Before the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the use of teletherapy in speech therapy and education was limited. Most education was done in a traditional face-to-face manner in a set physical location such as a school building. With schools unexpectedly closing across our nation in the spring due to safety concerns, educators were taxed with quickly learning and establishing new and flexible ways to teach their students using a wide variety of technology and teletherapy. Teachers learned to use Google Classrooms, Zoom meetings, created Virtual Classrooms, Boom Cards, and more! Using an internet connection, web portal, and two-way live video, students and teachers learned to interact as if they were in-person sessions. The use of teletherapy is expected to continue to grow as schools develop plans and educational options for the 2020-2021 school year.
Teletherapy opportunities are vast and include hands-on activities, interactive games, and unique educational plans. For the youngest students, a parent, or other adult is on the end with the child providing cueing and any “hands-on” techniques that might be needed.
***Even with all of the exciting new ways to teach virtually, teachers continue to use their most favorite, tried-and-true classroom resources in their online sessions!
Bluebee Pals are an example of a wonderful classroom favorite that are well suited to use during virtual instruction. Use them in your teletherapy sessions the same way you would use them in a traditional education setting!
What IS a Bluebee Pal? The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. The FREE Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected with a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
* Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
* Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
*Your Bluebee Pal can become the teacher with your favorite text-to-speech app.
* Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
* Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
* Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
Bluebee Pals can easily be transitioned to use in teletherapy!
***Please visit the Bluebee Pals website to learn more about these excellent teaching tools.
Hooray! It’s summertime! School is out and kids are free to play and just be kids! But wait…this is not just any summer! This is the summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.Why does that matter? This school year was cut short for almost all students by at least 3 months. That is 1/3 of the school year! Although the schools and teachers scrambled to offer some type of educational services virtually and/or through packets mailed to students, educational instruction and progress took a major hit and a significant number of students will show skill regression in the fall when school begins again.
Even in the best of times, 100% of students experience summer learning loss if they don’t engage in educational learning activities over the summer. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 25% of academic learning is lost by children over summer vacation. This number would be expected to increase following the tremendous loss of instruction this year.
The “Summer Slide” is the phrase used to describe the slide backwards that many children normally make in reading and math skills over the summer months when school is not in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t practice educational skills during summer vacation actually lose up to 3 months by the time autumn rolls around. It takes teachers 4-6 weeks to reteach material that has been lost over the summer.
**You can combat summer slide by encouraging your child to devote a small bit of time each day to keeping up skills. Just like with playing a sport, Reading and Math are skills that must be practiced… It is important to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer so they will not fall victim to the summer slide.”
Read EVERY day! Read non-fiction, fiction, ebooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud! For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Most libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer.
Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu too! Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
Plant a garden. Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive.
Take a field trip to a museum, zoo or local park with walking trails. Keep a journal about your travels.
Learn a new word each week! Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
Enroll in a quality summer program that will provide your child with opportunities to build their critical thinking skills.
Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
Did I mention READ?!If your child does nothing else this summer make sure he/she is reading!
Great News! Bluebee Pals are a wonderful way to encourage summer reading and combat the Summer Slide! Kids love to be connected! By reading their favorite book apps with Bluebee Pals and online reading sites for 20 to 30 minutes a day, your child can maintain and improve reading skills over the summer! They make excellent reading buddies! www.bluebeepals.com
Suggested Summer Reading Sites:
*Storyline Online by SAG-AFTRA Foundation is an award-winning children’s literacy app that features celebrated actors reading children’s books.
*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.
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:
The Bluebee Pal App..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.
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.
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.
Some children just love reading; however, others may find it difficult or even boring. They may be missing foundational skills or have difficulty sitting for long periods of time.Reluctant readers can learn to enjoy it! With schools currently closed, parents have an increased need to help make reading fun at home! By making reading fun (instead of frustrating), as well as improving reading skills, your child can develop a lifetime love of reading……Be sure to keep reading over the summer!
Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pal Program are excellent instructional tools for early reading skills! Due to their endearing appeal, Bluebee Pals and The Bluebee Pal Program, Bluebee app, Techie Rangers E-book and free Activity Guide are uniquely suited for use with reading support. The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 interactive plush learning tool connects via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities. Each Bluebee’s “mouth and head” realistically moves while teaching curriculum through educational games, activities, and apps.
* The Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-book with Activity Guide takes readers on an adventure with Andy and his Bluebee Pal Techie Ranger friends. Andy, a student with complex communication needs, uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device or “talker” to speak to the Techie Rangers as they help him return to the Rainbow School. The accompanying free Activity Guide provides fun extension activities focused on literacy and math. Don’t forget to check out the Bluebee Pals Curriculum for a lesson plan made especially for the Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide. You can find the E-book and activity guide here: https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-techie-rangers-book/#
*The Bluebee Pals Curriculum, Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide, app recommendations, numerous video tutorials, and extensive professional development resources are all available at www.bluebeepals.com
Empowering struggling readers by making reading fun at home:
Use technology! Use Bluebee Pals along with any available technology to increase engagement with reading. Kids love tablets, computers, and phones! Use colorful book apps with Bluetooth devices to encourage reading. A set of personal earplugs or headphones would improve attending skills and give great auditory feedback.
Pick the right books– Select books your child will enjoy according to interests. Let your child help choose books. This will make reading less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
Read aloud– Take turns reading aloud to add excitement to the story using fun, different voices.
Encourage all forms of reading– In addition to books, magazines, graphic novels, road signs, recipes, and newspapers are also great reading materials.
Create a reading space– Make a fun reading area or fort where your child can read on his or her own. This is especially fun with a Bluebee Pal!
Make connections between books and life experiences– Read adventure books before you take a camping trip or dinosaur books before a trip to a museum.
Offer developmentally appropriate reading through audio books– They are a great way to make reading more enjoyable while helping to improve comprehension skills. Providing human-read audiobooks allows struggling readers to focus, visualize, and become engaged in the story. Audiobooks help build vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. Students can gain access to grade-level content so they can participate in class and work along with their peers. This builds more confident and engaged learners. Taking away the mechanics of reading and allowing students to work at their ability lowers stress, allowing them to succeed.
Read a series– High interest book series help keep your child engaged. Also read multiple non-series books by favorite authors.
Have a daily “reading hour”– Have a scheduled reading time every day. During this time, ask your child what is happening in the book, what his or her favorite part was, and what he or she thinks might happen next.
Take trips to the library– Let your child get a library card and select books that catch his or her attention. Participate in age-appropriate story hours at the library, as well as any summer reading programs offered.
Teach reading strategies– Lots of kids don’t like reading because they don’t have the necessary skills. Talk to your child’s teacher about strategies to help improve reading motivation.
If your child’s teacher has assigned an online reading program via your school system, be sure to complete assignments as scheduled! This extra reading help will be tailored to your child’s needs and is scientifically-based instruction.
These excellent reading sites for pre-K and elementary children are backed by a tremendous amount of research into how kids learn to read and how they become fluent readers.
Are you looking for some fun and user-friendly speech apps to try at home with your Bluebee Pal? As an app reviewer, I have reviewed many apps that are easy to use for parents at home to help facilitate speech and language. To see all of my app reviews, click here. I have reviewed many speech and language apps as well as AAC apps.
These apps can span many years and target various speech and language goals. For example, Actions in Video can help build longer sentences with a verbal individual and help an AAC user learn to combine symbols and create more grammatically correct sentences on their talker. Below are some excellent early learning and speech apps to try with your Bluebee Pal at home
The Eli Explorer App was created by early childhood experts designed to encourage kids to explore while learning. This app helps facilitate language and learning in a fun educational and interactive way. When you open the app, press play and then see Eli sleeping! How do you wake her up? Press on Eli, and she is ready for an adventure. Take your finger and help guide Eli through a fun and stimulating journey through different scenes. To read the full review with tips for parents, click here.
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips, and text. This app can use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user-friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different languages and accents, which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To read the full review and how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
SymbolSupport App is an editing program that allows you to add symbols to your text, while SymbolReader is a free app that displays these symbolized documents. Both apps read the documents with a high-quality text-to-speech voice and word-by-word highlighting. The apps are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. To read the full review and learn how to implement this app with the Bluebee Pal, click here.
Actions in Video is a functional app that was created by Geraldine Moran, speech-language pathologist to help individuals with complex communication needs build sentences for communication. This app can be used successfully with both individuals with speech and language disabilities as well as younger children learning how to combine words into sentences. Actions in Video is an app “that teaches a person to understand and use action words through the use of videos.” To learn more about how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Wh Questions: Why?Speech and Education Cards is an app that was created by speech-language pathologists and contains professional illustrations and scenes with educational content. The app includes 30 scenes which give you at least 30 different opportunities for answering 30 “why” questions. The app is free but only includes a select amount of pictures. To buy the additional set, an in-app purchase is available. Bluebee Pals motivate kids for the Why questions. This app is appropriate for both children who are typical ages 3 and up and can also benefit those individuals with speech and language disorders and delays. Since the questions are read to the reader (as an option in the setting), no reading is required to use the app functionally. The goals that the authors target with this app are the following: Cause and Effect Relationship, Receptive and Expressive Language Skills, Naming Actions and Describing Situations, Answering Wh Questions, Making Logical Conclusions and Reasoning by Using Hints and Creative Thinking. To learn how to implement this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Are you looking for more apps? Check out Bluebee Pal App and learn how to facilitate language and learning with this fun, free and versatile app!
Let’s face it. The world is in crisis mode right now! The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed our lives for the foreseeable future. As of the end of April 2020, 3,275,475 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, with 1,078,476 cases reported in the United States. Medical professionals are fighting daily to save lives while families remain unable to visit their loved ones. Businesses are closed with many employees out of work or furloughed. Families are trying to manage staying at home while working remotely AND educating their children who are unable to go to school. A household full of people “Zooming” (the crazy popular video conferencing tool being use for everything from staff meetings to happy hours), trying to work, trying to learn, trying to cook and clean is enough to break any of us!
Our children are affected too. They can tell that things are not quite right and that the adults in their lives are stressed. They hear us talking about the virus, or “big germ” as some moms have nicknamed it, and may not understand why they must #stayathome and #keepadistance! More time at home with this heightened level of stress can inevitably lead to increased anxiety for our children. You may be noticing more whining, tantrums, and sibling rivalries no matter how attentive you are trying to be. We are social beings that thrive on interactions and variety. Living this way is HARD!
Thankfully, organizations are providing FREE access to some amazing educational and fun resources. Bluebee Pals work exceptionally well with these activities via Bluetooth connectivity. Check out the list below and connect your Bluebee Pal today!
Not only can you connect your Bluebee Pal to read and sing along with any of these resources, but our plush friend is there for hugs and cuddles too! Hug your Bluebee Pal today for a break from the COVID-19 emergency we are all dealing with. Bluebee Pals and Kayle Concepts are thinking of you during this time!http://bluebeepals.com
With children out of traditional school due to the current virus pandemic- homeschooling, online schooling, and social distancing are the current new normal. Children are missing their teachers, classmates, friends and social activities. Parents are trying to supplement educational assignments to prevent loss of prior learning. This has all been such a big adjustment to our daily lives!
Bluebee Pals make perfect friends and educational tech companions.
Family Pack Bluebee Pals
Bluebee Pals make great social distancingfriends! Even if you can’t have human friends over to play right now, you have an instant friend with your Bluebee Pal! They are soft and snuggly, and instantly loveable. They make a perfect friend! Here are some suggestions to help you and your child enjoy playing with a Bluebee Pal friend:
Have a tea party. Have one every day! Invite your Bluebee Pal, mom, dad, sisters and brothers. Set the table, enjoy some snacks, and talk about your day. This is a nice way to schedule some family time and reconnect.
Your Bluebee Pal can receive telephone calls through it’s Bluetooth connection! Show your child how to answer the call by pressing on Bluebee’s ear. Then, go to another room and call your child through their Bluebee Pal. Have a conversation, sing some songs, ask and answer questions! Now, change places and let your child call you on your Bluebee Pal! This is wonderful for practicing conversational and social interactions.
Be sure to include Bluebee Pal in daily activities! Let him sit next to you while watching cartoons or movies, and let him sleep with you at night. He will help keep your child from feeling lonely and isolated.
Play games! You can play your favorite board games together and/or with other family members! Pick a game, set it up and get started. Help your Bluebee Pal take turns playing with you! Bluebee Pals love playing games!
Play-pretend! Help your child learn to engage in pretend play with Bluebee Pal! Play pirates, princess, dress-up, take a trip to the moon or act out your favorite books! Imaginative play fosters creativity!
Help your child make Face-time calls with your child’s friends with your Bluebee Pal! Let your Bluebee “read” your favorite book apps with your child’s friends over the phone! This is an awesome way to keep friends connected.
Practicing responsible social distancing is imperative for all us….and, with Bluebee Pal friends, can be fun!
Bluebell Pals are NOT just your average toy! Oh no! They go way beyond that! They are excellent educational tech companions! Bluebee Pals can easily be utilized to address educational needs with young children and make learning fun!
Their patented technology allows Bluebee’s mouth and head to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.Bluebee Pals come with a FREE educational app, free resources, lesson plans tied to the Common Core Curriculum, video tutorials and ideas for educational uses, a fun activity guide and a downloadable book!
Click the links to learn about Bluebee and Free Resources
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.
“I am a special needs teacher and work with a population of middle school age children with moderate to severe special needs. In this video, Sally is an eighth-grade student with Autism who is in our Critical Life Skills Program. Critical Life Skills include adapted academics, toileting, feeding, mobility, communication, dressing, self-help, and social/emotional achievement and functioning. As a special needs teacher, I am always searching for new ways to reach my students and keep their attention. Bluebee Pals are an amazing educational tool to encourage reading and literacy. Whether the Bluebee is narrating a story or identifying a word for the student to locate on an Ipad/touch screen.” –Cheryl Stark-Special Needs Teacher ……….https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Sally is listening to the Raz A-Z Reading Program read to her from Bluebee Pal Parker the Monkey. She then taps on the self-read function after he reads to her and states, now she is reading to her Bluebee Monkey. Bluebee Pals are powerful assistive technology tools for many special needs children as they engage in learning and communication by connecting to any app with a narrative including the Bluebee Pal App. In addition, they provide companionship as a learning buddy who is soft, cuddly and non-judgmental. It’s an opportunity for children to interact with a humanoid companion outside the daily routine of staring into the screen on a iPad or laptop.https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Raz-Kids is an online reading program that helps students hone comprehension skills in class, at home, or on the go. Students can read and listen to eBooks at 29 different reading levels, use eTools for active reading, and take quizzes while teachers and parents monitor student reading activity and quiz reports. The Kids A-Z mobile app delivers interactive learning content for Raz-Plus, Raz-Kids, Headsprout, and Science A-Z anytime, anywhere. Kids can choose from a library of eBooks, eQuizzes, and other eResources. With the Kids A-Z app, personalized learning goes wherever the student does! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kids-a-z/id474207297
Bluebee Pals are extremely versatile and effective educational assistive technology tools that can be utilized to support individualized instruction in virtually any subject area! They make great teacher’s assistants and promote active and engaged learning. They can be used one-on- one or in a small group setting. In addition to being used with any apps containing a narrative, they can also be used with voice recording and text-to-speech apps and tailored to meet specific student or classroom educational needs.
Voice Recording Apps:
Students can’t get enough of hearing their own (and their teacher’s) recorded voices and this is an instant attention getter! These apps allow you to record, save, and immediately playback your own recordings in your own (or a student’s) voice. Bluebee can playback adult voice recordings of a favorite book, story, or song in a child’s own regional dialect, or recordings produced by a child. Bluebee can “speak” in a student’s voice to give the student auditory feedback on how he/she sounds.
Voice Memos by Apple. Quickly and easily record vocabulary words for Bluebee to say and for students to practice repeating. Let your students record their words, sentences, or stories, too! Matching game: Record nouns for Bluebee and give students picture or word flashcards to choose the correct match for the word that was said. Use the recorder app to have Bluebee give instructions or ask questions. Use the recorder to have students sequence events, answer questions, or retell a story. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-memos/id1069512134
My Story School eBook Maker by MY STORY, LLC. Create and share ebooks and movies using your own voice, drawings, stickers, and photos! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/my-story- school-ebook-maker/id449232368
Book Creator for iPad by Red Jumper Limited. Easily create your own books! Add music, narration, video, text! Share with family and friends. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070
Little Bird Tales Storytelling by Mike Klem. Create your own unique stories, podcasts, presentations and journals. Students can download lessons from their teacher and send them back when completed. There is an art pad for illustrations, and it records in your own voice and adds text to each page. Great for custom lessons, Common Core aligned lessons, writing assignments, book reports, poetry, journals, and more. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/little- bird-tales-storytelling/id517996494
Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech is an example of an app for articulation (sound production) remediation that records student responses for auditory feedback and practice. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/articulation-station-pro/id491998279
***In addition to these, many storybook, articulation, language development and educational apps contain a recording feature. Be on the lookout for it!
These apps let your students interact in real time with your Bluebee Pal as you type in text for your Bluebee to speak! They offer so much versatility and control of your lessons as Bluebee Pals “speak” to your students as you are working with them. You can program your Bluebee Pal to say anything you want him to say as you type in the text. Ask and answer questions or carry-on a real life conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read. Book discussions: Have Bluebee read a book out loud. Then, type in questions for Bluebee to ask the students. Have Bluebee help practice vocabulary and comprehension skills by typing in words or definitions, questions, or even tests for him to say aloud. With Bluebee Pals and Text-to-Speech apps, students can quickly and easily work on syntax, semantics, pragmatics, social skills, math, language, social studies, science, and other curriculum skills….anything you want!
Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman https://apps.apple.com/us/app/talk-for-me-text-to-speech/id975096888
Text to Speech (TTS) https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech-tts/id1183892228 Text to Speech! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech/id712104788 iSpeech Text to Speech https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ispeak-text-to-speech/id1101193022
Speak4Me-Text to Speech https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speak4me-text-to- speech/id894460403
Many parents and teachers are constantly looking for new ways to get children excited about reading. And for good reason. Reading is a large part of receiving a strong foundation during the early years of a child’s education. In fact, studies have often shown when a young child is read to, it improves language skills, assists in literacy development, and has a great impact on the parts of a child’s brain that are fundamental early literacy development.
Parents and teachers today have many tools that help spark an early love and desire in children to read and learn. The Bluebee Pal is one of them, and it may remind some of a classic talking and plush toy that made its debut in the 1980s.
Our Bluebee Pal, better known to my preschoolers as Leo the Lion, is providing loads of educational fun, so much so that I doubt the kiddos realize they are learning as they are playing. Leo, and all Bluebee Pals, is a plush toy that syncs with Bluetooth® enabled devices. With its built-in speaker the Bluebee Pal reads to, sings with and engages children as they learn with their favorite apps, songs and videos. The pals also have moving mouths as they talk and sing. Typically toys like this can be a bit bulky or not as plush as they appear because of the battery pack and speaker inside the toy. The Bluebee Pal is extremely soft, lightweight and huggable, making it a great toy for kiddos of any age. These are just a few reasons why reading time is bit more exciting these days.
6 Top Reading Apps for Home or School
1. HOOPLA Book Riot has recommended this for downloading audiobooks straight from local libraries. It also has an extensive children’s audiobook section, which will make for good bedtime reading or car listening.
2. EPIC! Epic provides a plethora of children’s books for all ages. The app asks for parents or teachers to create an account, and allows for them to create four profiles for children readers. You do need to register an email and a password. The visuals and music contribute to a fun learning experience.
3. SIGHT WORDS App Store reviews from parents have expressed satisfaction with this app game that encourages reading and makes it fun for kids. It’s for ages 4 and up, with detailed animation, background music, and great visuals. There are six games at the moment, tailored by grade. Kids can create their own profile, as either people or monsters.
4. ENDLESS READER This is meant for younger readers, ages 4 and up, to teach them words by sight. It’s designed to grab attention, with fluid animation and epic music. Digital flash cards occupy the screen, with fitting animation. Kids have to assemble the words, or match them, while the game provides appropriate sound effects.
5. READING COMPREHENSION The paid version of the Peakaboo apps, there are versions for various reading levels, grades 2–8. The various bundles range from $7.99–9.99 and individual apps cost $1.99. These promise to educate children, while provoking thought with their questions about the material.
6.TEACHME This reading app comes for multiple grade levels, including Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade. All five apps cost $7.99 as a bundle, and the individual ones are $1.99 if a parent wishes to buy them separately.
Play and Learn at Home
Whether it is to learn or to catch up on their favorite shows, my preschoolers enjoy having time on the computer and tablet. As a parent I am often concerned that the girls have spent too much time looking at screens, potentially causing damage to their vision. The Bluebee Pal has helped us to eliminate long periods of looking at a screen because the focus has turned to watching its mouth move and paying closer attention to the actual story or song. This guarantees a successful and quiet learning time.
Activity Suggestion for Parents: Storytime while traveling.
Take a Bluebee Pal on your next family trip. It can easily fit in a carryon or in a child’s backpack in the car. During road time or other quiet moments, your children can stay caught up on their daily reading in a way that doesn’t seem to take away from the fun being had on the trip.
Homeschoolers: Incorporate Apps into Lessons
Homeschoolers are no strangers to incorporating technology into lessons. Some days they are strategically fit into learning time. Other days technology allows us to quickly create a last minute lesson plan. Reading time, however, is rarely ever left out of the lesson plans. Having our pal, in addition to the variety of educational and reading apps, makes reading time both educational and entertaining.
For example, The Epic App allows parents and children to choose from more than 35,000 books, and they can read them online or offline, on the Web, or on mobile devices. Many selections are by well-known authors or from major publishers, and the collection includes Spanish/English, Chinese/English, and French/English bilingual books. Kids are able to see colorful scenes of the story on your device, as well as hear the story while it is “read” by the Bluebee Pal. Most stories in the app are not free, but the app offers a few free ones to begin.
The Bluebee Pal is also a great tool to use while introducing phonics to beginner readers. Words on a page may be intimidating for some, so incorporating videos from your favorite educational channels like these can assist in boosting a child’s confidence as well as introduce the necessary skills to begin reading. Kids can enjoy story time without a parent’s help, which is great for the little ones who can’t quite read and great for parents who need to buy a few moments to prepare for the next activity.
Activity for Homeschoolers: Encourage activeness by listening to music and dancing with the Bluebee Pal.
Kids (and parents alike) need a time during the day to step away from the learning. Turning on music and encouraging dancing and movement is exactly what is needed to get re-energized, or in some cases, burn some energy to continue the time of productive learning. The Bluebee Pal has a quality speaker, and its volume is easily controlled by the device.
Use in The Classroom
Using videos to dig a little deeper into topics is typical for homeschoolers, and it is no different for the classroom. I am visual learner, so I tend to teach my children with many visual examples. Once a week I teach a co-op class, and this past session I taught basic science concepts to 29 four and five-year-olds. During our weather week, I introduced the concept of seasons with a video and a song with the help of our Bluebee Pal.
Teachers of children of that age group know how challenging it can be to keep the kiddos quiet for long periods of time. However, the second I introduced Leo to both classes all were quiet, and their eyes were fixated on him. The class assistants could not believe their eyes. Every student was captivated, including those who are normally rambunctious.
Activity Suggestion for Teachers: Give students a chance to earn a reward of holding the Bluebee Pal.
Students will quickly become attached to the new classroom pal, so offer the privilege of holding the Bluebee Pal during reading time as a reward for good behavior throughout the day.
Learning with Leo has been both enjoyable and beneficial for my children and students. Check out more about the Bluebee Pal here and see which pal your child would most love!
Teri Watters is a married stay-at-home mom who regularly blogs at MommyWifeLife.com. She believes in keeping family at the center and is enjoying her new role as a homeschooling momma. Her ideal perfect day ends with her feet up, a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn, and a tall glass of ice water with lemon.
Schools are closed indefinitely across the USA and parents are now charged with helping their children continue educational activities at home. Some school systems were able to send assignments home before the closures, while others had no time to prepare for the sudden shut-down.
It is important that students continue to learn and grow, and the current situation provides lots of opportunities for fun, impactful home educational activities. This is also a PERFECT time to make memories with your children and learn things beyond “normal” math and reading. Gather your Bluebee Pals and child and create a home-classroom for continued learning during this period of school closure.
***Best Homeschooling Outcomes:
Make a daily schedule for your child and include a variety of activities (math, reading, art, cooking, PE time, lunch, free time, etc.).
Complete any assignments given by your child’s teacher first.
The Bluebee Pal Pilot collaboration between New York City Schools boroughs are demonstrating to be a great success! Testimonials from early childhood teachers and speech therapists acknowledge the integration of Bluebee Pal as a valuable educational tool to motivate students in learning. Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools are incorporated into classrooms to support teachers in engaging literacy and communication through lesson plans, social/emotional and life skills. The Bluebee Pal Program highlights a robotic stuffed animal that connects to IOS and Android devices and speaks through all apps with a narrative, in addition to its the Bluebee Pal App. In 2020, Kayle Concepts brand owner introduced Bluebee Pal Lesson Plans, Book and Activity guide for early childhood educators.https://www.bluebeepals.com
P17X@385 BLUEBEE PALS PROMOTE LEARNING
Amanda Acosta, K-2 TeacheR, Bronx
Bluebee Pal is a fun way to encourage my students to participate during ElA. As a class although on the box the name is Parker, the students voted on naming the monkey momo. During read aloud they are engaged with momo and are fascinated that a stuffed animal is reading directly to them. When it comes to questioning they will answer the question that is asked and will give momo a high five for participating. Overall they have really enjoyed Fundations with this device it has promoted their encouragement to not only engage but to sit and attain what is being said by the device. In addition to this during centers, there is an independent center where students have an opportunity to work with momo with their letters which they love to do. They have incorporated momo into their routines once they unpack they ask where momo is.
Rachel Callahan, K-2 Teacher, Bronx
My students love using the Bluebee Pal. They were intrigued by the lion and would repeat letter sounds that Bluebee Pal said as we were able to record. They also like stories and games. Students who do not demonstrate strong, functional, speech are more likely to participate from using the Bluebee Pal.
P77K@178 INTRODUCING BLUEBEE PALS INTO SPEECH THERAPY
Vaishalie Ramsumair, M.A. CF-SLP, TSSLD, Brooklyn
I have now begun to integrate Bluebee Pal “Lily the Lamb” and the Bluebee Pal app into my therapy sessions. Upon being introduced to the Bluebee Pal, my nonverbal and minimally verbal students’ eyes immediately light up. My students have been highly motivated by the “daily activity” feature, where they are given the autonomy to select an activity based on the rooms in the Bluebee Pal house.
The Bluebee Pal has helped one of my students in particular to generalize her ability to request via static display speech-generating device (GoTalk9+). While lunchtime has historically been the sole motivating activity for this student, she demonstrated the ability today to request Lily the Lamb within a structured play context using her GoTalk 9+. I will definitely continue to use Bluebee Pal Lily and Bluebee Pal app in future therapy sessions.https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bluebee-pals/id1331972815
In August of 2019, the University of Central Flori at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida began their journey as a Bluebee Pals Project site. The PedsAcademy provides hospital-based school programming to children who are fighting for their health. This educational program brings educators into the hospital setting allowing the patients to focus on being students again. They participate in research-backed educational opportunities through the use of technology including the Bluebee Pals.
Rebeca Grysko, Associate Director of Teacher Education and Post-Doctoral Scholar at UCF’s PedsAcademy, shared that the Bluebee Pals were a “great success” during read aloud activities with patients and families.
Student teaching interns have been using the Bluebee Pals to teach vocabulary and increase reading skills. In addition, the Bluebee Pals have helped to engage, comfort, incentivize and entertain the students during lessons. These plush educational tech tools act as reading buddies for PedsAcademy students that need extra support such as those with learning disabilities or second-language learners.
Bluebee Pals have “made so many of the lessons 10x better!” shared a teaching intern. One very special participant was a 23-month-old patient who engaged with Bluebee Pals while reading stories, singing nursery rhymes and following simple directions.
What a joy it is to see the positive impact of Bluebee Pals at the PedsAcademy! We are honored to be part of their amazing program that helps ensure academic access to their patients!
Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP, ATP
Faculty Clinical Instructor School of Communication Sciences and Disorders University of Central Florida
PS K771 is a safe and orderly school in Brooklyn, New York where teachers agree the principal is a trustworthy and effective leader, surveys report. The school, which serves over 400 1st- 12th graders, is located in nine sites throughout Brooklyn. The student body mainly consists of learners with autism, emotional disturbances, multiple handicaps or intellectual disabilities.
The school is a part of a special pilot program where Bluebee Pals are donated to specific schools in exchange for provider feedback. Laura Jiencke, founder of Bluebee pals created the program to include free professional development for teachers and therapists to kick start the program. Many principals expediated the Bluebee Pal Pilot Progam and provided photos, videos, and testimonials within weeks of implementing the program. The positive testimonials and principal support resulted in a successful collaboration between the New York City Schools and Kayle Concepts owner of the Bluebee Pal brand.
“As promised with our Bluebee Pal Pilot Program, I wanted to share our feedback from our ENL Teacher and Speech Therapist.We are also buying more Bluebee Pals.” Vinnette Ferrandino, Principal, I.A.P771K
The training was great. The videos provided a demonstration of the actual usage of Bluebee Pals and how other teachers incorporate them into their lesson plans.
I use Bluebee during push in sessions and reading time. I tend to prefer functional communication so to me it’s a great engagement tool that catches the student’s attention and is fun. They attend to it.
I think every 12:1:4 classroom and 6:1:1 classroom can benefit from using Bluebee Pals
Bluebee Pals Engaging Learning- ENL Teacher
The training provided valuable overview of the Bluebee Pal, the capabilities, and possible classroom use. The opportunity to view the videos of classes with Bluebee Pals and feedback from the teachers was very helpful and inspiring. In addition, the summary of the resources available on the website can be very useful to supplement the classroom activities.
I use the Bluebee Pal in my small groups sessions. It has proven to be a valuable tool for increasing students engagement, creating more entry points for curriculum and increasing the comfort level of the multilingual students. I have noticed that given an opportunity for a student to hear texts or stories in native language decreases the stress level and promotes a positive attitude towards the school setting.
Bluebee pal provides an incredibly powerful engagement option for younger students and early learners. In addition, I can see the possibilities to increase student’s independence/choice making by giving them an option to use the Pal during DEAR time but that would require multiple pals for the class.
We will be looking to purchase additional Bluebee Pals shortly.
Kayle Concepts implemented a Bluebee Pal Pilot Program in five Bronx and five Brooklyn Schools. The program was designed to promote Bluebee Pals as an effective communication and educational tool for early childhood educators and therapists in mainstream and special needs schools. New York City Schools consists of five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island and considered one of the largest educational institutions in the United States. In the New York City School system, technology is recognized as an important component of education. While we anticipated a supportive response, the teachers and therapists have exceeded our expectations in recognizing Bluebee Pals as a vital assistive technology tool in engaging learning and communication. https://www.bluebeepals.com
P. 53K at P384 Brooklyn, New York: Barbara Barone-Speech Therapist
1. How often are Bluebee Pals used daily/weekly? We use Bluebeee daily during speech therapy, classroom lessons, and student enrichment clusters (SEM).
2. What activities are Bluebee Pals used with? We focus on literacy, music and vocabulary connected to AAC devices for communication. In addition to social/emotional interaction skills.
3. Who is using the Bluebee Pals? The speech therapists and teachers at our site are using the Bluebee Pals as well as the students we each service.
4. What goals/objectives are you targeting when using Bluebee Pals? As a speech therapist, my main objective is to use Bluebee Pals to improve social interaction skills. In particular, we have been working on the students greeting the Bluebee, maintaining conversations by asking and answering questions, and engaging in eye contact.We have also been targeting vocabulary and speech production by using the Bluebee as a model for language.
5. How does Bluebee Pal effect the activity and student progress/engagement? The students absolutely love the Blueebee Pals. They are fun, interactive and motivating for all! Many of my students exhibit social delays that make it difficult for them to engage with their peers. They have been so excited to interact with Bluebee by asking him questions and modeling his language. I hope this will teach them the social skills they need to communicate with their peers.
6. What are your favorite apps to use with Bluebee Pals? AAC Apps – Proloquo, Touch Chat, LAMP, Myon, Reading App, Spotify – Sammy is a great addition to our dance parties social Story and Pictello – I have been creating stories and social scripts with the students and Bluebee does a great job of bringing them to life. Voice Recorder – to record social scripts for the students to use when practicing asking and answering questions with the Bluebee.https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-recorder-audio-editor/id685310398
7. What is your feedback on the Bluebee Pal App, Book and Activity Book? The app is great! My students really enjoy completing the puzzles and putting cars on the race track. I like using the alphabet board to word on letter recognition and the home for activities of daily living skills (ADL).
Early childhood teachers, speech and occupational therapists are integrating Bluebee into their programs. Their passion is reflected in the variety and creative usages Bluebee Pals are utilized on a daily basis as an assistive technology tool. “I have only been using the Bluebee Pals for a month but the students and I already love it! I look forward to discovering new and exciting ways to incorporate it into my speech practice.” -Barbra Barone Barbara Barone Speech Department, P. 53K at P384 Brooklyn, New York
The Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing creative programs and partnerships to facilitate opportunities for people with Down syndrome and their families. They offer innovative services including iCan! The Learning Program focused on providing parents with the tools to strengthen the educational potential of their child. Developed by Dana Halle, founder of the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County, the program consists of monthly workshops for parents and their children with Down syndrome. The caregivers learn how to teach reading, introduce math and create effective learning session.
While the parents are hard at work, so are the kids! Alaine Miller, a partnering speech-language pathologist, runs the children’s sessions during this 9-month program. Alaine found another partner to join the mix as well. You guessed it – Bluebee Pals! The Down Syndrome Foundation is a Bluebee Pals Project donation recipient and the kids have been having a blast with their new cuddly friends!
Alaine uses Blubee Pals to Model Social Skills, Speech-Language Skills, and Positive Behavior.
Using voice recordings, text-to-speech apps and educational songs, the children interact with Bluebee and their friends each month. Greetings, turn-taking, appropriate sitting, encouragement and listening comprehension are just some of the things Bluebee assists the students in learning. Alaine stated that the educational tech tool has “maximally increased engagement and progress” amongst her students.
“The children were eager to interact with Bluebee and thought it was great to answer a question Bluebee asked. They also loved hugging Bluebee and giving him high fives when they were working hard!”
The children of the iCan! Learning Program also helped Bluebee by fix any silly mistakes he made – “allowing the children the opportunity to correct him, which they thought was silly and fun”!
iCan! The Learning Program is filling in much needed gaps in the education of children with Down syndrome and providing essential parental support. Check it out along with the numerous other services provided by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida here: http://www.dsfflorida.org/http___www.dsfflorida.html
I am a speech-language pathologist working with verbal, minimally verbal, and non-verbal children on my caseload. I use Bluebee Pal Leo the Lion in nearly all of my therapy sessions. Leo the Lion, while paired to my iPad as I use absolutely any text-to-speech or communication app, provides spoken instructions to my students.
The kiddos sometimes ignore me, a human (I think), but I haven’t yet noticed anyone ignoring Bluebee Pal Leo, who is a cute robotic stuffed animal kind of thing, who moves his mouth as he talks or sings. I can’t compete with Leo. When he runs out of power (which takes days of use to happen), and I put him on the shelf, my kiddos look up at him, point, and request him! He is a powerful motivator for a number of my students who in the past resisted demands to try to pronounce difficult words but now readily imitate Leo. They sing along with him (e.g., Spotify app), and he tells them stories (e.g., MyOn app). https://www.bluebeepals.com
Their increased engagement has resulted in measurable therapeutic gains, whether quality of speech production, range of vocabulary on a speech device (e.g., Proloquo2Go app; LAMP Words for Life app; TouchChat app), combining words, or adding new communicative functions. Students who previously requested only, learned from Leo to direct a peer to take turns or perform actions in a game (e.g., open). As a bilingual provider, I toggle languages on my personal communication apps to change the language when needed. So, Leo speaks Spanish (or any other language) that my apps support.https://aacapps.com
I recommend Bluebee Pals for your kiddos. – Joseph Kurtz, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, MS, CCC-SLP, PC
Bilingual Speech Pathologist, Spanish Extension
PROMPT Certified MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD-BE, PC
P. 53K at P384 242 Cooper Street, Brooklyn NY 11207
The University of Central Florida’s PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital is the world’s first pediatric school program designed to provide children in hospitals with extraordinary, research-backed educational opportunities specific to their respective disease or condition. The team of UCF affiliated faculty is on site Monday through Friday from 10-5 to help your child succeed in school. Their faculty are experts in the fields of mathematics, science, reading, engineering education, the humanities, and special education. https://pedsacademy.org/about-variant-1/
Bluebee Pals Collaboration and PedsAcademy
Bluebee Pals were donated to the PedsAcademy to assist early childhood educators in literacy and reading. The hospital setting created a challenging situation considering the strict sanitary protocols ingrained in most hospital policies. Rebeca A. Grysko(Associate Director of Teacher Education) created the idea to dress the Bluebee Pals in costumes, specifically, astronauts themed outfits that would cover the Bluebee Pal head to toe. The customers were approved and Bluebee Pals were introduced on reading aloud day!
“Yesterday’s event was a great success! We were able to introduce Bluebee to patients and families. We used Bluebee to read-aloud books to patients using a children’s digital book application called Epic. I have attached a few photos as well as a video. We had a few parents inquire about Bluebee. I was able to speak about the many educational uses of Bluebee and direct them to the Bluebee Pals website for additional info. I also posted about the event on Twitter and tagged @BluebeePals in all posts.” Rebeca A. Grysko, Associate Director of Education
Rebeca A. Grysko, Ph.D.
“In addition to yesterday’s event, I have conducted professional development sessions for our student-teacher interns. I modeled how to connect Bluebee to a device via Bluetooth and demonstrated how Bluebee can be used with a variety of educational apps. The student teacher interns have been exploring different ways to utilize Bluebee in their instruction. They were all asked to complete the Bluebee Pals Project Questionnaire to provide feedback and information about their experiences. We are currently working on scanning all the questionnaires into one PDF document to send to you. We look forward to continuing to use Bluebee pals with patients here at PedsAcademy.”
We greatly value the collaboration with Bluebee Pals and see a lot of potential for using them to foster reading motivation and engagement with the patients here at Nemours.
Rebeca A. Grysko, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Teacher Education; Post-Doctoral Scholar
Math is an important part of learning for children in the early years because it provides vital life skills. Math helps children to develop the ability to think critically and solve problems. Both are integral to success in school and in life. “Research suggests early math skills are a better predictor of academic success than early reading skills. The more math-oriented activities kids do before kindergarten, the better they’ll understand math in school. Early math skills foretell higher aptitude in high school math and higher rates of college enrollment. Math is the language of logic…Math builds reasoning, which leads to comprehension. Developing a mentally organized way of thinking is critical. To make that happen we need to provide high-quality math education at an early age.” https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/early-math-equals-future-success/.
Activities to Foster Development of Early Math Skills:
Bluebee Pals are a great tool to use when teaching and reinforcing math skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into peer groups to practice skills. Paired with reading, storybooks and math apps, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes educational skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking and singing” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started! Reading books, telling stories, and using “math talk” are easy, effective ways to integrate and promote the development of early math and early literacy skills. Using children’s book and math apps provide many ways to teach and reinforce foundational math skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Use puzzles, building blocks for stacking and manipulating, board games, and card games. Chutes and Ladders, Pop the Pig, Hi Ho Cherry-O and Candyland are great beginning games. Games with dice and number spinners reinforce counting.
Use shape-sorters. Talk about each shape—count the sides, describe the colors.
Count and sort. Gather together a basket of small toys, shells, pebbles or buttons. Count them and sort them based on size, color, or what they do (i.e., all the cars in one pile, all the animals in another).
What size is it? Notice the sizes of objects in the world around you: That pink pocketbook is the biggest. The blue pocketbook is the smallest. Ask your child to think about his own size relative to other objects (“Do you fit under the table? Under the chair?”).
You’re cookin’ now! Even young children can help fill, stir, and pour. Through these activities, children learn, quite naturally, to count, measure, add, and estimate.
Sing songs that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Songs reinforce patterns (which is a math skill as well). They also are fun ways to practice language and foster social skills like cooperation.
Use a calendar to talk about the date, the day of the week, and the weather. Calendars reinforce counting, sequences, and patterns.
The long and the short of it. Cut a few (3–5) pieces of ribbon, yarn or paper in different lengths. Talk about ideas like long and short. With your child, put in order of longest to shortest.
Pattern play. Have fun with patterns by letting children arrange dry macaroni, chunky beads, different types of dry cereal, or pieces of paper in different patterns or designs.
Frances Amato Dominguez, David Marquis School of the Arts: Bluebee Pals Pro
“Functional educational toys for young children are not something common to find. Many items available these days have gimmicks and look to create a cycle where you have to keep purchasing more and more kits for the products to be fully functional. As a mother and a teacher, I look at educational toys in a different light. One of the best toys that I have seen as of late has been Bluebee Pals Pro. Many years ago when I was a special education classroom teacher, I had purchased their original Bluebee pals and used it to have stories read to my class and to practice vocabulary. After using the Pro version, I was in awe. I cannot believe everything that it can now do. There is a free app that pairs with your new plush friend that has all different educational opportunities split into different rooms of a house. The app is well though out and easy to navigate. My students were able to follow along and complete activities with very little prompting and information.”
Attributes of Bluebee in the Classroom
“My favorite part of the new updates Bluebee Pals Pro is the functionality with Speech and Language apps. I work in a population where many of my students are non-verbal and use a device to facilitate communication. This can pair with the apps and speak for the child. Not only that but I have seen my students engage with their new toy and trying so hard to talk and interact with it. Computer generated voices are not the best outputs or appropriate models for my students to follow. I have found that when my bear talks to them in a more human voice than naturally produced by the app, there is a huge change in the child.”
“Bluebee Pals provide a way to learn functional life skills and the support of cognitive development of early learners. Children can fully immerse themselves into a connected experience through nine educational games. In addition to speech and language apps, Bluebee Pals pair with many apps and narrate them to the child. This is perfect for mainstream and special needs children. My work is targeted to special needs children and they love it. From a simple cuddle buddy to a talking companion it provides the right resources for children to learn.”
Literacy and Bluebee Pals
“I am a STEM Teacher at The David Marquis School of the Arts; Bluebee Pals are instrumental at helping my students learn our fringe vocabulary words. It pronounces the words for them and they get a chance to then hear them, repeat what they are hearing and them complete our spelling and writing activities. This month we are learning words like food chain, relationships, patterns, predator and prey. These are not words typical to my student’s lives. With the help of Bluebee Pals my students are starting to say and pronounce the words correctly. It is such an amazing visual model. Many of my students are visual learners so it is the perfect classroom tool.” http://The David Marquis School of the Arts”
“There are also many options to choose from so you can find the perfect friend for your child’s educational journey. Your lineup of available friends are Hudson the puppy; Parker the Monkey; Lily the Lamb; Sammy the Bear; Leo the Lion and Riley the Zebra. I personally have both Sammy and Riley and they are too cute for words.” https://www.bluebeepals.com
“In this educator’s opinion, Bluebee Pals are the perfect educational companion for any child. I have the privilege of sharing it with my students and colleagues and will continue to use it in my classroom.”
Mrs. Frances Amato Dominguez STEM Teacher, Technology Liaison, Website Master Public School 37R The David Marquis School of the Arts 15 Fairfield Street Staten Island, New York 10308
“Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.” – George Couros
Mindfulness is an essential skill for kids to be successful learners. But what exactly is mindfulness and why is there such a fuss in teaching mindfulness to young children? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. This ability to stop helps to reset and reorganize the body’s systems and is tied in with the ability to self-regulate and self-calm. The present overstimulating and rushed pacing of today’s world lends itself to disorganization. Disorganized kids usually have difficulty with attention, managing needed tools, and completing tasks. Calm kids can focus on the task at hand, see their options, and make better choices.
Kids don’t always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness. Yoga or other rhythmic movements (rocking or swinging) done in coordination with the breath can also be practiced. These children are holding Bluebee Pals practicing relaxation with Bluebee Pals.
Apps for Lessons in Mindfulness with Bluebee!
One of the best introductions to mindfulness training for young children is Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street. Although the app does not support Bluetooth technology and cannot be played through a Bluebee Pal, by having a child hold Bluebee while playing they will receive valuable body input in learning to calm. By hugging Bluebee children will not only benefit from emotional support but also receive nice deep pressure hugs that will help a child focus and calm when viewing the app. The app contains 5 vignettes that are stressful to young children and the stories are all told with vocabulary that is familiar to a young child. In the app, children help a little monster apply strategies to cope with everyday struggles. It’s very reinforcing to help the little monster and it facilitates the desire to try the techniques within Stop, Breathe, Think.
Super Stretch Yoga is a classic app for teaching mindfulness of body. Using storytelling and video, kids learn to imitate motor acts that coordinate with the breath to quiet and focus. In the Adventures of Super Stretch, the emphasis is on trying and being in the present moment and not on perfection. This is a subtle but wonderful message for kids to begin to understand. The app contains 12 poses that are modeled through both animation and viewing real kids doing the poses. The app is free and there are tangible additions such as flashcards and books that can be purchased through the website: www.adventuresofsuperstretch.com. Try having your child teach Bluebee the Poses for some extra fun.
For a more traditional app for meditation, check out Mindfulness for Children. It contains 5 guided meditations and 4 meditations that serve as stories in helping kids to relax in order to go to sleep. Most of the meditations include a body scanning component that serves as a ground or central point of focus. This helps kids stay centered so as to increase awareness of both body and mind. In addition, With this app, Bluebee can act as a facilitator for mindfulness and the screen can be put aside. With Bluebee whispering in your child’s ear, what better way to let go of the day’s struggles and challenges.
It is a subscription based service that has excellent resources for adults and children. There is both music and sleep stories that help tuck little ones in for a nap or at bedtime. Bluebee can lead the way for finding a state of calm for kids and parents.Calm radio is a free standing extension of the calm app with its own subscription service.
What a great therapy tool! What I love best about our bluebee pal is how diverse it is. We use it in so many ways! We have older kids use it as a projection of their voice to greet the younger kids; increasing peer to peer interaction is such a great foundational communication skill for our kids to learn. Also, the kids are more motivated to pick a song when the bluebee pal is singing it. We are currently using it in our joint action routines (JARs) to teach a variety of communication skills to children with autism.
Therapists utilize Bluebee as a effective speech therapy motivational tool to engage in communication and learning. Bluebee participates in repeating words, answering questions and reading stories. There are variety of popular speech apps from basic to apps to AAC apps for non verbal children. What are the main apps paired with Bluebee Pals? Text to Speech Apps with reading activities, Proloquo2Go is an AAC app to enhance communication, Autism ihelps Apps teaches vocabulary, Super Duper Publications for speech, Smarty Ears for speech and Splingo for speech and language acquisition. Gregory Horan, M.S., SLP Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist.
It’s the season for holiday gifting! It can be especially difficult to select quality gifts for young children, and even more difficult to find gifts with excellent educational value that also have that “fun” factor! Look no further…Bluebee Pals are the perfect gift choice for children! They are uniquely suited to engage the interest of little learners, they easily support reading and educational activities, and they make charming friends! Bluebee Pals make stories come to life, encourage listening, speaking, language development, good social skills, and more! They work with any tablet or smartphone, to deliver not only hours, but also years of enjoyment. If the child on your list is also receiving a tablet for the holidays, or already has access to a tablet, a Bluebee Pal gift would be a perfect match!
Bluebee Pals Make Perfect Reading and Learning Companions!
Bluebee Pals are softly huggable, lovable, plush interactive learning tools/toys that connect via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices. They wirelessly pair with all apps with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for children of all ability levels. Bluebee’s mouth and head realistically move while speaking, making reading, educational apps, games, and activities so much fun! Which Bluebee Pal will you choose? Hudson the dog, Riley the zebra, Leo the Lion, Lily the lamb, Sammy the bear, or Parker the monkey? https://www.bluebeepals.com/
Bluebee is compatible with ALL apps with a narrative.
Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
Bluebee makes storybook apps come to life!
Bluebee is compatible with text-to-speech apps
Bluebee teaches language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
With Bluebee, children become immediately more engaged and attentive, and eagerly look forward to focused learning opportunities!
Bluebee comes with a FREE companion app!
The Bluebee Pals app is a fun and easy way to begin learning through play.
In the Bluebee Pals app there are 5 colorful and interactive rooms to explore with your child: Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living roomand Playroom. By talking about, asking questions, playing mini-games and encouraging free play, you can focus on and reinforce many early learning, educational, and life skills. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-app/
Additional Suggested Apps:
Reading: Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos by Epic! Creations Inc
Voice Recording: Voice Memos by Apple. Quickly and easily record vocabulary words to practice spelling, play matching games by matching words to pictures, use the recorder to have Bluebee give instructions or ask questions, or use the recorder to sequence or retell a story.
Interact in real time with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions, make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read. Have Bluebee help practice vocabulary by typing in words or definitions, questions, or even tests for him to say aloud.
NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational app) that connects to all IOS and Android Devices. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.
It’s an assistive Technology Tool for all mainstream children and special needs.
The Bluebee Pal Program includes: • Interactive Plush Learning Tool (Animal of Choice) • Bluebee Pal Curriculum • Bluebee App • Bluebee Pal Book • Bluebee Pal Activity Guide
Academics’ Choice is the only international awards company designed to bring increased recognition to publishers, manufacturers, independent authors and developers that aim to stimulate cognitive development. A panel of highly qualified academics, parents, teachers, homeschoolers and children evaluate products based on educational benefits such as higher-order thinking skills, character building, creative play, durability and originality. Only the genuine “mind-builders” are recognized with the coveted Academics’ Choice Award™. Awards: Smart Media Award, Brain Toy Award, Smart Book Award, Mind Spring Award…..http://www.academicschoice.com/toys/bluebee-pal-pro.php
We loved the “huggable” technology concept and so did our daughter. Setup is very easy. It’s essentially a bluetooth speaker wrapped in a cuddly animal that will lip-sync whatever you want. It will read aloud anything, from anywhere, not just their apps. It can even act as a speaker phone, which was a neat feature when dad was out of town. We limit our child’s screen time and this toy helps bridge the gap so your child doesn’t have to be glued to a screen to get the benefits of a story, a riddle, or a lesson. It’s hard for a “teddy bear” (or lamb) to compete with animated graphics after a while so I’d recommend simply not letting your child control whatever synced device you’re using, at least at first. We’re currently using Lilly the Lamb to teach our child basic Spanish words. I also use it when I don’t want to read the same story again. Put the physical story book in their hands and have them follow along to develop word-sound recognition, phonemic awareness, and practice their sight words. It’s a helpful, engaging, and open-ended teaching toy/platform that makes for a better distraction than simply handing your child a tablet.
We opened the box to find Lilly, a very soft sheep doll. The sheep is well made with high quality materials and a pretty good speaker. The mechanics in the animal made the stories come to life. Lilly moves her head and mouth and sometimes it really looks like she is talking! After playing part of a story we decided to download the educational app. Bluebee app was on par for other preschool level apps. It had opportunities to record our voice, read, letter/color identification and solve puzzles via mini games that incorporated skills such matching, eye-hand coordination, and basic observation/analysis. We really enjoyed our time with Lilly and still have her tell her stories and sing funny songs for us. We liked that we could play any podcast or story and Lilly would tell it! I’d recommend this toy for preschool-second grade.
Voice recording and playback kept my child busy and entertained for over an hour. He especially enjoyed the moving mouth during playback. The material of the toy was very soft yet easy to spot clean.
Bluebee pals offer a wonderful opportunity for students to be engaged during a lesson. Children in my class really loved watching the lion talk as well as listen to a story or sing a song. Children were less visually distracted because they were watching the lion! Set up was so easy and I could turn on any app for the lion to talk out. My first graders loved to hear him sound out words on different apps.
This Assistive Technology Tool provides a great opportunity for both fun and learning! It’s engaging for young students of all learning types. The Bluebee Pals can enhance learning in a variety riveting ways. Any song, app, or story (in any language) can be read by one of the plush characters. The cuddly animals are relateable to kids, which makes the teaching become more meaningful as kids view the Pals as their peer more than an adult. The depth of understanding and retention increases as a result. The creative play and serious learning possiblities are endless.
My name is Sarah Winzer and I am the librarian from New Jersey who attended a demonstration of Bluebee Pals this past June 2019 at the ISTE EducationalShow. I am so very grateful for your offer to send our library Bluebee Pals! You are making 200 K-1 students very happy and we can’t wait to share a wonderful testimonial with you about how amazing this product is! Our school is Cedar Mountain Primary School and our address is Vernon, NJ 07462. Thank you again for the amazing gesture without which we wouldn’t be able to have this amazing product.
The Bluebee Pal Project
Kayle Concepts donates Bluebee Pals to schools and organizations across the country for use in their classrooms and therapy sessions. Teachers, parent’s and therapists are experiencing the impact of using Bluebee Pals as educational tools. Feedback from hundreds of special needs educators said our “talking tech buddies” encourage communication, language use, attentiveness, sensory processing, and positive behaviors.
Our students are in love with Leo , our Bluebee Pal! They are engaged and actively listening to Leo read the story which in turn has improved their listening comprehension skills! They are constantly wanting to be the group that gets to read with Leo. I love the positive effect he has had on our students and in the Media Center.
Bluebee TeeVee, Autism Information Station a seven webisode series where kids learn all about autism—in a friendly, clinically correct and respectful manner with humor and pop culture references thrown in for fun. An innovative series that helps children see past differences, learn acceptance and understanding, and discover that we’re all pretty much the same at heart. https://www.bluebeepals.com/about-us/
The show’s host, James Sullivan is also the script writer, filmmaker, and editor. Jonathan Murphy performs the character voices for the Bluebee Pal co-hosts. Both of these talented young men are on the autism spectrum.
Each 5 minute episode features James Sullivan, having a friendly chat with a Bluebee Pal−Sammy the bear, Leo the lion, Lily the lamb, Winston the dog, or Riley the zebra−to help children have a deeper understanding and connection to those with autism. We believe that Bluebee TeeVee is a great way to captivate kids’ attention and learn that−autism or not−they’re not so different from one another.
Samples of BluebeeTeeVee Webisodes
What is autism anyway? In Episode 1 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan and his Bluebee Pal, Leo, have a chat about what autism is and what it means to be someone on the autism spectrum. “It’s a world of abilities…and possibilities,” says Leo…and we couldn’t agree more!What are people with autism like?
In Episode 2 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan tells his Bluebee Pal, Lily, “We’re just like everyone else in so many ways but there are some interesting differences.” Lily learns a whole new view and understanding of people with autism. She thinks “they’re awesome!” Yep, she’s got that rightLet’s talk!
In Episode 3 of Bluebee TeeVee, host James Sullivan talks to his Bluebee Pal, Riley, about about the many ways autistic people communicate. You see some people with autism can’t speak but they can still be heard and understood using picture boards or communication tools, like apps on tablets. The fancy word for this type of talking is augmentative and alternative communication or AAC for short. “Far out!” says Riley, and she’s even more surprised when she finds out that she’s a communication tool too!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Holidays are a great time to foster reading, comprehension, problem solving, social-emotional and language skills! It’s even more fun and engaging when you play with Bluebee Pal friends! Here are a few holiday books and activities to check out.
The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble-Joey the Turkey is sad. He has forgotten how to gobble and needs help from his friends. Kids will gobble up this funny story about Joey’s barnyard friends: Ruby the Rooster, Patrick the Dog, Minnie-moo the Cow, Wiskers the Cat and Gillie the Turkey and their hilarious ways they try to teach Joey how to gobble. This read along interactive storybook is a great way to teach children the value of friendship and how friends will be there when you need them. A fun and entertaining way to practice animal sounds with kids.
Turkey Trouble: Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving . . . and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea–what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever! Great for problem-solving!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Join Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang for a very unique Thanksgiving dinner. Kick the football with Charlie Brown, prepare the meal with Master Chef Snoopy, and set the table with Woodstock as the gang discovers the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Just So Thankful Little Critter:Little Critter learns what to be thankful for in this delightful interactive book app. There’s a new kid in town who has everything Little Critter wants… but he soon realizes he has something money can’t buy-a family who loves and adores him. Personalize the story with your own narration.
Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games: Listen, read and record 10 fun Christmas books at 3 easy reading levels…30 books in all. Sing along with 5 Christmas songbooks and 18 more favorite children’s songs. Beautiful storybooks and games to support foundational reading.
The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida is an accredited and award-winning not-for-profit association founded in 1991 by parents of children with Down syndrome. It has grown from a few families to over 1,200 individuals with DS and their families. They serve families in an area of over 10 counties with help from more than 17,000 friends, professionals, volunteers and other supporters. Governed by a volunteer board of directors, more than 50% of the board members have family members with Down syndrome.
Bluebee Pals and The Down Syndrome Association
Bluebee Pals have arrived at DSACF! These huggable plush learning companions can be combined with a wide range of online digital content that provides children with a great source of entertainment while assisting in education and helping to develop communication skills. These “talking tech buddies” encourage communication, language use, attentiveness, sensory processing, and positive behaviors. They add just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. The Bluebee Pals are located in the DSACF Lending Library for FREE for our members at the Success Center.
What exactly does it mean to be mindful? Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment and allowing all thoughts and feelings to occur without necessarily taking action. “Stop Breathe Think with Sesame Street”, “Super Stretch Yoga”, and “Mindfulness for Children” are a few apps that Bluebee loves for beginning lessons in mindfulness. Children do not always need to sit or be still to practice mindfulness! They can practice relaxation by holding Bluebee Pals.
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Bluebee Pals can easily be incorporated to build essential life skills. The Bluebee Pals can be paired with story books and educational apps, which makes the learning process fun and more meaningful. The most important life skills to learn are focus and self-control, perspective taking, communication, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning
Speech Therapy with Bluebee
“Sabi has been using Bluebee for 2 weeks now, when she first saw him (Monkey) she was very surprised and excited and immediately felt in love with of him. We introduced Monkey first with her favorites songs since she love to sing and dance, now we work with Monkey on her Speech Therapy sessions, we use few apps to work different things like vocabulary for example, but especially to follow instructions, which is something that its very difficult for her, she has been very compliance and we have been able to work a little more than she usually allow us.” – Ory, Sabrina’s mom
One of the best features of the Bluebee Pal is its ability to suspend reality and bring the written word alive in a book. We all know that reading is one of the best ways to engage children in interactive play and it also gives them an edge up on learning. Current research shows that babies benefit tremendously from listening to stories, and the earlier this routine is established, the better. By reading to Baby, he or she begins to pick up the nuances of language, its sequence, and structure.
Most important of all, however, are the bonds that deepen because of shared experiences through stories. Stories inspire, they make us laugh, and they also tell us what to do. Reading stories with diverse characters informs kids of not only the experience of others but also to appreciate the idea of how family traditions across cultures may, on the one hand, be different but are so very much the same. All teachers care about their students and want them to succeed.
Joint attention is the cornerstone of communication. Joint attention is the ability to share experiences and to acknowledge another person as a witness. It can be as simple as pointing to a plane with a quick glance to see if the other person notices or sharing a laugh at funny faces. And it is through joint attention that the ability to imitate emerges and is strengthened. Books for early learners that can be used with Bluebee include hardback books, audio books, a combination of the two, or a digital version via a phone or tablet.
One of the most overlooked features to using Bluebee is using a phone or a voice recording app. Parents with can phone into a classrrom to read a few sentences from a story…Teachers can utilize a voice recording app to record a book and ask a sequence of questions…Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if the child throws it in at the correct time. This will help synchronize memory, comprehension, and communicative intent.
Another lesson from reading books is the ability to wait and listen. Once the sequence of a story is established, welcoming kids to interrupt, stop and ask questions, and ponder what if…allows for the imagination to take flight. I love when kids both anticipate and then try to come up with alternative twists within a familiar book. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Recomended Reading With Bluebee Pals
Here are a few resources for great story finds. Remember to use the Bluebee app for any further questions on the use of its features. We would also love to hear from you, what stories do you like? What are kids responding to?… and until then sweet play in the land of make-believe and crossing that bridge of the possibilities of imagination.
Goodnight Moon – the classic book by Magaret Wise Brown is ripe for learning the labels of common household items. This classic book can be found on almost any digital format. I do love having the book in conjunction as many kids will “read” the book to themselves, and sharing that recitation is priceless. In my clinical practice, I use this book every week.
Podcasts are also invaluable to a reading experience. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud series have narrations to many of their published books. I love these podcasts in that they teach children to wait and listen for auditory cues to turn the page. Thus pairing the storyline with the written material.
Oceanhouse Mediahas a catalog of children’s favorites from Dr. Suess to nonfiction books by the Smithsonian Institute. They are one of my go-to developers when searching for books.
For Social-Emotional Lessons, you can’t fair better than Peppy Pals. These books for preschoolers are engaging and invite discussion. They are magically matched to a young child’s attention span.
Pairing a book with audio versions (audio versions of books can be purchased on Amazon, or a book can be read by yourself through the voice recorder on the Bluebee Pals App is sure to make cherished memories
Epic is the world’s leading online children’s subscription book service offering immediate, on-demand access to over 35,000 high-quality illustrated books and chapter books for children ages 12 and under. … In a world of unlimited screen time, Epic! is a smart and safe alternative to generic games and videos.
The iMums wanted to share some of our Christmas and holiday themed app favorites with you. Below is a short summary of each of the apps along with links to our reviews as they have been completed. We hope that you will enjoy these apps as much as we have with our families. Many of these are ones we load onto our devices year after year to enjoy – and some stay on all year round! In our family, we pick a new holiday themed book to read every night – these are some of our digital favorites among The Mums. Try connecting these apps with a Bluebee Pal. Reading with our kids is one of the favorite things to do with our iKids.
Favorite Holiday Apps
The iMums Christmas apps #1 Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities and an extra carol.
The iMums Christmas apps #2 The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media has been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story.
The iMums Christmas apps #4 Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas.
The iMums Christmas apps #5 Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24 , over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills.
The iMums Christmas apps #6 Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys! The app features an an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!
The Witch and the Christmas Spirit is by SlimCricket is a brand new app for iOS. The Witch is getting read for a Halloween adventure when her friend Peepo the Elf calls and says that a terrible illness has spread across the North Pole. He asks the Witch to come and help Save Christmas! Will they be able to? Enjoy this Free app with IAP that includes games, 3D pages and more! The Witch and the Christmas Spirit – SlimCricket
Playonwords LLC Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2019, Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys, Games, Books and Media That Spark Fun and Encourage Language
Respected speech-language expert Sherry Artemenko announces her Top 10 PAL product lists by category representing the only industry recognition promoting language development through great play. Parents and educators alike value Sherry’s nearly four decades of experience and benefit daily from her popular blog, playonwords.com, consulting practice, media appearances and articles.
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 30, 2019
Regular interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko, to a unique set of the best toys, games, books and media that have the chemistry to develop language while delivering great play. Today, Playonwords is announcing its annual “Top 10 PAL Picks for 2019” by age and product category. Our Top 10’s take the guesswork out of giving great holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents use our lists to shop for smart toys with lasting play value.
Winners are assessed and reviewed by Sherry with input from parents, kids and educators. Observing kid’s play in action, combined with her critical eye for language potential, Sherry awards products and writes insightful reviews offering practical tips on how to maximize the educational value in each winner catalogued on playonwords.com.
Language catalyzing PAL winning toys and games are powerful additions to a child’s tool box, since children learn through play, and language is integral to learning! Our 2019 Top 10’s include a number of great winners that inspire imagination and story-telling with engaging props, from Schleich’s “Adventure Treehouse” to Hape’s “Cook ’n Serve Kitchen” and VTech’s “Treasure Seekers Pirate Ship.” Promoting children’s literacy skills is a strong theme throughout this years’ winners, often combined with STEM skills as children build and learn letters and corresponding sounds with “LeapBuilders ABC Smart House” by LeapFrog and re-tell Jack and the Beanstalk while manipulating Geomagworld’s “Magicubes” and illustrated story clips. The toy industry continues to value new games to build EQ (emotional quotient including social language skills) with exciting tools like “Guess It. Get It. Gumballs” by Peaceable Kingdom, a MindWare Brand and picture sequenced stories in SPARK Jr. Sequencing Cards.
Sherry’s expertise has been tapped by NBC Connecticut TV, FOX TV News 6 Milwaukee, Parents Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, parents.com, parenting.com, ASHAsphere (official blog of the American Speech Language Hearing Association), and ASHA LEADER magazine.
For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or language development, it’s about going deep in both. Her expertise has been built on science and more than 17,000 hours of client experience. Each set of Top 10’s represents a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common – they are trusted lists of fun products that boost learning through play.
Jet Duck Family (Pirate, Mermaid, Firefighter) by Yookidoo
Latches & Doors Busy Board by VTech
Mighty Mini Band by Hape
Mix & Match-a-Saurus by VTech
My First Shaped Puzzles–Pet Friends by The Learning Journey
My Peek-a-Boo LapPup (Scout or Violet) by LeapFrog
Oribel VertiPlay Tree Top Adventure
Under Sea Figure 8 Railway by Hape
TOP 10 TOYS: PRESCHOOL
Adventure Treehouse by Schleich
Dinosaur Island by Bigjigs Toys Ltd
Hape Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen
Kinetic Sand Sandisfying Set by Spin Master
King George’s Castle by Bigjigs Toys Ltd
PAW Patrol Mighty Jet Command Center by Spin Master
Pop Up Shop by Hape
SMARTMAX My First Dinosaurs
Smart Sizzlin’ BBQ Grill by LeapFrog
Treasure Seekers Pirate Ship by VTech
TOP 10 GAMES: PRESCHOOL
Baa Baa Bubbles by Spin Master
Button, Button, Belly Button by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Friends of a Feather by Ravensburger
Guess It, Get It, Gumballs by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Heads Talk Tails Walk by Ravensburger
Lily Pond by SimplyFun
Mickey’s Snuggletime by Wonder Forge
Pick Me Up, Piggy! by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Topper Takes a Trip by Peaceable Kingdom – A MindWare Brand
Wake Up Stars by SimplyFun
TOP 10 TOYS: SCHOOL AGE
Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab
Dig it Up! Discoveries Dragons by MindWare
Folkmanis Robot Puppet
Folkmanis Snow Leopard Cub Puppet
Gravitrax Trampoline by Ravensburger
KEVA Cutouts by MindWare
LeapBuilders ABC Smart House by LeapFrog
LeapStart Go by LeapFrog
Long and Tall Puzzles-Big to Small Animals by The Learning Journey
Magicube Jack and the Beanstalk by Geomagworld
TOP 10 GAMES: SCHOOL AGE
Astro Trash by The Op | USAopoly
Eagle Chase by SimplyFun
Gotta Word by Cortex Toys
Hoyle Mixed Emojis
Match-O-Rama by The Op | USAopoly
Miniland Emoti Blocks
SMARTGAMES Brain Train
SPARK Cards by SPARK Innovations
SPARK Jr. Sequencing Cards by Spark Innovations
Stick Figure it Out by Cortex Toys
TOP 10 BOOKS AND MEDIA
Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers Book & Activity Guide by Kayle Concepts
Ditty Bird Musical Books by MEMA Enterprise PTY Ltd
Fern and Horn by Marie-Louise Gay
From Birth to First Words by Lynn Carson, Talking Together
Hoo Hoo Who? by Mary Maier with Lauren Horton
Language Together Set 2
New York Day & Night by Aurelie Pollet and Vincent Bergier
Portable North Pole by UGroupMedia
Summer Big Fun Workbooks by Highlights
That’s MY Cake! by Wonderbly
Each holiday season, millions are spent on kids’ toys, games and books. These PAL winners above are not only great fun but also encourage rich language development. Think “tastes like ice cream, fortifies like spinach,” optimizing your toy purchases to build language while maintaining all the fun. Now’s the time to be intentional about your child’s toy chest, game drawer, bookshelf and tablet!
ABOUT PLAYONWORDS, LLC Playonwords.com was founded by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko. Her 35 years championing language rich play, esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.
Over 17,000 hours working directly with children has shown her that a unique set of the best toys, games and books have the capability to develop language while delivering great play. Studies show:
Kids with highest IQs at three, had the most words at one and two
Language learning is cumulative – early words => early sentences => language & reading
Most kids maintain their verbal advantage through childhood
Creative pretend play that sparks story-telling can advance future literacy
Sherry established the PAL Award to identify unique toys, games and books that through their design, quality and character, encourage play that advances language. PAL winners in the hands of kids, spark fun and creative play with lots of talk. Such toys, recognized on the basis of her child development expertise, are complemented by practical coaching in her blog, showing parents and caregivers how to get the most from toys, games and books to build language and underlying cognitive skills.
This educational e-book is a perfect companion to be used with both the Bluebee Pal Pro and the Bluebee Pals app. The book also stands alone as a story about a young boy named Andy who gets lost and rescued by his Bluebee Pal friends. This story, which initially takes place in a school with children that have complex communication needs takes the reader on the adventure of a lifetime!
What happens when the Andy gets lost? He gets rescued by his friend and park ranger, Leo the Lion who takes him on an adventure through the forest, farm and back to school. During this quest, he meets all of the Bluebee Pals and learns about their superpowers in helping other children.
The main character in this engaging and educational picture book is a young child with complex communication needs that uses a communication device to express his communication needs. Through the use of his talker, he is able to communicate with all of his new Bluebee Pal friends. With his communication system, he is able to tell them how to get back to his Rainbow School, where his class and teacher are waiting.
Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers is not just a story about an adventure, it’s also an opportunity to discuss diverse learning styles as well communicating through augmentative and alternative communication. Children will learn more about their own Bluebee Pal and have an extra special connection with them after reading the story.
Educators, therapists and parents will find this book easy to implement with their child or student!
What does it include?
The ebook and paperback will include the following:
Repeated lines and vocabulary suggestions to make it easy for parents and educators to program vocabulary in their child’s talkers before reading the book.
A free teachers guide that aligns with the common core curriculum.
Free printable visuals to be used while reading the book as well as used for recall and comprehension.
Suggested communication and educational goals to target with the book.
Are you interested in a printed book?Goals such as increased communication, vocabulary expansion, sequencing, literacy expansion, answering “wh” questions, turn taking, and commenting are just a few goals to target when reading this book with your child or student. Stay tuned!
THE PAL AWARD is the only Toy Industry recognition led by a credentialed speech and language expert, calling out the language learning edge in exceptional toys, games, books and media. Through their design, quality, content and character, PAL winners spark Play that Advances Language. Sherry Artemenko’s selections based on 35 years of child development experience and over 15,000 hours working with kids, empower her unique reviews that explain how parents can best use her winning PAL recommendation.
In a world that runs on words, finding fun ways to build kids’ speech and language early on is invaluable to their future academic success. Sherry Artemenko training as a language pathologist and over thirty five years and 17,000 hours working and playing with children has equipped her to distinguish top products. As a language expert, Sherry regularly promotes PAL winners in the media—FOX6 Milwaukee, NBC CT TV,ASHASphere (American Speech Language-Hearing Association’s blog), and has been tapped as an expert for Parents Magazine.
The Techie Rangers story is a sweet introduction to children who have an alternate way of speaking as well as to the Bluebee Pals who are great companions to learning! The free activity guide is a helpful tool for parents, therapists, and educators to use to expand language learning based on the story.
Kayle Concepts LLC ( Bluebee Pals) creativity, hard work, and developmental focus is evident in this outstanding product. The exciting Bluebee Pals Book and guide can be purchased on Amazon: E-book for free with Kindle membership or print version for $9.99. The PAL Award is the only industry recognition focusing on the best toys, games and books that not only entertain, but also inspire kids and caregivers to engage in rich communication and interaction.
The Bluebee Pal Pro 4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool that connects via Bluetooth to all iOS and Android devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative, which provides endless educational opportunities and entertainment for both mainstream and special needs children in early childhood classrooms. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to realistically move while teaching curriculum through educational games, activities, and apps.
Due to their endearing, universal appeal, Bluebee Pals and The Bluebee Pal Program, Bluebee app, Techie Rangers E-book and free Activity Guide are uniquely suited for use with early intervention and elementary-aged students. They are easy to incorporate into early childhood curriculum standards, and they capture and maintain student interest while making learning fun and memorable.
Bluebee is compatible with ALL apps with a narrative.
Bluebee teaches language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
With Bluebee, children become immediately more engaged and attentive, and eagerly look forward to focused learning opportunities!
What is the Bluebee Pal Program?
The Bluebee Pal Program is a free curriculum aligned with Common Core State Standards. The curriculum consists of lesson plans that have been created by a certified teacher who specializes in exceptional and early education. With these easy to use lesson plans, teachers are given step-by-step instructions on how to teach standards to their students while engaging with Bluebee Pals.
Our free curriculum use vetted applications and internet resources to teach:
Science and Listening
Social Emotional Skills
Writing a Book Report
ESL (English as a Second Language)
The lessons focus on PreK and Elementary Education Common Core State Standards in Literature, Informational Text, Foundational Skills, Language and Geometry. The lesson plans clearly outline needed supplies, links to applications and internet resources, teacher and student expectations, extension activities and differentiation for exceptional education.
The Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-book (also available in paperback from Amazon) takes readers on an adventure with Andy and his Bluebee Pal Techie Ranger friends. Andy, a student with complex communication needs, uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device or “talker” to speak to the Techie Rangers as they help him return to the Rainbow School.
The accompanying free Activity Guide provides fun extension activities focused on literacy and math. Don’t forget to check out the Bluebee Pals Curriculum for a lesson plan made especially for the Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide.
The free Bluebee Pal Learning App is a fully integrated life skills and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 8.
The app includes a Bluebee Pal House with 5 rooms targeting life skills, social/emotional skills and educational activities.
*The Bluebee Pals Curriculum, Bluebee Pal App, Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers E-Book and Activity Guide, app recommendations, numerous video tutorials, and extensive professional development resources are all available at http://bluebeepals.com
* Learn more how to implement Bluebee Pals in the classroom
“We all have beliefs about our own abilities and potential. These beliefs are part of our mindset which is so powerful it can fuel our behavior and predict our success. Mindset shapes our everyday lives, helping us interpret our experiences and future possibilities. In her research at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck identified two different types of mindsets. Growth mindset occurs when we believe our intelligence and abilities can be improved upon with effort and the right strategies. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and abilities cannot be altered in a meaningful way.” https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/teach-growth-mindset-kids-activities
“You see, many students enter our classrooms believing they’re either smart or not smart, good at reading or math, or not good in those areas. This belief that our basic qualities like intelligence and talents can’t be changed is called a fixed mindset. Often our students figure: Why bother trying at something that’s hard for me? I’m not naturally good at it and I can’t really do anything about that.
Our students may not realize that their brains have the ability to change and grow through their experiences (neuroplasticity). Students need us to teach them that the human brain is like a muscle that can be trained through repetition and practice. When students realize this, they develop a growth mindset: the belief that abilities can be developed through commitment and hard work. And once they have a growth mindset, they can learn anything.” https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/routines-growth-mindset/
Simple ways to infuse growth mindset on a daily basis. These are regular practices that help you ensure students will:
Be willing to try new things
Stick with hard tasks and not give up
Push themselves to do their best work, not just what’s “good enough”
Believe in themselves and their own ability to learn
Strategies for helping students develop a growth mindset
Introduce learning activities that are designed to benefit children’s brains.
When kids make mistakes, respond in casual ways that help them rebound.
Get student input on creating helpful classroom displays that reinforce learning.
Use specific feedback and helpful vocabulary that guides students to identify how they achieved success.
Model growth mindset so kids can see it in action on a daily basis.
Start formally teaching kids about growth mindset / neuroplasticity through books, apps, and other resources.
Provide attainable challenges and set achievable mini-goals to encourage students’ consistent, incremental progress.
Give opportunities to face obstacles and solve problems.
Teach and model good attitudes.
Teach how to accept constructive criticism.
VIew failure as learning.
Design classroom activities that involve cooperative, group learning –rather than competitive or individualistic.
Celebrate successes and minimize failures.
Provide opportunities to celebrate the success of others.
Teach perseverance and the power of “YET”. Encourage students to not give up when things get hard and tell them that if they can’t do something now, it doesn’t mean they never will. Say “You can’t do this YET, but keep going!”When students succeed, praise their efforts and strategies as opposed to their intelligence. Help students focus on, prioritize, and value the process of learning.
Model resilience and problem solving strategies.
Give children opportunities to solve problems on their own when appropriate.
Encourage children to ask a friend to help before seeking an adult’s assistance.
Do not always try to fix things for your students. Give them the time to try – and fail – to fix their own challenges.
Give children the time and space to use materials in their own way. This helps build confidence, independence and creative problem solving, which are all big parts of fostering that growth mindset.
Make space for frustration. Talk about that emotion and how to deal with it. Help your students be motivated by frustration, not shut down by it.
Praise effort authentically and specifically.
Use diverse teaching strategies.
Encourage active observation and interaction with the environment (wonder).
Encourage question asking.
Utilize Investigation and experimentation.
Encourage student development of conclusions
Some Resources to Get You Started!
Whooo’s Reading: (K -8) This web app allows you to help students improve their writing based on personalized feedback. After answering a standards-aligned, open-ended question, the response is sent to you for grading. You can then score the answer and give the student feedback on how he/she can improve to get a higher score—score is tied to Wisdom Coins, giving students even more motivation to take a second swing at it.
Daily Goals: This app is perfect for setting and tracking student goals. Though it wasn’t created for use in the school setting, it has all the features of a motivating student goal tracker. Once signed up, students simply create their goal(s)—read something new every day, write one blog post a week—and then keep track of it with the app. With built-in analytics, students are able to determine what might be holding them back, assessing the process rather than just the outcome.
Growth Mindset Videos by Class Dojo Awesome video library for mindsets, social, and emotional growth.
Typorama.Is an app that you can use to add words to a picture, which is perfect for creating encouragement posters to foster mind growth for your classroom.
Two of the best children’s books on growth mindsetare Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak and Making a Splash: A Growth Mindset Children’s Book by Carol E. Reiley.
Check out the free online brain songs provided by the University of Washington.
“English-language learners, or ELLs, are students who are unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English, who often come from non-English-speaking homes and backgrounds, and who typically require specialized or modified instruction in both the English language and in their academic courses. https://www.edglossary.org/english-language-learner/
According to fluentu.com, the goal of teaching ESL is to get ELL students proficient in English as quickly as possible to allow ELL students to be integrated into classrooms and social settings, and to be able to communicate effectively. ELL students must develop critical thinking skills and test-taking skills along with their English language skills. Specific objectives include improving skills in the areas of grammar, vocabulary development, listening, speaking, pronunciation, reading and writing. https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/what-is-ell/
Bluebee Pals can be excellent tools in teaching beginning ELL students!
Bluebee Pals easily connect to apps via Bluetooth to make learning come to life! Children become immediately more engaged and attentive! With engagingly charming mouth and head movements, students will eagerly look forward to focused learning opportunities!
Bluebee is compatible with ALL apps with a narrative.
Bluebee is compatible with text-to-speech apps
Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
Bluebee reads any storybook apps
Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
1. One on One and/or Group Circle Time : Use Bluebee connected to apps to teach students core curriculum concepts individually or in small groups. You can target comprehension, vocabulary, wh-questions, grammar, listening, speaking, sequencing, following directions, pronunciation, critical thinking, spelling and more!
Apps to get you started:
*Lingokids – English For Kids by Monkimun Inc. This wonderful app creates an individual English Learning Program for your student based on their language level and age. Their curriculum and graphics are beyond amazing. It focuses on language skills such as English pronunciation, vocabulary, ABCs, numbers, shapes, colors, animals, food, writing and more.
*BrainPOP ELL by BrainPOP® is a comprehensive English language learning program that uses animated movies to model conversational English. It offers leveled learning for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners. It targets listening, speaking, reading, and writing. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/brainpop-ell/id813671555.
*Endless Alphabet by Originator Inc. Endless Alphabet shows students how each word is spelled and provides a fun illustration of it’s definition. Then it shuffles the letters and challenges your student to put the word back together. What makes it even more awesome is that when the students pick up each letter to put it back on the right place, the letter makes its sound! ELL students get to review the sound of each letter, the spelling of each word and its definition through super entertaining and interactive illustrations!
*Fun English | Learn English by Studycat Limited This app covers all 4 language domains through fun games, stories and songs! New vocabulary is introduced in creative contexts to help students remember each meaning and is used in sentences to maximize their understanding. Lessons are divided into different categories that will allow your student to review different concepts and ideas.
*Learn English US for Beginners by Hector Gonzalez Linan teaches 500 vocabulary words in the areas of alphabet letters, numbers, colors, food, verbs, days of the week, animals, clothes, body parts, sports, and more.
*Voice Memos by Apple. Quickly and easily record vocabulary words for Bluebee to say and for students to practice repeating. Let your students record their words, sentences, or stories, too! Matching game: Record nouns for Bluebee and give students picture or word flashcards to choose the correct match for the word that was said. Use the recorder to have Bluebee give instructions or ask questions. Use the recorder to have students sequence or retell a story.
3. Text-to-Speech: Interact in real time with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions or carry-on a real life conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read. Book discussions: Have Bluebee Read a book out loud. Then, using this app, type in questions for Bluebee to ask the students. Have Bluebee help practice vocabulary by typing in words or definitions, questions, or even tests for him to say aloud.
BIG EXCITEMENT OPENING DAY AT AGOSCI CONFERENCE- PERTH, AUSTRALIA: August 28-31, 2019
Bluebee Pals Exhibit in Perth Australia!..AAC Communication: Augmented, Alternative Communication.
What is AGOSCI? Established in 1981, AGOSCI is an inclusive group interested in enhancing the participation of all people with complex communication needs. AGOSCI also aims to build the capacity of society to achieve their vision.
Their vision is that people with complex communication needs participate fully in all aspects of life.AGOSCI’s membership includes individuals with complex communication needs, family and community members, teachers, speech pathologists, and other professionals.
An estimated 3.5 million Americans experience speech disability to the extent that they have significant difficulty being understood by others. Many of these people have no speech at all and also have other physical disabilities that preclude expressive communication using gestures, writing, or typing.
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a field of endeavor addressing the communication and other related needs of individuals who experience significant and complex communication disorders. The goal of AAC is to achieve the most effective communication possible for the individual in order to maximize their potential and lead the highest quality of life possible. Aspects of this field include clinical service delivery, education, research and advocacy. Individuals who benefit from AAC intervention frequently require assistive technology such as Speech Generating Devices (SGDs), the term used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a funding category of Durable Medical Equipment.
At the start, the field of AAC often focused on teaching AAC users to request highly desired items like food or toys and labeling nouns and verbs.
The vocabulary taught and used was often very specific such as “I want cracker”, “bathroom”, “ball”. Over time a vast amount of research has guided therapists, users, and caregivers towards more effective AAC use.
What we have learned is that 80% of the words we use in English to communicate across various settings are not specific nouns and verbs, but instead what we call “core words”. Core words are frequently occurring abstract words that can be used to communicate many messages across many topics. They are words like “it”, “go”, “you”, “see”. Many low-tech and high-tech AAC systems are providing core word vocabulary to the user on their front or home page to allow fast and effect communication across all settings. Just one look at a well-known AAC website http://praacticalaac.org/ will help you to see how core word use is really at the forefront of the AAC world!
The more AAC users hear and see core vocabulary being used by their communication partners on their devices and the more they are aided to use it themselves, the more they will be able to communicate with the world! Bluebee Pals are a great tool for use with AAC apps and core words. Simply connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth connection to your iPad with a communication app. As the AAC user activates buttons on their communication app, Bluebee will speak. What a fun way to hear your “voice” being used!
Bluebee Pals are a diverse assistive technology tool and considered by many speech therapists as a effective tool in engaging children and adults in communication.
“Literacy is a process by which one expands one’s knowledge of reading and writing in order to develop one’s thinking and learning for the purpose of understanding oneself and the world. This process is fundamental to achieving competence in every educational subject…literacy is a necessary foundation for educational achievement.” Enclopedia.com
Literacy involves spoken and written language skills and the ability to read and write. It’s never too early to start getting your child involved with literacy activities. There are lots of fun opportunities to support early literacy development. Talking, singing, creative play, playing sound, letter, and word games, reading, writing, and playing educational games with your child are great ways to set up a good literacy foundation.
You don’t need lots of time for literacy activities. Just a few minutes a day can make a big impact! The key is to use different times and engaging opportunities to help your child learn.
10 Simple Ways To Engage, Play And Teach Your Child!
*Literacy Sensory Bins– Sensory Bins are simple to make and are absolutely guaranteed to capture a child’s interest. Find a sturdy container (a clear plastic bin with a lid works great). Add some sensory filler such as dried peas, rice, packing peanuts, cotton balls, fake grass, leaves, etc. For a Matching Letters and Sounds bin, use an assortment of plastic upper and lower case letters, letter flash cards, object picture cards, and/or mini objects to match letter sounds you are working on. Give your child a letter of the alphabet (written on a card) and have them find all the letters in the bin that match that letter. Then ask them to find objects and pictures of things that begin with that sound.
For extreme fun, use a set of Alphabots transformer letters in the bin!
For extra sensory play and learning, use Play-Doh and letter stamps.
*Play-Doh– Help your child make numbers and letters out of Play-Doh. Use it to spell simple words and your child’s name. Use alphabet and letter stamps and cookie cutters to press out letters and words. Play-Doh offers several fun activity sets for letters and sounds.
*LEGOs- Kids Love LEGOs! Let your child practice making alphabet letters by giving them a sheet of paper with a letter drawn on it. Have your child use LEGO bricks to outline the letter. Next, see if they can make each letter and spell their name using their LEGOs. LEGO makes a LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters Set to support early literacy.
*Books– Use alphabet books to teach letters and have your child point out the words that begin with each letter. Read books with rhyming and repetition. Examples: The Cat in the Hat, There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake, Nothing Rhymes With Orange, Jamberry. Show your child how to hold a book and help turn the pages. Touch the words as you read together, and discuss the characters and the story. Ask questions about what you read together. Talk about the pictures and what is happening in each one. Bluebee Pals are super motivational tools to engage your child in digital books!
*Nursery Rhymes and Songs– A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words. Nursery rhymes teach your child language, vocabulary, rhyme, repetition and rhythm. Rhyming is a precursor for early literacy skills. Sing nursery rhymes to play with words and sounds. Example: Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; The Alphabet Song; Three Little Kittens.
*I Spy– Help your child learn to recognize and listen for sounds. Example: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with s-s-s. What do you think I see that starts with that sound?” You can also play I Spy with books by asking your child to find sounds on the pages and in words. Example: “Can you touch all the f letters or words with f on this page?” For language, Play I Spy in the grocery store, too! Example: “I spy a yellow fruit“ or “I Spy something sweet” or “I Spy something that is crunchy”.
*Puppets– Puppets are great to use for oral language development with preschoolers. Use puppets to tell or re-tell a story, ask questions, and take turns to engage in conversations. Puppets are easily found at Dollar Stores.
*Pretend Play– Children love to role play and play-pretend! These activities offer rich learning opportunities. You can set up a shop, your own restaurant, Doctor’s office, Vet office or school classroom and have creative fun! Children can make signs, forms, lists and menus and have fun while playing with literacy. Play-Doh has learning sets which are excellent for encouraging pretend play. Sets include kitchen, barber shop, dentist, sweet shop, and more.
*Treasure Hunt- Have a Letter Treasure Hunt by hiding alphabet cards or letters around the house. Tell your child a letter sound to look for and have your child say the letter, say the sound it makes, find it and bring it to you. Have your child find something at home that starts with that letter.
*Educational Games– Games are great fun for early learning and literacy as they involve oral language, conversation, vocabulary, sharing, following directions, Wh-questions, turn-taking, and much more. If you can find literacy based games that is even better. Children love playing games with their parents and peers!
Examples: Go Fish; Old Maid, Candyland; Peaceable Kingdom Alphabet Bingo! Letter Learning Game for Kids; I Spy Dig In; BOHS Literacy Wiz Fun Game; Carson-Dellosa Publishing Time to Rhyme; The Learning Journey: Match It! Bingo – Picture Word – Reading Game for Preschool and Kindergarten; Learning Resources Alphabet Soup Sorters; and Magnetic Alphabet Letters And Numbers. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Literacy, even more ideas, please visit the following sites:
Melissa Stark – Special Education Teacher-New York, NY
As a special education teacher, you are always looking for ways to help increase your students love of learning. At the ISTE Conference( International Society for Technology in Education) in June 2019, I presented on Technologically Applying the Communication Bill of Rights to All 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 Pals. As summer school was approaching I decided to give it a try and buy one for my classroom.
Bluebee has made learning fun and age-appropriate for my students. I love that my students 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 do 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. http://frontandcentral.com/k-12-trends/technology-changing-special-education-classroom/
Special Education Teacher – Boston, MA
Meeting founder Laura Jiencke at the 2019 ISTE show and getting to see the Bluebee Pals and how the work was truly the highlight of my experience at ISTE! Winning the raffle was extra special, and I can’t wait to introduce Lily Lamb to my students when school starts in September!
The Bluebee Pal Website is fantastic, the home page is bright, inviting and uncluttered, and the tutorial videos and PDFs are really helpful. I would truly love to see the speech, O.T., and other Early Childhood teachers in Boston Public Schools using the Bluebee Pals with a wide range of our special needs populations. I plan to meet with Laura Jiencke at our school and brainstorm together how we can make this happen.
My main focus on teaching is implementing curriculum and supporting learning in all areas of the new school year. I’ve always had technology in my classroom, and I’m really excited to introduce and have my students use the Bluebee Pals! I will definitely keep track of the Bluebee Pals app and third party apps and other ways I use Bluebee Pals in the classroom. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Classrooms with Bluebee Pals Programs!
Bluebee Pals can be utilized for various early learners populations (special needs – developmental delay, Speech, O.T., bilingual, social/ emotional)
The Bluebee Pals Website provides Prek-3 curriculum and professional development information for teachers.
The Bluebee App has interactive games focusing on social-emotional, literacy, and math
The New Techie Rangers Children’s E-Book Includes a 61 Page Free Activity Guide
Bluebee Pals easily connect to storybook apps via Bluetooth to make storytelling come to life! Your Bluebee Pal will “read” any connected story, with natural head and mouth movements! Children become immediately more engaged and attentive!..https://www.bluebeepals.com
The Perfect Reading Match! Bluebee Pals and Epic Books
Reading to a child daily helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents (and educators) can give their children. Many natural educational interactions occur while reading by talking about the subject matter, elements of the story, questioning about the story, and through practicing story retelling.
Epic! -Kid’s Books and Videos by Epic Creations Inc. is a wonderful digital library for children ages 12 and under.With instant, unlimited access to 35,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos and quizzes, kids can learn, explore their interests and develop a love of reading! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/epic-kids-books-and-videos/id719219382
“Epic!’s award-winning service includes a wide variety of high-quality books and learning videos from leading publishers like Scholastic, National Geographic, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Smithsonian and many more…Epic! has been called the “Netflix of kids’ books”- it’s an unlimited library your kids can take anywhere!”
The library contains well-known books and series, such as Pete the Cat, Fancy Nancy, Biscuit, National Geographic Kids, Clifford and lots more! It offers picture books, chapter books, early readers, audiobooks, and videos. It even includes Spanish and Chinese books.
App key features include:
35,000 books and learning videos with hundreds more added weekly
Personalized recommendations for each child based on their reading level and interests
Online and offline reading (you can save books to read offline)
A reading log to track reading progress
Access to Epic! on almost any device
Includes comprehension quizzes and learning videos
FREE for elementary school teachers!!!
After a 30 day free trial, it is $7.99 a month for parents
Users can easily search according to interests
Highlighted text option
Filter books by reader age, AR Level, Lexile Measure, fiction and non fiction
Pairs easily with Bluebee Pals!
*Paired together, Bluebee Pals and Epic: Motivational Reading Tools
*Set aside daily time reading time. Find somewhere quiet without any distractions.
*Let the Child Pick the Book! One excellent way to get young children involved in the reading aloud process is to allow them to select the book you read.
*Don’t Be Afraid of Wordless Picture Books!When reading a wordless picture book, ask the children questions such as:
• What do you think is happening here? (comprehension)
• What makes you think that? (inferring)
• What do you think will happen next? (predicting)
• Why? (vocabulary and oral language)
*Start Small. The younger the child the shorter the attention span.
In the beginning, choose shorter books or books that are not too text-heavy. Then, as you notice their attention spans getting longer, you can start reading longer books.
*Read It Again! Reading the same book multiple times can really help children develop language skills and improve reading comprehension.
*Read Aloud to Big Kids, too! Reading aloud isn’t just for young children who can’t read on their own yet. Kids usually listen on a higher level than they read.
*Explain Some New Words.Explain a few of the words your children may not have heard before – no more than half. Each time you re-read the book, you can explain different new words to build vocabulary.
*Point to the pictures and encourage your child to talk about the book. Talking about the characters and their situations helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues.
*Give your child plenty of response time. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel.
*Relate the story or illustrations to something your child knows. This will help them make connections to their own life experiences.
￼*Above all else…make reading fun and enjoy the time together with your child!
Bluebee Pal is a plush educational learning tool that can be connected to a tablet, phone or computer via Bluetooth. Once connected to a device (such as an iPhone or iPad), this interactive educational tool can talk, read and sing. As an app reviewer for Bluebee Pals for the past four years, I have discovered countless ways of utilizing Bluebee Pal Assistive Technology Tools in AAC Therapy to meet speech and language goals with my clients that present complex communication needs. To see my app reviews on Bluebee Pal’s website, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/).
In order to meet these goals below, you would need two different devices. One device that is connected to Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth and one that has a communication system installed, whether dedicated or non-dedicated for your student. As an SLP that has specialized in the field of AAC of the past 18 years, I generally target multiple goals during a variety of activities. In this article, I want to share how to use Bluebee Pal to meet AAC goals in both the therapy and in the classroom.
Ten AAC Goals Achieved with Bluebee Pals
Reading a Story: Since Bluebee Pal is connected to your device, this tool can read any book to your student that is downloaded on an app or available online. When reading the story, pause, ask questions and encourage your student to comment via their AAC system. Listening to Bluebee Pal read the story can be engaging and exciting for a child, which can help meet your goals more readily. Some of my favorite story apps include Go Away Green Monster and Crepes for Suzette. I also like the story time apps One More Story and Storybots. For more suggestions of story time apps, check out my article here (http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/18/5-excellent-storytelling-apps-for-kids-with-special-needs/)
Improving Choice Making: During an AAC evaluation or training present Bluebee as a choice for requesting. With the child’s communication device, they can work on creating sentences and use describing words to request Bluebee. This would be a great opportunity to create the sentence, “I want soft Zebra”, or “I want blue puppy”. For those children who want to figure out how to say Bluebee without it being programmed, navigate to colors for “blue” and then the “bugs” page for bee. Combine to say Bluebee! Other ways that a child can make choices is within the app itself. The child can request specific sounds within a soundboard app like in the picture below. This is a wonderful opportunity for creative and complex sentences that can be modeled and then communicated by the child
Answer “wh”Questions: This is often a common goal that appears on IEPs and lesson plans. Use Bluebee pal to ask questions in the app About You and Me by Super Duper Publications. Responding to Bluebee pal can increase motivation and engagement among students. This can also help the student practice answering “wh” questions about themselves.
Social Story Companion: Social stories are commonplace in special education classroom because they help meet a variety of both social and communication goals. Use an app such as Pictello and let Bluebee read the social story with your student.
Pretend Play: Bluebee Pal is perfect for dramatic play! Since Bluebee is a stuffed animal, he can participate in lots of different play from dress up to be at a tea party! There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate Bluebee into dramatic play. Bluebee can start conversations with your student via being connected to a communication app or provide the voice and music in the app such as Toca Boca Tea Party.
Use for AAC Assessment: The app that I use often for assessment is AAC Genie. With Bluebee connected, this tool can help with assessment. Let this educational tool guide your student through the protocol which can help keep the child motivated during the evaluation. For a more in-depth look at how to use Bluebee with AAC genie, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/make-aac-assessment-interactive-bluebee-pal-pro/)
Learn Phonics: Learning phonics and literacy is the key to communication. With the app, Phonics you can expose your student to exploring phonics. Another way is using the phonic keyboard on Touch Chat with Word Power during a literacy activity. Let Bluebee Pal answer the question, “What does the letter “a” sound like?”
Categorization: Working on categorization is another common goal to target during speech and language therapy. When a child can learn categories more readily, this can help speed up communication and expand vocabulary. It can also help with improving word association. With one app that I reviewed called Categories Therapy Lite, Bluebee Pal can help a child learn categories. To learn more about learning categories with Bluebee Pal, click on the app review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/category-therapy-lite-bluebee-pals/).
Learning Actions: Learn actions with the app, Actions in Video. This app can help students combine symbols together into sentences focused on actions. At the end of the sentence, hear Bluebee Pal say the whole sentence or record your own voice. To practice on their AAC system, ask them to construct the same sentences on their AAC system with modeling and prompting as needed.
Turn-Taking in Conversation: Bluebee Is a perfect companion for practicing taking turns in conversation. This can be done with a Bluebee connected to an iPad with a communication app or within an app such as Elmo Calls. For more tips on how to use Elmo Calls with Bluebee, check out my review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/phone-calls-elmo/).
According to ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association), “Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an area of clinical practice that addresses the needs of individuals with significant and complex communication disorders characterized by impairments in speech-language production and/or comprehension, including spoken and written modes of communication. AAC uses a variety of techniques and tools, including picture communication boards, line drawings, speech-generating devices (SGDs), tangible objects, manual signs, gestures, and finger spelling, to help the individual express thoughts, wants and needs, feelings, and ideas. AAC is augmentative when used to supplement existing speech, and alternative when used in place of speech that is absent or not functional. AAC may be temporary, as when used by patients postoperatively in intensive care, or permanent, as when used by an individual who will require the use of some form of AAC throughout his or her lifetime.”
There has been incredible advancements since I began in the field of AAC in 1999. In 1999, there were speech generating devices available as well as Boardmaker, but color printers were still rare and those crayons and markers came in handy to color in communication boards! Now, coloring in symbols seems archaic compared to the amazing technology available today with the invention of the iPad and other tablets. The advancement in computers has also brought significant changes in the field with easier access to eye gaze and other access methods.
Many people that I meet that are not speech language pathologists and/or in the field of AAC, think the development of AAC began with iPads and other tablets but this can not be further from the truth! In this article, I am going to give you a brief overview of the history with excellent links to more information and articles on the topic.
How did AAC develop and when?
According to Gregg C. Vanderheiden, PhD (2002), “In plotting the course of early augmentative communication, it is important to follow three different threads of development. One is the development of early electromechanical communication and writing systems. The second is research on ordinary (without disability) child language development, and the third is communication and language boards. These three threads developed largely independently until the 60s and 70s, when they merged to form what we now know as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Computer access then evolved out of the interface portion of this work, particularly the thread dealing with human machine interface (with its roots in the conversation and writing machines).”
What was the first AAC device?
According to Gregg C. Vanderheiden, PhD (2002), “Perhaps the earliest electric communication device was the POSM (Patient Operated Selector Mechanism), a sip-and-puff typewriter controller first prototyped by Reg Maling in 1960 (one of several he eventually created) Reg was a volunteer visitor at Stoke Manderville hospital (for paralyzed people) and noticed that they had only a bell to communicate with. This inspired him to develop the very first POSM for them. A Communications System for the Handicapped (Comhandi) was developed in 1964, consisting of a scanning teletypewriter controller with an illuminated display.”
Who is eligible for AAC?
When I teach my graduate class, I always review the “zero reject model”, which means that no one is ever rejected for communication based on their cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Anyone with complex communication needs are eligible for AAC. In my career as a speech language pathologist in the field of AAC, I have evaluated and trained both children and adults with Congenital disorders (disorders that children are born with such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome), Acquired Disorders (e.g. disorders that are acquired after birth such as Muscular Dystrophy, Traumatic Brain Injury), Degenerative Disorders (e.g. such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, etc.), and Temporary Conditions (e.g. such a someone in the hospital who can’t temporarily communicate). https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/
Do you want to learn more about AAC? Learn more about it here.
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/#
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