February 15, 2014

Using Carrier Sentences and EET

Most of us are familiar with the Expanding Expressive Tool (EET) Program, designed to build students' describing skills by assigning colored circles to a specific property of an item. I use this program a lot with my students, and this week came up with a different way of using it with my cognitively lower functioning Special Day Class kids. A lot of my SDC students have difficulty constructing more complex grammatically correct sentences and have grammar/syntax goals along with conceptual (e.g., category, function) goals. Most of them know basic sight words and respond very well to carrier phrases, so I thought of using EET within the context of a modeled sentence. In our teacher workroom I found these long paper strips (about 1.5') with handwriting lines on them. After snagging a few, I created the following visuals:

EET carrier sentences.
I also own a box of noun picture cards from Language Builder that I like to use when working with EET, so I picked a few suitable cards for our session. I presented each stimulus item as follows:

"Group" & "Do"
Students were expected to fill in the "group" (green circle) and the "do" (blue circle) independently. For this example, an acceptable response would have been, "A fish is an animal that swims." This was a great way to work on 3rd person singular "-s" morphological markers, too! We also practiced this activity with other aspects of EET.
"An apple is a fruit that is red."
While my students often needed a couple of initial examples for each sentence strip, they caught on quickly!
"A sea gull is an animal that has feathers."
"A table is a furniture made of wood."
"A swimsuit is a clothing that you see at the beach."
We even combined multiple aspects of EET to build even more complex sentences:
"A tiger is an animal that roars in the jungle"
This level of support was exactly what my students needed to successfully build grammatically correct sentences and work on their conceptual language skills, as well. I'll be hanging on to these sentence strips and probably make a few more! The best part: This activity was practically free!


  1. Love it... stealing it... especially the combined one because whenever I use EET, I always try to get them to think of all the info for the different icons, then give 1-2 sentences that contain all of the salient information!

  2. This is WONDERFUL! A very easy and VISUAL way of building sentences. I will be using this ALOT with a variety of ages. THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!!!

    1. I'm so glad this is helpful to you! Enjoy :)

  3. OOh, I love what you've done with the carrier phrases. Thanks SOOO much for such a great idea!

  4. OOh, I love what you've done with the carrier phrases. Thanks SOOO much for such a great idea!

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! My students can never remember to state the category and this is another great way to teach them!