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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Use Active Verbs When Writing Sentences

Here's a sample page from Simple Steps to Sentence Sense for Middle School. After students have completed the eight simple steps in the book, they have an opportunity to use their knowledge in a series of writing activities. This activity is on using active verbs when writing sentences.

For more lessons and all of my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense eBooks, visit my store.

Thanks for reading,

photo and signature Charlene Tess

Sunday, August 2, 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 also hope you will take a look at my best selling product on My eBook Simple Steps to Sentence Sense has been used in schools throughout the U.S. and is several countries overseas since 1996. It has been tested on thousands of students and they enjoy learning grammar and usage the way I present it. Click on the testamonials tab above to see what teachers are saying about my series of books.

The good news is that both of these products will be on sale at 28% off during the Back to School Sale on TpT August 3rd and 4th. Enter the code: BTS2015 at checkout.

Thanks to Brian Wiltgen (Wise Guys) for creating the links below to other top secondary teachers who are participating in the sale.

I hope your first days of school are fantastic!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Secondary Teachers Ready for Back to School

We love back to school time here in secondary! Join us to celebrate with the TpT Sale, August 3rd - 4th and get those lessons you need for up to 28% off! Check out the top secondary teachers below for some great deals on top lesssons!

All of my lesson will be on sale for two days including my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense eBooks. Be sure to check out my Top Secondary Seller friends' stores below for great bargains.

Use the code BTS15 at checkout to receive up to 28% off in some cases.

Thanks for reading,

Charlene -Tess-photo-and-signature

A Space to Create

The Classroom Sparrow

Room 213

Darlene Anne’s ELA Buffet

Danielle Knight (Study All Knight)

Michele Luck's Social Studies

Teaching FSL

Juggling ELA

Making It Teacher

James Whitaker's SophistThoughts

Created by MrHughes

Leah Cleary

Addie Williams


The Creative Classroom

Mrs. Brosseau's Binder

Pamela Kranz

Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy

ELA Everyday

The Creative Classroom

Kesler Science

Live Love Math

To the Square Inch- Kate Bing Coners

The Classroom Sparrow

Liz's Lessons

For the Love of Teaching Math

ELA Everyday

Chopsticks to Mason Jars


Charlene Tess

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