Create Your Own Student EETs!

When I first started on Pinterest and wanted to get Consonantly Speaking's name out before I started the blog, I posted photos of four of my creations. One was my speech drawers, another was my student response flip cards, the third was my letters on popscicle sticks, and finally, my favorite, the Expanding Expression Tool copies for each of my students. However, when I first posted these images, I did not thing of placing my logo over-top (in fact, I don't think I had a logo at the time), so the only thing that shows that I posted these ideas is that it states "uploaded by user". Now, being wiser, I have taken a better quality photo of my EETs and placed my logo over top. Before I start this entry, I want to state that I did not create the idea for the Expanding Expression Tool, that was Sara L. Smith. In addition, I am not promoting people not to buy her product. Quite the opposite. I feel that you need to know how to use the Expanding Expression Tool before you can create your own worksheets, mini-EETs, etc.

I first learned about the Expanding Expression Tool before I had even started my undergraduate degree. Sara L. Smith was seated at a booth at the Michigan Speech-Language Hearing Association's annual conference in Mt. Pleasant. I was giving a presentation with my previous employer about using volunteers to model appropriate social, speech, and language behavior for children with disabilities. I stepped over to her booth and asked about the product, as it reminded me of a cute wiggle-worm. From then on, I knew that I wanted one for myself.

Expanding Expression Tool kit

Above is the kit itself. It comes with a box with handle for easy transportation, the Expanding Expression Tool (EET), the Expanding Expression manual, object cards for describing, sticker cards for writing, a classroom poster, a dice game, and instructional icons with examples of how to use the EET for writing and different subject areas. I have purchased this kit for my classroom, but I wished I had bought the student strands at the time. You cannot buy them individually, unfortunately, and they are $7 a strand when you purchase the kit. The whole kit is $229, but believe me, it is well worth it. I use it with my students and one my school's special education teachers is borrowing the manual so that she can use it for her students as well. For more information about the Expanding Expression Tool, visit I am not going to go over what the strategy is in this blogpost, just how I made my individual mini-strands.

So, due to the fact that I had not purchased student strands for those students on my caseload who would benefit from having an individual EET in the classroom, I decided one day to make some. I made about 50.

Individual Student EET

In order to make these individual strands, I took a picture of my EET classroom poster and made a table of the accompanying part of the poster to describe/give more information for each of the colors on the back. I printed the photo and the table and taped them together back-to-back. Then, I laminated the photos. I bought some plastic string at Michaels and cut small pieces to tie onto the laminated photo. I also tied a keyring to each so that the students could attach it to their binders/pockets/etc. After that, I took small plastic beads (also purchased at Michaels) and strung them onto the plastic string. I made sure to anchor the first and last beads by tying them extra with space inbetween to move the other beads up and down. The beads I used were green (with a drawn-on smiley face), blue, white (with a drawn-on dot for an eyeball), beige/tan (because they didn't have brown), pink, white, and orange (with a drawn-on question mark).

These took about two hours to make 50, but when I handed them to each student, they had a smile on their face. In addition, I presented a classroom lesson to some second graders on how to use the EET and gave the classroom teacher a copy of the classroom poster. They loved it and my students jumped up to present on the overhead with their own strands. When I come into the classroom and they are working on describing objects/vocabulary, they know to pull out their individual EETs and slide the beads as they describe. Also, they often bring their EETs to speech so that as I slide the beads on my big EET, they can slide their own on their small EET. The greatest part about each of the students having their own EET is that they are starting to carry-over the strategies that the EET teaches into the classroom!

Before I end this entry, I also wanted to state that Jenna Rayburn, of Speech Room News, saw my EET on Pinterest (of course not having known whose pin it was due to me not having put the Consonantly Speaking logo on it) and created her own! If you are looking for a different way to make this for your classroom/students, I would encourage you to take our ideas and check them out! In addition, she also created a Bingo game to play with the EET on her same post! I would recommend going to her blog post and checking it out!

I hope that some of you are able to use this idea to create some EET fun of your own! This idea is great if your district does not have the money to purchase individual strands for each student who needs one or if you are looking to send some EETs home! It only took me about $6-8 to make 50, and I still have plastic string/beads left over! Once again, I promote purchasing the kit and I am not the original creator of the Expanding Expression Tool. Visit to see the original product in which this idea was modeled after!

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