ABCs 4 SLPs - E is for Expanding Expression Tool (EET)
When I first learned about the Expanding Expression Tool, it was 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, Michigan, and 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, so the first thing I bought when I started speech-language therapy was the Expanding Expression Tool Kit. Since then, the Expanding Expression Tool Kit has expanded. It now has many add-ons. To read more about the Expanding Expression Tool (EET), EET lessons, and more, continue reading!
What is the Expanding Expression Tool (EET), how do I use it, and where can I get one? These are three questions that I get asked frequently when I discuss the EET with speech-language pathologists who have not seen it before. Below is an image of the kit itself. It comes with a box with handle for easy transportation, the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) large strand, the Expanding Expression manual with worksheets, 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. The whole kit is $229 and it is well worth it.
You can purchase multiple add-ons when you buy your Expanding Expression Tool Kit. These include student strands, an additional large strand, EETCHY steppers, EET stickers for writing, and Show and Share/Secret Object Guessing Game Bags. Things you can purchase separately are t-shirts, dice, and a Beary Good Sentences game. You can purchase the Expanding Expression Tool Kit on http://www.expandingexpression.com.
So how do you use the Expanding Expression Tool? This tool is all about expanding language skills (expressive and receptive). Each bead on the strand stands for a different concept. Green stands for "group" (or category of an object), blue stands for "do" (what an object/animal does or what you do with it), the eyeball stands for "what does it look like" (such as shape, size, and color), the wooden bead stands for "what is it made of" (what an object is made of or a person's character traits), the pink bead stands for "parts" (parts of a person, place, or thing), white stands for "where" (where you can find it), and the orange question mark bead stands for "what else do I know?" (any additional facts or information). All of these beads and sayings rhyme which help students remember what the beads stand for. These beads help a student expand on what they know about a topic, object, place, or person/animal. The EET can be used for conversational skills (expanding a topic), writing (expanding a sentence or paragraph), receptive vocabulary (knowledge about an object), and expressive language (stating or writing information about an object). Here is an example of a students' writing before using the Expanding Expression Tool and after (also shows use of the stickers) from the Expanding Expression Tool website:
You can then develop the writing further into flowing paragraphs or speech once you have all of the information compiled. The EET can also be used to compare/contrast two different objects, concepts, topics, people, and more.
A while back, I created EET strands for my individual students, because I thought that I couldn't buy ones the company made without buying the kit (the kit was bought through a school account, not mine). However, Sara stated that it was fine. So, I went back and bought another strand and EETCHY steps (which I was delighted to do since they are high quality). I want to be very clear that in a post I created previously, I shared how I made EET strands, but it has been deleted as I want to be clear that I am not justifying creating your own EET without the kit or creating your own without buying the student strands. The EET is copyright of Sara Smith and you need the entire package and to read through it so that you can understand how to use the entire system.
When I first got a Pinterest account, I posted the picture what I had created for my students. Speech Time Fun also shared what she created for her students as well as an activity to use with it. Once again, none of the bloggers I am mentioning in this post condone creating your own EET strands in mass quantities/selling them because it is against copyright and recommend purchasing the kit to understand the entire system. You can read the post here but below are the images:
Speech Room News used an EET for a baseball game. You can read the post here. She also combined Super Duper Publications' Articulation Bingo boards and the EET for another activity. This post can be read here. Finally, she also used the EET and stickers that come with the kit with her Angry Birds writing sheets seen here. All images of the activities are below:
Another website that featured the EET on foam hats is Speech Language Pathology Communication Center. On this website for SLPs, they found a foam hat in each color of the EET and wrote the words corresponding with each hat. This is great if you have enough students where each person can wear a hat or are teaching a classroom lesson on the EET.
The biggest EET that I have seen so far has to be on the door of It's THUMB...Not FUMB SLP author's door! She decorated it EET style for March is Reading Month! Check out the image here:
Finally, there are some great news articles on different school websites featuring the EET. Students at St. Mary of Assumption School can be seen below using the EETCHY Steppers and Cambridge School's students can be seen below painting beads for their own EETs:
Have you done any creative projects with the Expanding Expression Tool or created any great worksheets to go along with it? I would love to hear about them! The Expanding Expression Tool is one of my favorites to this day and I am always open to hearing new ideas for how to use it!