School – it is a given in most children’s lives in the US. Just out of diapers our kids begin preschool at least a few days a week by 3 years of age. With the onset of Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) programs, access to affordable and free early learning has increased. Early education prepares kids for the many years of schooling to come. Elementary, middle and high school follow– ensuring all children are provided the knowledge and skills needed within their K-12 education careers.
Many children who are hospitalized are “invisible by the broader field of education” according to Dr. Megan Nickels, Faculty Director of the University of Central Florida’s PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital. The PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital tackles this problem head-on. It is the world’s first hospital-based school program that ensures children fighting for their health are not forced to lose valuable education. The program provides research-backed educational opportunities daily through the use of virtual reality, robotics and avatars. https://pedsacademy.org
Education Integrated PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital
The PedsAcademy partners with the University of Central Florida (UCF) bringing 54 affiliated faculty and students to run the school program. Pre-service elementary educators teach students daily in the hospital setting (right in their hospital room if needed!) under the supervision of Dr. Nickels and her team. UCF students from all colleges, including the School of Social Work, are provided an opportunity to work with the students at the academy providing a unique and valuable pre-service experience.
Joining the pack of technology-based intervention are our very own Bluebee Pals! We are proud to announce that the PedsAcademy is now a Bluebee Pals Project donation site. The Bluebee Pals are helping these resilient students learn through book reading and engagement with academic apps! Four students at the PedsAcademy have recently been gifted their Bluebee Pals and will take them along when they are able return home! Thanks to Bluebee Pals and the PedsAcademy for partnering to ensure access to education no matter the challenges a student faces! https://www.bluebeepals.com/#
Technology and media are educational tools that are effective only when used appropriately. A joint statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College indicates that technology and interactive media are here to stay. “Young children live in a world of interactive media. They are growing up at ease with digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community. When used wisely, technology and media can support learning and relationships. Enjoyable and engaging shared experiences that optimize the potential for children’s learning and development can support children’s relationships both with adults and their peers. There has never been a more important time to apply principles of development and learning when considering the use of cutting-edge technologies and new media. When the integration of technology and interactive media in early childhood programs is built upon solid developmental foundations, and early childhood professionals are aware of both the challenges and the opportunities, educators are positioned to improve program quality by intentionally leveraging the potential of technology and media for the benefit of every child”.
What Does Effective Use of Early Childhood Technology Look Like?
It has a point and is intentional. Early childhood educators should be informed and selective when choosing technology to be implemented within their program, taking into consideration child development and effective practices. As educators strive to be intentional with technology implementation, the question needs to be asked, “Can the learning goals be achieved more easily using traditional classroom materials or does use of a particular technology extend learning and development in ways not possible otherwise?”
It is interactive, engaging, and empowering. Technology implementation in early childhood doesn’t mean plopping kids down in front of a computer to zone out for long periods of time. In fact, early childhood educators should avoid passive non-interactive technology. Instead, by putting interactive and engaging technology in the hands of children and their educators, we are empowering them and giving them exciting new opportunities to learn from the world around them.
It is a piece of the complete overall learning experience. Developmentally appropriate technology should be only a piece of the overall learning experience and should not replace excellent traditional activities. Children use their senses to learn about the world around them, and they learn in a multitude of styles. Interactive and engaging technology can reach kinesthetic, auditory and visual learners simultaneously and can enrich the overall learning experience.
Educational technology tools that can engage little learners in a BIG way:
Square Panda Phonics Multisensory Sight, Touch, and Sound Playset for Kids Learning to Read:
The Square Panda playset helps children ages 2-8 learn to read through fun games grounded in research and uses a multisensory approach, combining sight, touch and sound in each play experience.
The system includes a playset, which doubles as a storage tray, 45 smart letters and access to a library of 11 free learning games. The playset works in tandem with your own tablet.
Square Panda provides access to a customizable database that stores children’s words, pictures, milestones and learning progress.
Learning games are available free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store and include Letter Lab, Square Land, Bowling, Jiggity Jamble, Bubbles, Space Cows, Fishing, Letter Lullaby, Farming, Lagoon, and Monster Rhymes.
Targeted concepts include learning the alphabet, learning letter sounds, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, word construction, reading fluency, rhyming words, word families, and more.
Osmois a unique educational gaming accessory that opens up your tablet to the infinite possibilities of physical play. Osmo’s advanced reflective technology bridges the real and digital realms. Osmo’s games are geared toward embodied learning, meaning the games teach abstract concepts by connecting them to objects and actions in the physical world.
Osmo offers games and apps for a wide range of academic subjects, including:
Coding (Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, Coding Duo)
Math (Numbers, Pizza Co.)
Drawing (Monster, Super Studio, Masterpiece)
Fundamentals of Physics (Newton)
Spatial relational skills (Tangram)
World geography (Detective Agency)
Pre-reading, storytelling, fine motor (Little Genius Starter Kit)
In addition to teaching traditional subject matter, Osmo games foster social-emotional skills like problem-solving, creativity and perseverance.
Osmo games are designed for ages 3–12, according to game.
Wonder Workshop provides a fun way for children to learn fundamental coding skills through robotics with a family of award-winning robots and age-appropriate apps, which encourage hands-on play and learning to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and imagination. Their tailored activities promote STEM learning with personable robots (Dash, Dot, and Cue), accessories, and free software for your mobile devices designed specifically for kids ages 6+. There is a growing library of in-app puzzles, standards-based lesson plans, and annual robotics challenges. They offer professional learning opportunities that encourage a meaningful shift towards establishing a foundation for 21st-century learning.
Learning Resources Programmable Mouse STEM Activity Set brings the “hour of code” to life with this amazing programmable robot. Guide the mouse through a fully customizable maze with step by step programming. Connect the maze tiles to build an activity board. Ages 4+.
This coding set for kids turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners
As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals.
Colby the Mouse lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding activity cards for easy programming and sequencing.
This coding set includes 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnels, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and activity guide to provide a hands-on introduction to coding concepts.
A great hands-on tool to keep young children actively engaged in learning about coding.
Bluebee PalPro4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. The 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 their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
Bluebee is compatible with all apps with a narrative.
Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
Laura Jiencke, Bluebee Pal creator is at it again – making meaningful connections with educators everywhere she goes! She recently attended the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2019 conference in Philadelphia and met Melissa Stark, a special education PreK teacher in New York City.
“As a special education teacher, you are always looking for ways to help increase your student’s love of learning. At ISTE in June 2019, I presented on Technologically Applying the Communication Bill of Rights toAll Learners. Giving all students a voice should be a goal for us all. While walking the conference floor, I had the chance to find Bluebee. As summer school was approaching I decided to give it a try and buy one for my classroom. “ – Melissa Stark
She hit the ground running and began using her Bluebee Pall in the classroom right away! “I love that my student’s AAC devices can be modeled through Bluebee. I also love that my students can read books or share items they completed for classwork on Bluebee. Bluebee gives my students that voice. They integrate with so many different apps and programs. I also love that Bluebee has its own individual app that focuses on life skills such as what you do in different places in your home (i.e., kitchen, bathroom). I am so happy to have found Bluebee and cannot wait to continue using it in my classroom!” https://www.schools.nyc.gov/special-education/school-settings/district-75
7th Annual New York City Schools Technology Summit.
Melissa’s desire to share Bluebee Pals with her entire district lead her to suggest they make an appearance at the 7th Annual New York City Schools Technology Summit. The Bluebee Pals were out in full force at the NYC Tech Summit where over 1,200 leaders, technology staff and teachers learn about the district’s latest technology plans and priorities. As the largest school system in the nation, the NYC Department of has a budget of nearly $500 million and serves over 1.1 million students and 1,800 schools. Solutions, such as the Bluebee Pals plush educational technology tool, were on full display allowing technology and education enthusiasts immerse themselves in the lasts technology for their students! https://www.bluebeepals.com/special-needs/
Many thanks to Melissa Stark – an exceptional teacher serving exceptional students in NYC! Keep on helping kids find their voices!
The founder of Bluebee Pals, Laura Jiencke, donated through the Bluebee Pal Project,a Bluebee Family Pack of Interactive Educational Plush Learning tools and three iPads to the Southampton Day Care Center (SDCC) in Southampton, NY.
As many of you know the Bluebee Pals connect to any Apple or IOS Device and pair with most apps and are a multifaceted learning tool. It now has extensive curriculum available on Google Workbench designed by the experts on the Bluebee Team. The lessons include Essential Life Skills, which are defined as behaviors that enable individuals to adapt and deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. As well as STEM/ELA, ESL, as well as ACC support for children with special needs and more.https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/
Educational Technology in Day Care
This was the daycare’s first introduction to any kind of educational technology in their classrooms. A sad state of affairs in 2019 and in such an affluent area of the world! Often people are not able to look beyond their own backyard to see what is going on in their community and this oversight seems to be more prevalent in resort areas. Fortunately for us, we had the newly elected mayor of Southampton participating in this event and hope this will raise awareness and encourage others to get involved with SDCC, esp. philanthropists with an interest in education
The educators at the daycare center will be assisted with ongoing professional development designed by the Bluebee Pal team to help them with this new approach to learning. The Southampton Day Care Center Director was most appreciative of the generous contribution, and the children were beyond thrilled! The BEST part, they will be all the more ready to begin school. (More on getting ready for school here)
Written by Jayne Clare: Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.
What are Life Skills? Life skills are behaviors that enable individuals to adapt and deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. In terms of early development, these are often called “learning to learn skills” which can be developed through intentional activities.
There are many such skills, but core life skills, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) include the following:
Coping with stress
Coping with emotion
The Bluebee Pals app is a fun and easy way to begin working on many of these skills with young children. Children learn best through play!
In the Bluebee Pals app, there are 5 colorful and interactive rooms to explore with your child. By talking about, asking questions, and encouraging free play, you can focus on and reinforce many early learning and life skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Bedroom: Discuss bedtime routines with your child. What routines do you have? What do you wear to bed? Talk about things that are found in a bedroom (vocabulary, categorization skills), practice listening, choose your favorite color, and learn the meaning of “on/off”. Ask the child to describe his/her own bedroom.
Bathroom: Discuss your bathroom routines. Practice listening and following instructions, practice brushing teeth, talk about washing hands, learn to recognize hot/cold water, on/off, and categorize things that are found in a bathroom.
Kitchen: Discuss things that are found in a kitchen. Do you see something in the Bluebee kitchen that you have in your kitchen (critical thinking). Discuss recycling, follow directions, name foods and categorize them. What are your favorite kinds of foods? What vegetables are green? Yellow? Red?
Living room: What kinds of things are found in a living room? Name the things in the Bluebee living room. What is in your living room? What kinds of things can you do in your living room? How can you help your parents keep the living room tidy?
Playroom: The playroom contains mini-games for free play. Tap on an item in the room to play an educational game.
Balloons: Match colors to foods, talk about different types of food groups and categorize fruits vs vegetables.
Robot. Practice sequencing, critical thinking, following directions and problem solving skills while building a robot.
Voice recorder: Listen and follow directions to learn to use a microphone to record your own voice, or Bluebee Pal. Use problem solving skills to learn how to record and listen to the sounds around you. Can you talk in a happy voice? In a sad voice? In a soft voice?
Truck: Name the kinds of trucks you see as you slide them around the racetrack. Which one is the smallest? The largest? Can you put them in order from smallest to largest?
Ice cream truck: Seek and find the hidden Bluebee Pals on their island, then match them to their chairs on the beach. Can you name all of the Bluebee Pals? Can you match them to their names?
Puzzle: Complete a 6 piece Bear puzzle (problem-solving, critical thinking).
Construction hat: Dress up your favorite Bluebee Pal and talk about the different occupations they represent. What would you like to be when you grow up? What jobs do your parents do?
Maze: Practice thinking and problem solving skills as you complete a maze. How many ways are there to get out?
White board: Practice naming the letters of the alphabet and their order. What can you name that starts with the letter D? What letters are in your name?
Tips—When working with your child and the Bluebee Pal app, focus on the following areas to maximize language and learning skills:
Talk about grouping similar items into categories
Assist your child in following directions
For literacy skills, help your child learn to recognize sounds and letters
Talk about daily living skills and routines including hygiene, cooking, cleaning, brushing teeth, bath time, and bed time.
Find action words and talk about them. Make a sentence with action words such as playing, brushing, sleeping, bathing, washing.
Talk about the items in each room and what they are used for to build vocabulary skills.
Practice sequencing the tasks in the app, such as taking a bath, brushing your teeth, getting ready for bed.
Talk about how your child feels when it is time to eat, time to take a bath, time to clean up, or time for bed.
Practice negation while you are working with your child, such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light” or “Don’t forget to brush his teeth all the way”. Which foods are not red? What things do not belong in the kitchen?
Ask questions to improve inferencing skills, such as “How do you think he got so dirty? or What do you think he likes to eat for lunch”?
Music is a magical tool while working with children having speech and language difficulties! Music therapy is a well-established technique for using musical interaction to help individuals with a wide range of cognitive and emotional challenges to improve their ability to function. By interacting with those on the autism spectrum, the use of music can build skills, lower anxiety, and even develop new communication skills.
What is music therapy? According to the American Music Therapy Association: Music therapy is an evidence-based, allied health profession that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. Through musical responses, a board-certified music therapist assesses emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills. Specifically regarding communication, music therapists are trained to adapt elements of music to promote effective expressive and receptive communication skills. Music interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, behavior, and academic/cognitive functioning.
*A speech language pathologist and qualified musical therapist can work alongside each other collaboratively to build individuals’ skills.
Advantages of Music Therapy:
Communication: Music can aid in speech development and production, and is a perfect medium to encourage and aid in non-verbal communication, too.
Multi sensory: Musical interventions engage multiple senses and appeal to sensory strengths and needs.
Whole Brain Processing: Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain; therefore, when engaged in musical tasks, many regions of the brain are stimulated simultaneously. The use of music supports mental, emotional and cognitive development. Kids with Autism can benefit significantly from this form of therapy.
Socialization: Musical intervention goes hand in hand with social skills. Turn taking, peer interactions, following directions and engagement can be supported by music. Music therapy helps autistic children learn to relate to us and to others.
Improves Behavior: Restlessness, aggression and throwing tantrums can be reduced through the use of music. Music helps remove various mental blocks, as well as stress and anxiety levels. As the same music is played in a repetitive as well as in a prolonged manner, this can bring about significant changes in social behavior and overall cognitive ability.
Music is Fun: Music is fun, safe, appealing, motivational, and enjoyable! This makes it perfect for therapy. It is fun and engaging for kids with autism to listen and learn through music. Because music is motivating and engaging, it may be used as a natural “reinforcer” for desired responses.
Music therapy is research-based:
Music therapy interventions are informed by research evidence and incorporate many of the identified ASD-specific evidence-based practices.
Music therapy services for young children with ASD are very effective for improving communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, and play.
Music therapy interventions may elicit joint attention; enhance auditory processing, other sensory-motor, perceptual/motor, or gross/fine motor skills and identify and appropriately express emotions.
Music therapy interventions based on family-centered practice may increase social engagement in the home environment and community.
Music therapy interventions using musically adapted social stories may modify target behavior and teach new skills.
Bluebee Pals and Music in Speech Therapy: Working in collaboration with a music therapist, Bluebee Pals are a great tool to use when incorporating music into speech therapy to address communication skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into peer groups to practice skills. Paired with musical and rhyming apps and videos, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes communication skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking and singing” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started!https://www.bluebeepals.com/blogs/
Some suggested apps and resources to get you started:
Toddlers Nursery Rhymes Bundle- Kids Songs Collection by PlaneTree Family Productions
Announcing a new partnership with The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida (DSACF)! DSACF is an accredited not-for-profit association founded in 1991 by parents of children with Down syndrome that serves over 1,200 individuals with Down syndrome and their families over 10 counties. DSACF offers a starting point for new or expectant parents as well as “programs for every age and stage” including adulthood. In addition, they provide support groups, host fundraising events and provide legal support.
Bluebee Pals have partnered with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida with support of their acting interim executive director, Amy Drow. Amy has “always loved kiddos with something a little extra since her older brother is blessed with Down syndrome!”. She was eager to include the DSACF in the Bluebee Pals Project and add the pals to their lending library. The lending library houses items and resources available to their members for FREE. We had a grand time demonstrating the many ways Bluebee Pals could benefit those with Down syndrome. https://www.dsacf.org
Individuals with Down syndrome have many special talents as well as a specific areas of needs. Bluebee Pals and it’s accompanying Bluebee Pals app are a perfect tool for increasing these skills. See the chart below for skill areas paired with Bluebee Pals activities! Simply download the app suggested app and use the Bluetooth connection on your device to pair your Bluebee Pal! https://www.bluebeepals.com
Communication and Cognitive Skills with Down Syndrome Children
Bluebee Pals App
Wh? By Autism iHelp
Splingo’s Therapy Bundle
WH Question Cards
Fun Deck Following Directions
Things That Go Together
Listen to Bluebee Pals name, read and ask questions to increase vocabulary, following directions and basic concept skills. Use text-to-speech app to help Bluebee talk, ask questions, make comments and more!
Minimal Pairs for Speech
Listen to Bluebee articulate target sounds and practice your sounds too!
iSequences Therapeutic Functional Skills
Let Bluebee Pal read you social stories and teach you social skills with these functional apps!
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Bluebee Pals App
Physical Therapy for Kids
AIMS Improving Motor Skills
Increase fine motor skills by engaging with fine motor/handwriting and gross motor apps. Use text-to-speech apps to help Bluebee give directions for fine motor and gross motor activities!
Bluebee Pals App
Let Bluebee Pal teach you letters, numbers, spelling and more by connecting Bluebee to these learning apps!
Daily Living Skills
Bluebee Pals App – Bathroom
My Play Home
Help Bluebee with daily living skills such as showering and brushing teeth!
Life skills have been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Skills that function for well-being and aid individuals to develop into active and productive members of their communities are considered as life skills. Educators are increasingly supporting the development of life skills, in addition to academics, in order to enable students to function effectively in society. Teachers sometimes describe these skills as “learning to learn skills” which can be developed through intentional daily activities.
Life skills go hand in hand with development and can help your child succeed later in life.
In the book, “Mind in the Making,” Ellen Galinsky, a leading authority on child development issues, organized the essential life skills that children need to be well-rounded, ready for school, and life.
What Are the Most Important Life Skills for Kids to Learn?
Focus And Self Control: Children need this skill in order to achieve their goals. It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self control. Children thrive onschedules, habits, and routines, which not only create a feeling of security, but also help children learn self-control and focus.
Perspective Taking: Perspective taking goes far beyond empathy in that it involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis of children understanding their parents’, teachers’, and friends’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are also much less likely to get involved in conflicts. Thinking about another’s point of view doesn’t come naturally to most children, but it can be developed by making observations with children about how others are feeling.
Communication: Communicating is much more than understanding language, speaking, reading and writing – it is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others. Children need to build healthy social-emotional skills, including the ability to understand and communicate with others. Children need to learn how to “read” social cues and listen carefully. They must consider what they want to communicate and the most effective way to share it.
Making Connections: Making connections is at the heart of learning—figuring out what’s the same, what’s different and sorting these things into categories. Making unusual connections is at the core of creativity. True learning occurs when we can see connections and patterns between seemingly disparate things. The more connections we make, the more sense and meaning we make of the world. Young children begin to see connections and patterns as they sort basic household items like toys and socks. Simple acts, such as choosing clothing appropriate for the weather, helps them build connections.
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions, and actions. We live in a complex world in which adults are required to analyze information and make decisions about myriad things every day. One of the best ways to build critical thinking is through rich, open-ended play. Make sure your child has time each day to play alone or with friends. Through play, children formulate hypotheses, take risks, try out their ideas, make mistakes, and find solutions—all essential elements in building critical thinking.
Taking On Challenges: Life is full of stresses and challenges. Children who are willing to take on challenges instead of avoiding them or simply coping with them do better in school and in life. One of the most important traits we can develop in life is that of resilience—being able to take on challenges, bounce back from failure, and keep trying. Children learn to take on challenges when we create an environment with the right amount of structure—not so much as to be limiting, but enough to make them feel safe. Encourage your child to try new things and allow reasonable risk, such as climbing a tree or riding a bike. Offer a new challenge when she seems ready.
Self-Directed, Engaged Learning: It is through learning that we can realize our potential. As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live—as long as we learn. A child who loves learning becomes an adult who is rarely bored in life. To encourage a love of learning, try to limit television and encourage plenty of reading, play, and open-ended exploration.
Bluebee Pals are excellent educational tools that can easily be incorporated in the classroom or at home to help model and build age-appropriate essential life skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into life skills learning or peer groups to practice skills. Paired with story books and educational apps, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes life skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started!https://www.bluebeepals.com
A few examples of apps that can be used to help develop essential life skills:
First Then Visual Schedule HD by Good Karma Applications, Inc allows you to create first-then boards, visual schedules, task analyses, social stories, choice boards, and video models, and even has a timer for task completion.
Peppy Pals Family Play Bundle by Peppy Pals AB is a set of three apps featuring engaging animal friends that enables children to learn and explore emotions in an relaxing, interactive environment while developing emotional intelligence.
Peppy Pals Social Skills by Peppy Pals AB features gender-neutral animals in story scenarios as they take care of each other and solve problems. Helps build social emotional skills such as self-esteem, resilience, empathy, problem-solving, managing emotions, managing stress, and creating healthy relationships.
10 Ways – a Social Skills Game by Everyday Speech LLC teaches through a familiar game format with categories of questions that include conversation skills, perspective taking, asking and answering questions, friendship skills, and more.
Categories Learning Center by Smarty Ears fosters categorization skills by sorting similar and dissimilar items, placing objects in the correct category, naming members of given categories and identifying which category name a group of objects belongs in.
Thinkrolls by AVOKIDDO is an addictive, award-winning logic, brain power, and problem solving app for kids that uses mazes to master the art of thinking. Provides for penalty-free and stress-free trial and error problem solving.
100% of students experience summer learning loss if they don’t engage in educational learning activities over the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 25% of academic learning is lost by children over summer vacation.
Summer reading is critical forstudents to retain the knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year.Summer is an important time for students to keepreadingto improve their language and vocabulary skills. Students who don’t read are at risk of falling behind their classmates. Numerous studies indicate that students who don’t read or readinfrequently during their summer vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline.
The “Summer Slide” is the phrase used to describe this slidebackwards that many children make in reading skills over the summer months when school is not in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability an average of 2 months by the time autumn rolls around. It takes teachers 4-6 weeks to reteach material that has been lost over the summer.
*Classmates who continue reading move further ahead.
6 Benefits of Summer Reading
Improve Reading Skills.
Increase Desire to Read.
Neutralize Summer Learning Loss.
Improve Memory Skills.
You can combat summer slide by encouraging your child to devote 20 to 30 minutes each day to reading. Bluebee Pals are a great way to encourage summer reading! They make excellent reading buddies!https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Suggested Apps Summer Reading:
Storyline Online by SAG-AFTRA Foundation is an award-winning children’s literacy app that features celebrated actors reading children’s books.
Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos by Epic! Creations Inc is a leading digital library for kids with instant, unlimited access to 35,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos and quizzes for children 12 and under. There is a monthly subscription plan for home and a free plan for educators.
HOMER Reading: Learn to Read by Homer is a personalized reading program for kids 2-8. This award-winning app has been proven to increase early reading scores by 74% with just 15 minutes a day. There is a monthly subscription plan for home, and a free plan for educators.
The Every School Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) is a federal law that calls for a well-rounded (whole child) education and a shifting away from the narrow focus on academics. Under ESSA, teachers go beyond academics to cultivate positive student attitudes, values, and habits. Inter- and intra-personal (or, “social and emotional”) competencies include attitudes and behaviors that affect how students reflect on and apply their learning capacities and skills relative to managing relationships with others. These skills are sometimes referred to as 21st century skills, deeper learning, non-academic, non-cognitive, or soft skills.
“Social and emotional learning(SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.“– The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
What are Social and Emotional Skills?
According to CASEL, Social and emotional skills are the tools both children and adults use in social interactions and to manage every day emotional responses. Things like social awareness, setting goals, and taking responsibility for oneself are imperative to maintaining healthy relationships and practicing self-care.
CASEL’s widely used framework identifies five core competencies that can educate hearts, inspire minds, and help students navigate the world more effectively:
Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.
Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.
SEL programs improve students’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, positive social behavior, and academic performance; they also reduce students’ conduct problems and emotional distress.
Bluebee Pals are excellent educational tools that can easily be incorporated in the classroom or at home to help model and build early social skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into social learning or peer groups to practice skills such as understanding and using appropriate emotions, sharing, turn-taking, asking and answering questions, making appropriate conversations, showing empathy, and more. Paired with educational apps, Bluebee Pals are perfectly suited to offer children a special learning friend who makes social skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started! https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Helps to develop the skills needed to boost memory, motor, and auditory processing skills with simple one step directions, two step complex commands, inclusion/exclusion, conditional and motor-skill based directions. Great for working on language, auditory processing, vocabulary, memory, receptive language, attention, and focus.
Teaches communication skills and models personal interactions, navigating the community, appropriate school behavior, handling change, and social relationships. Includes ready to use lessons and videos and enables users to create their own social lessons.
10 Ways – a Social Skills Game by Everyday Speech LLC
Grab a Bluebee Pal and have fun exploring these FREE educational apps with your children. There are oodles and oodles of educational videos, shows, games, goodies and activities to explore. There is something for everyone! Take plenty of time to explore your favorite PBS shows, videos, and games in this HUGE collection of activities! These apps contain safe, educational videos, games, and TV.
PBS KidsVideo- Watch all your favorite PBS Kids shows anytime, as well as live stream educational videos and shows to help your child learn and grow. There are new videos each week. Watch full episodes of Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, Curious George, Odd Squad, and more! For ages 3-8.
PBS Kids Games- There are over 100 free school games for ages 2 through 8 for discovery, exploration and learning. The games focus on science, math, reading, and creativity. There are mazes, puzzles, coloring, dress-up, and more activities. Learn ABCs, shapes, reading, and math skills.
PBS Kids Measure Up! Children ages 2-5 learn early math concepts focused on length, width, capacity and weight while watching instructional videos and playing in Treetop City, Magma Peak, and Crystal Caves. There are 19 measuring games and 10 measurement videos. Kids collect rewards for activity completion.
Play and Learn Science by PBS This is a suite of 15 educational kids games to develop experimentation and early science skills. Learn core scientific concepts while developing problem solving skills. Help the thirsty dog get some water, dress-up for the correct weather, find out which objects will float, and more. Great for preschool to kindergarten ages.
The Cat in the Hat Builds That by PBS KIDS features 5 educational STEM games for preschool and kindergarten kids, focusing on key science concepts. Build bridges, explore friction with slides, sort objects, create musical instruments, mix colors, and more!
Once in a while stars collide and sparks fly! Such was the case when Bluebee Pals met Dr. Eleazar Trey Vasquez III, director of the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute (TJEEI). In just over a year, Dr. Trey, as he is often called, has brought in over $8 million in funded research to the institute that is located at the University of Central Florida. At the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute Dr. Trey and his ever growing team of special educators and behavior therapists are focused on providing research-based practices, professional development, and partner collaborations to individuals with disabilities and their families. https://tjeei.ucf.edu
Dr. Trey credits his college experience with Special Olympics for guiding him on a path to an exceptional education. He has worn many different hats throughout his career including teacher, school psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D), associate professor, and Principal Investigator of research focused on the use of technology to increase academic and behavioral outcomes for students with autism. In addition, Dr. Trey is an expert at increasing interdisciplinary collaboration evidenced by his partnerships with UCF’s PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital (hospital-based pediatric school program) and CAST (nonprofit education research and development organization focused on Universal Design for Learning).
Now to the fireworks! Bluebee Pals were introduced to the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute in 2018 and quickly became part of their technology-focused research. Dr. Trey and his team recently completed a Single Case Research Design on the use of the Bluebee Pals to teach children with autism early social skills utilizing the VP-Map curriculum. Preliminary results of the study demonstrate early social skills can be increased with the use of robotics and good pedagogical curriculum. We are thrilled that Bluebee Pals were part of this important research focused on increasing crucial social skills in children with autism! We can’t wait to learn more about the use of robotics and technology for learning and thank Dr.Trey and the entire TJEEI team for their innovative research and dedication to persons with disabilities! !https://www.bluebeepals.com/autism/
Check back soon to stay informed about TJEEI’s publication and future research projects!
Beenleigh Special Needs School in Australia received a special visit this month from Laura Jiencke founder of Bluebee Pals after they purchased the first Bluebee in Australia. Laura received a wonderful reception from the principal, assistive technology coach and teachers. Bluebee Pals were applied in conjunction with AAC Devices in every classroom to engage non-verbal children in communication.
Each classroom is set-up to the Australian AAC ( alternative, augmentative communication) system. AAC incorporates the individual’s full communication abilities and may include any existing speech or vocalizations, gestures, manual signs, and aided communication. AAC is truly multimodal, permitting individuals to use every mode possible to communicate. Over time, the ability to use AAC devices may change and the AAC system chosen today may be a different system tomorrow. In any case, an AAC system is an integrated group of four components used by an individual to enhance communication. These four components are symbols, aids, techniques, and strategies.
Assistive Technology Coach Shannon Braithwaite Presenting to Classrooms Bluebee Pals with AAC Apps.
“The classrooms use AAC apps Proloquo2go and PODD/Compass. AAC is embedded into the teacher’s practice so rather than utilizing it for specific activities, our teachers use it for all interactions they have with students. The teachers point to symbols of the AAC system while speaking to the students. This is referred to as (modeling) and teachers are encouraged to model a range of communication functions, not just asking a question. Our teachers implement the Australian curriculum where every lesson/ activity would be modeled on the AAC system. The students are encouraged to participate using multimodal communication (verbal responses, AAC, gesture/ facial expression and combination methods).” …..Shannon Braithwaite
Founder Laura Jiencke of Bluebee Pals visited the Ipswich Special School in Australia in late May. The school is the second Australian school to implement Bluebee Pal learning companion tools into their AAC Curriculum. The principal and faculty welcomed the Bluebee Pals with opens arms! Once the Bluebee Pals arrived from the USA, the teachers immediately started incorporating Bluebee Pals in every classroom.
“I am impressed by the passion and commitment demonstrated by principal Tracey Banks to her staff and students. Special education is very challenging for many educators when discovering the most effective assistive technology tools. Many special needs schools are often limited by expensive technology tools available on the market; Bluebee Pals bring creativity and innovation as an affordable tool that impacts a child’s learning abilities when connected to a wide range of AAC, Educational, Reading, Language and Music Apps.”
AAC is short for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Communication systems, strategies and tools that replace or supplement natural speech are known as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). These tools support a person who has difficulties communicating using speech……( Source-AssistiveWare) https://www.assistiveware.com/learn-aac/what-is-aac
The first “A” in AAC stands for Augmentative Communication. When you augment something, you add to it or supplement. Augmentative communication is when you supplement your speech with something (signs, symbols, a letter board, for example) to make your message clearer to your listener.
The second “A” in AAC stands for Alternative Communication. This is when you are not able to speak, or your speech is not understandable even when you add something to it. In this case, you need a different way to communicate.
Basically, AAC are the tools, systems and strategies that help a person communicate when they are not able to communicate effectively using speech.
The history of the Ipswich Special School can be traced back to 1923 when classes for students with special needs commenced as part of the Ipswich Central Boys’ State School. The Ipswich Special School community strives for excellence in education by providing a caring and supportive environment in which all students may achieve their potential to function and participate effectively as valued members of society.
The Ipswich Special School provides educational programs for students with a broad range of abilities, learning characteristics and needs aged between three and eighteen. All students have had their educational adjustment needs profiled under Education Queensland guidelines. All students have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability and many have also been diagnosed with Autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment and/or physical impairment.
Bluebee Pals Founder Laura Jiencke sent Bluebee Pals to Joan Green(M.A., CCC-SLP) founder of Innovative Speech Therapy to evaluate Bluebee Pals talking tech companions as assistive technology tools for her speech therapy practice. Joan utilized Bluebee Pal Sammy Bear by participating in segments of her Facebook Speech Webinar iintroducing not only third party apps but a featured presentation of the new Bluebee Pal Life Skills/Educational App.
The Bluebee App is a free App on Apple and IOS and received 5 star reviews. Videos and PDF’s Tutorials for the Bluebee Pal and Bluebee App were incorporated early this year on the Bluebee Website as a support resource tool for therapists and educators. Bluebee Pals affordable assistive technology tools progressed from its original release as basic educational tech toy, to it’s a recent launch in 2018 as a premium educational tool created for therapists and educators. https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Over the past 30+ years, Joan Green developed systems, techniques, and strategies to help others speed toward their communication, cognitive, and learning goals. She combine the use of the latest assistive technology features, online tools, engaging speech and language therapy apps, evidence based speech therapy techniques, inclusive family-centered communication training, and multiple means of support.
implementing Apps in Speech therapy
Adults who have not responded to previous therapy
Verbal and nonverbal children
Emergent language learners
Beginning to introduce AAC- Alternative, Augmented Communication
Diagnosis of Autism (ASD), Intellectual impairment, Dementia, or Cognitive dysfunction
With a considerable number of K-12 students in special education programs throughout the U.S., teachers have found that the traditional use of textbooks and worksheets is often ineffective. The use of assistive technology – computer software, communication devices and tablets – is a new and innovative trend among educators.
Bluebee Pals founder Laura Jiencke received this testimonial from a public elementary school in College Place, Washington
I thought you would enjoy watching this language lesson using one of the Bluebee Pals you donated to us in our elementary life skills classroom. This lesson incorporated teaching the core word SOME through our Blubee Pal Lion using the AAC App Proloquo2go on our Ipads.Our story was The Tawny Scrawny Lionby Kathryn Jackson (Little Golden Books).
After this video ended we went on to have the students practice asking the lion, “Do you want some food?” both verbally and with their voice output AAC devices. The Bluebee Pal Lion would respond, “I want some food” then the student would feed it. They were very engaged and excited throughout this lesson. https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
One of our students who is generally less engaged than the other students, squealed and laughed with delight at our antics with the lion. Thank you again for providing these fun educational tools for us to utilize in so many ways in our speech and language lessons. We wil continue to explore the usages in incorporating Bluebee Pals not only in our speech classes but in our reading classes and circulmn. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Beenleigh Special School in Mount Warren Park Queensland, Australia is the first school in Australia to introduce Bluebee Pals Assistive Technology Tools. Founder Laura Jiencke is visiting the school this week after accepting a invitation to visit the school and recieving posiitve reviews of Bluebee Pals impact on the school. The school opened in 1983 and provides specialized education programs for students with an intellectual disability from Prep to Year 12.
The enrollment at Beenleigh Special School is currently 163 students who come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. The student population consists of children ages between 4.5 and 18, who have a wide range of disabilities. The school caters for students with physical, intellectual, vision and hearing disabilities and students with autism spectrum disorders.The educational needs of students attending Been Leigh Special School are determined using a statewide education adjustment process. Data from this process is used as a basis for enrollment at the school.
The curriculum that guides teacher planning and learning experiences for students in year P-10 is the Australian Curriculum. The focus for students in Years 11 and 12 is on future planning and post-school. This is achieved through an individualized curriculum, using the Guidelines for Individual Learning as a framework.
At the end of each semester, student progress is formally documented and reported to parents/careers. All students at Beenleigh Special School have an Individual Curriculum Plan (ICP),or for Senior Secondary students a Senior Education Transition Plan. Education teams work together to implement the ICP, and constantly monitor and evaluate each student’s progress.
Bluebee Pals meets Google Workbench provides a platform for educators and therapists to download a spectrum of classroom curriculum, life skills and fun activities for children Pre-K1. Through research, consultants and testimonials, the Bluebee team created resources to promote Bluebee Pals tech companions as an effective technology tool engaging learning and communication for all mainstream and special needs classrooms. https://www.workbencheducation.com/
Bluebee Pals Pal 8 Lesson Plans are available free on Google Work Bench…
The goal of all educators should be to prepare all 21st Century students for a global society through the practice and mastery of the Four Cs- Communication, Creativity and innovation, Collaboration,Critical thinking and problem solving. Over the last ten years the National Education Association interviewed a diverse panel of leaders who agreed on the necessity to incorporate the “Four C’s” into K12 education for all learners. https://www.bluebeepals.com/google-workbench/
Bluebee 4 PDF Resource Pages are recommendations from educators, speech and occupational therapists outlining the diversification of applications to utilize the Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pal Life Skills/Educational App.
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/bluebee-pals-app/
***Special Thanks to Jayne Clare-Teachers with Apps & Susan Wells -TechTerra Education
Advance Behavior and Learning is located in Maitland, Florida and a divison of Advance Behavior and Learning Academy. The organization serves families that have concerns regarding their child’s development, language, behavior, and/or learning.
Children range from those with formal diagnoses to those with no “labels”, which may just be experiencing some challenges that require additional support. Therapists work closely with families to create individualized programs that promote effective learning and maximum progress for each child. Therapy programs are based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to help children learn new skills and reduce problem behaviors. http://advancebehavior.com
“I’m a behavior analyst managing a clinical company that provides in home, in school, and clinic based behavior analytic services throughout Central Florida. I have been working in the field for almost 10 years and started as a behavior technician providing 1:1 direct therapy.
In my opinion, I think the Bluebee Pals are a fun affordable assistive technology tool for early learners who enjoy playing with plush toys and engage them to target various goals within verbal behavior. Bluebees are used within our clinical practice in a variety of ways. Some include as a reinforcer or preferred item the child can earn to play with or as a teaching tool to make learning more interactive and engaging.”
What goals/objectives are being targeted when using Bluebee Pals? Pragmatic/Social Language (turn-taking, joint attention, greeting, conversational skills etc.)Expressive Language (labeling vocabulary, sentence formulation, semantic concepts etc.) Emily Munoz, M.S. BCBA
Bluebee Pals are versatile educational tools for the classroom! Indeed, they can be used in a variety of both tech and non-tech ways to support early foundational skills. Students love to use them both ways as classroom learning partners!
Reading Skills:Tech-Use Bluebee Pals to connect with any book or reading app. Let your students enjoy a digital book while your Bluebee Pal reads aloud to them. This is also a great activity for group time. Students can follow along with the text (books with high-lighted text are especially nice). Students can also create their own books and record in their own voices, with their Bluebee Pal reading in the student’s voice. They love to hear themselves speak and this gives them excellent feedback on their oral reading skills.
Non-Tech-Let your students practice their oral reading skills by reading out loud to their Bluebee Pal buddy. We often break into small groups for oral reading practice. This is a great way for students to practice reading and intonation skills, and to gain reading confidence. Students can also orally practice reading and spelling their weekly vocabulary words with their Bluebee Pal tech companion.
Language Skills:Tech–There are a multitude of apps available to practice language skills such as sequencing, categorizing, grammar, wh-questions, sentence construction, and basic concepts.
Non-tech-When teaching early skills, use a friendly Bluebee Pal and have a play-pretend tea party or picnic! You can practice most of the same skills without connecting Bluebee. Practice taking turns, using pronouns (ex. Give the cup to him) positional and basic concepts (ex. Put the spoon next to Bluebee Pal), wh-questions (ex. Who has the blue plate?), categories (ex. Give all the red cookies to Bluebee Pal, Show Bluebee all the things you can eat). You can easily model and imitate your targeted language goals with students and Bluebee Pals in a group setting.
Articulation/Speaking Skills: Tech- Connect your Bluebee Pal to articulation and phonics practice apps to help your students practice and learn articulation skills. Your Bluebee Pal will say the sounds, words, phrases and sentences out loud for the students to practice, or can “speak” in your students’ voices when they use an in-app recording feature to capture their practice productions.
Non-tech: Have your students practice their sound production skills out loud with their Bluebee Pal! Say a word or sentence with the target sound. If they say it correctly, the student earns a point. If it is incorrect, give a point to Bluebee! Have them practice until they earn Bluebee’s points back! Let them also practice self-monitoring skills by taking their own data as they practice with their articulation picture cards and a Bluebee Pal.
Listening Skills: Tech-Connect your Bluebee Pal to a favorite listening comprehension skills app to practice listening for information with your snuggly friend. Additionally, it is essential that children are read to on a daily basis in their early years to foster listening, reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and cognitive skills. Tales2go is a wonderful audio book app that offers thousands of age appropriate selections for listening pleasure!
Non-tech-Play a listening game with your favorite Bluebee Pal. If the student listens and answers questions correctly, he earns a point. If he is incorrect, Bluebee gets the point. Who can collect the most points? Students enjoy playing with and learning with Bluebee Pals!
Social Skills: Tech-It’s tons of fun and lots of thrills to connect your Bluebee Pal to your smartphone to practice greetings, real conversations and taking listening and speaking turns! My students love to answer calls using Bluebee! The teacher or another student can stand with the phone within the Bluetooth range, out of sight, and practice conversations!
Practice your favorite social skills game apps and create and narrate your own social skills stories with your Bluebee Pals!
Non-Tech-Invite your favorite Bluebee Pals to your social skills group (non-connected). Students can practice social greetings, conversational turn-taking, questioning, play-pretend skills, and more, as they “teach” Bluebee the social rules!
Teaching early dressing skills require patience and plenty of practice for little ones. To be successful, kids require a sense of body awareness, the needed motor skills – both gross motor and fine motor, and the ability to sequence steps. Kids begin to express their base knowledge of steps of routine tasks through daily engagement. This simple act of participation takes on meaning and deserves attention because it is relevant. Relevancy facilitates retention.
Any other presentation of material can simply be PLAY. Using PLAY (experiential learning) as a medium is one of the most powerful learning tools because it turns-on the motor system in conjunction with the body’s other systems and THAT promotes active critical thinking, problem-solving, and memory.
Here are some tips in using a Bluebee Pal for teaching dressing skills:
Kids love to play dress up, and what a perfect way to practice fine-motor skills than to dress up Bluebee! We love dressing Bluebee for holidays and seasons. Not only can you demonstrate what clothing is appropriate for the season but also introduce practice on a wide variety of those tricky fasteners (snaps, buttons, and even belt buckles). I buy clothing at our local church’s thrift shop and have found bargains for all kinds of clothing. Six to nine-month clothing usually fits Bluebee perfectly – although I have bought shirts sized up to 2 years for “dresses”.
Onesies are good for left/right, front/back awareness which directly relates to one’s position in space, and the fine-motor abilities to pinch with force in the handling snaps. Socks or booties help kids sustain the ability to stretch and place the sock or bootie, and are one of the harder tasks for kids to perform. As kids gain competency with dressing Bluebee, try altering Bluebee’s position from looking directly at Bluebee to having Bluebee in your lap. In the lap position, it resembles how a child may dress themselves.
Some of my favorite preschool apps for dressing:
Sago Mini Babies Dress Up – while this does not have a narrative for Bluebee to play with the Bluetooth speaker, it is a great introduction for what to wear. The added bonus is that Sago Mini updates this app for seasonal variations.
Pepi House or Pepi Bath introduce self-care and has always been a clinic favorite. This is also an app that doesn’t use language. Learning at this level helps kids process and practice the sequence of events rather than have too much auditory input com overloading a kid’s system.
Dr. Panda apps always provide clothing to dress-up your character. They are great games to provide kids choices of what to wear. Their new annual subscription, “Dr. Panda Learn and Play” looks very promising.
With an app, or as a stand-alone activity, Bluebee is there to help teach your child through fun and play. Enjoyable activities lend themselves to skill retention and the ability to transfer skills real time – meaning that skills are not produced in exact circumstances. This is what we all wish for not only our children, but also all children. It is the gift to problem-solve and think through multiple strategies.
Proloquo2Go is a communication app that is used by individuals who have a limited ability to use speech for communication and need an augmentative and/or alternative way to communicate. I have used this communication app with all ages from young children to adults with complex communication needs.
The Proloquo2Go communication app offers a variety of page sets for individuals with varying abilities and is easily customized for each user. I find that the most useful page sets are the core vocabulary page sets, which give individuals the ability to communicate most effectively and with a more robust vocabulary page set. Additionally, it would be helpful to have Proloquo2go on two separate iPads (one for the child if they are using that as their form of communication and the other iPad for the therapist who is using Proloquo2go for modeling purposes) with the Bluebee Pal.
To learn more about how to facilitate communication with this app and Bluebee Pal, click here.
I have used Proloquo2Go for many years and have found its bilingual features intuitive and there is ease in switching back and forth between languages. Languages included in this app are Spanish, French, and Dutch. This app also comes with specific bilingual voices as well, so the speech sounds natural and fluent. To learn more about it’s bilingual features in both Proloquo2Go and Proloquo4Text, click here.
When using a bilingual app and Bluebee Pal, it affords the user the opportunity for Bluebee to speak multiple languages within a session. For bilingual speech language pathologist, the Bluebee Pal can be a great tool within a therapy session as well as the classroom for teachers with bilingual students. For children who are learning English, a teacher can set up a tablet with Bluebee Pal on one language (e.g. Spanish) and have the children respond in a different language on their talker (e.g. English). It can be an excellent tool with endless ideas!
LAMP Words for Life
LAMP Words For Life™ is a comprehensive augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) language app that combines the PRC Unity® language system with Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP™) principles and strategies. LAMP™ provides a consistent motor pattern for words with an efficient way to develop communication skills allowing for unlimited communication opportunities with others. The app is available with three different vocabulary pages sets; LAMP 84 One Hit, LAMP 84 Transition and LAMP 84 Full.
LAMP Words For Life™ combines 50 years of PRC experience with the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning approach. The app is appropriate for emerging, context dependent and advanced communicators. It is a symbol based app that is appropriate for individuals of all literacy levels. This language system is also based on many years of research that has helped shape the system that it is today. For more information on LAMP Words For Life™ app, click here. For additional resources, lesson plans and much more, check out AAC Language Lab here. To learn more about this app and how to use with Bluebee Pal with a featured activity, click here.
LAMP Words for Life has a unique page set titled LAMP WFL – Spanish/English 1 Hit and LAMP WFL – Spanish/English Full. These page set are truly bilingual and can give the user the ability to switch back and forth with ease. This app also comes with specific bilingual voices as well so the speech sounds natural and fluent. To learn more about this system and it’s bilingual features, click here.
Are you looking additional therapy apps to help teacher a child a new language?
My name is Daisy M. Duran. I am a Pre-K ESE teacher at Village Oaks Elementary in Immokalee, Florida. We are very grateful to have Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools as a leading technology device in our preschool classroom. As you can see in this photo, we created a separate technology area so students can focus their attention on learning with Bluebee Pals. In my opinion, my students have greatly benefited from using Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee Pal App and other third party educational apps.
The majority of students are language impaired in my classroom. I am so impressed how their communication and learning skills have improved by listening and watching their favorite Bluebee Pal. Bluebee Pals encourage engagement and motivate my students to participate in a variety of academic and social/emotional activities. The students are eager to complete the activities when they interact with their favorite Bluebee Pal tech companion.
Apps we are you using with Bluebee Pals
Bluebee Pal app for life skills and educational games
Smarty Ants for foundational reading skills such as letter identification and letter sounds
Super Duper Following Directions App for following direction with preposition concepts
My favorite moments are watching the happy expressions on my students faces when interacting with our Bluebee Pals. They are fascinated with the movements, the actions and sounds coming out of what they think is a stuffed bear or lion.
Bluebee Pals & Social Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Self-aware. They are able to recognize their emotions, describe their interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths.
Regulate their emotions. They are able to manage stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles.
Socially aware. They are able to take the perspective of and empathize with others and recognize and appreciate individual and group similarities and differences.
Good relationship skills. They can establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation. They resist inappropriate social pressure; constructively prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflict; and seek and provide help when needed.
Demonstrate responsible decision-making at school, at home, and in the community. In making decisions, they consider ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and the likely consequences of various courses of action.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of sharing the power and fun of Bluebee Pals with many educators, therapists, caregivers and clients. Even then, it can be tricky to connect with the many people that could benefit from Bluebee Pals and empower them to use this educational tool with success. Thanks to the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), I was able to provide a free webinar to help others get their “degree” in Bluebee!
With a little help from IT support and the guidance of Dr. Daly, UCF CARD Director, we were able to provide a live Bluebee Pals Tutorial webinar for caregivers and educators! https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/ This live webinar was recorded and shared on the UCF CARD and Bluebee Pals Facebook pages for anyone to view at their leisure. Webinars provide an invaluable resource to us all as we try to stay informed about topics that affect our home and work lives. We are so thankful for the opportunity to educate caregivers and service providers about the many possible ways they can use Bluebee Pals as an affordable assitive technlogy tool to enhance learning and communication.
We have included Bluebee Pals in our grammar skills. Last week, Sammy the bear helped my students practice their prepositional phrases. My students took turns hiding Sammy behind, under, in, and on various items in the classroom. Using a free text to speech app, Sammy would call out “Hey, where am I?” When found, my students would use our “location words” to describe where Sammy was hidden. Once a student correctly identified the location, he/she would give him a hug and Sammy would say, “I love you, _______!” They were SO motivated, and Sammy got a lot of hugs!
Using Bluebee Pals has helped me to personalize my student’s learning! I have students with autism that find it difficult to attend to their peers in conversation. My Bluebee pal is a very patient listener, and a persistent communicator who never gets mad or frustrated! It’s a great step towards conversational skills! It’s awesome to have a communication partner who you can rely on to have an interest in any topic!
The soft snuggle factor of a Bluebee Pal cannot be ignored! Pairing a Bluebee pal with Raz Kids or a book being read on YouTube, and my students love cuddling up to listen to stories!
I brought in some of my son’s old baby clothes and Sammy the bear practiced getting dressed to go outside in different weather conditions. After using a writing chart, we then created a book for Sammy to read to us!My AAC users have also shown great interest in sharing their voices with a Bluebee Pal! Anything that motivates students to communicate more is a win in my book!
What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is any device, software or equipment that can help kids with learning and attention issues work around their challenges so that they can learn, communicate and simply function better. These products can make a significant impact on student learning. They can help kids become more successful and productive students, which can help grow their confidence and independence.Ranging in levels of sophistication, assistive technology is an ever-growing and dynamic field.
Here are some examples of assistive technologies:
“No Tech”—These items include pencil grips, post-it notes, slanted work surfaces, paper with raised lines, tactile numbers, letters or objects, magnifying bars, work organizers and weighted pencils.
“Low Tech”—These items include answer buzzers or buttons, talking calculators, microphones, switches, and tap lights.
“High Tech”—These include specialized keyboards, software applications, Text-to-Speech technology, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, computers, word processors, augmentative communication devices, classroom amplification systems, and computerized testing.
Here are a few of our favorite affordable classroom assistive technologies:
Tips: Having the right AT tool can make a huge difference for your child’s education. A good way to choose an assistive technology tool is to start with a specific struggle or need that a child is displaying.
Bluebee Pals are one of our favorite assistive technology learning tools! Bluebee Pals “speak” when connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone or to apps on a tablet. Their mouths open and close and their head turns in a natural speaking position which makes them come to life. They are perfect snuggly study buddies for engaging students in reading practice while reading book apps, practicing skills in educational learning apps, and in practicing and learning social skills. Used with any targeted apps with voice narration, they motivate students to want to interact and learn. They are especially fun to use when recording your child’s own voice!
Nothing captures a child’s interest quicker than robots! They are very useful, hands-on tools to keep children actively engaged while learning, and can help with teaching a variety of subjects including STEM, motion, directionality, sequencing, estimation, problem solving, programming, and math skills. They also help students practice and build social skills while working in peer groups. You can create and measure angles, learn sight reading words, strengthen coding skills, or just use robots as a fun engagement tool. With robots, children think they are playing but they are actually learning. Robots are available for all ability levels, from beginning coding to advanced. They are particularly suitable for special needs students. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Jimu Robot BuzzBot and MuttBot Kit
Bee-Bot and Pro-Bot, by Terrapin Software
Cozmo, by Anki
Audio Recorders and Buttons:
Many e-books have audio files and self recording features (for auditory feedback) and smartphones and tablet computers come with text-to-speech software that can read aloud anything on your child’s screen. If a child struggles with writing or taking notes, an audio recorder can capture what the teacher says in class so your child can listen to it again at home. Fun button recorders allow the user to make choices, practice speech, give messages, practice spelling words, and record short answers.
These inexpensive devices help kids who have trouble with pacing. Timers can be used as visual aids to show how much time is left to complete an activity. If a child has difficulty transitioning from task to task, timers can help him mentally prepare to make the switch.
Fun Time Timer by CodigoDelSur
Reading guides are good tools for kids who have trouble with visual tracking or who need help staying focused on the page. The plastic strip highlights one line of text while blocking out surrounding words that might be distracting. The strip is also easy to move down the page as your child reads.
For those with attention challenges and/or sitting still, students have the opportunity to wiggle or bounce while still being productive using wobble stools and exercise balls. Inflatable seat cushions are also available to help kids with sensory processing and attention issues. The cushion can provide enough movement and stimulation to help a child maximize his focus.
Depending on your child’s math issues, it might be appropriate for him to use a basic calculator in class. There are also large-display calculators and even talking calculators. A talking calculator has built-in speech output to reads the numbers, symbols and operation keys aloud. It can help your child confirm that he has pressed the correct keys.
Free Talking Calculator by Roundhouse Software LLC
Recently I had the opportunity to work with Laura Jienke, founder of the brilliant Bluebee Pals in a preschool in Naples, FL – we had a blast! The teacher had been celebrating Dr. Suess’s Bday & NEA’s Read Across America the nationwide reading celebration that takes place the whole month of March. When Laura asked me to read a Dr. Suess book I was more than happy to since there had been some talk that his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was not politically correct. (That book was written in 1937 and the world was a different place, use it as an opportunity to share some history – don’t ban the book…) Bluebee Pals Celebrate with Creativity her at the Methodist School Day School!
The classroom looked like it was straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine!
The lead teacher made us feel right at home, the classroom not only had a Suess theme it was crawling with Bluebee Pals and cool creative projects like this graph. The teacher graciously gave the circle time over to myself and Riley the Zebra to share one of the masters famous books ~ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, the children helped to read the book and eagerly engaged in a counting activity. We also shared the Bluebee Pal dedicated app and got the kids off their bottoms and actively taking turns with the screen. I don’t know who had more fun, Laura and I or the children!
What is grammar vs syntax? To learn more about this, click here.
Looking for more information about grammar and syntax? Check out this resource by Anne Rowley
Many students with speech and language delays and disabilities have difficulty learning syntax and grammar. How can we help children learn to use better grammar and syntax in conversation? Incorrect syntax and grammar can affect overall communication if a message is misunderstood. This can lead to frustration and interacting with others that are less familiar. It also comes out in writing, which can affect academics.
There are many apps available that help target grammar and syntax. Below I am going to give a brief description of each with a link to the full review with tips on how to use Bluebee Pal.
Bluebee Pals are a welcoming friend encouraging learning and communication. Bluebee Pal can also be an ideal model to model correct syntax and grammar with specific apps.
Syntax City is a state-of-the-art application designed by Barbara Fernandes, M.S; CCC SLP, that targets a variety of grammatical elements in fun and engaging way for varying ages and abilities. The theme sets the tone for children visiting a variety of places within the city. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals: See below for the locations and goals that are being targeted: -Gym: Do/Does -Beach: Third person singular agreement -Bakery: Was/Were -Ski Resort: He/ She -Farm: Past tense verb agreement -Grocery: Has/Have -Park: Is/Are -Zoo: Regular and Irregular Plurals
To find out more information about this app and download, click here.
Grammar Apps by Super Duper
Super Duper Publications has a variety of apps that target grammar and syntax. Which apps? Here are some to download! Fun Decks such as I and Me, Adverbs, Understanding Double Negatives App, My Mine and Me are just to name a few. For a full list of apps to download that target grammar, click here.
Using Fun Decks with Bluebee Pal can be endless fun with these apps! For example, when you start the Super Duper Plurals app, Bluebee Pal will say “Max has many colorful _____” The child can listen to the sentence and then choose “balloon” or “balloons”. This app priced at $3.99 gives the option of tracking data, adding additional players.
Create Your Own Sentences with Pictello
What better way to practice what you learned than to create your own social stories and sentences with Pictello! 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 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.To learn more about this app and using it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Methodist Day school (Naples, FL) offers preschool classes for students 2 years old through 5 years old. Their program is set up so that each year students continue to build on the learning blocks of the previous year until reaching Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, which is a government-funded program to help prepare students for kindergarten. Methodist Day School was founded in 1961 under the auspices of First United Methodist Church, having the unique distinction of being the oldest preschool in Collier County.
2 Year Old Class Program: Fine motor skills, Gross motor skills, Eye/Hand coordination, Reinforcement of colors and shapes, Introduction to numbers & ABC’s,Table manners, Continuation of verbal skills. Students will participate in art, dance, and group activities to help encourage learning of age-appropriate skills.
3 Year Old Class Program: Pre-writing skills, Number and letter recognition, Cutting skills, Gluing skills, Language skills, Communication Skills, Cognitive Skills. Personal/Social skills such as dressing, using bathroom, and washing hands independently or with minimal assistance. Students will participate in creative play, music, art, exercise, and games to aid in learning the skills needed at this age.
VPK ~ Kindergarten Prep Program: Uses Creative Curriculum which includes: Math skills, Pre-reading skills with sight words, Beginning writing, Cognitive concepts, Comprehension, Communication skills, Dramatic play and Creative movement.
Bluebee Pals Affordable Assistive Technology Tool
This school welcomes technology as a positive re-enforement for enhancing early childhood learning. Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools acts a the teacher’s helper in engaging children in life skills and academic lessons.
In these photos, Bluebee Pal Riley the Zebra is reading the Dr. Suess App as the teacher participants by asking specific questions. In the other photos, Bluebee is representing the Bluebee Pals Educational/Life Skills App focusing on learning goals.Literacy * Daily Living Skills * Learning Actions * Expand Vocabulary *Sequencing * Making Choices * Categories. Bluebee brings joy and fun when singing to a variety of educational music apps. https://youtu.be/dRdxflMv15M
These soft huggable tactile companions offer endless education and diverse learning methods by allowing teachers to think outside the box. Engaging and motivating children to learn in a fun and low pressure setting; Bluebee’s are an wonderful affordable educational tool compatible to hundreds of apps with a narrative from inexpensive free apps to more technical speech therapy apps.
Pathways Strategic Teaching Center is a comprehensive education and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders. Founded in 1998 through a collaborative effort between Trudeau and local parents of children with autism, Pathways is committed to utilizing scientifically validated teaching strategies to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. Our organization is Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a division of The Trudeau Center. They are a school for students with special needs, aged 3-22, who are diagnosed with Autism and other related disorders. Our students are instructed based upon the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis, and receive speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and other support services as needed. https://trudeaucenter.org/pathways-strategic-teaching-center/
Bluebee Pal Project
The founder of Bluebee Pals, Laura Jiencke met Megan Broz (Assistive Technology Professional) at the November Boston ASHA Conference and discussed Pathways Strategic Teaching Centers participating in the Bluebee Pals Project. Ms. Broz works with children with Autism in preschool classrooms and requested the opportunity for her staff to utilize Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool in a variety of speech/language and occupational therapy programs.
As a school for children with Autism and developmental delays, we are always seeking new and motivating ways to engage our students. During classroom groups facilitated by speech pathology and occupational therapy, our students were all introduced to Bluebee pals – and it was a hit! Students were following directions given by Lily the Lamb, dressing her for the season, and interacting with both her and others in the classroom. Some students requested to have more time with Lily and enjoyed exploring ways to “play” with her.
Students of all ages found ways to interact with Bluebee pals, many demonstrating increased motivation in and attention to the activities. Bluebee was not a replacement for the people involved, just a support to the human interactions that were already occurring. It was great, and we are continuing to develop activities to use with Bluebee pals! We are also really excited to explore the Bluebee Pal App! https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Want to enhance your child’s communication? Join us March 22 12:00-1:00 EDT at UCF CARD for this week! The Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool that “speaks” when paired with any iOS or Android device via Bluetooth connection. Bluebee Pals engage children during educational and therapeutic activities by providing the voice output/narrative during reading activities, fine motor/gross motor tasks, speech-language tasks, playtime and more! Learn how Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools can help your child increase participation in and attention to tasks to improve their functioning in all settings while having fun! Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunch-bite-using-bluebee-pals-…
The University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities provides services within the geographical region that includes Orange, Lake, Osceola, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia, and Seminole Counties. Florida is home to many individuals with autism and related disabilities. In response to the needs of these people and their families, seven regional, nonresidential resource centers have been established.
The Centers serves both children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism spectrum disorders, dual sensory impairments, or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions. A constituency board comprised of family members representing persons with autism and related disabilities meet quarterly with the Center staff to provide guidance on policies, priorities and activities.
The Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush affordable assistive technology tool that “speaks” when paired with any iOS or Android device via Bluetooth connection. Bluebee Pals engage children during educational and therapeutic activities by providing the voice output/narrative during reading activities, fine motor/gross motor tasks, speech-language tasks, playtime and more! Learn how Bluebee Pals can help your child increase participation in and attention to tasks to improve their functioning in all settings while having fun! Vist the Bluebee Pal Website. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Personalized learning refers to efforts to tailor education to meet the different needs of students. It involves “instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated” (The United States National Education Technology Plan 2017). To put it simply, personalized learning is a learning experience designed for each student with their specific needs in mind. Typically, technology is used to facilitate personalized learning environments. There are a multitude of resources available to address personalized learning.
Bluebee Pals are fun, motivating and engaging and can be easily integrated with any of the featured apps!
Here are a few App Recommendations:
Splash Math Grade K-5 Math Learning Games by StudyPad, Inc.
This math learning app features interactive content, personalized/adaptive learning, games, progress reports, a scratch pad for rough work and more. In the adaptive learning feature, topics start easy and build based on the user’s progress. Medium and hard levels are unlocked based on performance. For even more engagement, connect your Bluebee Palto narrate and provide feedback!
This app offers a variety of learning tools and games in hundreds of topics. Users can learn a language, master vocabulary words, learn to read, improve spelling and more. It’s customizable and tracks answers so users can easily see what they’ve mastered so far and what they need to work on more. Bitsboard personalizes games based on the individual player’s skill and knows when the user is ready to move on to the next challenge. Bitsboard games are fun to play with Bluebee Pals!
Ideal for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, BrainPOP Jr. offers standards-aligned movies, quizzes, games, and activities covering Science, Reading & Writing, Math, Health, Social Studies, and Arts & Technology. It encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas. All text is read aloud to facilitate comprehension.Bluebee Palsare great friends to help you work and learn!
Articulation Station Pro provides students with the opportunity to record and listen to their own voices as they practice pronunciation of sounds and words in conjunction with a narrator who speaks them. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, the app lets students play with letter sounds through word games, sentences, and stories. Through these activities, students can build self-awareness, correct pronunciation and letter and word recognition. Activities can be tailored to meet individual student articulation needs. Your Bluebee Pal easily connects to the app and helps students listen and practice. Record student productions within the app and your Bluebee will speak in your students’ own voices. They will be captivated!
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard that allows you to instruct in real time through interactive learning and lets students demonstrate knowledge by becoming the teacher (the best way to know if you know something is to explain it to someone else). It is an excellent tool for creating and designing presentations, forcing students to articulate their understanding, and collaborating with their peers.
This is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool you can use to teach/explain any concept. Screencasts allow teachers to duplicate and provide each student with his or her own teacher-created personalized video lesson. Each student controls the lesson and can work independently. They can pause, rewind, and listen to their teacher again. Additionally, those who miss class no longer lack the instruction, instead receiving the same lesson presented to their classmates.
Seesaw: The Learning Journal by Seesaw Learning, Inc.
Seesaw is a student-driven, digital student portfolio that inspires students to take ownership of and do their best work. Students are able to express themselves and reflect on their learning. Teachers find or create activities to share with students. Students take pictures, draw, record videos and more to capture learning in a portfolio. Parents and teachers see their child’s work and leave comments and encouragement.
Nearpod is a classroom tool for teachers to engage students with interactive lessons & assessments that students can access on any device. Teachers control the lesson, pushing content to student devices, which students complete at their own pace. Nearpod increases student engagement with lessons that require their interaction. Use Nearpod to collect and deliver video, web content, images, slides, PDF’s and assessments to your students in an single, organized collection for the lesson.
Students need personalized learning when it comes to classroom management in addition to instruction. Class Dojo provides teachers with a platform to track student behavior and assign positive and negative remarks. In addition, teachers can send instant messages to specific parents and share photos from the class. Students can choose their own avatar.
Google Classroom:A member of the Google Apps for Education suite of services that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes.
Easterseals Massachusetts focuses on the full potential of every person and is changing the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s everyday lives. They provide essential programs and services to children and adults with disabilities throughout the state. Easterseals ensures that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Their occupational, physical and speech therapists, assistive technology specialists, as well as our youth, employment, and transition teams are experts in their fields and provide services in a wide range of settings.
Easterseals Massachusetts is recognized nationally as a leader in assistive technology, their services are an excellent resource for children and adults with autism who need high and low technology solutions for home, work or school in order to increase their independence.
The Bluebee Pal Project & Easterseals
“I spoke with my team and everyone is thrilled and loved your product! .Our plans are to place 2 in each AT Loan Center and then use them directly with clients and our AAC Specialists, OTs and SLPs are so excited! Bluebee Pals will be a great communication and learning tool for all the assistive technology departments within Easterseals.” Kimberly Sokol: Vice President of Rehabilitation & Support Services-Occupational Therapist. http://www.easterseals.com/ma/
As a speech therapist working with young children, it can sometimes be hard to find ways to keep them engaged in therapy. The Bluebee Pal is a great interactive learning tool that is a fun and engaging way for the students to work on a variety of speech and language goal areas, especially when working with groups of children who all have different goals to be targeted.
The Bluebee Pal can target speech and language concepts such as making choices, categories, following directions, learning action words, expanding vocabulary, sequencing, inferencing, object function, wh-questions, articulation—the list goes on! The student’s love using the iPad and seeing the BluebeePal talk to them. The Bluebee Pal is another great assistive technology tool to have in a speech therapists toolbox…Laura N. Husted, SLP-M.S., Clinical Fellow-SLP
My mother knew the importance of using stuffed animals in times of trauma. She made and donated thousands of stuffed animals over 45 years as a volunteer at our regional hospital. The stuffed animals she made were simple dolls, and kids were encouraged to draw on them or just hold them close when stressed. They proved to be invaluable when working with kids and helped caregivers and first-responders to not only identify the problem a child might be experiencing, but also know what path to take in diagnosing and treating a child who has experienced upheaval in their life.
Stuffed Animals Utlized in Times of Trauma.
What is trauma exactly? Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association as an emotional response to a negative event. It can vary in its intensity amongst individuals, and a person does not have to directly experience an event but can witness it from a distance. This makes trauma both elusive and deeply personal. The effects can be immediate or manifest days, months , or years after an event. Identification is the first step in giving kids the help they need.
Bluebee Pals can be an essential tool in the classroom or the clinic in discovering kids who have experienced trauma or distress. Sometimes talking to an inanimate friend provides the space and unconditional support in which to express oneself. Kids can project any attribute onto a stuffed animal through that thinly veiled line between reality and fantasy to make it so
– “Leo is a good listener, Lily loves me, or Parker gives good hugs and keeps me calm.”
There is also a foundation of science in support of using a stuffed animals such as Bluebee Pals. When we hold something tight against our body, we activate our core. Try it – hold onto a pillow or stuffed animal tightly – feel it? Do you feel it in your belly? That “gut level feeling” comes shining through when activating our core. This posturally supported position can give rise to wakening our awareness as well as a sense of confidence when sharing or speaking. The deep pressure and proprioceptive benefits also release neurotransmitters that help us calm and focus.
Bluebee Pals are an assistive technology device that provides children with the confidence to try something new. And because of Bluebee Pal’s adaptability, he speaks the language of children. Whether it’s learning a new skill from playing an app or the chance to communicate through an AAC program or a phone call, he is a loving and consistent presence that supports children everywhere.
According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) , “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Social and Emotional Learning can take place in both the home and classroom. With empathy and creating positive relationships with others. we can be happier and meet goals of social closeness. The goal of social closeness is so critical for children with complex communication needs. To learn more about Social Emotional Learning, check out this video below.
I love this concept of Social and Emotional Learning because it challenges parents, teachers and students to think outside the box. How can we take this concept and apply it to the Bluebee Pal? How can we teach children with more complex cognitive abilities the concept of feelings and emotions? This can be a tricky concept but very attainable. In my experience, I have learned to meet goals of social and emotional learning through multimedia strategies. I used materials such as books, cards, etc but also role play and use video modeling, which I find extremely helpful. Below I will list some helpful apps to start with how integrate our friend, Bluebee Pal!
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 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 learn more about this app, click here.
Let’s Be Social Pro
This app includes 40 written lessons and 5 video lessons developed by ASHA certified SLP’s. This app gives you ability to create customized lessons using your own pictures and text, Let’s be Social a therapeutic tool designed to help special needs professionals and parents teach social skills to those with delays in pragmatics. In order to meet social emotional learning, understanding social communication is key! To learn more about this app, click here.
Breathe Think Do with Sesame
This app helps teach skills such as problem solving, self control, planning and task persistence.This bilingual (English and Spanish), research-based app helps your child learn Sesame’s “Breathe, Think, Do” strategy for problem-solving. With app, there are challenging situations that can make a child frustrating. The app helps your child to make the monster breathe so that he can be calmer. Each time time the monster breathes, then you have to create a plan to help him. This free app helps teach vocabulary, strategies and problem solving. To learn how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Touch and Learn Emotions
Touch and Learn is an app that introduces new concepts related to feelings in a fun and exciting new way. This app focused on helping kids interpret body language and understand emotions. When the app starts up, the child has to answer the question, “Who is __(sad, tired, happy etc.?” The pictures included in this app are high quality and perfect to use for this task. This app can also be used to elicit conversation about facial expressions and other nonverbal communication. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Let’s Use Language Pro
Written by ASHA-Certified SLPs, Let’s Use Language uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu.To learn more about this app and how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Let’s Use Language Pro is written by ASHA-Certified SLPs. This app uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu. This app relates well to the concept of Social and Emotional Learning with it’s embedded appropriate social behaviors in each story.
When you open the app, you have a choice of Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites. When you open the vocabulary section, you have a choice of various stories to choose from. These include; Visiting the Farm, Ella and Carly’s Day at the Beach, Playing Outside, Eating Lunch at School, A Day at the Zoo, Planting Flowers, Madison Gets Ready for Bed, Emma Goes to a Birthday Party, The Life Cycle of a Caterpillar and Tom’s Soccer Game. Once you open up the story, you can have the story read to you and then answer the questions related to the story. This is an excellent activity that works on reading comprehension (if you read it yourself), auditory comprehension (have the book read to you), answering “wh” questions and learning new vocabulary.
In the sequencing section, there are 10 stories to choose from. Once a story is selected, you have the option to either read it yourself or have it read to you. Then there is a sequencing activity. This is an excellent opportunity to work on sequencing, recalling information and time concepts. The pages are organized well, which makes the app easy to use and child friendly.
The categories sections is set up similarly to the sequencing and vocabulary section but the questions target categories. The opposites also includes 10 different stories with questions targeting opposites. I really love this app because it easy to navigate and consistent in the layout, which is so important for both a child and parent. This is also helpful for a therapist who is using multiple apps and materials.
How to use Learning Language Pro with Bluebee Pal:
Connect Bluebee Pal with your preferred device via bluetooth.
Once connected, let the fun begin! Choose a story such as Eating Lunch at School and Bluebee will read the story to your child.
Once the story is complete, Bluebee can ask the questions. Try this for each of the sections. Bluebee loves to help children learn language concepts and work on social language!
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a free app created by Sesame Workshop that teaches your children (appropriate for ages 2 to 5) how to breathe, calm down and work through stressful everyday challenges. For example, Little Monster has trouble putting on his shoes. He is getting very frustrated. What should he do to work through his frustration? With this app, your child will help Monster breathe, calm down and then choose a solution to this problem (which helps a child learn how problem solve).
The app includes five different situations to help your child problem solve and learn how work through various problems. Your child has to finish each activity before moving onto the next one. As your child helps Monster breathe, the color of the background changes and his facial expression turns from upset to calm. Breathe Think Do with Sesamehelps teach your child new vocabulary, follow directives, learning simple problems solving skills and most importantly learn social emotional strategies to calm a child. The visuals and simple layout of this app is perfect for young children and will help your child put on their thinking cap.
The app also is also bilingual!
For many parents who have children with low frustration tolerance, attention issues and difficulty with transitions, this can be a wonderful app.
How to use with Bluebee Pal:
Connect Bluebee Pal to your preferred device via bluetooth.
With Bluebee Pal providing the verbal instructions, you child can “choose an activity”
Once the activity is chosen, you can work through how to breathe and stay calm with Bluebee Pal! Practice breathing with Bluebee Pal as your child helps monster breathe. How can you help Bluebee Pal breathe and stay calm? After tapping on Monster’s tummy, tap on Bluebee’s tummy!
“Read Across America” is an annual, nationwide reading celebration that takes place the week before and on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools participate by bringing together kids and books to emphasize the importance of reading and learning. You can help your child to read, learn and grow, during this special week, and year-round, too! Here are some suggestions to get you started…..(And Every Day, too)!
As a Speech Language Pathologist, 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! 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.
During Read Across America week, books by Dr. Seuss are highlighted. Here are a few of our class favorites. Have your own Dr. Seuss celebration at home by reading with your favorite Bluebee Pals!
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.
We are proud to introduce our latest Bluebee Pals Project site Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a program of the Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center located in Rhode Island. Pathways Strategic Teaching Center is an educational and treatment program that serves persons with autism and related disabilities. Founded in 1998, the program provides speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavior analysis in home, community and educational settings.
With an intensive staff-to-student ratio (often one-to-one), individuals ages 3 to 21 years are provided individually tailored curricula to increase communication, pre-academic/academic skills, daily living/self-care skills, play/social skills and behavior skills. Clients work towards tolerance of small and large group settings and are even provided assistance with transitioning via a transition apartment classroom where daily living and vocational skills are taught.
The staff at Pathways Strategic Teaching Center have been using Bluebee Pals weekly to encourage participation in otherwise non-preferred activities and tasks as well as a teaching/therapeutic tool for sustaining attention and targeting specific therapeutic and academic goals. Finding them “very simple to grab, connect, and start using so material making and therapy planning was not made more difficult” has allowed for Bluebee Pals to help increase success and participation in therapy groups, arts and crafts activities, reading and playtime. “We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Bluebee Pals and are encouraging parents of our students to investigate the possibilities for home.
We are expanding our opportunities and integration of the Bluebee Pals into our daily programming, and we are excited to find a larger variety of ways to use it!” stated Meghan K. Broz, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP of Pathways Strategic Learning Center. We are thankful for Pathways Strategic Learning Center and their creative use of Bluebee Pals to enhance their state-of-the-art program! https://www.bluebeepals.com/autism/
We are thrilled to incorporate Bluebee Pals Educational Learning Tools into our Speech and Language Program at College Place School District(College Place, WA). Bluebee Pals were provided to our school through the Bluebee Pal Project. College Place School is a diverse population of 1300 + students from K-12th grade. The District is comprised of one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school. CPPS offers a broad range of course offerings and programs that align with Washington State Learning Goals are offered to students at all grade levels.
Davis Elementary School offers a complete curriculum with a core focus on literacy, mathematics, and social sciences. Bilingual and English acquisition courses are offered. In the 2014-2015 school year, Davis added the Highly Capable Program for gifted students to Kindergartners – 5th grade students. John Sager Middle School includes a unique learning environment for students. The middle school also offers the Highly Capable Program, special education, and elective and exploratory classes.
College Place High School will support a four-year, comprehensive program with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Business. Currently, the High School is serving 9-12 graders. The core curriculum, a vocational program, honors, special education, and elective courses are offered. All students will complete a Personal Finance course as a Board directed requirement. College Place High School also supports Sea-Tech and Running Start programs for students. For more information regarding Washington State, Graduation Requirements
College Place School District-Camille Granitz-SLP
After I watched the Bluebee Pal Tutorial Facebook Live Stream Video presented by University of Central Florida, I was hopeful our school would be a recipient of Bluebee Pals through the Bluebee Pal Project donation program. We are happy to provide data and feedback from our usages and successes with Bluebee Pals. Our speech therapists and educators are anxious to implement Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools into our programs.Thanks for considering us for a donation of Bluebee Pals.
We just received Bluebee Pals them today! We are so excited to start incorporating them into our therapy.Thank you so much! We will update you with our success..
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has become widely recognized as the most effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder. ABA therapy follows a comprehensive treatment plan to produce socially significant improvement in behavior, while decreasing problematic behavior related to symptoms of autism. ABA teaches children how to learn from their environment, a skill that their typically developing peers already have. Bluebee Pals are a great tool for teaching children to learn from their environment. Bluebee Pal’s engage children in learning in a way that is fun in motivating, providing a unique way to present learning opportunities.
Bluebee Pals can be used for teaching individual skills and group social skills. The speaker function of Bluebee Pals help children to build speech skills, as they learn to echo words or respond to verbal prompts given by a Bluebee Pal. Children can develop receptive language skills by following directions given by a Bluebee. Since ABA is intense by nature, we’re constantly looking for the best ways to keep learners engaged. Creating an environment of engagement is a way ABA professionals help children succeed. Bluebee Pals provide a unique, engaging ways to teach skills.
ABA programming is teaching children self-regulation and social skills that will help them to be successful throughout life. Bluebee pals help children through hands on learning experiences. Bluebees can be used in social skills group by using the speaker feature to share a fun story that teaches a lesson about sharing. Children can be more engaged in the lesson, by using the Bluebee to prompt intraverbal responses throughout the story. After the story, children can then engage in a social skills activity that involves taking turns with the Bluebee.
Adding individualized support to a child’s natural environment helps a child learn in a way that is similar to peers. Bluebees Pals are a great tool for adding extra support by turning everyday experiences into fun learning opportunities. Additionally, Bluebees are a great tool, as their individualization allows them to be a learning tool throughout many stages of development. Bluebee pals add to ABA programming by creating unique ways to keep children engaged in intensive learning.
Bluebee Pals are uniquely suited for use during group circle time reading practice! Children love reading buddies, and Bluebee Pals make awesomely perfect reading friends!
It’s easy to do without spending a lot of extra time! Just connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth (Android or iOS) to your favorite storybook apps; make your own classroom books using a story creator app; carry-on a conversation, type in the text of your own book, or make up your own stories by using a text-to-speech app; or utilize narrated YouTube book videos! Here are some ideas to get you started. Have fun!
1. Book apps
Connect your Bluebee Pal to any of your storybook apps to make storytelling come to life! Your Bluebee Pal will “read” any story, with natural head and mouth movements! Children will become immediately more engaged and attentive! Pause the app at any time to discuss the book and ask questions with your students! Some book apps allow the user to record/retell the story with their own voice! Some of our favorite book apps:
Even Monsters Are Shy by Busy Bee Studio: Ben helps his new monster friend overcome his shyness.
Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman: Interact with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions, carry-on a real time conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read.
Do you want to expand your child’s language? Help them learn vocabulary? Reading aloud is one of the best ways to meet these goals! Let Bluebee Pal read to your child with these recommended apps below! To learn more about the link between language development and reading, click on this article here.
Recommended Reading and Literacy Apps
One More Story
One More Story is an app that I have used with students for years in order to help improve cause and effect, vocabulary, literacy and auditory comprehension. With this subscription based app, you can access over 76 books including Pete’s a Pizza, Bear books (Barefoot Books), Mouse Paint and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is also accompanied by background music that helps to keeps the student’s focus. To read more about this app and how to use it Bluebee Pal, 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 learn more about this app, click here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It doesn’t have to be the holiday time to read this classic book! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’s books are timeless and this app tells the story of the Grinch with animated voices and interactive features. It comes with a voice-over narration, so the child can either read it themselves, listen to the book with the voice that comes with the app or records the voice. The app comes with the following features: Tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track the time spent reading that is available in the Parents section. This last feature is ideal for reading logs which teachers require you to time how long your child needs to read for each night. The activities included in the app are mini-games such as Memory Match, puzzles, word searches, and a sequencing game. There are also 28 hidden games in the app itself. To read more about this app,
Nick Jr. Books app is a collection of digital books featuring stories from the most popular Nick Jr friends, including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Dora and Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, Team Umizoomi, Wallykazam, and Blues Clues. Within each ebook, there are 3 reading modes including auto-read, read-aloud and read myself. Interactive effects and character animations are included on every page. This app includes parent tips and reading comprehension questions that help children expand on vocabulary. The app is free to download, and comes with 3 free books: Blaze: Blaze of Glory, PAW Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away, and Team Umizoomi – Carnival. With an in-app purchase, you can buy 49 additional books. Other features include a parents section for account management and app settings, daytime, and nighttime modes, interactive elements on every page, reinforcement for reading each book, developing Spanish reading skills with 4 Dora books in Spanish and offline reading. To learn more about this app, click here.
A Day in the Market
A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a little girl’s very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is an exciting cultural adventure as she meets lively vendors, see a variety of foods and items and finds a special item that she wants! To find out what this special thing is, you can download this app for free and read the storybook. For an additional $2.99, you get access to the book in two other languages, a sorting game and interactive scenes that bring the book to life. To learn more about this app, click here.
The StoryBots App is an educational and lively app that includes over 250 educational books, videos, and games. This free app includes characters from the hit Netflix original series, “Ask the StoryBots” and “StoryBots Super Songs and also has the ability to add your own photos such as Bluebee Pal’s picture to make the stories and videos personalized. This app is used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world and can help get your child engaged in literacy, math, and history activities. To learn more, click here.
Record your own story for your child to hear read aloud! Imagistory is an inventive and creative app that brings wordless books to life. After recording the book, attach your Bluebee Pal for a fun and inventive way of storytelling. Imagistory is created for children ages 3 and up and gives children the opportunity to be creative with their storytelling and narrative skills. The stories that are created by the app can be recorded and saved so you can listen to them again later and share them family members, the staff at a school, etc. To check out this app review, click here.
Go Away Big Green Monster App
There has not been a child that I have met that doesn’t love the book, Big Green Monster. Go Away Big Green Monster is an interactive and engaging book about A Big Green Monster. Reading this book can help a child learn body parts, numbers, attributes, colors and additional basic concepts. It can also facilitate the concept of commenting and improving of descriptive language. This interactive app builds upon the book experience by slowly revealing each part of the Big Green Monster. This is done with animation, sound and visual effects. With this app, you can either “Read myself”, “Read along with Ed Emberley (the author of the book), “Read along with a friend” or “Sing Along”. This choice of either choosing an adult or a child to read the story is unique and clever. Each page introduces a new body part which the reader adds on in each page. By the end of the story, don’t get scared though! Each body part goes away till the Monster is disappears! To read more about this app, 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 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. To learn more about Pictello, click here.
Crepes with Suzette App
Crepes with Suzette is a beautifully fun and engaging story book that has recently been back on bookshelves and available for purchase! I have always loved this book because it’s interesting illustrations and embedded language. Each time I read this book, my children want crepes after! Crepes with Suzette become alive with the Crepes with Suzette app! With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. My children and I had a lot of fun with this app and they learned a ton of new words in different languages! To learn more about this app, click here.
Do you want your child to learn new languages and expand their vocabulary? How about exposing them to art and the city of Paris? Check out Crêpes by Suzette App by Monica Wellington! Crepes by Suzette is a wonderful and interesting book about a crepe maker in Paris. This crepe maker travels the city and with the illustrations, music and interactive features of this app, you get the sense of what Paris is like. This book was originally published in 2004 and has recently been republished again after a short time out of print. After reading this book, you and your child will want to make crepes!
About the app, Crepes by Suzette
After downloading the app, check out the variety of interactive features. With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. As your child turns the page on this app, you child can activate each character who will speak the key word in different voices. For example, in this page below, after the text is read the reader can activate Suzette, the postman, the bird, the bunny, the dog, etc. Each character will say “Bonjour” in a different voice. When you navigate back to the vocabulary page, you can learn what Bonjour means and how you can translate it into five different languages. There is also a link to the “art” page which describes the art within each scene. Download here.
Bluebee Pal Goes to Paris
Connect your Bluebee Pal to your favorite device via bluetooth.
When you open the app, choose “Read to Me”
Bluebee Pal will read this interactive story to your child! Touch the different pictures in the scene and you will hear the target word. For example, the phrase On y va in French means Let’s go in English.
Touch the “video icon” from the home page and you will see short clips of artists in Paris. Press on vocabulary and you can learn new vocabulary in six different Learning ! This app is endless fun for your child and Bluebee Pal. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Meadow Drive Elementary School – Mineola Union Free School District Meadow Drive Elementary School is located in suburban Long Island. We serve over 350 diverse students in grades Pre-K through grade 2. We have had a 1:1 iPad initiative for over two years. Our school has a dual-language program on each grade level, where students learn in both English and Spanish. We have several students who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication as their primary form of communication, some using bilingual (English/Spanish) AAC apps.
We met at the ASHA Conference last week in Boston. My intern, Laura, is now featured on your Facebook page. I spoke with my principal about the Bluebee Pal Project and she was super excited about the Bluebee Pal donation. We were thinking that the Bluebees would be an amazing assistive technology tool to our Dual Language classrooms, paired with our Spanish speaking apps! The other SLP in my school was hoping to use them with ourPre-k phonological awareness groups, andI plan on continuing to use them with my life-skills students.Barbara Peters, MS CCC-SLP..https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Bluebee Pals have been an amazing, versatile addition to my therapy toolbox! I’ve used “Sammy the bear” with students with ADHD and ASD, as a step towards improving their ability to attend to a communication partner’s request! My AAC users are so motivated to make him talk when I pair the Bluetooth with their AAC apps, and having “Sammy” as a bilingual communication partner using bilingual AAC apps is so exciting! “Sammy” has also been part of whole group literacy lessons where we took turns dressing him up in clothes to go outside on a cold, winter day. We created a book describing what we did, and when “Sammy” reads the book at the end of the activity, my students are SO excited!
Barbara Peters, MS CCC-SLP- Language Pathologist
The students love Bluebee! We named our “Pedro el Perro” and “Sally la Cebra” so they get excited when they come out to sing songs.
I’ve been using them with footsteps2brilliance to sing the alphabet and other nursery rhymes. The students are so engaged when they come out and love singing along!
Dual Language Teacher, Miss Bauer
We love our Bluebee amigos! We named them: “Chippy el leon y Corazon cordero”! We use them to read to us in Spanish and sing songs for us! They love following along to the books with our new pals! Gracias!
Dual Language Teacher, Miss V.
My students LOVE Bluebee pals!!! They are so engaged when “Sammy” comes out to say hi and teach them some new fun lessons/skills! My students have shown an increase in language development because of “Sammy”, our Bluebee Pal!!
Bluebee Pals tech companions have become an effective personalized learning tool in many classrooms. Educators are mesmerized by the diversity of the various applications Bluebee provides to teachers and parents. Bluebee connects to a variety of reading, educational and music apps; educators are expressing how Bluebee motivate and engage children to learn. Bluebee Pals are very affordable and can be purchased by purchased order https://www.bluebeepals.com/purchase-orders/ or directly at Amazon and bluebeepals.com. https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
Bluebee Pals educational plush learning tools have been implemented as an assistive technology tool in Pre-K classrooms for mainstream and special needs children. Many therapists and teachers are incorporating Bluebee Pals into their lessons plans and therapy sessions and witnessing positive results in learning. The personalized learning approach engages children to listen as Bluebee participates in directives in conjunction with the teacher.https://www.bluebeepals.com/general-education/
Bluebee Pals are a plush tech learning companion that connects all Apple and Android devices(phones, tablets & laptops) through Bluetooth and pair with all educational, reading and game apps. Introducing these tech companions motivates and inspires children to learn while increasing communication and social skills. In 2018, Bluebee Pals released their premium BluebeePal Pro 4.0 with robotic head movement and a “free” educational and lifestyle App. The app introduces a Bluebee Pal House with rooms and games to teach Pre-K children social/emotional skills, speech/ language and basic curriculum.
They are part of the growing trend of personalized learning providing students more opportunities to become architects of their own learning path as technology adapts to their specific needs. Personalized learning consists of customized learning paths. These paths adapt to the learner as each student accesses the curriculum and moves forward. Students set the pace and take responsibility for the learning process. https://www.bluebeepals.com/special-needs/
Pathways Strategic Teaching Center located in Coventry, Rhode Island is a comprehensive education and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders. Founded in 1998 through a collaborative effort between Trudeau a human service organization and local parents of children with autism, Pathways is committed to utilizing scientifically validated teaching strategies to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. The organization is Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a division of The Trudeau Center. The school is for students with special needs, aged 3-22, who are diagnosed with Autism and other related disorders. Students are instructed based on the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis and receive speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and other support services as needed.https://trudeaucenter.org/pathways-strategic-teaching-center/
Bluebee Pal Project and Autism
The founder of Bluebee Pals, Laura Jiencke met Megan Broz (Assistive Technology Professional) at the November Boston ASHA Conference and discussed Pathways Strategic Teaching Centers participating in the Bluebee Pals Project. Ms. Broz works with children with Autism in preschool classrooms and requested the opportunity for her staff to utilize Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool in a variety of speech/language and occupational therapy programs.
Pathways Strategic School
As a school for children with Autism and developmental delays, we are always seeking new and motivating ways to engage our students. During classroom groups facilitated by speech pathology and occupational therapy, our students were all introduced to Bluebee pals – and it was a hit! Students were following directions given by Lily the Lamb, dressing her for the season, and interacting with both her and others in the classroom. Some students requested to have more time with Lily and enjoyed exploring ways to “play” with her. Students of all ages found ways to interact with Bluebee pals, many demonstrating increased motivation in and attention to the activities. Bluebee was not a replacement for the people involved, just a support to the human interactions that were already occurring. It was great, and we are continuing to develop activities to use with Bluebee pals! We are also really excited to explore the Bluebee Pal App!
Meghan K. Broz, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP: Pathways Strategic Teaching Center-Coventry, Rhode Island
Have you recently purchased the Bluebee Pal 4.0? To learn more about its interactive tools features, click here. Now that you have your Bluebee Pal, it’s time to download your free companion app, The Bluebee Pals App includes key features that help building speech, language and learning with your child. To learn about what speech and language goals you can target with your Bluebee Pal app, click here.
Features of the App
Introduction Video: This video explains how to connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and get started!
5 Life Skills Rooms: The Bluebee five rooms teach activities of daily living including bathing, brushing hair, brushing teeth, bedtime routines, various kitchen items including meals. Each room is a scene based display with various hot spots to help your child build vocabulary, improve visual awareness and become more familiar with specific objects that belong in a room. These rooms are common to all children regardless of your cultural background. What is your child’s favorite room? For those parents who struggle with specific life skills, this can be an opportunity to explore a routine in a fun and interactive way (e.g. brushing teeth, brushing hair, etc.) If Bluebee can brush his teeth, then you can do it too!
10 mini games! Included in this free app are 10 educational games to inspire kids to learn while they are playing. Skills practiced include early academics, letters, colors, puzzles. These games are brief, simple and interactive games that children of all ages and abilities can enjoy.
Link to Parent/Educator Resources: Need more information? Within the app, you will find a direct link app reviews based on specific interests such as discipline or specific area that you would like to focus on for your child. For example, if you would like to work on specific fine motor skills, check out Jo Booth’s app reviews. If you are looking for iMum’s app reviews, click right within the app for suggestions and recommendations from this reputable app reviewer.
Bluebee Mini Library: These are curated apps that come highly recommended by our app reviewers for use with Bluebee Pals. This links to the many apps that I have reviewed as well as my colleagues. You will never run out of ideas on what to do with your Bluebee Pal!
Record your own voice! With this feature, you or your child can record your own voice and hear Bluebee play it back. This is a fun feature that can encourage a child to vocalize and/or verbalize and get feedback on what their voice sounds like. If your child is minimally verbal, get him or her to record a simple sound such as a vocalization or a sound they can create.
What I like most about this app:
Lots of choices for a child! A child can pick their own Bluebee, their favorite colors balloon, a room of their choice or a game. The choices are endless.
This can be a great learning opportunity with errorless play and a lot of opportunity for language stimulation.
A wonderful way to grow vocabulary and word association when accessing different objects within a room.
The app is not overstimulating and is organized well.
The app is a perfect companion for the Bluebee Pal Pro!
Want to learn more about the Bluebee Pal app? Check out this video here:
I wanted to write an article to talk about the updated features of the award winning and interactive Bluebee Pal 4.0. I have been writing for Bluebee Pals for many years and have seen a significant transformation in how Bluebee has changed and interacted with the current technology. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with Bluebee Pals, let’s review! NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion (life skills /educational app) that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The new Bluebee 4.0 allows the “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. To watch a video of how this interactive tool works and can be used in the classroom, click here.
Head Movement, Why is this so important?
Why is head and mouth movement feature so important? When we communicate, we use all different ways to communicate. In one study, it was determined that 93% of our communication is nonverbal. Even if this number isn’t exact, it’s pretty close because most of our communication is nonverbal. What is nonverbal communication? Nonverbal communication is any communication we use with our body that is not speech. This includes facial expressions, gestures, head movement, eye contact, etc. With this new feature of head and mouth movement, a child can be more engaged with Bluebee Pal. Head movement is a type of nonverbal communication and important in the way we interact with each other. Check out this article that explains it more. To learn more about nonverbal communication and why it’s so important click here.
What are some other features that you can use with your child and the new Bluebee 4.0?
Use your Bluebee Pals Pro as a wireless speaker phone. Talk to your child or friends through the Bluebee Pals Pro by placing a call to a cell phone paired with them. When there is an incoming call, your ringtone will sound from Bluebee Pals Pro (this function may vary in different brands of cell phones).
2018 was an exciting year for Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee Pal App launching and the Bluebee Pals Project expanding. A major expansion took place in O-Town (what we Orlando natives like to call our town along with “The City Beautiful” and home of “The Mouse”) over the course of the year with numerous additions to the Bluebee Pals Project.
The new additions included The Academy for Autism, Advanced Learning Academy, Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool as well as a live broadcast at the UCF AAC Lab & FAAST Atlantic Regional Demonstration Center.
With the help of therapists at the Academy for Autism and preschool teachers at Calvary City Christian Academy, we were able to create video tutorials to help speech therapists, occupational therapists and teachers use Bluebee Pals to increase success in their therapy and classroom settings. If you haven’t already, check out these tutorials by visiting the www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials (you can also click on the button at the top of the website home page). We encourage all therapists and educators to view and share this resource to ensure your Bluebee Pals are working well for you and your clients!
The University of Central Florida AAC Lab houses the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) Atlantic Regional Demonstration Center. The AAC Lab and FAAST Center provide valuable resources, training, and services to persons in need of assistive technology including Alternative Augmentative Communication Devices, low-tech and high-tech equipment to aid with access to technology and daily living tasks, adapted toys and more! Bluebee Pals are part of the FAAST Center’s AT Lending Library making them available to those in need across the region.
Bluebee Pals were invited to provide a “tutorial session” as part of the “FAAST Fridays” monthly training series in December of 2018. The tutorial was presented in-person and also broadcast on the UCF AAC Lab Facebook page for virtual viewing. We thank the UCF AAC Lab & FAAST Center for inviting us to be part of their series of informational sessions. Shannon Stuckey, a school-based SLP, participated in the tutorial and was the winner of a free Bluebee Pal! Congrats Shannon!
It’s clear that 2018 was a stellar year for Bluebee Pals with increased implementation in the educational and therapeutic settings in Orlando and across the Nation! Happy New Year to all and keep checking back to see what 2019 will bring!