Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Prayer

It is not only on the fourth Thursday of November that I am thankful. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, I think, in his prayer in the photo above. 

I take a long morning walk as often as I can. The first thing I do after leaving the house is look to the east where the beautiful sunrise greets me and say a few words of thanks for the privilege of living another day.

I have lost many people that I love with all my heart, so I do not take the gift of life for granted.

May your season of Thanksgiving last all year long.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 16, 2015

Vary Your Sentence Patterns to Improve Your Writing

Sentence Patterns for Thanksgiving by Charlene Tess

Writers sometimes make the mistake of repeating simple patterns in their sentences. A simple pattern would begin with the subject and the verb. Although such sentences are correct, using only one sentence pattern can become boring to the reader.

For example: Jane went to the zoo for her birthday. Two large, scary snakes were in the window of the reptile house.

Good writers vary their sentence patterns by sometimes placing phrases or clauses at the beginning of their sentences to achieve variety. An introductory phrase or clause should be followed by a comma.

For example: For her birthday, Jane went to the zoo. In the window of the reptile house, were two large, scary snakes.

The twenty Thanksgiving-themed sentences in the exercise shown above all begin with the subject and the verb. Learning to rewrite the sentences without changing their meaning is good practice for students to achieve sentence variety. At the same time, they will be reminded of things that are associated with the Thanksgiving season. Click here to get your copy of this fun exercise in my store.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for reading,

Charlene Tess photo and signature

You might also like this free HOTS activity. Click here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

What Can I Help You With?

I accidentally took a picture of the question that Siri put on my iPhone screen after I said, "Hey, Siri!"
Then it occurred to me that maybe it would make sense to ask teachers who follow me to let me know which lessons would be most helpful for them to use in their classrooms.

Of course, I know you can write your own lessons and prepare your own materials, but if you are busy with instruction and many other details during your hectic days, it might help to have a lesson ready to print and present to your classes.

I know. I remember. It has not been that long since I stood in front of a classroom and tried to present a meaningful, engaging lesson to a group of teenagers. If I can help you in any way, just contact me at, and I can prepare a lesson for you to use for a minimal charge.

It's also possible that one of the lessons in my store is exactly what you need. Some of them are FREE. Be sure to take a look when you have a minute.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All Treats and No Tricks for Teachers

All Treats and No Tricks for Teachers. 

All treats and no tricks for Teachers

Here's a treat just for you!

Practice with Sentence Patterns

It's almost Halloween and all teachers could use a treat. Students enjoy doing activities that relate to Halloween. In this FREE activity, Practice With Sentence Patterns, students will rewrite sentences without changing their meaning by moving phrases and clauses to the beginning of the sentence. This will be good practice for students to achieve sentence variety, and at the same time, they will be reminded of the spooky things that are associated with Halloween. Enjoy! 

Halloween Songs Exercise

Here's another activity your students will enjoy. This is a fun Halloween activity that works best if students work in pairs or in small groups. They will enjoy changing the lyrics of familiar Christmas songs to spooky or funny Halloween songs. 

This handout is ready to give to students with no further explanation needed from the teacher. It is a sneaky way to work in practice with rhyme and syllables while students have fun.

I had my students do this exercise a few days before Halloween and they would sing the songs aloud in class much to the delight of their classmates. Students of all ages enjoy doing this.

I hope you and your students enjoy using this. It is priced at only $3.

I am happy to participate in the All Treats and No Tricks for Teachers Blog Hop hosted by ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures. Thank you, ladies for the opportunity.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

All About Verbs

A verb is the most important word in a sentence. Learning to use verbs correctly is an important skill.

My family loves the ocean.

Love, loved, loved, loving

I wonder how many times this verb is repeated in an hour?

"Mason loved the new pizza restaurant.".  "Alec loves his guitar." " Dawson is loving this new app."

I can help you master the use of verbs with my new unit  All About Verbs. It covers the principal parts of verbs both regular and irregular, action verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs, verb tense, conjugating verbs including the confusing verb " to be," active and passive voice, the mood of verbs, and, of course, the answers to all the exercises are included. 

There are 25 pages in the unit and 13 exercises to practice what you have learned. Visit my store to find many helpful lessons. Several of them are free.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Six Easy Ways to Vary Your Sentences

Six Easy Ways to Vary Your Sentences

Good writers vary their sentences to make their writing more interesting. Readers appreciate writing that is vivid and varied. Here are some techniques found in my book, Simple Steps to Sentence Analysis.

Try these six easy ways to vary your sentences:

1.  Begin with a prepositional phrase.
After the winter storm, the trees began to bud again. 

2. Begin with one or twoadjectives. 
Cold and hungry, the dog howled at the moon. 

3.  Begin with an adverb. 
Quietly, she began her journey up the stairs. 

4.  Begin with a verbal phrase, but be careful that the word the phrase modifies is placed near it to avoid a misplaced modifier. 
Incorrect: Lying in the grass, the sky looked beautiful.
Oops! Was the sky lying in the grass? 
Correct: Lying in the grass, I thought the sky looked beautiful. 

5.  Vary the length of your sentences. 
Use short sentences for emphasis and to quicken the pace of your writing. 
Don't go.
Use longer sentences to slow the pace and make the writing more formal. 
Take your time and remain here with me for a while.

6.  Vary the patterns of your sentences. 
Use all four of the sentence types: 
  • simple sentences
  • compound sentences
  • complex sentences
  • compound/complex sentences

If you need more help with any of the techniques or sentence parts above, everything you need to know will be found in my grammar handbook: Simple Steps to Sentence Analysis. You will find here for only $6. For a limited time, everyone who purchases the book will get a link to a free set of practice exercises. The link is in the book. 

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 12, 2015

You Are Invited to Subscribe to Charlene Tess' Newsletters

I'm happy to announce that I now have two newsletters: one for fiction and one for nonfiction, including my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense series of ebooks. Of course, you are welcome to subscribe to both, and I hope you do! 

The first is my original list so you may already be on that one. I changed the name of the newsletter from Books by Charlene Tess to Educational Resources by Charlene Tess.  

Just click on this link and you can easily subscribe. See a sample newsletter below. If you would like a copy, subscribe and I will send you one.

The newest newsletter is for those interested in Novels by Charlene Tess.  I have written four romantic suspense novels under my name, and more recently I have been writing mysteries with my sister Judi Thompson under the pen name, Tess Thompson. 

All our books have twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the very end of the stories. By clicking on this link you can learn about the newest releases and titles to add to your free time reading library.

Sample Fiction Newsletter Charlene Tess

I want to thank my dear friend, Carolyn Wilhelm, for her advice and expertise in getting these two newsletters up and running. She has been an invaluable help to me for many years, and I appreciate her. If you haven't visited her website,, you have been missing out. Click here to see what I mean.

You can also sign up by using the forms in the right column of this blog. I hope to be sending you a newsletter soon.

Thanks for reading,

Charlene Tess photo and signature