Welcome To Helen's CornerApp Reviews by Helen Wagner, She is a public school SLP helping preschoolers
Bluebee Pal Teacher Ambassador Helen Wagner
I often use our classroom Bluebee Pals during therapy to work on reading, talking and playing skills! My students really relate to their Bluebee therapy friends, and look forward to learning with them!
Teaching and learning begin at home. Parents are the first and most important teachers in the early, developmental years. Young children learn essential, foundational speech, receptive and expressive language, social, pre-reading, cognitive, numeracy and communication skills necessary for future academic success through meaningful play and lots of language rich learning opportunities.
Read, Read, Read!
Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading daily to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents can give their children. Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning about the story, and practicing story retelling.
Talk, Talk, Talk!
Play, Play, Play!
Oh Boy! It’s October! My students and I are getting all geared up for plenty of good books and apps! Here are some of our favorites for this month! Grab your Bluebee Pal and try one out!
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Loud Crow Interactive Inc
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown/id552498441?mt=8. Gather around with your Bluebee Friends and enjoy this classic Halloween tale, complete with the original narration! Create your own avatar and costume, and carve a pumpkin! All of your Peanuts friends are here to celebrate the big event! Will the Great Pumpkin make an appearance?This is a great book to read and discuss, retell, and practice sequencing!
Mystery Word Town – Sight Word Spelling by Artgig Studio
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystery-word-town-sight-word-spelling/id983733111?mt=8 This is a fun app to practice spelling skills! Your goal is to find the gold and capture the outlaws in Word Town! Explore the buildings to complete spelling challenges. Featuring 3 levels of difficulty, you can use the included word lists, or create your own. You can even record your voice to use with your own words. This is an excellent way to easily practice spelling and vocabulary words. For use with single or multiple players. My kids have so much fun, they forget they are learning! You can play this game with your Bluebee Pal by your side!
Mystery Math Museum by Artgig Studio
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystery-math-museum/id640754583?mt= This is an engaging app for practicing math skills while exploring 8 museums while helping a friendly ghost rescue dragonflies! Unlock rooms and passages as you practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Select the skills you want to work on by customizing the activities to suit your needs! Great for problem solving and critical thinking skills!
Room on the Broom: Flying by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/room-on-the-broom-flying/id949494519?mt=8Take control of the friendly witch’s broom and fly across the sky! Collect stars along the way to see how high you can score! Pick up all of your friends, but watch out for the fire-breathing dragon! Catch letters to spell words! What fun!
Room on the Broom: Games by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/room-on-the-broom-games/id705107094?mt=8 There are 8 magical games to play to foster creativity and critical thinking skills, all while having fun! Collect medals while playing the games, which feature all of the wonderful characters from the book! You can fly from star to star making pictures in the sky, help the dragon eat his favorite food, help find things the friendly witch has dropped, and much, much more!
“Room on the Broom”
https://www.amazon.com/Room-Broom-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0142501123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507780874&sr=8-1&keywords=room+on+the+broom .One of our favorite books to read in October is “Room on the Broom”. We complete language learning activities centered around the book. the book, from Amazon: “The witch and the cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and they all return to ride on the broom. But is there room for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?”After reading the book, I let my students play the companion games which are available in the iTunes App Store. There are 2 apps and we love to play both!
Summertime is over! Kids are back in school! Gather your Bluebee Pals and children and get ready to learn! Here are some favorite apps from our classroom to help you get back in the “groove”!
Zap Zap Kindergarten Math
This app features colorful intergalactic mini-math games targeting foundational math skills such as developing number sense, counting to 100, addition and subtraction to 20, making comparisons, shapes and measurements, 2 and 3 dimensional shapes, and more. It uses an adaptive learning function that challenges while adjusting the difficulty level of each game to meet learner needs. Children have so much fun flying their spaceship in outer space, earning jigsaw puzzle pieces, and unlocking new spaceships!
Hideout: Early Reading
Grab your favorite Bluebee Pal for this fun, interactive early reading app! Featuring 9 totally engaging mini-games, your child will practice blending sounds into words with the following phonics patterns: -AP, -OP, -IT, -ET, -EN, -AG, -UB, -IP, -OCK. Each pattern is presented with sound blending practice to make words, a fun mini-game, and a short read aloud using words from the game. Activities are lively and students love to play over and over. A great beginning app for struggling or beginning readers!
Avokiddo ABC Ride – Fun Alphabet and Spelling Games
ABC Ride is one of our favorites! Hop on your bike and go on an alphabet adventure! Ride to each letter of the alphabet for fun play in each of 26 activity scenes. Solve puzzles, find hidden letters, and practice spelling skills. You can ride to each letter scene in order, or choose to visit letters randomly. Jump and jiggle on the jelly for J, Cram the candy into Clyde, Bop the balloons to break them, or change Dotty’s dirty diaper (this one always elicits lots of giggles)! With your Bluebee Pal, learning the alphabet is fun! My students love the zany, interactive activities!
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
I love teaching through books! Lots of my students lack exposure to some of the “classics”! This is the traditional story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, with a twist. As you read the story, there are on- screen questions and comments to get your child thinking and to stimulate conversation, vocabulary, and language. The app also offers a read and record feature where your child can record themselves retelling the story! This is a fun app for language development, sequencing, and vocabulary. It is especially fun to read along with your favorite Bluebee Pal! My kids have a blast when their Bluebee Pal reads the story back to them in their own voice! You Tell Me Stories, Inc. offer lots of interactive books, check them out!
It’s back to school time! We have some new, enjoyable apps on our classroom iPad to share with you!
SPOTLIGHT APP: Lively Letters – Phonemic Awareness & Phonics by Telian-Cas Learning Concepts Inc
Lively Letters is an exciting new app developed to teach letter sounds. This app goes beyond traditional drill and practice, by actually teaching letter recognition using memory skills, hand and mouth cues, and songs associated with each letter.
Letters are taught through the use of colorful alphabet letters which have been individually embedded with memorable characters. There are three activities to choose from: Flashing, Tracking, and Matching. In the flashing activity, a thorough explanation of how to produce each letter is provided, along with an associated hand/mouth cue, and a matching song for the letter. Each letter is represented by a character, and the story behind each letter provides visual memory cues to help remember the letter name. There is also a letter tracing task! In the flashing task, up to 10 consonants and vowels may be selected to work with. Students investigate letters to create both real and nonsense words. There is a letter tracing feature here also, along with space to draw a picture of a created word. In the matching task, students tap letters to make matches, while practicing producing the sounds they make.
The app tracks progress, and allows for customization in choosing the type of letters to use (character letters vs plain letters), and background theme. A recording feature is provided so that the child can practice saying sounds and words. This app is a stand-alone companion to the Lively Letters program.
What a great little jewel to teach foundational sound-symbol association skills. Plus, you can connect your Bluebee Pal for extra fun during the sing-a-longs and sound production practice!
The Adventures of the Three Little Pigs by Irene Deev
My students love storybooks, and this one is a new favorite. This is the traditional tale of the little piggies’ encounters with the big ‘ole bad wolf, told with a modern twist. The story is interactive and, of course, has a happy ending. There are random interactive questions during the story that my students like to watch for. It is a winner when Bluebee reads to my kids!
Tiggly Chef Addition: Preschool Math Cooking Game by Tiggly
In our classroom, we love Tiggly! Learn early addition facts while you assist the Chef in following directions and counting out ingredients to create clever, outlandish dishes! Features 3 different kitchens with math skills progressing in difficulty. This app is lots of fun for learning beginning addition skills! This app can be used with or without the Tiggly Learning System manipulatives for iPad. My kids get s kick out of it!
Think & Learn Code-a-pillar™ by Fisher-Price
Computers are here to stay, and it is a great idea to start kids out learning the basic concepts of coding. In this app, children use thinking, problem solving, memory and math skills to help Code-a-pillar follow a path to navigate obstacles and complete a maze. The difficulty of play increases as you master each maze. Engaging, child-friendly graphics and great directions during game play make this a winner!
For the child who is having difficulty producing single consonant sounds, this is a fun, easy to use app that your young child will enjoy. Boo the frog will help you practice speech sounds, then help you practice them in the initial position of syllables. Select a sound, drag it into the sound box, and Boo will say it for you. As he says the sound, his mouth moves and shows the user how to make the sound using tongue and lips! You can play the sound fast or slow, and have Boo repeat multiple times for auditory bombardment and visualization. Now, Choose an ending vowel sound to create a syllable, and Boo will blend the sounds for you to practice. Your child can record and playback practices! For even more fun, pair your favorite Bluebee Pal with the app and he can be the teacher as he speaks for Boo!
Thinkrolls Logic and Physics Puzzles for Kids:
If you haven’t tried this app yet, your kids will be in for an A-“maze”-ing treat! It will keep them engaged for hours of play….and the best thing about it is that not only will they have fun playing, they will be building thinking, logic, memory, and problem solving skills at the same time. The app features delightful characters who kids must maneuver through physics-based tasks to complete a puzzle maze. The completion of one maze leads to the next! If you make a wrong move, it’s easy to start the level over without losing your place! There are plenty of levels, and each one builds upon the next. Levels include cookies, crates, balloons, rocks, jellies, fire, and elevators. There are unlimited trials and no penalties during play. This app is totally 100% irresistible! My students love it! Plus, there is also a Thinkrolls 2. Your kids will want both!
Feed Me! (US English) – PencilBot School Pack by Edutainment Resources, Inc.
Feed Me offers lots and lots of fun comprehensive practice in basic preschool and kindergarten foundational skills! Featuring 34 concepts and over 40 skills, along with 600 questions, there is something for everyone! Players feed a cute little monster the food he is thinking of, and then watch him gobble it up! Practice math, letters and sounds, opposites, rhyming, feelings, animals and their homes, weather, healthy habits, colors and shapes, and more! Connect to your Bluebee Pal and he can make the gobbling sound! There are so many subjects to choose from and to explore. Plus, progress is tracked for you!
Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media:
Nothing says summertime like a trip to the beach, either real or imagined! Join Grandma and take a summer adventure! Play 7 educational games! Beach Gear, Airplane Rhymes, Beach Art, Umbrella Matching, Coconut Math, Word Find Puzzle, and Tide Pool Critters! Waterski with Grandpa, create a fireworks show, and watch videos about beach wildlife and water sports! Enjoy lots of fast-paced fun while learning! Connect with your Bluebee Pal, who can play Grandma!
Yes / No Barn: Answering Yes No Questions by Smarty Ears-Yes/No Barn is a great app to help work on thinking and reasoning skills, and answering yes/no questions across a variety of contexts. Featuring over 300 questions in a colorful, attractive barn scene format, the app focuses on 6 question types: Basic Questions, Look and Answer, Fact-Based Questions, Variable Answers, Comparing Pictures, and Questions About a Scene.
You can track data across multiple users and question types. I love the simple, clean interface and my students love answering the questions when we connect to our Bluebee Pals! I love to set up our Bluebee Pals at my table as the “teacher “ while students sharpen listening and language skills. This app is also fun to use to work on recognizing absurdities, problem solving, and generates lots of conversational interactions! Bluebee Pals really foster active engagement!
Many of my students have difficulty with listening, comprehending, and following directions! This is a basic skill needed for academic and life-long success. We use this app in speech therapy to work on these skills, and of course, our Bluebee Pals help us out by giving students the directives to follow!
Funny Directions provides 4 familiar environments/picture scenes, for interactive fun while working on listening and comprehension skills: Beach, Bedroom, Park, and Classroom. There are three difficulty levels on which to build listening skills. Children enjoy investigating colorful objects in each scene and talking about the funny directions they are given!
Animal Math Games for Kids in Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade Learning Numbers, Counting, Addition and Subtraction Premium by Eggroll Games LLC
Math Games, from Eggroll Games, offers fun math practice with correlation to kindergarten common core objectives ( they also offer similar apps for preschool, first and second grade math skills- just pick your desired app for your child’s level). Featuring a farm setting, children have fun, colorful practice in building and maintaining math fluency skills. Activities include counting, number recognition, addition and subtraction up to 5, categories, and geometry. Students will count to 100, recognize shapes, compare numbers, and answer “how many”questions. My students and parents really enjoy the variety of math skills targeted. Graphics are colorful and the narration is excellent!
Word Wizard is a phonics-based spelling app that allows the user to build and practice words and hear them pronounced in English. It features a moveable alphabet where the user drags letters to a board to build words.
There are two ways to play:
Moveable Alphabet: This is an area of free play where the user can play with the alphabet letters and spell any desired word to hear it spoken. Tap on a letter to hear it’s sound. Drag letters to the spelling board to make words. Separate the letters in a word to hear the individual sounds in a word, then put them together to hear the whole word. Since this is a phonics based program, when the letters sh, th, ch are put together, the correct pronunciation for the diagraphs is spoken.
Spelling Quizzes: Included in the app are built-in spelling quizzes to practice CVC words, Dolch words, 1000 most frequently used words, numbers, colors, animals, body, clothes, family members, food, sports, nature and shapes. While in this level, the user can click on an icon to hear the targeted word repeated, and can tap on a question mark icon to receive a spelling hint. Additionally, the user can easily customize his/her own words lists! Practice your own spelling words! The app will track progress by providing the number of words spelled with and without hints.
Let’s Expand Vocabulary: This is a wonderful app to use to target expressive language, vocabulary, categorization skills, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, word retrieval, and wh questions! There are 4 levels of play-Odd One Out, Matching Pairs, Categorization, and Add Another. All of these games are focused on working on categorization skills.
You can add 2 fun games into the mix and you have a winner! We love to work on vocabulary skills using our Bluebee Pals, to foster engagement and interactive play. Our Bluebee Pal reads the category task aloud, and each student selects the appropriate answer.
Sound Salad: This app is a sound-association game designed to help your child attend to and discriminate various sounds we hear. It supports auditory perception, memory, sequencing, and critical thinking skills. From easy to more advanced listening tasks, this game enables students to listen for critical information.
My students love it when we use it with our Bluebee Pals! Our Bluebee Pal “says” the sound, and the students listen and respond by matching sounds to pictures.
Is That Silly? : This is a great app to use for practicing answering questions, logical thinking, expressive and receptive language, thought organization, listening for information, and recognizing absurdities.
The student is presented with a colorful picture scene, and has to state whether the accompanying sentence describing the picture is Silly or Not Silly. Then, the picture is presented again for the student to tell what is or is not silly about the picture.
This is awesome for critical thinking and problem solving skills, too! Using a Bluebee Pal to read the silly sentence, the student then responds by giving the answer. The interactivity with our Bluebee Pal makes the learning even more fun!
Listening Power Grades K-3 HD by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Power Grades K-3 is one of our favorite apps to use with our Bluebee Pals in speech therapy! It is so much fun to work on language and listening skills with a Bluebee learning partner. There are 4 main areas of focus in this educational app: Listening for Meaning, Listening for Grammar, Listening for Word Memory, and Listening for Stories.
Select your difficulty level and get your listening ears ready. Your Bluebee Pal will read the questions out loud, and you will listen and select the correct answer! There are two games to play as a reward. The Door Game (Can you find what you are asked to look for?), and the Basketball Hoops game. The app even tracks progress and allows for multiple players across multiple difficulty levels. This is a great app for independent or small group work! Check it out!
Professor Pup’s Phoneme Farm by Colvard Learning, LLC . Professor Pup’s Phoneme Farm is a great place to visit to work on beginning phonemic awareness and phonics skills! Featuring fun, animated listening activities for identifying sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words, this is a hit with my students!
The app also helps work on rhyming, sound blending, segmentation, sound manipulation, and deletion. I really like the engaging graphics, narrator, and option to select the specific skills you want to work on! This app tracks progress across multiple users. There are several interactive activities for each sound for lots of auditory bombardment. Bluebee Pals are perfect to pair with this app!
Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow …Just for fun. I like to introduce my students to classic fairy tales. This version of Jack and the Beanstalk is very engaging and has lots of interactivity to it to make the story come to life. It is a combination of story, game play, and exploration.
Students can collect keys to unlock different rooms in the castle and complete activities. You can wake up the giant in different places to make lots of different endings to the story. Fun to use for encouraging creativity and imagination and story retell skills. You can target lots and lots of receptive and expressive language with Jack’s story. Bluebee Pals add to the magic of the story!
In our speech therapy classroom, many of my students with language disorders have difficulty asking and answering Wh- questions in meaningful and grammatically correct ways. We work on Wh- questions in a variety of fun activities. One of our favorite apps to use is “WH Questions”, by Smarty Ears Apps. In this multi-user app, there are plenty of practice opportunities for Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? questions.
There are 2 primary learning activities: Speak My Answers and Select My Answers. The user can select the question type(s) desired for each activity.
In Speak My Answers, the app reads the question aloud (this is where it gets really fun)! We use our Bluebee Pals, and they read the questions to us, just like in a real conversation! The Bluebee Pal asks the question, and the student replies, using the record feature. Then, when the recording of the student is played back, the student can hear his/her own productions (with the Bluebee Pal speaking in the student’s voice)! Performance data is even tracked, if desired.
In Select My Answers, the app (Bluebee Pal) asks a question and three choices are given at the bottom of the screen for the student to pick from. My students absolutely love using their Bluebee Pals to help them work on Wh-questions! They are wonderful for increased engagement and participation!
In speech therapy, we work on language, vocabulary, story retelling, and comprehension skills. “The Little Red Hen with WordWinks and Retell, Record & Share”, by You Tell Me Stories App, Inc., is a fantastic book to use with Bluebee Pals to target language and communication skills! In this storybook app, students can listen to the story read aloud by their favorite Bluebee Pal, can read the story to their Bluebee Pal, and can sequence, retell and record the story for their Bluebee Pal to read back to them!
This app has a unique feature, called WordWinks that uses extra comments during the story to maximize comprehension skills. This helps students understand the vocabulary or thoughts used in the story, and stimulates conversation and critical thinking skills.
I LOVE using story books that have a “moral to the story” that supports character education skills. Bluebee Pals make the lessons even more entertaining, which leads to improved attending and engagement during class, and increased acquisition of learning objectives!
Wagner’s App Recommendations/Favorites: February 2017
Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SLP
In my classroom, we do lots of apps with our Bluebee Friends, to learn communication, language and academic skills. Learning with Bluebees is always entertaining, engaging, and fun!
In February, we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and we read lots of his classic stories with our Bluebee classroom friends. We use these books with lots of repetitive text to develop attending, listening comprehension, rhyming, sequencing, wh-questions and more! My students are always thrilled to read along with a Bluebee Pal! Dr. Seuss books are classic reads, great to elicit lots of conversation, emotions and opinions! Some of my students’ favorite Dr. Seuss storybook apps, from Oceanhouse Media, are:
Another app we have been having fun learning with is the Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games from The Learning Station, LLC. This is a great app for beginning readers. Featuring three levels of play, there are storybooks and related games which help build phonics, vocabulary and reading skills.
I love that Bluebee Pals integrate very nicely with the Reading Train! Listen, read, and record books! We like to let our Bluebee Pal read a letter book to us, (like the D book), then we read it back to him, and then we record the books in our voices and our Bluebee Pal, in return, reads it to us in our own voices! What interactive fun! Teaches colors, numbers, shapes, life science, animals, letters and lots more!
For Valentine’s week, my preschoolers will be learning about Valentine’s Day and some of its’ traditions. Our Bluebee friends will be reading Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day, by iStoryTime. It is a simple, sweet story about passing out Valentines. We will work on Valentines’ vocabulary, asking and answering wh-questions, talk about sharing, loving our friends and family, and talk about making valentines (before we make our own valentines). The app also has a coloring book, sticker book, memory game and puzzle…great for cognitive skills development and early learning fun.
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