Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting to Know Your Students

Here's a blog post from the past that is especially appropriate for the next few weeks.

The first few days of school are crazy busy. In secondary schools, much of the time is spent dealing with students being added or dropped from your class as students’ schedules are adjusted and class loads are balanced.

The paperwork piles up, and yet you meet a room full of new students every hour or so. How do you prepare for these first few important days?

Getting to Know You Activities for the First Few Days of School

Getting to Know You Activities for the First Few Days of School is a series of activities that introduced my students to one another and to me, and provided a sample of their writing and their oral presentation skills. You can use these activities to make the first few days of your school year informative and productive.  

I hope your first days of school are fantastic!

Getting to Know Your Students by Charlene Tess photo

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Organize Your Life: Press the Reset Button

Simple Steps to Organize Your Life

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is that of organizing our time to make our days easier and eliminate some of the stress that often comes with each new day. I call it pressing the reset button. Today is done. Start over tomorrow.

 I try to always take a few minutes at the end of each workday to prepare for the next day. I make a list and prioritize the things that I hope to accomplish tomorrow. I leave myself notes and place sticky notes on folders and books that I plan to use.

 Pressing the reset button can work for you, too. No matter how tired you are, take a few minutes before you leave your office or your classroom to clean off your desk and tidy up your work area. Be sure that when you return, you will find a neat, organized space in which to work. 

 This system works at home, too. Take time each evening to prepare for the morning that will follow. The extra few minutes you take to prepare will save you so much stress and tension in the morning when you are pressed for time. 

 Try to do the following things before you go to sleep:

* Prepare your lunch for the following day or decide where you will eat lunch.

* Be sure the kitchen and bathroom are neat and tidy.

* Decide what you will have for breakfast and put out the dishes and flatware you plan to use.

* Decide what you will wear and lay out your clothes and your shoes. (Don't wait until morning to discover that one of your shoes is nowhere to be found.)

* Place any items you will take with you to work or to school near the door. (Your keys, your purse, your briefcase, and maybe a note to remind you to take your lunch.)

 It may take you a few moments at the end of the day to press the reset button, but the following morning you will be so glad you did, and you can start your day without stress and worry.

Why not try it, or use a similar system that you devise?

It works for me.

Thanks for reading. 

Visit my store on TpT.  Find my novels on Amazon. 

Photo and signature Charlene Tess

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Thank You, Teachers, for All That You Do


I appreciate all teachers. Retired teachers, public school teachers, private school teachers, and home school teachers. Thank you for the contribution you make to the betterment of our society.

You will find my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books and educational products on two websites. I am having a sale on both websites during Teacher Appreciation Week. Be sure to take advantage of this sale and stock up on any materials you need. Get a head start on next year's curriculum and SAVE!!!
Be sure to include the promo code when checking out to receive the maximum savings!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tips for Using Who. That, and Which

Here are a few simple hints to help you decide whether to use “who,” “that,” or “which” in the sentences that you write.

Use “who” when referring to people. For example: The man who answered the phone was very polite.

Use "that" for clauses that define something specific and provide necessary information. For example: The cake that I made yesterday was delicious. (You are talking about a specific cake.)

Use "which" for clauses that can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. The movie, which I saw yesterday, was about a war hero.

Clauses that begin with “which” can be placed between commas or in parentheses.

Click here to visit my store for educational materials to help you write and speak clearly and correctly.

Charlene Tess Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips to Avoid 3 Common Usage Errors

Tips to Avoid 3 Common Usage Errors

How to choose between:
Fewer? or Less? * Who? or Whom? * Bad? or Badly?

Fewer? or Less?
If you mean “not as many,” choose fewer. If you mean “not as much,” choose less.
 Examples: I bought fewer pencils. I ate less pudding. (Use fewer when items can be counted.)

Who (Whoever)? or Whom (Whomever)?
Find the verb nearest the word in question.  If found in front of the verb, who (whoever) is correct. If it follows an action verb choose whom (whomever). If it follows a linking verb, choose who (whoever). Whom (whomever) follows a preposition.

Bad? or Badly?
Badly describes an action. He danced badly. 
Bad describes a feeling or emotion. (I feel bad.)
Always use the word “bad” after linking verbs such as: look, feel, seem, and taste. (You look bad.)

Click here for an easy to use interactive PDF that students can load on their computers and complete without any help from the teacher.

Thanks for reading!
signature and photo Charlene Tess

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Use the Active Voice

Whenever possible, use verbs in the active voice. The passive voice is weak and uses unnecessary words. 

“A captain has been appointed by the team” 
is weaker than 
“The team has appointed a captain.”  

Sentences with verbs in the passive voice use "is, am, are, was, were, be, or been" as a helping verb with the past participle. Sentences in the passive voice often contain the preposition “by.”

To change a sentence into the active voice do the following:
1. Remove the form of the to be helping verb. Be sure to keep the tense of the verb the same as it was.
2. Remove the word by. Flip the ends of the sentence.

Step 2 in SimpleSteps to Sentence Sense is all about finding the verb and the verb phrase.

Click here to watch a video explaining Step 2.

Once your students have learned to find the verb, I have a great lesson on using the verb correctly. Click here to see the All About Verbs product.

If your students master the use of the verb, they will become better writers.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 6, 2015

Join Secondary Teachers for a One Day Spring Sale

Join us for a One Day Spring Sale

CLICK HERE to Visit the Blog Hop
and Save! Save! Save!

My best selling poetry product is on sale today.

Enjoy! Thanks for reading.