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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Practice with 

Subject Verb Agreement


If you have followed the steps 1-3 in Simple Steps to Sentence Sense, it should be very easy for you to find the subject and the verb. Once you find them, you can be sure they agree in number. 

This means:  
If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular.
If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. 

Singular means one person, place, or thing.  
For example: boy, city, tree.

Plural means more than one person, place, or thing. For example: boys, cities, trees 

The subject and the verb agree in this sentence: 
The leaves are brown and brittle.

The subject and the verb do not agree in this sentence: The leaves is brown and brittle. 

is=singular   are=plural  leaf=singular  leaves=plural

It will help if you remember that singular verbs end in an “s.”

After you find the subject, decide if it is singular or plural. If it is a singular subject, be sure the verb or the helping verb ends in s.

For example:

The children (is, are) going to the park.
The subject is “children.” The word “children” is plural, so choose the plural verb. The one that does not end in “s.”  
The children are going to the park. 

The child (is, are) going to the park.The subject is “child.” The word “child” is singular, so choose the singular verb. The one that ends in “s.”  

The child is going to the park. You can see how easy it is to make the subject and verb agree in number. 
That’s because the sentence would sound strange if you were to choose the wrong verb. 

For example, who would say: The dogs barks? That sentence would probably sound wrong to anyone who reads it.

Watch for these 3 special circumstances.

1.  Sometimes, however, it is not so easy to spot a subject/verb agreement error because a prepositional phrase located between the subject and the verb can fool you. 

For example:  
One of the dancers are more experienced. 
That sentence may not sound wrong, but it is. It has an error in subject and verb agreement. 

The word “dancers” is not the subject of the sentence because it is in a prepositional phrase. 

Remember that the subject of a sentence will never be found in a prepositional phrase. 

If we follow the steps and eliminate the prepositional phrase (of the dancers); find the verb (are) and then find the subject (one), it is easy to see that the subject is singular, but the verb is plural. 
One are

Now you can hear the error. 
Remember: If the subject is singular, you would need a verb that ends in s.

So the sentence should read: One of the dancers is more experienced.

2.  Sometimes the subject of the sentence is compound. 

Two or more subjects joined by the conjunction “and” take a plural verb. Apples and oranges are both delicious fruits.

If two or more subjects are joined by 
the conjunctions “or” or “nor,” make the verb agree with the subject nearer to it.

The minister or the choir members are riding on the bus.

The choir members or the minister is riding on the bus.

3.   If the subject follows the verb in a sentence (such as in sentences beginning with there or here), be especially careful to find the actual subject and verb and make them agree in number.

Remember: The words there and here are never the subject of the sentence.

Example: Here (is, are) the keys to our house.
The subject of this sentence is the word "keys."

Click here for more help with subject/verb agreement and a 20 question practice exercise with answers included. 

Thanks for reading!


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