Phrase Translator

Last week @cheesemonkeysf wrote a great post about turning words into math. She invented the Phrase Translator sleeve with a sliding insert. Here's her picture.

I love this idea! I tried it using card stock and it was more difficult than I had anticipated. I'm left-handed and therefore a terrible cutter. I used card stock and it was too stiff- difficult to fold. I also felt like it was to skinny for me.

I tried making my own (because I just can't leave anything alone) and it took a while but I'm pretty happy with it.

Here's a picture of the two side-by-side.

Basically, mine requires less cutting because that's just something I need in my life.

Here is the sleeve (doc/pdf) and the insert (doc/pdf).


  1. I just found your blog and I am totally loving it!! Thanks so much for sharing this idea! Pinning it for future reference :)
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

  2. I'm a lefty too, so I feel your pain. I've run into incidences the past few days where I had to borrow other people's scissors and couldn't cut with them...*sigh*

    Anyways, great job!

  3. Wonderful idea! Entirely too crafty for me! I saved the picture and I'm going to send it to our in-house creative team! Lol...mine'll look jumbled up!

  4. I'm a lefty too. What I have find that helps me is to use a paper cutter with sliding blade, and a craft knife with a cutting mat and ruler(got them at the dollar store). Love the idea of the slider! Enjoying your blog :)

  5. I actually do worse with a paper cutter. I'm just terrible. But my students know this and usually volunteer to cut for me. ;)

    Thanks for all the nice comments, I hope that this is useful for all of us.

  6. I used this on Friday with my Algebra 1 classes. The kids liked it better than a worksheet, but I was wondering what you did with it afterwards. We just went over the answers, and I'll let them use it on their quiz this week.

  7. I haven't actually used it yet. My plan is to have them answer it on their own first in pencil, then we will go back and write the correct answers in pen. Then I'm thinking about some basic problem solving questions where they have to 'translate' a problem into math language and then solve. Also, students will keep the translators inside an empty page protector in their binders for further use throughout the year. That's the plan anyway!

    1. Good idea! I shared this with a colleague, and she thought next year we could add in students quizzing each other. We'd have note cards with phrases on them. Then pair kids up, where one student will say the phrase verbally and the other will respond. Something like that.

    2. Another idea is to make it into a memory game where they have to match the phrase to the expression.