Sunday, November 21, 2021

Tips to Strengthen Your Sentences



Here are three tips to help your students strengthen their sentences and improve their writing.


1.  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 do 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 very, very, very mad. Instead say: She was infuriated. 

The pain was really, really bad. Instead say: The pain was excruciating. 


Here's a lesson with even more hints that will help your students improve their writing. It's ready to print and distribute to your students or you can assign it in Google Classroom.™ 

Answers are included.  https://bit.ly/3oRWhG8




Be sure to check my store for Christmas and holiday activities both free and priced. My latest is Four Fun Holiday Activities that you can print or assign in Easel.™ 

https://bit.ly/3nBVHgf




I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is peaceful and joyful.


Thanks for reading. Take a look at some of the interesting blog posts below from my teacher friends at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative.

Best regards,
Charlene

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Simple Steps to Create a Story Plan


A story plan is the first step in writing fiction.


A story plan will be a sketch of the story you plan to write and is to be used for planning purposes. One way to get started is to think of a real incident that you or someone you know has experienced. Base your story plan on that incident, but change anything you wish if it makes your story more interesting or exciting.

You can also base a story on real events that you read about online or hear on the news. Just change the names, the location, and embellish the sequence of events to make them your own creation. For example, West Side Story is a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Consider the following elements when you begin your story plan. You can skip around if you wish, but be sure to complete all the steps below.

Decide on the characters. Name the characters and describe their role in the story and their relationship to one another. For example: Marie Martin, heroine, secretary to the president of the bank. (If you are not ready to use names, just use descriptions: librarian, doctor, etc.)

Choose a setting. Decide when and where the events will take place. Be as specific as you can because that will help you when you begin your research. (For example: the South in the 60’s vs. Birmingham, Alabama in 1965.)

Decide on the main conflict in the story. What is the problem that your main character faces when the story begins? (For example: Marie Martin has been accused of stealing money from the bank.)

Decide on a series of events in the plot. Briefly describe what happens in a few sentences. (You can add to these, subtract from these, and rearrange these later.) What happens? What happens next?

Determine the climax of the story. Describe the moment after which nothing will be the same. If a car is dangling over a cliff throughout the story, and then the driver is rescued moments before the car plunges down the embankment, that's the climax.

Determine the resolution of the story. What happens at the end when the loose ends are tied up? (Some writers determine the ending first and work backwards from there.)

Visit my store for an exercise your students can do to create a story plan.



This activity is part of a creative writing bundle with 9 activities 
and saves you 20%. 

Here's hoping the 2021-22 school year is off to a great start!

Take a look at some of the interesting blog posts below from my teacher friends at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marking Cooperative. If you are a teacher-author, joining this organization will help you market your materials.

Thanks for reading,
Charlene

The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marking Cooperative






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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Simple Steps to Organize Your Workday




One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is organizing our time and eliminating some of the stress that often comes with each new day. I call it, pressing the reset button. Today is done. Start over tomorrow with a plan. 


I always try to take a few minutes to prepare for the next day at the end of each workday. I make a list and prioritize the things that I hope to accomplish tomorrow. I find that if I have a focused plan, I can get things done without feeling anxious. 


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 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. 

This system will help you at home too. Take time each evening to prepare for the following day. The few extra minutes you take to prepare will save you so much stress and tension in the morning when you are pressed for time. 

Before you go to sleep each night, be sure you have planned for the following day. 
  • Decide what you will have for breakfast and put out the dishes and flatware you will use. 
  • If there won't be time for breakfast, take along an energy bar, a piece of fruit, or a yogurt. 
  • Prepare your lunch for the following day or decide where you will eat lunch. 
  • Choose what you will wear and lay out your clothes and your shoes. (Don't wait until the next morning to discover that one of your shoes is nowhere to be found. Been there! Done that!) 
  • Place your keys and work materials near the door. If there is something you might forget to take along, write yourself a sticky note and put it with your keys. 
  • Be sure the kitchen and bathroom are neat and tidy. 
Press the reset button each day before you leave work.

  • Tidy up and organize your desk and work areas at the end of each day. 
  • Prioritize a "to do" list or leave yourself sticky notes to help you get started the following day. 
  • Leave work at work whenever possible. It will be there tomorrow. (I am a writing teacher, and I know doing so is not realistic much of the time, but do it if you can.) 

It may take you a few moments at the end of each day to press the reset button, but the following morning you will be so happy you did. Then, you can start your day with far less stress and worry. 


It works for me! 


Why not try it, or use a similar system that you devise?


Here’s a link to a FREE printable daily planner and to-do list. Enjoy!


While you are in my store take a look at some of my resources that involve taking simple steps to success for your students. Sign up for my newsletter for more freebies and tips.


Below are blog posts from my teacher friends at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. I always learn something from reading their blog posts. Thanks for reading mine.

Best regards,
Charlene


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Sunday, August 15, 2021

A Lesson in Comparing and Contrasting Two Short Stories






Comparing and contrasting two short stories is something your students will enjoy doing. It is a skill that can be repeated and expanded to enhance students' appreciation of literature throughout their lives. As they read more extensively and watch more videos, they can apply this skill to compare a book to a screenplay, a book to a movie, a news report to a documentary, and on and on. 


At first, when teaching this concept, I suggest that you choose the two short stories that you want them to compare and contrast. Be sure to choose stories that have some common elements. If you are entirely familiar with the stories, it will be so much easier for you to grade their work. I also suggest that you assign the same selections to the whole class. 


Here is the sequence when teaching this lesson: 

  • Prepare a rubric to use as an instructional tool to let students know what you expect in their essays. 
  • Assign a point value to each element in the rubric to make it easier to determine the grade on the paper.



  • Assign the two stories as an in-class reading assignment or for homework. 
  • Give students the instructions you want them to follow while writing their essays.
  • My instructions are to write a four-paragraph composition in which they discuss three similarities and three differences between the two stories or novels). The first paragraph is the introduction, the second discusses three similarities, the third discusses three differences, and the final paragraph is a summary of the main ideas. (I include specific details in the rubric.)
  • Give them a copy of the rubric you will use to grade their work. Tell them to study it, so they know what you expect when they write their essays.
  • Have students brainstorm on a graphic organizer and take notes on the plot, characters, theme, point of view, and tone of each of the short stories 


  • Assign writing a four-paragraph composition in which they discuss three similarities and three differences between the two stories (or novels) that they are comparing. 





If you are working with students who will need to write such essays frequently, do this assignment again. This time, let them choose the literary selections they wish to compare and contrast. 


You can prepare this lesson just as you wish, and your students will be successful. Grading the papers should not be a time thief for you if you prepare the rubric first. However, if you want this lesson ready to go with everything already prepared, you will find it here in my TpT store



This resource is both printable and digital and can be used in Easel by TpT™.

Thanks for reading. Here are some interesting blog posts from my teacher friends in The Best of Teachers Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative.

   All the best,








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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Find Amazing Bargains in Back-to-School Sale on TpT


The annual back-to-school sale on TeachersPayTeachers.com begins next week on Tuesday, August 3rd. You will have two days to save up to 25% on thousands of resources that you can purchase, download, and use immediately. 

Be sure to enter the code BTS21 when you check out. Many sellers are pricing their resources at 20% off and if you enter the code, TpT will take off another 5%.

Busy teachers will especially enjoy the back-to-school activities that are printable, and many resources also provide a link to a product in Google Drive™ or offer the opportunity to work in Easel by TpT™.

Here's a link with more information
 on how to use Easel by TpT™. 

I have spent much of my summer making 50 of my resources available to use in Easel. If you wish to see which of them have been converted to Easel, click here

If you have already purchased a resource that has been converted to Easel, please go to the "my purchases" tab in your TpT dashboard and download it again.

Here's a great opportunity to enter an amazing contest sponsored by Victoria Leon and The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. You can win a $100 TpT Gift Certificate. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

One of my goals for the coming school year is to write a blog post and an email each month to help you teach a grammar, writing, or creative writing lesson to your students. If you have any special requests about concepts you would like to see me spotlight, please tell me in the comments below or send me an email at charlenetess@yahoo.com. I would love to help you in any way I can. 

You may find these two back-to-school lessons helpful. 


This back-to-school unit will get your new semester or school year off to a good start. Everything you need is included in this unit. Five pages of instruction for the teacher and a four-page handout packet for the students. 


When completed, students will have introduced each other to you and to their classmates, and you will have taken three assessment grades.



The twenty back-to-school-themed sentences in this exercise all begin with the subject and the verb.

Good writers vary their sentence patterns by sometimes placing phrases or clauses at the beginning of their sentences. 

In this exercise, students will rewrite sentences by varying the sentence patterns.


I hope the 2021-2022 school year is a happy and healthy one for you, your family, and your students.

Best,
Charlene

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sun, Sand, and Savings Sale Week of July 19-23

Sun, Sand, & Savings Sale  

$1 resources $2 resources and FREE resources. Week of July 19-23

It's that great summer sale again. You can choose from amazing TpT resources and save BIG!


Every Monday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $1.00. Click on the link below to shop deals on 7/19. (I will not reduce prices until tomorrow!)    


Every Tuesday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $2.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/20. 
(I will not reduce prices until Tuesday!)    


Every Wednesday in July, I will mark two of my digital resources down to $1.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/21. (I will not reduce prices until Wednesday.)



Every Thursday and Friday in July, you can enter a $100 TpT Gift Card giveaway. Winners are announced on the main website on Saturday.


Every Friday you can grab one or two of my Freebies.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sun, Sand, and Savings Sale Week of July 12-16

Sun, Sand, & Savings Sale  

$1 resources $2 resources and FREE resources. Week of July 12-16

It's that great summer sale again. You can choose from amazing TpT resources and save BIG!


Every Monday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $1.00. Click on the link below to shop deals on 7/12. (I will not reduce prices until tomorrow!)    

Every Tuesday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $2.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/13. 
(I will not reduce prices until Tuesday!)    



Every Wednesday in July, I will mark two of my digital resources down to $1.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/14. (I will not reduce prices until Wednesday.)



Every Thursday and Friday in July, you can enter a $100 TpT Gift Card giveaway. Winners are announced on the main website on Saturday.


Every Friday you can grab one or two of my Freebies.


Monday, July 5, 2021

Sun, Sand & Savings Sale Week of July 5-9

Sun, Sand, & Savings Sale  

$1 resources $2 resources and FREE resources. Week of July 5-9.

It's that great summer sale again. You can choose from amazing TpT resources and save BIG!


Every Monday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $1.00. Click on the link below to shop deals on 7/5.    

Every Tuesday in July, I will mark two of my resources down to $2.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/6. 
(I will not reduce prices until Tuesday!)    





Every Wednesday in July, I will mark two of my digital resources down to $1.00. Click here to shop deals on 7/7. (I will not reduce prices until Wednesday.)



Every Thursday and Friday in July, you can enter a $100 TpT Gift Card giveaway. Winners are announced on the main website on Saturday.


Every Friday you can grab one or two of my Freebies.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Advance Preparation for a Substitute Is a Must

Teacher at Chalkboard


Dear Teacher Friends,

It's finally the end of a long and stressful school year. You deserve a restful and fun vacation. This tip is one that will help make your next school year get off to a great start. Preparing this now, before you need it, will be so reassuring.

One of the biggest worries for teachers is what to do if you have an unexpected need to be absent. Sometimes you just don't feel like writing out a lesson plan that incorporates the lessons you have been working on in class. At other times, during a family crisis, you don't have time to think about a lesson plan at all. You have to pack, or go to the hospital, or rush in to help a family member who needs you. 


At such times, I always relied on a folder that I kept in the drawer of my desk. 

Emergency no prep lesson plans Charlene Tess

I would call a teacher friend at my school and ask them to get the folder out of my drawer and put it on my desktop. In addition to the lessons I had prepared, the folder contained my schedule, my seating charts, notes about my class rules, information about the teachers' lunchroom and break room, fire drill information, and any other helpful information I thought a substitute might need.


My go-to lesson was a short story that students would read in class and worksheets they would use to analyze the story. In the folder, I included printed copies of the story and the worksheets. You will find that lesson here.


If I had to be absent for more than one day, I had my teacher friend pull out a second folder in which I had placed a different lesson that could take up to a week to complete. You will find that FREE lesson here.




If you prefer lessons for distance learning, I have many resources that you could use. My Google Drive resources are here, and my BOOM Cards are here.

I learned that if you take the time to prepare these two folders before you need them, they can be a lifesaver later on. 

Take a look at all of the fantastic lessons you could use as substitute plans that were written by teachers who write for TeachersPayTeachers.com. These lessons are classroom-tested and ready to print and use. Why not download them and get your folders ready? Enjoy!

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fun and restful summer break.


Here are some interesting blog posts my teacher friends in The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative wrote. 


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