebee in part two for healthier sleep and to promote better synchronization between the body’s systems.

 

 

Speech Apps to Use at Home with Bluebee Pal

Are you looking for some fun and user-friendly speech apps to try at home with your Bluebee Pal? As an app reviewer, I have reviewed many apps that are easy to use for parents at home to help facilitate speech and language. To see all of my app reviews, click here. I have reviewed many speech and language apps as well as AAC apps.

 

These apps can span many years and target various speech and language goals. For example, Actions in Video can help build longer sentences with a verbal individual and help an AAC user learn to combine symbols and create more grammatically correct sentences on their talker. Below are some excellent early learning and speech apps to try with your Bluebee Pal at home

 

The Eli Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning. This app helps facilitate language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli, and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes. To read the full review with tips for parents, click here.

 

Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips, and text. This app can use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user-friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different languages and accents, which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To read the full review and how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

 

SymbolSupport App is an editing program that allows you to add symbols to your text, while SymbolReader is a free app that displays these symbolized documents. Both apps read the documents with a high-quality text-to-speech voice and word-by-word highlighting. The apps are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. To read the full review and learn how to implement this app with the Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

 

Actions in Video is a functional app that was created by Geraldine Moran, speech-language pathologist to help individuals with complex communication needs build sentences for communication. This app can be used successfully with both individuals with speech and language disabilities as well as younger children learning how to combine words into sentences. Actions in Video is an app “that teaches a person to understand and use action words through the use of videos.” To learn more about how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

 

Wh Questions: Why? Speech and Education Cards is an app that was created by speech-language pathologists and contains professional illustrations and scenes with educational content. The app includes 30 scenes which give you at least 30 different opportunities for answering 30 “why” questions. The app is free but only includes a select amount of pictures. To buy the additional set, an in-app purchase is available. Bluebee Pals motivate kids for the Why questions. This app is appropriate for both children who are typical ages 3 and up and can also benefit those individuals with speech and language disorders and delays. Since the questions are read to the reader (as an option in the setting), no reading is required to use the app functionally. The goals that the authors target with this app are the following: Cause and Effect Relationship, Receptive and Expressive Language Skills, Naming Actions and Describing Situations, Answering Wh Questions, Making Logical Conclusions and Reasoning by Using Hints and Creative Thinking. To learn how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.

Are you looking for more apps? Check out Bluebee Pal App and learn how to facilitate language and learning with this fun, free and versatile app!

 

 

 

 

The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud Series

Nosy Crow makes some of the best interactive storybooks and apps in the industry. Always innovative, smart, and fun to read stories for both parents and tots, they also offer audio recordings of their published books. Their Stories Aloud series can be obtained for iOS or Android as a podcast or by scanning a QR code found on the inside cover of the paperback edition of their books.
As I have a few hardback books from this publisher, it was a snap to search through the available podcasts to see if reading was in their catalog. On iOS, there are 90+ podcasts, dating back from 2014, and the list will grow from there. The books are professionally read using children’s voices and are accompanied by original music and sound effects.

Inside The Three Little Pigs

Let’s take a look at The Three Little Pigs and discover why the Stories Aloud series is so exceptional. As with all Nosy Crow books, the Artwork is infectious and bright, and kids respond well to the promise of adventure that illustrator, Ed Bryan brings to the story. Each page is rich in the tiniest of detail that will have the family roaring with laughter, and any repeat telling uncovers discoveries of visual puns and hijinks. The text stays true to the classic tale while still updating it for the 21st century. Both male and female piggies take the lead, and the ending has a twist that won’t leave anyone guessing what happened to the Big Bad Wolf

 

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Ss5pNmB1dU4

Tools for Learning

Using Stories Aloud with Bluebee Pal presents developmental challenges and play for your child. Children love stories, and they love to hear their favorites read over and over. By downloading the podcast, kids will learn the synchronization of looking, listening and then following the directions to turn the page on cue. In addition to building vocabulary, attention, and memory, books also help kids with practical life skills of visually scanning for details in a left to right format, grading force by turning the pages gently, and learning about tasks having a definite beginning, middle and end. These are all essential skills for developing brains. Bluebee loves reading stories, and with practice, a child can listen to stories with distant supervision after setting it up. Visit Nosy Crow’s website for more information – https://nosycrow.com/stories-aloud/

Here’s how to pair Bluebee Pals with Stories Aloud:

  • Have the podcast ready by downloading it to your phone or tablet – this way you’ll have access to the book without the need for WIFI. Kids can listen while driving in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or snuggling on a blanket during a picnic.
  • Turn on your Bluebee Pal and Synch it to your device using the Bluetooth setting
  • Tap Play on your Podcast and listen to Bluebee Pal tell the story while you follow along in the book!

 

 

 

 

Core Words transforming AAC in the Classroom

Core Words are a hot topic in the world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). Core words are the words we use most often when communicating and makeup 80% of what we say. These high-frequency words can be used across contexts and settings. They include words such as “it”, “that”, “is”, “he”, “go”, “not” and are often times more abstract than their counterparts – “fringe” words. Fringe Words are approximately 20% of the words that we say when communicating and are used in fewer situations. They include words such as “zoo”, “pizza” and “wet”. For many years AAC was focused on the use of fringe words particularly with requesting.

 

AAC users were introduced to many fringe words to help them communicate their needs/wants and access their curriculum. Fringe words are very important, but how often does a child need to express “zoo” versus the times they may want to express a core word like “go”? This understanding and the research supporting the focus on core word use has transformed the way that AAC users are being taught in the classroom and therapeutic settings with far-reaching results!

 

The AAC device companies are following suit by creating vocabulary systems with easy access to core word vocabulary on home pages and a vast array of resources focused on core word learning and use.

The Tobii Dynavox company calls their set of core words “Core First”. They have created books, lessons and Core First posters that complement their Core First Gage Sets. In the ESE classroom setting I have used Core First books to introduce the use of “go”, “want”, “more”, “you”, “it”, “is” and many more! Aided language modeling (the therapist activating words on the AAC device while speaking and reading) can be used to demonstrate to users the various ways the core words on their device can be used. https://www.tobiidynavox.com/en-us/software/content/core-first-1/

Assistiveware has created an entire online toolset called the “Core Word Classroom”. Teachers, AAC professionals and parents can download lessons, five minute fillers (outlines of core words to be used during play activities), watch videos and read articles all related to best practices for use of core words in the classroom and home settings. http://www.assistiveware.com/assistiveware-core-word-classroom

The success of core word use in the academic and therapeutic setting are coming to light at schools and clinics around the nation. A quick online search will reveal hundreds of resources related to “core words”. It’s amazing to hear AAC users expand their utterance through use of core words such as: 

*Stating Observations:  “I see the ___./I see that.”

*Expressing Likes/dislikes “I do not like it.”

*Asking Questions “Can I have it?”

 

Learning how to use these Core Words can open up a new world for AAC users. They are given the gift of learning words that can help them communicate 80% of what they want to say. What is better than that??!! Maybe only one thing – pairing Bluebee Pals and the new Bluebee Pal App with Core Word instruction.

The house activities of the Bluebee Pals App are a great tool for practicing use of core words. Students can state what they see and hear happening in the lively Bluebee House with the core word vocabulary on their AAC device. Bluebee is great at saying core words too! Hip Hip Hurray for the new Bluebee Pals App that is available just as the world of AAC is expanding!

 

 

 

***Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP-Speech Language Pathologist-Princeton House Charter School-Passion-Hope-Communication-Service

 

The Fabulous All New Bluebee Pal 4.0

The new Bluebee Pal has had a make-over from top to bottom with impressive features that make you want to stand-up and cheer! These features not only improve how the Bluebee Pal functions, but also thought has been given to how a child relates and benefits from engagement with educational material when presented via Bluebee. In addition, a new member of the crew has been added, Parker the Monkey, so that every child will have a special friend to share adventures. Let’s take a closer look at the all-new Bluebee Pal 4

Bluebee Pal Body

The showstopper to the new design is that Bluebee’s head now moves in sync with his mouth as he/she talks, giving her/him a more realistic look and feel. There are no worries to a child “breaking” their pal, as the creator (Laura Jiencke) made sure this feature could stand up to the often “gentle” touch of a youngster just learning how to grade their force. She took into account the fact that many children like to feel inside Bluebee’s mouth just to test his mettle.

 

The body has been completely redesigned with extra weight tucked into his/her bottom. The Pals feel more lifelike when held. The extra weight translates to increased input for a child to calm and alert when handling their Bluebee and readies them for what is to come – whether it is singing a song, listening to a story, or playing a game. It also enables Bluebee to sit without propping and hold a device or object if necessary. I see many babies and young toddlers in my practice, and it amazes me to see that kids pay more attention to the Pal because they can make eye contact as Bluebee talks.

Bluebee’s gaze is on their level naturally and he doesn’t fall this way or that making it easier to remain focused. (Eye contact is something that should not be forced but is developed through play and practice. Bluebee provides that practice and helps to set the stage for future learning through watching and then imitating others.

Battery life has been improved and Bluebee can now go longer without needing a boost. Placement of the battery charger has been improved for easier access and is not felt when giving Bluebee hugs and kisses.

Bluebee Pal Function

All the features that we have come to love in Bluebee are intact. Bluebee can be paired with any device using Bluetooth® Technology or used as a special friend and stuffie. Here are just a few of the things you can do with Bluebee:

  • Use Bluebee to teach the use of AAC devices
  • Educational games with Bluebee on a tablet or phone are a snap – Bluebee works best with apps that have a narrative so that Bluebee can talk
  • Get up and dance to music from a playlist
  • Record the voice of a loved one reading or telling a story to build listening skills
  • Teach the sequence of activities of daily living with Bluebee, i.e. potty training
  • Snuggle with your Pal in a quiet center to calm and reorganize from a busy day
  • Invite others to tea parties or other celebrations
  • Play dress up with Bluebee to practice social skills

In Summary

The new Bluebee Pal is now out with many new upgrades that increase enjoyment with play. Each feature was meticulously evaluated and tested by the maker (Laura Jiencke). The life-like head movement and extra cushioning make the pals more huggable and realistic. Bluebee will grow with your child and will help teach them many new skills. Whether you have an older version or are thinking about the new version, just enjoy your friend. They are perfect Pals and friends that will be treasured over a lifetime. So set your course for adventure, and let the fun times begin!https://www.bluebeepals.com

 

Disclosure: My endorsement in Bluebee Pals goes beyond compensation for writing articles and reviews. I believe in the use of Bluebee Pals to enhance not only play skills, but also the development of skills across domains. I have personally witnessed the joy and companionship that a Bluebee Pal offers kids and how play can be adapted for kids of all abilities. This review reflects my own personal opinion and is not influenced by others.

 

BLUEBEE PALS AND COMPANION APP

CREATIVE PLAY

Kayle Concepts announces their new Bluebee Pals Learning App and the latest technical release of their Bluebee Pals, interactive Bluetooth® enabled plush companions.Both represent an evolution in toy-based learning to nurture and engage children in activities important to their healthy growth and development. Bluebee Pal robotic head and mouth plushies retail for $74.99 and are available in six huggable styles-bear, dog, zebra, lamb and monkey. Bluebee Pals Learning App is free and compatible with all iOS and Android devices

The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 10 educational mini-games.

 

 

THE CREATION OF 4.0 BLUEBEE PAL AND COMPANION APP IS A TEAM EFFORT THAT EXTENDED OVER AN 18 MONTH PERIOD. THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS OF LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS COMMITTED TO CREATING A QUALITY INTERACTIVE HUGGABLE PLUSH LEARNING TOOL COMBINED WITH AN ENHANCED LIFE SKILL/EDUCATIONAL APP.  

BLUEBEE PALS ARE A TRUE PLUSH LEARNING TOOL: PARENTS ABILITY TO PARTICIPANT IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR EDUCATORS IN CLASSROOMS AND AN EFFECTIVE THERAPY TOOL FOR  ABA, SPEECH AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS.

Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee App


Is your child just starting to connect with technology or are you new to Bluebee Pals? Let the Bluebee Pals App help both you and your child learn about Bluebee Pals and the appropriate use of technology together. The app is free whether you own a Bluebee Pal or not.

 

 

 

Bluebee Pal App Content: 

  • How to use all the features of a Bluebee Pal (Always accessible in one place)
  • Resources from the Website on age-appropriate apps and play schemes to explore (Access to the website is hidden behind a parental gate)
  • A variety of mini-games that can be used to assess your child’s preferences and where they are functioning regarding preschool learning
  • The ability to record stories for when a parent is away or for a child to listen to a storybook independently
  • Exposure to activities of daily living and the sequence of daily routines

 

Inside the App

After opening the app, your child has the opportunity to personalize and connect to their Bluebee by sharing their name, favorite color and activities. This sets a tone for sharing and playing with their stuffie. Once this is initially done, kids can skip over the pages and head to Bluebee’s house for some fun games and activities by tapping the house icon in the upper left-hand corner.

The house is made up of a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and playroom. All rooms familiarize children with the vocabulary with items in the room as well as activities that would occur in these rooms. For instance, the kitchen is where you eat, and you sleep in your bedroom. On repeat play, the routines repeat themselves allowing for practice and sequencing activities of daily living. I would recommend a note to not put your Bluebee Pal in the bathtub in real life! The Playroom has activities that teach general preschool concepts and iPad skills. It is the perfect way to introduce kids to the demands contained in apps and other technology. Matching/sorting, puzzles, and body schema (to name a few) are some of the areas addressed.

In summary

If you have a Bluebee Pal, the free app resource is a great way to begin your child’s journey of tech exploration. It contains a guide for all of the features operating Bluebee and how to use them, a parent’s resource to apps and play ideas, and some fun games to get children acquainted with games that are beyond cause and effect.

Disclosure: I provided feedback and suggestions for the making of the Bluebee Pal app. This blog on using the app reflects my ongoing love and support of using Bluebee Pals to help children play and learn.

 

 

Bluebee Pals App Review by The iMums

Bluebee Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review

What we love…

Bluebee Pals app is a fun educational app which encourages kids to practice daily routines, using words to narrate what they are doing, sight words and play

 

Summary

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.

Our Rating

Bluebee Pals app by Kayle Concepts LLC is a universal app for iOS and Android. As many of you know, I have been part of The iMums for a really long time!

 

I’m pleased to note, that I had a chance to help design this app. The app brings BlueBee Pals to life using an app which teaches life skills such as; bathing, tooth brushing, washing hands, bedtime routines, as well as a kitchen which encourages your child to feed Bluebee a variety of meals and snacks. The app uses scaffolded learning, the first mini game is generally easier and for younger children – if you tap the arrow at the bottom you are given a more complex game for example, lining up your ABC’s turns into sight words. In the ice cream mini game, first you find the Bluebee Pals and then you have to match them to the appropriate beach chairs. You can learn more about the app on the Bluebee Pals website.

Upon opening the app, you are able to select your favorite Bluebee Pal – or one that you already have. Then you can view an instructional video where you learn more about Bluebee Pals and how to connect them. From there you can enter your child’s name – and while there touch each of the Bluebees to have them say their name and wave! Choose your favorite color balloon, and a favorite activity. A screen is presented with a variety of things you can do with your Bluebee Pals – did you know that Bluebee works with any Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a smartphone, laptop, smart TV, to a tablet? After that you are brought to the hub of the app where you choose a room for your daily activity – which I will highlight below.

The Bluebee Pal App

The app features narration and a variety of fun games as well. Below I will highlight each – these can be accessed either from the house hub or via the Bluebee Pals library.

  • Kitchen – Enter and exit the kitchen to try a variety of meal options including: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Be sure to enter and exit the kitchen multiple times so you can see each of the meal options. The recycle bin lets you recycle items as well! There are cups, plates, food and even a cake to put on the table.
  • Living Room – Enter the living room and tap on the various objects including the couch, iPad and laptop to hear their name
  • Bedroom – Enter the bedroom and see how Bluebee cleans his room and puts his sneakers away! He also uses an animated guitar, shoe typing sequence and then a bedtime routine. In this room you can also put Bluebee to bed, change the covers and then turn off the light. After the Bluebee goes to sleep, you can go back to his bedroom and tap on the objects in the room.
  • Bathroom – Enter the bathroom and give your Bluebee a shower. Turn on the water and then tap the sponge to wash Bluebee’s fur. After getting out of the tub Bluebee needs to be dried with a bathtowel or blow drier. Then, brush the fur so it’s soft and clean. After bathtime, it’s time to brush teeth – kids move around the toothbrush to clean their teeth. After 20 seconds, teeth are clean and it’s time to practice washing hands. Then kids can tap on the items in the bathroom to hear their names.
  • Playroom – This room has learning and fun! Kids can practice their ABC’s and sight words, drag Bluebee through the maze, find a Bluebee on the island and match them to chairs, move cars and trucks around the track and hear their horns. Other mini games include a six piece puzzle, voice recorder so kids can record their voice — or parents can record their voice and have the app say it back. There is also a robot game where you assemble robots, dress up and match fruits to the right color balloon.
  • Bluebee Pals Library – Using this library you can select a mini game for the playroom. 
  • Bluebee Resource Section – this parental gated area requires a four digit date of birth where you can access resources including: voice recorder, activities along with app reviews, a letter from founder Laura Jiencke about Bluebee Pals. This parental gated area does contain external links.

My son loves this app – one of his favorite mini games is the cars and trucks around the track. He loves placing all the cars on the track at the same time and seeing them zoom around. As a parent, I love that the app has both an educational and fun component to it. My son will practice zooming cars, learning letters, practicing the names of foods and more! I really liked that we can show a bath routine sequence, and then follow through in real life. I also loved using the app with our Bluebee Pal Parker who speaks the narration and moves his head in time to the app. My son also loved reading with Bluebee – for a full list of items that you can try with Bluebee – look in the resource section accessed from the main hub of the house or try this link. The app contains a parental gated area with resources and external links. I find that my son is repeating words that he learned in the app – especially in the kitchen and I’ve even gotten him to ask for a few foods like banana as a result of seeing them in the app. Above, I have highlighted each of the individual areas and items within the app – my kids have spent hours discovering each section as well as practicing letters, puzzles, creative thinking to solve problems and more.

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.

iOS

Google Play

This review was originally published at The iMums.

NOTE: I was involved in the design of this app.

Bluebee App and 10 Language and Learning Goals

 

The Bluebee pal App is a free educational and interactive app which can bring your Bluebee Pal to life! Don’t have a Bluebee Pal? No problem! This free app can be used without a Bluebee Pal. The Bluebee Pal App incorporates choice making and engagement when interacting with the app. It features five different rooms with specific tasks.

 

 

 

Within each room, your child’s chosen Bluebee Pal can interact with varying activities, such as in the kitchen scene. Bluebee Pal can eat various foods, drink,  and access different appliances and objects in the kitchen like the refrigerator, oven, mixer, water bottle, etc. During these scenes, your child will also learn different routines in the kitchen and can target specific goals listed below. The app also includes free mini-games that target language, literacy, matching, inferencing skills and imaginative play.

 

 
 
How to incorporate 10 Language and Learning Goals when using this free Bluebee app! 

 


Making choices: Making choices is easy with this app. When the app begins, a child gets the option of choosing a Bluebee Pal (choice between the Sammy the Bear, Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Rylie the Zebra, Partner the Monkey, and Hudson, the Puppy). After the child chooses their favorite Bluebee Pal, they get to choose their favorite color balloon, category and then the room they want to explore.

 

 

 

Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects.

I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.

Following directives: Throughout this app, the child is required to follow 1-2 step directives such as feeding Bluebee Pal, putting him sleep, brushing his teeth and much more! If your child needs more help with following directives, give prompts as necessary.

Literacy goals: This app is ideal for emerging readers! The mini-games help children recognize sounds and letters in a fun and interactive manner. With one mini-game, a child is required to put the right letter where it belongs on a qwerty keyboard.

Daily Living Skills: This app incorporates a variety of daily living skills including hygiene, cooking and cleaning up. During these opportunities, a child will be able to engage in these daily living tasks that they can relate to on a daily basis. This can be carried over into the home environment by going through the hygiene routine with Bluebee Pal and then doing the same with your child.

Actions: Learning actions is such an important skill and vital for creating grammatically correct sentences that are communicated well. This is a goal that should be facilitated and modeled as the child is playing the app. For example, the parent/educator can model, “Bluebee is ______his teeth” and have the child fill in the action. Bluebee engages in so many actions with this app so goals can be targeted in many ways and can also help build vocabulary.

Expand vocabulary: A child can expand their vocabulary by interacting with the various objects within each room. During each room activity, there is an opportunity for a child to explore different vocabulary. For example, when the child touches the water bottle, it says “water bottle”. This continues for a variety of objects in each room. Use this vocabulary during conversation to help your child store these new words in long-term memory. Also, focus on descriptive words as well!

Sequencing: When playing with this app, help your child recall various tasks in order. For example, when Bluebee Pal is in the bathroom, he first gets in the shower and gets wet, then gets washed with soap, and then finally needs to get dried with the towel or the hairdryer. When the sequence is done, review the steps in taking a shower and ask specific questions. For example, “What did Partner the Monkey do first?”

Negation: Learning and understanding negation is so important for various communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and expressing an opinion. In this app, a child has to follow directives with negations embedded it the sentences such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light.”.

Inferencing Skills and Improving Visual Awareness: Explore various puzzles, a maze and mini-games and target inferencing and critical thinking skills. Throughout the story, a child has to figure out specific situations within a context. For example, after taking a shower, Bluebee Pal is wet. What does he need to do? Does your child or student have difficulty with visual perception? In one mini-game, a child is required to find all of the Bluebee Pals within the scene which can help build those visual awareness skills.

 

 

 

 

Potty Training and help with Bluebee Pals

Potty training is often an arduous task as children are often hesitant to rock the status quo of their predictable routines versus the desire to be independent. Knowing if your child is ready is key to success. Some of the common signs to show a child is ready are:

  • Being able to stay dry for at least two hours
  • They are dry upon awakening from naps
  • Patterns of predictability in either behavior or timing of elimination
  • Distress when wet or soiled
  • Telling you, they’ve either just gone potty or about to go
  • Showing an Interest in this Routine


There are many ways to train kids to use the potty, so see what works best within the structure of your family. The most important thing is to be consistent as this sets the tone that going to the potty is an everyday routine and not a special event. It is also important to acknowledge your child’s thoughts and feelings as kids view the potty differently than adults do. Most kids see their products as being part of themselves, and it may be overwhelming to see a loved one turn their nose up and flush it away. Initially, it’s like performance art – they’ve made something for you to view.

You can use Bluebee Pal to help and reinforce going to the potty with these activity tips and apps. 

  • Make sure you have a potty that a child can put his feet flat on the floor. If that is not possible, have potty steps so that they can position their feet. Being grounded not only helps with feeling secure but also helps to ease in being able to go.
  • Use the phone feature to have Bluebee express his need to go. (If you are not sure how to use this feature, refer to the Bluebee app for more information). And then put Bluebee on a child’s or doll’s potty. This establishes peer camaraderie. Be sure to offer Bluebee rewards of hugs, kisses, or even stickers!

Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty by PBS Kids is a marvelous app for modeling when kids feel the urgency to go, and to recognize that feeling as a cue to go. It contains songs, videos, games, and tips. One of the things I find most valuable with this app is how the developer has broken the routine into steps – from recognizing the need to go to wash your hands after. Each sequence flows into the next to make it a coherent whole.

 

 

Potty Time with Elmo by Sesame Workshop Apps is an interactive storybook containing songs, games, and even an interactive potty chart. In the story, Elmo helps his stuffed animal David learn about bathroom routines. There is a song or jingle to reinforce every step of the way. The visual potty chart is an easy one to replicate and could be hung by the potty to remind little ones of all the necessary steps. Bluebee can read the story and play the games with your child to reinforce his gaining proficiency. In addition, the app contains tips for parents.

 

Pepi Bath 2 by PepiPlay is an all-inclusive app for role-playing hygiene routines that includes sitting on the potty. The animations are fun, and it never gets tiring to see the array of expressions on the kids or animals reacting to experiences in the bathroom, washing up, or brushing teeth. This app never fails to entertain for repeat play, but also reinforces participation. It is all-inclusive and accepting of all possible responses – and builds a child’s confidence by knowing someone out there feels the same way.

In Summary

Potty training is not for the weak at heart and requires full commitment once started. These apps and tips can help introduce and reinforce routines. By making things natural, it may help to reduce any stress or anxiety. Every child is different and learns at a different pace and sometimes age. Remember Bluebee is always there as a confident and friend and can help ease transitions by being your child’s number one play partner.

 

 

 

Demystifying In-App Purchases (IAPs)

In-App Purchases (IAPs) can be quite confusing. Some programs allow you to purchase extra features, some sell the program as a subscription and still others that remove ads or other inappropriate components for children. Making an app can be quite expensive. Most app developers see little return for their money and have used IAPs to help recap those expenses so that they can continue to stay in business. Here at Bluebee Pals, let us help you demystify what IAPs you may want to embrace and ones you may want to consider avoiding when obtaining apps for little ones.

Apps that contain more features or functions are at times a way to grade the difficulty of an app by giving kids the chance to learn and gain competencies before adding more. By giving parents a choice of when to roll out new features, the visual or auditory input can be contained until a child is ready to handle more demands from an app.

Subscriptions can be expensive, but weigh out the features presented before discounting their value. Some set of apps are appropriate for a specific age group or skill set and are well worth the short time a child may play with them. Most subscriptions add new features on a regular basis that make the subscription a value buy. Edoki Academy, Sago mini, and StoryToys are all trusted brands that have a child’s well being at the core of their development.

IAPs that allow you to try an app before you buy it is also great for seeing how your child responds to an app. Not all apps have universal appeal, and you never know what a child may like or reject until they begin to play. I have been pleasantly surprised at responses from children. Apps that I think are winners are not and likewise ones that I thought would not make it, were well received. In-App purchases that remove ads have always seemed somewhat questionable to me. I don’t like anything that may pose a potential threat or may contain inappropriate material to kids or families. Many ads are advertisements for apps that are addictive or violent. If you want an app that includes the feature to remove ads, play in its entirety, to see if the ads are indeed removed (and purchases don’t have to be “restored” with subsequent play).

Be wary of IAPs that disguise having you shell out your hard earned money for a bucket of coins, gems, candy or bunnies to continue play. Don’t be fooled by big names or characters that your kids see on TV. These apps are designed with enticing incentives to not only keep kids playing but also to empty your pocketbook as well. Gameplay is based on theories of addiction that reinforce your reward center. Initially, all efforts are rewarded with bonuses. Bells, whistles, and prizes are plenty. BUT, kids will quickly run out of coins or gems to progress and will need to purchase more to continue at their current rate of reinforcement. I purposely played an app with these features recently to see how long it took to run out of luck and would need to buy more of some known quantity to keep the game in motion. The app had features of receiving “rare” prizes and collecting a variety of different animals, goods, and characters to improve my level of “mastery.” What amazed me, is that it took about a week, and then I ran out of the currency the game used. My rewards dwindled, and I had pop-ups telling me how much better my experience would be if I only purchased X. Collecting is a strong motivator and also a robust play scheme, but do you need to spend 100s of dollars – especially at an early age? Also, I became agitated and upset when I didn’t receive what I wanted. If you should see a sudden change in behavior when your child plays a game; again be wary of in-app purchases.How can you spot one of these potentially harmful and exploitive apps?

Look at the In-App purchase information in the App Store. If it lists “a case, a bucket, or 100s” of a particular item, listen to your radar because it’s accurate in knowing what apps with IAPs to avoid.

Not all IAPs are contrived. As stated above sometimes it is useful to play an app without adding dozens of features so that a child can be successful before adding more.
The best advice, however, is to play with your child as the shared experience and interaction creates fond memories over a lifetime.

Bluebee Pals and Florida Alliance of Assistive Services

Kayle Concepts recently welcomed the Florida Alliance of Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) to the Bluebee Pals Project. The regional centers received Bluebee Pals to use with clients during evaluation sessions, training activities and instructional events. FAAST is a state-funded program that provides device demonstrations and loans to help customers select assistive technology equipment that will help with activities of daily living and communication.

The Gulf Coast Regional Center is part of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Pensacola, Florida. LaVesta Feagin, an AT Specialist at CIL, works tirelessly to provide seniors with equipment to better access their environment and live active lives. LaVesta began working as a volunteer through a Career-Transition Program and then was hired as the AT Specialist.. She primarily works to provide the elderly with items from their “senior kit” including car canes for stability, car caddies, swivel seats, lifts, power chairs, and weighted eating utensils. However, she is faced with another crucial tasks of helping customers all over the Gulf Coast find Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices that will help them communicate effectively.

LaVesta has delved into this area with a thirst for knowledge that has guided her journey as the centers only AT Specialist. LaVesta was faced with limited experience working with children and AAC devices but was up for the challenge! She has used Bluebee Pals to engage children as well as the seniors at CIL with much success! She connects Bluebee to her trial AAC Devices including the Tobii Dynavox, the iPad with Proloquo2Go Communication App, Android devices, Kindles and even smart phones! “I was excited about how they can be used with so many devices because they are Bluetooth enabled” she stated.

 

LaVesta hosts a “Foster Grandparents” program which connects seniors with children. Both populations benefit from the shared experience of chatting, playing games and now interacting with Bluebee Pals! “The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)! They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!” -LaVesta Feagin

The Bluebee Pal’s biggest fan at Gulf Coast FAAST is Hannah. LaVesta works with this 17-year-old student with Autism who without question always lets her know if she is interested in a new activity or tool right away. She will let me know right away if she is not interested in something and she absolutely loves the Zebra Bluebee Pal that she has named June. I checked out the Bluebee Pal’s recommended apps on the website and downloaded Toca Hair Salon. Hannah loves hearing the hair salon sounds through Bluebee June and is so engaged.”
“Bluebee Pals are a good price-point for people because AAC is expensive. Not only is it an affordable price, but there are a variety of animals for kids. It offers people different choices.” – LaVesta FeaginLaVesta Feagin is an AT superstar, working hard to engaged seniors and children during FAAST activities as well as for AAC evaluations. We love that Bluebee Pals are helping her in this endeavor. We salute you LaVesta!…..https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/
FAAST Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration Center
3600 N. Pace Blvd
Pensacola, FL 32505

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