When I teach the distributive property, I explain that it's kinda like a mailman visiting houses on a street.
For example, 3 ( 4 + 5) is the same as 3 (4) + 3 ( 5). The mailman is the number 3, and he has to go to both of the other numbers in order to get the problem right.
Ms. B: So let's look at this problem. Remember our mailman! (hand in air) Yes, Victor?
Victor: Ms. B, can we call him Rick?
Ms. B: Who?
Victor: THE MAILMAN!
[Two weeks later.]
Ms. B: (to the class) Guys, I need some help. Can someone come up here and explain this problem? I don't know how else I can explain it, but I need some help.
Victor: I'll do it.
(walks up to the front of the room)
Well, guys... I'm sorry to tell you... but Rick died. But you know who's still here?! HIS COUSIN PAT!