7 Awesome Tools to Teach Equivalent Fractions

Equivalent Fractions can be a difficult concept for your third grade and fourth grade students to grasp. I have all of the equivalent fractions manipulatives and materials you need to make teaching equivalent fractions a piece of cake! Your students are going to be equivalent fractions experts at the end of your lessons, if you stick with me.

Equivalent Fractions Tool #1: Building Bricks

Building Bricks are useful for your equivalent fractions lesson because you can model equivalent fractions using one brick. For example, if it’s a rectangular brick with six circles on it, we can say one circle equals ⅙. But if we want to represent two circles, the equivalent fraction can be 2/6 or ⅓ of the brick. Students can make equivalent fractions problems for their classmates based on these building bricks, and can use smaller pieces to represent the fractions too.

You can also show equivalent fractions by saying an eight-circle brick is 1 whole, and a six-circle brick is 6/8 or ¾, etc. Using building bricks to practice equivalent fractions is helpful because they can stack the blocks on top of each other to visually see how they are equivalent.

Equivalent Fractions Tool #2: Fraction Circles

Fraction Circles are another set of manipulatives that give a great visual and tactile approach to equivalent fractions for third grade and fourth grade. Students can stack pieces of the circles to see what is equivalent, or match them to equal halves, quarters, thirds, etc.

You can make your own fraction circles, for an added art/craft extension! I have a freebie in my TpT Store where your students can make mini pizza fraction circles. I’d love for you to download it and leave feedback on how it helped you teach equivalent fractions!

Equivalent Fractions Tool #3: Dominoes

Dominoes are great for (one) naming fractions and (two) finding equivalent fractions. Students must first determine which side is the numerator and which side is the denominator (bigger). Then, they can find other dominoes that are equivalent fractions to the first, with bigger and smaller numbers!

Equivalent Fractions Tool #4: Play Dough

All kids love play dough! They love to create, mold, and make with their imagination running wild. But, especially for students who thrive with tactile learning, play dough can help them practice equivalent fractions.

Lead your students in making circles or rectangles that are the same size, and then cutting them into different sized pieces that make equivalent fractions. Flatten the shapes out, and start again! Show them what makes the fractions equivalent, and which aren’t equivalent (pieces aren’t cut equally).

You can also put play dough in your equivalent fractions math centers with task cards! They have to make the equivalent fractions to solve the problems.


Equivalent Fractions Tool #5: Whiteboards

Whiteboards are another must-have in my classroom. We use them almost every day in math small groups, with sight word/spelling word practice, and so much more. You can get a class set for instant engagement with practice problems. They are so much more versatile than an equivalent fractions worksheet!

I love that students get to show their work on their boards, so I can easily walk around and see how they solve problems, and chat with them if needed. They can draw equivalent fraction models on their boards, you can ask them to make equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator by the same number, the practice ideas are endless.

And, once again, they are a great addition to a center with task cards! Students don’t always need to turn something in to you - so if you want to save paper and make practicing equivalent fractions more interesting, try out whiteboards instead of worksheets!

Equivalent Fractions Tool #6: Fraction Bars

Fraction Bars are an essential when teaching equivalent fractions. Students can easily line up fraction pieces that are equivalent to each other. These equivalent fractions bars make small group instruction and practicing in groups and centers so easy. They are color-coded and easy for 3rd graders and 4th graders to understand.

You can also make your own equivalent fractions bars with sentence strips or cardstock! Making a larger-than-life set is a great way to teach equivalent fractions to your whole class- and they can follow along with their manipulatives!

Equivalent Fractions Tool #7: Number Lines

Number lines are an important visual tool for teaching equivalent fractions, because students can see the correlation between the fractions. I love dry erase number lines that are blank and can be written on, because you can have your students write the fractions you want them to on them. As seen below, it gives an easy way to see how fractions are equivalent to one another.

If you're looking for hands-on and fresh ways to teach equivalent fractions on a number line, you have to check out this post. Melissa is an equivalent fractions GENIUS!

I hope these tools have been helpful for you and given you some fresh ideas on how to best teach equivalent fractions. Please pin the images on this post so you can come back to it during your equivalent fractions unit! Which tools did I miss? Comment below!!

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I make a small amount if you click and purchase through my link with no extra cost to you!

A Letter to the Valuable Burned Out Teacher

Dear Burned Out Teacher,

I see you. I know you. I sometimes am you. Teacher life is hard – the long hours, the emotional wear and tear, the lack of funds, the large class sizes, the list goes on and on. Maybe you’re ready to search for other career options for burned out teachers or just need some advice for burned out teachers. Whether you are a burned out teacher yourself, or you have a sweet friend who is showing the signs of teacher burn out, I am SO glad you are here.

You are so valuable to the teacher community. You have creative ideas to share. You have a passion for teaching that may be just smoldering at the moment, but I assure you that the flame can be revived. Whether you’re a burned out preschool teacher, a burned out special education teacher, or a burned out elementary teacher, among others, I have good news for you. But first, I want to ask you some questions. Stick with me; because there's teacher GOLD waiting for you at the bottom of this post! Make sure you share it with your teacher friends so they can change their lives too!

Why did you become a teacher? What do you love about teaching? If you could have your dream teacher job, what would it look like? While you think about why you decided on this teacher career, let me share my answers with you.

Before the Burned-Out Teacher Life

I became a teacher because I couldn’t dream of a better job. I love kids – building relationships with them, caring for them, being a part of those lightbulb moments. Putting a smile on their face, knowing them more than just as students, and helping them grow as a whole person. Those are my favorite moments.

I’m also a planner TO MY CORE. I was homeschooled as a kid, and by age eight I was using my mom’s old teacher edition textbooks to write lesson plans for my class of stuffed animals and dolls. I loved keeping my agenda in order as a middle and high school student. And once Pinterest came out, my love for planning lessons continued to grow as I pinned all of the teacher things to use later in my career!

My favorite thing about being a teacher (besides the kids) is using my creativity. I love coming up with unique and creative lessons where I use everyday objects to create learning experiences and deepen my students’ thinking. I love connecting our Science concepts to what we’re reading, and even into our math practice. I love transforming my classroom into the ocean or a poetry café to peak my students’ interest and get them involved in every aspect of learning. I love creating resources where they stay engaged throughout the entire lesson and think critically about what they’ve learned.

My Dream Teacher Job where I am Never Burned Out

My dream teacher job is to teach abroad and build my online teacher business while I do it. My goal is to make enough money in my business to fund my travels and my life overseas. And when the time comes to start my family, I’ll be able to work from home full-time and be a CEO Teacher.

I can’t believe that I’m saying this…but I am beginning to live my dream teacher life!! Sure, not every day is a dream. Even as I’m writing this, I’m recovering from a week of pure teacher burn out. To be honest, I was on the brink of a breakdown. But I get to put the school life aside on the weekends and split my time between resting and building my online empire! And, come Monday, I’m ready to love my sweet students even harder and make every moment in the classroom count! I make my resources for them, and then put them up in my online store. I not only get to impact their lives, but the lives of students across the globe!!

I have BIG GOALS, and they keep me motivated even when I may feel burnt out at school. I love that selling my teaching resources online is SO different from the day-to-day classroom life. I get to make my own schedule, work on my ideas, and use my creativity in blog posts and resources and marketing. I truly believe it is the best burned out teacher career change!

The Perfect Job for the Burned Out Teacher

Did you reflect on those questions above? I have a feeling that you came into this field to help kids, to use your creativity, and to change the world. Well, if you’re a burnt out teacher looking for a new career, or just need help fueling your flame again, I believe that I have one of your best options:

Start selling your teaching resources online!

And here is the good news:
You will still be helping kids, even more than you currently are, as teachers around the world use your quality resources in their classrooms. AND you will change the world through those resources. And guess what? You get to use your creativity to make and sell those resources. This is my Team Jobs resource that I created for my classroom, and now other teachers have this same system in their classes!

Now, you may be asking yourself some questions, just as I did. But let me quiet those voices of doubt in your head…
“Why would someone want my resources?” – Because if they work for your students and you put in quality work, they will have so much value for teachers. I have two product lines in my store that exist because they worked wonders for me in the classroom!

“What if no one buys what I sell?” – If you put in the time and energy to create awesome resources and market them the right way, you’ll have no problem selling them! I have learned so much on my journey, and I’m starting to see AWESOME results!

“Where will I find the time?” – You find time for the things you value. Maybe you’re not ready to quit your teaching job yet (or maybe you are! You GO, CEO Teacher!!). But you can put in early mornings or late nights and see how it goes. Who knows? You may just decide to build your online teacher empire full-time!!

“It seems so overwhelming. Where do I even begin?” – If you take ANYTHING out of what I write to you today, PLEASE take this: start with Kayse Morris and take the Transform Your Resources course.

I started my business on my own in 2012. And I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I did a lot of trial and error and learned through podcasts and blog posts. But, when Kayse, who I had been die-hard following on Instagram (I LOVE her authentic, funny, encouraging IG Stories!!), announced that she was launching a course that would teach me all about how to sell my teaching resources online, I was ALL-IN. I watched her free training videos, filled out her workbook, and set my alarm for when the course cart opened. I was READY to learn from the BEST, get all of my ducks in a row, and cultivate this side-hustle into a big-time business!

I dove into her course, watched all of her video lessons, and put them into practice in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, blog, and social media. And guess what?! Her AMAZING secrets really work!! I’ve almost TRIPLED my earnings this year compared to what I made January-May 2018. I also found my passion sharing what I love with teachers on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Kayse gives actionable steps in bite-sized pieces that you can apply every step of the way. She and her team are always there to answer questions, motivate, and further my learning. I have more passion and fire for this online teacher empire than I’ve ever had, and I get to do this alongside hundreds of other teacherpreneurs who are also growing their businesses!! As Kayse says, there’s room for EVERYONE on the playground!!!

Don’t be the Burned-Out Teacher who didn’t Go for her Dreams

Now, there’s one more doubt you may have. And I had it too. Right before I paid for Transform Your Resources, I hesitated because of the amount of money I was about to pay. I thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of money for me. I don’t know if this is worth it. What if I end up wasting this money?” But you have to spend money to make money. Investing in YOU is always worth it. It also helps destroy the teacher burn out, because you're pouring into and valuing yourself. If you have the passion and the drive to make this happen, your investment will not return void. And, can I tell you, since that day, I never had ONE DOUBT that I wasted my money. Transform Your Resources is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I have recouped that money and made more since I purchased the course.

So, my burned-out teacher friend, are you ready to fuel your fire with a new passion? It’s time for a new season of life, growth, and joy. Let Kayse breathe a breath of fresh inspiration into your tired mind and heart. Let Transform Your Resources transform your LIFE, as it did mine. I am no longer burnt out, because my passion and creativity are funneled into this online teacher world. And, six months in, I love it even more. I’ve even gone to the next level of being in The CEO Teacher Membership that you can be a part of once you’ve taken Transform Your Resources! I believe in Kayse and her courses 100%, and I know you will too!

Don’t hesitate in taking the leap of faith to live your best life. You were not created to be ordinary and to be a burned out teacher. You were made for MORE. Join me in the Transform Your Resources community! Let’s escape the teacher burn out and grow our teacher empires together!

Kayse's FREE video series is currently OPEN for you to join for a limited time only! Click the picture below to start your journey for FREE!

Please pin this post so your teacher friends can transform their lives with us!

Want more teacher burnout-blasting tips? Check this video out!



Poetry Unit for Elementary Classrooms

April is National Poetry Month, but Poetry can be taught all year long! I planned my fourth grade poetry unit for April, so that we could wrap it up with a Poetry Café room transformation the first week of May. It turned out to be one of my favorite writing units to teach, but it was daunting at first, because I hadn’t taught poetry before! So, I did lots of poetry lesson plan research, and am excited to share what worked great for us. If you’re in my boat, or you’re just looking to mix up your poetry unit for elementary or middle school, this is for you!!

This poetry unit study was three weeks long. Week One, I taught seven Figurative Language elements. Week Two, I introduced poetry – poetic elements, studying poems, brainstorming poem topics, and we dipped our toes into writing poetry. Week Three, we dove in to writing our own poems!! You can make this a short poetry unit, or a long one, but I value quality over quantity in my classroom. Here are my poetry lesson plans…

Week One – Figurative Language
My students didn’t have any background knowledge on figurative language, so we first spent time on that, because it makes up so much of the poetry we read! I purchased Joey Udovich’s Figurative Language Flip Book and it helped us practice each element.

I also downloaded these free Figurative Language Posters to introduce each element. We focused on one or two elements per day. I chose to teach – simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, idioms, alliteration, and onomatopoeia.

Here are the read-alouds I used to help teach these elements. We jotted down examples of these elements as we read to hang up next to the posters. (Amazon affiliate links included)

After spending the week learning about figurative language and putting it into practice, we reviewed with Deb Hanson’s free sorting activity! It was great to have students justify why they sorted the components how they did. We used the posters from earlier to help us if we got stuck, too!

Week Two – Introduction to Poetry
I first connected music to poetry, and we read and discussed some song lyrics. We tried to detect figurative language too! Then, we talked about how we would be writing our own poems, and we generated a list of ideas for poets, using this anchor chart.

The next day, we studied a poem. This lesson came directly from The Teacher Studio. So, I will direct you to her awesome blog post and free lesson! This helped my students get familiar with poetry, and our discussions were awesome!

If you are only able to purchase two resources for your poetry unit, I would suggest the Poetry Unit Bundle by Rockin Resources and the Poetic Elements Gallery Walk from Amazing Materials for You. These resources are both worth their weight in gold, and I truly believe in saving time by purchasing fabulous resources from other teachers!

I used the Poetry Bundle throughout my entire unit…Rockin Resources gives you everything you need to teach the different kinds of poetry and even gives the poem-writing sheets for your students to write their poems on. She also includes Poetic Elements posters, which I used to connect figurative language to poetry, and teach my students how to use poetic elements.

We used the Poetic Elements Gallery Walk on Day 3, after introducing poetic elements with the posters from Rockin Resources. To set up the gallery walk, I looked up the poem suggestions in the resource, and printed several of them out. I also printed some of the graphic organizers in the resource and made booklets for each student.

I taped the poems up outside, in our outdoor hallway. And then challenged students to find the poetic elements in the poems and fill out the organizers! Some were easier than others to find, but this really helped solidify figurative language and poetic elements!

Now it’s time to get to the Poetry Writing! I tried to keep everyone organized with a Poetry Portfolio – a folder with all of the poems they have written and will write. There is a cover that I printed for each student to color and glue on the front in the Poetry Bundle. I printed out both the Large Poetry Portfolio and the Small Poetry Portfolio pages that we used. The small pages also had the anchor charts next to them, and I used those for our rough drafts. Once they wrote the rough draft, they would come show it to me, we would fix mistakes, etc. Then they would copy the final draft onto the large poetry pages.

We started with the Haiku Poem. I used the Poetry Slam anchor charts to introduce all of the poems from the Poetry Bundle. We discussed how these poems all have to do with something in nature. So, we went outside to get ideas for our haikus. We used this Haiku Hike freebie to brainstorm ideas!

After we took field notes on what inspired us on our HaikuHike, we tried our hands at writing haiku poems! I really encouraged students to capture one moment in nature in their poems.

Weeks Three & Four – Write Original Poetry

This is when we really dove into writing more poetry. I chose seven poems to teach my students and to have them write. I found examples online to show them, but I would recommend these poetry books to find awesome examples and inspiration! Click here to find ALL of the books for this unit!

Each day I would introduce the new poem, show examples, explain how to write it using the anchor charts included in the Poetry Bundle, and then the students would work on writing that poem. At the end, they had a collection of beautiful poetry!!

Once we had learned about all of the poems and wrote our final drafts, we prepared for our Poetry Café! We practiced rehearsing our poems so we would be able to read them loud and clear. I can’t wait to share our poetry café with you next week, and give you tips and ideas, as well as a FREEBIE!! It was one of my favorite moments of the school year, and the perfect way to end our unit. Make sure to come back for that post, and pin this one for your poetry unit!!