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As a mnemonic device, it provides visual and tactile information to help expand word choice, keep students on topic, reduce the need for prompting, and improve organization and comprehension. Its hierarchical approach will quickly take a student's expression from single words to descriptive paragraphs to full reports! For great EET supplements see the More by this Author tab on left.
This program has been classroom tested in both regular and special education classes. It supports Language Arts curriculum and is also designed for RTI, Inclusion, Content Based Instruction and more. Student ages: preschool through high school.
Watch the Expanding Expression Intro Video
For speech-language pathologists, teachers, literacy coaches, reading specialists, parents, and other specialists who support academics. Student age range: preschool through high school students.
"The EET is a simple yet brilliant tool for children. The genius is in its simplicity, the brilliance is in the research. This attractive, durable creation is exactly what all children need to maximize their literacy potential. The manual is easy to read, easy to follow, and generic enough for all subject use. The Expanding Expression Tool must be part of every classroom."
Kimberly Prime, Ed.D
"As a literacy coach, it is my job to provide professional development to teachers. One of the biggest challenges I face is finding ways to provide teachers with techniques that motivate students to write and write well. The EET does just that. In one first time 45 minute lesson in a fourth grade classroom, the students’ writing went from ones to threes and fours using the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) rubric to assess. It not only increased and improved word choice, it also kept every student on topic. It is a phenomenal tool with remarkable results! I am in the process of introducing the EET to every teacher I work with. The multi-sensory approach reaches even the most difficult to work with students. The EET is a must have for every teacher at every grade level."
"I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been using my kit and am loving it!! You have created a terrific product!!"
TESTIMONIALS FROM SECOND GRADERS:
"It helps us to write stories and it makes us write good stories so we could publish them."
"I used the EET for an earth, moon, and sun project. I was shocked at the details my students came up with, especially compared to last year. I can see that the EET is going to be very beneficial, especially when it comes time for the district and state tests. I have to tell other fourth grade teachers about it too."
"I received my kit yesterday and had fun “playing” with it last night with my 10 year old son. He didn’t want to stop! I can hardly wait to use it with my students."
"We are truly enjoying the EET and it is making a world of difference with the students. Keep up the great work and what a great contribution for kids."
"Even my niece, who is dyslexic and HATES reading and writing, loved using the tool and wanted to do more and more…I heard a big difference!"
"You’ve made such a huge impact on so many children…thank you for your creativity and sharing of your idea!"
"I was very impressed with your EET system and the girls did well with it. We are continuing at home and there is no struggle with getting them to work on “speech” with the EET guide….Our parents are always looking for ways to work with their kids, and because this is so simple to implement I think they could be successful at home."
"I have been implementing Sara Smith’s Expanding Expression Tool in my second grade classroom since it was developed and find it beneficial and welcoming to all styles of learners. Students are fascinated and enlightened when they discover the ease in organizing their thoughts with the use of the EET tool when writing. Since using the EET kit I have witnessed great progress in students’ abilities in oral expression, written expression, categorization and organizational skills. MLPP writing scores also have taken great leaps. I could not teach effectively without it."
EET Press Coverage from Jackson County, Michigan:
New Teaching Technique Spreads Success Across Jackson County
For elementary school and cognitively impaired students across Jackson County, a new learning tool is taking the intimidation out of the blank page when it comes time to write. The Expanding Expression Tool, or EET, is an unassuming tactile and visual aid that helps students describe objects and organize their writing. By sight, it's just a rope with seven colored beads the size of ping pong balls, but in practice it is boosting descriptive abilities in speech and writing, say local teachers.
"This is the best writing I've ever gotten out of any group," said Stacy Hampton, who has taught second grade for seven years at East Jackson's Memorial Elementary School. After comparing pre-EET and post-EET writing samples (about whales), Hampton credited the tool for pushing her students from one-word answers and drawings to seven-sentence descriptive paragraphs.
Here's how it works: Each colored bead stands for a descriptive quality. For example, the blue stands for "do," as in "What does it do?" Students memorize and recite what each bead represents and keep the beads in mind, or in hand, when they write.
Developed over nine years by Bay City speech-language pathologist Sara Smith, the $229 EET kit has been available for four years. In recent months, it has grabbed attention beyond speech pathologists - Smith has sold about 1,500 kits to schools in 13 states.
Smith said Jackson County schools are leading the way with the EET. It's popping up in classrooms from East Jackson to Hanover-Horton to Grass Lake, where each elementary teacher has a kit, and where middle school English and language arts teachers use it too.
"What I love, because of the way it's going around Jackson County, teachers are running into other teachers and finding out they're using it," said Jackson County Intermediate School District speech pathologist Gail Morris. Morris, who received 16 kits through a grant of $2,500 (split between the Jackson Community Foundation and JCISD), calls the EET a "gold mine for provoking writing and self-questioning." She said some of her students have improved dramatically and returned to regular classrooms.
Tina Wilson, multi-age cognitive-impairment teacher at Memorial, along with Morris and Hampton, said they hesitated before trying the tool. "I was so amazed that after two times, (students) remembered what the beads mean," Wilson said.
Her students were bursting with ideas about monkeys while going through the "magic beads" during a recent class. Ages 6 through 11, the students still struggled to spell "monkey" and "bananas" when it came time to write, but Wilson said the ideas indicate progress.
Down the hall the same day, Morris and Hampton walked a second-grade class through a compare-and-contrast exercise about oranges and broccoli using the beads. Besides description and comparison, the EET kit encourages teachers to apply the beads to biographies, narratives, outlines and lesson plans.
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