Are you trying to help students write expressions/equations from a visual pattern?  Have trouble with creating your own patterns?  Check this site out!

No Textbook?  
If you do not have a textbook but would like to provide some resources for students at home, there are many resources available through this link for great ideas of how to help students organize a notebook.

More on Simplification:

Of course, none of this is meant to suggest that simplification is never straightforward, or never useful. And mathematics itself is a subject with a very strong aesthetic favoring elegance and simplicity. (xy2 + y3)/y5 is an ugly way to express x/y3 + 1/y2 as a fraction. But a student well-trained in the habit of seeing structure in expressions (A-SSE.2) would quickly see an opportunity to rewrite the numerator of the former expression as y2(x + y) en route to rewriting finally as (x + y)/y3. Anybody would agree that this is a simplification. The point is that simplification, least common denominators, and putting into lowest terms shouldn’t become little tin gods that mock the fundamental mathematical ideas involved in generating equivalent fractions and generating equivalent expressions.

An excerpt from "Examples of Structure in the Common Core Standards' Standards for Mathematical Content" by Jason Zimba

About the Project...

 AEA9 superintendents charged us with "fixing Algebra 1".  In order to accomplish this mission, work began in the summer of 2011 with Ratio and Proportional Relationships and Number System as laid out by the Iowa Core/Common Core standards for the middle grades.  The goal of this project is to begin transitioning AEA9 mathematics classrooms to the Standards of Mathematical Practice and Content while increasing teacher understanding of research based practices to better support high levels of learning for each and every student. 
We look forward to continuing this work with you.
Heather Cousins & Linda Mannhardt