I had heard so much about the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) program by Sara L. Smith on SLP blogs like Speech Room News , Carrie’s Speech Corner, Speech Time Fun, and Crazy Speech World that I had to try it out for myself. I ordered the program and a few accessories with my allotted money for this school year. I work mainly with the articulation and fluency students at my school using the 5 Minute Kids program and just a few language students. I wanted to share this program with the school but like with any new program teachers can be hesitant. The school where I work contains 13 fourth grade classes and 12 fifth grade classes divided into 3 teams for each grade. I asked for one team from each team to volunteer to pilot the EET program at our school. I quickly had 2 teams volunteer.
For each teacher I prepared a folder that contained sample forms, templates for the different ways to use EET, circles for each section to display in their rooms, and a schedule of activities to practice the program. Here is a list of links that I used to find additional resources for them to use.
I shared this link with the teachers to encourage them to participate as well.
I explained to the teachers that volunteered to pilot the program that I would come into their classroom and teach an introduction to the program. I stressed that they needed to follow the schedule of activities that I had given them in their packet of information in order for the program to be successful. I scheduled a 45 minute block the first week of school with each classroom to start the training.
Here is how the lesson went:
I started the lesson by collecting baseline information. I showed the students a kite and asked them to write everything that they can about the kite. I instructed them to pretend like they were telling an alien, who had never seen this item before all about it. I told them that they had 12 minutes to write everything they could. As expected some wrote a few things and others wrote the entire time. I was often asked how I wanted it written ( list, sentence, or paragraph). I just repeated that they needed to write everything they could about the kite. When the time was up I collected the baselines to analyze later using the form included in the EET kit.
I brought into the class a bag with a football in it that the kids could not see. I told them we were going to play a guessing game to figure out what was in my bag. I really hyped up the excitement I had for what was in my bag. I then read the following description of the football that came from Tools for Oral & Written Language Introduction Lesson-Secret Object
“My secret object is really fun. I bet you don’t know what it is. I bought it at the store with my mom, my brother, and my grandma Linda. We bought it at Meijer. My friends all have one of these items and sometimes they bring them to school. It’s really fun to use with all my friends. I like it a lot. Every day I use this item and my friends use it every day too. Mine is brown, but my friend Sarah has one that’s green and she uses hers a lot too. If you want to buy one too you should drive to the store and find one and buy it if you have some money. I think you would like it and use it a lot. I like this item. It’s so much fun!”
I then asked the students to guess what was in my bag. The guesses varied from iPods to pencils but only on one occasion did someone guess right. Once I revealed what the item was I asked the class why they didn’t know what I was talking about. In each session a student would say because you didn’t give us details about the object. This introduction activity was to demonstrate the importance of details when giving information.
Next I showed the class the poster that is in the EET kit that explains each circle. After the introduction to the EET program, we read together the little song that goes with remembering the meaning of the circles.
To begin practicing the EET system, I ask the teacher to be the scribe as we describe the football and what information I should have used to describe my secret object. We use a brainstorming type session to provide details for each bead from the kit. Once we finish the last bead I ask if they could turn in a paper for a grade that looked like what was written on the board. I tell them that the EET system is a graphic organizer to help them include the details they need to write a thorough paper. Once they have the EET completed they can combine the information to make paragraphs about their topic.
For the last activity, I asked the teacher to pass out the circles to different students in the class. Once the students got a circle I asked them to stand in front of the class. The teacher handed the circles out to the class in a mixed up order. I asked the class if the order was right. Since it never was I asked the students holding the circles to fix themselves. Once they did I told the class we were going to play another guessing game but this time the students holding the circles are going to give the clues. I showed the students in the front of the class a picture (ice cream). I told them to give a details about the secret picture according to the circle they were holding without saying what it was. I had to do some prompting along the way but the students enjoyed participating in the lesson.
Once this activity was finished, I explained that the EET system can be used in all subjects in school. On the links above are examples and templates for using it for biographies, summarizing, and much more.
The assignment schedule can be found in my TPT store. Each week the students are assigned a page from the EET book included in the kit and/or a writing prompt. There are 4 activities per week ( Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). If a student completes all of the week’s assignment, they can be chosen to bring a secret object in a brown lunch bag to describe to the class using the EET system.
The classes have been using the system for about 2 months and I have heard great feedback from the teachers. I have been emailing the group of teachers participating weekly with activities they can do within their classes and links to more resources to help them implement the program. Make sure that you follow my blog so you can get the information that I am providing to the teachers.