I've been using Sara Smith's Expanding Expression Tool (EET) for a couple of years now to help my students define and describe objects and make word associations. It is a multi-sensory tool for improving oral language, and I have witnessed first-hand how effective it can be in helping students organize their thoughts when defining and describing objects and their functions. The tool is simply a string of colored beads that are used as cues to help the students remember what to include in their descriptions. Each color represents a different facet of the definition. For example, the green bead reminds the student to name the group the item belongs to, blue prompts them to tell what the object does, etc. If you're unfamiliar with this tool, you should really check it out. Just click on the link above.
But for those of you who know all about EET and use it as part of your treatment, I want to share how I've been using it with my upper elementary and younger middle school students. I've been pairing it with a picture dictionary, a dry erase pouch and dry erase markers.
I just choose a page and slide the page right into the dry erase pouch to keep the page clean and protected. Next, I choose one of the words on the page.
We used colored dry erase pens in corresponding colors to underline the elements of the definition of the chosen word. We found three separate things that ice does or what people do with ice, so we underlined them in blue. Next we used the tool to review the possible parts of a definition and read the definition again, underlining the group name with green, what it's made of with brown, and it's attributes with black. We noted that this dictionary's definition did not include a detail corresponding to the white bead (i.e. where you would find it), so the student restated the definition adding that extra information.
Here's an example of one we did using six different colors.
This definition was pretty complete, so we didn't need to add a thing. But since both of these items were on the same page, we decided to use the definitions to compare and contrast the objects. The color-coded key words really helped simplify the task and keep the responses organized.
Do you use EET? If so, I'd love to hear how you use it! Leave me your ideas in the comments.
*I am not affiliated with the makers of The Expanding Expression Tool in any way, nor am I being compensated to review this product. The treatment ideas and opinions in this post are solely mine.