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Translating Expressions Foldable

Today I want to share a translating expressions foldable I designed for my Algebra 1 students to complete in their interactive notebooks. I will be teaching 3 sections of Algebra 2, 2 sections of Algebra 1, and 1 section of Math Analysis (College Algebra) this year. It’s a good thing I love algebra since I will be teaching it all day every day!

Translating Expressions Foldable

This will be our first INB entry in Algebra 1. I am starting the year with translating expressions.

The idea of Turn Around Words (“Less Than”) was totally borrowed from Julie Reulbach and her wonderful I Speak Math blog.

Check out these mini frayer models. They print 6 to a page.I have shared a downloadable file below.

variable frayer model.

And credit for the idea folding the Frayer Model in half to glue into the INB, goes to Katie @ Middle School Math Madness.  I love her blog!

algebra 1 frayer model examples.

This four door foldable for translating expressions is one of my favorite foldables.

translating expressions foldable
translating expressions foldable

I started drawing the symbols.  But, then I also wanted to show my students the different ways to represent multiplication and division. 

translating expressions foldable
translating expressions foldable

Changes to Make

Oh, and here is what I want to change.  When I was making my foldable, I got out my colored pencils, and I wanted to use them to make my foldable pretty and colorful.  But, after I finished, my mind kept going back to a tweet I had read about a week ago.  @mgolding who blogs here (and is the one who originally inspired me to try interactive notebooks!) tweeted the following:

CWP.  Color With a Purpose.  Did my pretty colors really serve a purpose on the foldable other than to make it pretty?  No. So, how can I use colors to help my students grasp the lesson better?  Next, I made the English/Math table on the RHS.  Next, I started thinking about what if I gave each of the four operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide) their own color.  Since I couldn’t undo my rainbow of colors on the outside of my sample foldable, I used the colors of the operations on the inside of the foldable.

With each English phrase, I circled / boxed / marked each key word with the color of the operation it corresponded to.  So, when I make my final draft, all my addition words will be one color.  All my subtraction words will be another color, etc.  Then, I also wrote the operation in that same color on the Math side of the table.    

This foldable would make a great reference when working through activities like my Translating Algebra Around the Room Activity.

Free Downloads for Algebra 1 Interactive Notebook

Frayer Models – 6 to a Page

My version of the Frayer Model.  I got 6 to fit to a page.  I resized them so they were only 1 inch tall when folded and placed in my interactive notebook.

Frayer Model 6 to a Page (PDF) (4327 downloads )

Blank 4 Door Shutter Foldable

I originally made my four door shutter foldable with a full sized piece of paper, but I thought it was a little big for my composition notebook.  So, I downsized it a bit, and I’m much happier with it now.

4 Door Blank Shutter Foldable (PDF) (7054 downloads )


Wednesday 10th of August 2016

I've retired from public education and I am now working in a private school as a Pre-Algebra teacher. I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your ideas for ISNs. Your students are fortunate to be in your class. Can you explain where your students keep their homework assignments? Are those practice problems included in their ISNs or are they in a separate notebook or binder?


Monday 1st of August 2016

Thank you just doesn't seem to be sufficient, but it's all the English language has to offer. I appreciate you sharing your awesomeness with us!!!!! So happy I found your blog. Thank you again!!!! You rock!


Monday 13th of June 2016

You know what, you are an Angel sent from our heavenly father. I just completed my first year teaching and seeing this just brought so much joy. I wanted to come up with a creative way of structuring my classroom for next year and I know, in my heart, that this is it. Thank you for sharing. I particularly, love you Q&A portion of the site as you answered most of my questions. I know you have a life but your posts are amazing.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 13th of June 2016

Thanks for your sweet comment!


Saturday 19th of September 2015

I am the editor of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics Bulletin. Our October issue is focused on "Attend to precision", and I'd love to use the picture of your Frayer models in your ISNs. Would you mind if we used that picture? We will credit your blog. Thanks for letting me know!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 5th of October 2015

Sure! Use anything you like!

Teri Ferguson

Saturday 21st of February 2015

I'm not an INB teacher (yet!), but one thing I have tried to be more conscious of during the last two years is using color in my notes as much as possible IF it serves a purpose! I require my students to have highlighters for that reason. I try to approach it as color coding for easier reference. I feel that it makes their notes easier for them to interpret when they go back to them 5 hours or 5 days later, and let's face it, those are the times they need their notes, not when the material is fresh!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Wednesday 25th of March 2015

One of my favorite terms I learned when researching interactive notebooks was "color with a purpose." This sounds like exactly that!

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