There is nothing like finding a good blog with creative and fun activities to help put that spark and inspiration back into your teaching. This blog Math=Love has many great inspiring ideas to help pull us away from the monotonous distribution of worksheets and allow students to get involved in active learning. This idea for cutting apart expressions to combine like terms gives students one more opportunity to manipulative the math.
IES Practice Guides are helpful guides that put current research in the hands of teachers. This practice guide has three recommendations based on the current research that is available at this time for Algebra instruction. Practice guides will give teachers an overview of research based instructional strategies, but not give detailed, direct strategies. If you are interested in knowing the research behind best practice strategies you are using in the classroom, then Practice Guides are a help.
If your students prefer the computer or have access to the computer at home, have your students try virtual manipulatives using this website to construct equations, factoring, expand, and substitute with Algebra tiles.
In this video series, I demonstrate how to use Algebra tiles in solving polynomials. There are a number of short videos for different polynomials your students will be manipulating- from adding, subtracting, multiplying, factoring, and coming soon, dividing.
You don't have Algebra tiles, no problem. You can make your own tiles for your class by just simply making copies of this template in two different colors and cutting out the tiles. Then to keep your class set of tiles organized, place a set in a baggie and label the baggie with the set number and a description of how many tiles should be in the bag.