Sunday, December 1, 2013

TpT Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale

TpT Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale Starts Tomorrow!

TpT Cyber Sale

All of my materials will be on sale for 20% off. 
Use the code CYBER at checkout and you will save 28%.

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler -

All the best,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mema's Cornbread Dressing

Mema's Cornbread Dressing

Alice Bourland
Alice Bourland (1917-2008)
This was my beautiful mother’s famous recipe for cornbread dressing. We had it for Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinner. The turkey was not the focus of our meal; Mema’s Dressing was everybody’s favorite. We would pour gravy over it and eat it for days. After my youngest grandson was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I began making it with gluten free flour and gluten free corn meal. It is as good as ever!

CORNBREAD (Make at least one day early so it can dry out a little. If possible, make in on Sunday before Thanksgiving or three days before Christmas and then leave it out on the counter. Also, dry out a loaf of bread and use for breadcrumbs or buy a bag of breadcrumbs. Just be sure they are not seasoned because that will alter the taste.

Triple this cornbread recipe for a large amount of dressing to feed several people. (It’s better to mix it up and bake it in three batches.)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted shortening (or vegetable oil)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (Very important. Don't use sweet milk.)

Mix cornmeal, flour, soda, and salt. Beat egg and add to buttermilk. Then pour this mixture into the sifted dry ingredients, add 1 tablespoon melted shortening (or vegetable oil) and stir only until well mixed. Grease an 8X8 pan. (If you have one, bake the cornbread in an iron skillet.) Pour batter into hot, greased pan. Bake at 425 degrees about 30 to 35 minutes, or until brown.


large bunch of celery
1 large yellow onion
poultry seasoning (Very important. Don't use anything else.)
3 cans chicken broth
dry cornbread (crumbled)
dry bread (Add enough to make the mixture stick together well)

Chop celery and onion and sauté in butter until soft and clear in color. Crumble cornbread and bread in a large bowl. Add celery and onion mixture. Add chicken broth a little at a time until you get the thick consistency of muffin dough. Add poultry seasoning a teaspoon at a time. This will make it salty and give it its unique flavor. Taste until it tastes like Mema's dressing. (For those who did not know and love Mema, just suit your own taste.) Grease one rectangular baking dish with oil. Bake at 350º until dressing is brown and crusty on top. (30 or 35 minutes.) If you want stuffing in the turkey, stuff it with raw dressing before you put it in the oven.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Here's a link to two FREE activities that the whole family could do for fun after dinner. 

While you are visiting the TeachersPayTeachers web site, be sure to fill your wish list with products and then go back on December 2nd and 3rd and SAVE MONEY with the CYBER MONDAY AND TUESDAY SALE!. Use the code CYBER when you checkout and you will save 28% on all of my books and lesson units.

Now is the time to buy amazing products from some talented teachers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

3 Tips to Strengthen Your Sentences

Tess' Tips Strengthen Your Sentences

Here are three tips to strengthen your sentences and make your writing stronger.
1.  Your writing will be more effective if you use strong verbs and nouns instead of trying to prop up weak ones with adjectives and adverbs.

Weak: The dentist intentionally spoke untruthfully about the diagnosis.

Strong: The dentist lied about the diagnosis.

Weak: The insurance agency maliciously took advantage of persons with limited income and limited knowledge.

Strong: The insurance agency deceived the poor and the ignorant.

2.  If you use adjectives and adverbs choose strong ones and avoid adding intensifiers.

violent  -- not-- rather violent

starved  -- not-- somewhat starved

histrionic  -- not-- slightly histrionic

3.  In contrast, do not try to prop up weak adjectives and adverbs with a string of intensifiers.

She was infuriated. (Not: She was very, very, very mad.)

The pain was excruciating. (Not: The pain was really, really bad.)

Be sure to get a copy of my book, Simple Steps to Sentence Sense, which includes 8 simple steps to help you become a better writer. 

Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Use the Active Voice

Use the Active Voice

Use the Active Voice Photo by Charlene Tess

When writing simple sentences, learn to use verbs in the active voice as much as possible.

Although there are occasions when the passive voice is necessary, using it usually slows the sentence down. (Verbs in the passive voice use a form of "to be" as a helping verb (is, am, are, was, were, be, been, or being) in front of the past participle.

Examples: Kim was hit by Kerry. 
(This sentence is in the passive voice.) 
Kerry hit Kim. (This sentence is in the active voice.) 

To eliminate the passive voice: 
1) Remove the helping verb (is, am, are, was, were, be, been, or being.) 
2) Remove the preposition "by," if the sentence has one.
3) Flip/flop the ends of the sentence. (What you are really doing is switching the subject and the direct object.)

Here is an example of how to change a sentence in the passive voice to a sentence in the active voice.

The man was given an award by the service club.

1) Remove the form of "to be" used as a helping verb.
The man was given an award by the service club.
2) Remove the preposition "by" (If it appears in the sentence.)
The man was given an award by the service club.

3) Flip/flop the ends of the sentence

Passive Voice - The man was given an award by the service club.” 

Active Voice - “The service club gave the man an award.”

Note: Be sure that you do not change the tense of the verb when you change it from passive voice to active voice.
Both "was given" and "gave" are in the past tense.

Here's a product your students will enjoy. All About Verbs will help your students understand how to recognize and use verbs effectively. This product has 25 pages of instruction and 13 exercises.

All About Verbs Photo by Charlene Tess


Signature and photo by Charlene Tess

Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Choose Between Who's and Whose

How to Choose Between Who's and Whose

The words who's and whose are often confused and used incorrectly. Learning to use them correctly is pretty simple.

Who's is a contraction for the words who is or who has. The apostrophe is your clue that the word is a contraction. The apostrophe indicates that two words have been combined.
Example: Who's the leader of this group?
Whose is the possessive form of the pronoun who and is used in questions to ask who owns something?
Example: Whose running shoes are on the porch?

An easy trick to always choose the right word is to say both words in the contraction when you read the sentence.

Read this sentence: Who's the leader of this group? as Who is the leader of this group? Because it makes sense to read it as who is, who's is the correct choice.

Read this sentence and choose the correct word:

(Who's, Whose) answers are correct? It would make no sense at all to choose the word who's, because if you read the sentence and included both words in the contraction it would read: Who is answers are correct? That is obviously wrong, wrong, wrong.

The correct choice would be: Whose answers are correct?

Click here for a FREE lesson and 20 question quiz on the use of Who's and Whose.

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All the best,

Books by Charlene Tess signature and photo