Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Getting to Know You Activities

Students with backpacks and notebooks

The first few days of school at a secondary campus are exciting, fast-paced, and often chaotic. As counselors balance class loads, and students adjust schedules to include elective classes, students are frequently added to classes and dropped from classes. At my high school, we had at least two fire drills during the first week of school, and the senior class had a class meeting. In additions to those interruptions, teachers have many administrative duties, including organizing equipment, books, notebooks, and the list goes on.

I developed a unit that I used every year with every class. The students enjoyed it, and after the introduction, it required minimal involvement from me for several of the days. I was free to prepare seating charts, get my groups outlined in my mind, label and organize equipment, and again the list goes on.

This unit will help you with activities for the first day of school to get your students seated and accustomed to your classroom.

It includes a series of activities that will help students get to know each other and introduce them to you. The activities included in this unit are:
  • filling out an information card for the teacher’s use.
  • learning to prepare the heading on papers due to the teacher's wishes
  • learning interview techniques.
  • writing a series of interview questions. interviewing a classmate.
  • writing a personality sketch.
  • learning to use a rubric.
  • introducing a classmate to the teacher and the other students in an oral presentation. After completing all of the activities, students will have received three grades, and they will know a little bit more about the other students in their class. I hope you will find this unit helpful. You can find it here.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Activities for the End of the School Year

The last few days of a school year can evoke many emotions. Teachers are tired. Students are restless and are often anxious about end-of-year tests. And yet, it is also a time for reflection, and a time to feel nostalgic about young people we have come to love and admire. They will leave us soon, and we hope to see them again and hope that we have made a difference in their lives.

After the test reviews are complete and we are satisfied that our students are ready to end their course of study with us, there will be days when we need to find something for them to do. You can call them filler assignments if you wish, but I like to make them both meaningful and enjoyable. The key is to make the students use their minds and give them Higher Order Thinking Assignments (HOTS). 

I will share two of them with you. One is free. Enjoy!

Click here for a HOTS Classification Exercise that will make your students think.

Click here for a FREE HOTS Classification Exercise that is perfect for the last few days of school before summer break.

Thanks for reading,

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

I Feel Bad for People Who Say They Feel Badly

Sometimes, even people who try to speak and write correctly end up making errors. I know I am guilty of that. Often those errors occur when people try to decide between the adjective “bad” and the adverb “badly.”

Here's a quick explanation that may help.
Be careful when using the words bad and badly,” so you will say exactly what you mean.

Most of the time, the choice is easy. 
For example: He has a bad cold. 
(Bad is an adjective that describes what kind of cold he has.) 
He behaved badly. 
(Badly is an adverb that describes how he behaved.)

The problem usually occurs when the word follows a linking verb, especially the linking verbs “feel” and “look.” (Remember that adjectives, not adverbs, should follow a linking verb.)

  • I feel badly. (This means my sense of touch is poor.) 
  • I feel bad. (This means my emotions are sad, unpleasant, or I am ill.) 

  • Jon looks bad. (This means he may be ill, or his appearance may be less than attractive.) 
  • Jon looks badly. (This means Jon has trouble with his vision.) 

Don’t feel bad if you have been making this mistake in your writing or speaking. The President of the United States and two famous television talk show hosts frequently use these words incorrectly. On one of the programs, the host said, “No one can make you feel badly about yourself except you.” I had a mental image of fingers moving around in the air.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to be conscious of the fact that you are using any form of the verb “feel” (feels, felt, feeling) or any form of the verb “look (looks, looked, looking), and then choose the correct word. 

If you need help with grammar or usage, be sure to check out my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense series of books. They have everything you need to become a better writer and speaker.

Thanks for reading,

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

6 Confusing Words to Master

Confusing words, Tess's Tips

Learning to master confusing words is an essential skill for all writers. If students learn to use them correctly, it will help them throughout their adult lives.

Dying – means that a living being is no longer alive. Dying is the present participle of the verb die. Examples: I am just dying to see your new car. The poor man is dying of a horrible disease.

Dyeing - means to change the color of something by using a dye.
Examples:  Mother is dyeing her hair brown to hide the gray hairs. Jane is dyeing her shoes to match her dress.

Weather – means changes in the atmospheric condition. Examples: We need to check the weather before we set sail. The weather is warm and dry today.

Whether – is used to indicate possibilities or choices.
Example: He was not sure whether or not to eat sushi.

Whether - also means if something is or was true.
Example: Will you find out whether or not they want to go with us to the movie?
HINT: When choosing between weather and whether, be sure to pronounce the “h” in whether. If you are talking about clouds, rain, and such, choose weather. There is no “h” sound in weather.

Advice – is a noun that means an opinion or suggestion that one gives to another.
Advise – is a verb that means to give an opinion or suggestion.

HINT: Try substituting the word feedback into the sentence. If it makes sense, choose the noun advice.
Example A: I need your (advice, advise) on how long my speech should be.
I need your (feedback) on how long my speech should be.
Since you could substitute the word feedback in this sentence, choose advice.

Example B:  You need to (advice, advise) me on how long my speech should be.
You need to (feedback) me on how long my speech should be.
Since you could not substitute the word feedback in this sentence, choose advise.

Click here for a free lesson and exercise on correctly using these 6 confusing words.

Be sure to visit my store for more free lessons and take a look at my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books. Help your students learn grammar and usage the easy way.

This article is an update from an earlier post.

Thanks for reading,

Charlene Tess author of  Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

How to Choose Between Eager or Anxious

Before choosing between the words "eager" and "anxious," decide exactly what you mean to say. 

“Eager” means excited, interested, or impatient.
“Anxious” means afraid or nervous about what may happen.

Note the correct words in the sentences below:
Jane felt (eager, anxious) about the math test because she had not studied for it.
The bride and groom were (eager, anxious) to say their vows.

Now you try it:
The puppy was (eager, anxious) to please his master.
The patient was (eager, anxious) to hear the doctor’s report.

These words are often used interchangeably, but they should not be. They are not the same. Take the time to say what you really mean.

Visit my TpT store for more helpful tips and lessons.

Here's a bundle of task cards to help your students master more confusing words. You will find them here.

Confusing Words Task Cards Bundle 1

This post is an update from a previous post.

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Be My Valentine Treats

Happy New Year

First, I would like to wish all of you a very happy 2019. I hope your plans, hopes, and dreams all happen just as you wish.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and not everyone has a significant other. This is especially true of young students. Making cards that imply a romantic message sometimes does not appeal; however, almost everyone has a good friend or a relative they admire.

The days before Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity for students to write a friendly letter or thank you note to someone they appreciate.

Even in the era of texts and IM’s, the lost art of a handwritten note or letter is something they will need to learn how to do.

After modeling a well written friendly letter and thank you note, I would have each student write one of his/her own. I would visit the Dollar Store to find appropriate sheets of stationery and give one to each student on which he/she would write a final draft.

The emphasis, of course, was on friendship and/or admiration and not romantic love. My students loved the idea, and the project was very successful.

If you want to skip the trip to the store, you can download a sheet of Valentine’s Day stationery here and print it.

Some students have a problem with writing run-on sentences. It is hard to avoid them, when they don't really understand what they are. 

This is a free resource I created to help students practice avoiding run-ons in their writing. All the sentences in the exercise are associated with Valentine's Day. Get yours here.

A freebie for Valentine's Day Correcting Run-on Sentences

Thanks for reading,

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