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.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Nothing Succeeds Like Success Photo

I hope by now,  if you are using one of my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books to teach grammar and usage, you have discovered that students can be successful and make good grades and even enjoy learning. As the English Proverb states: Nothing succeeds like success.

What a wonderful feeling it is to give students frequent chances to succeed and feel good about themselves!

The way to achieve this is really simple. When you grade students’ group and individual papers, break each lesson into several components. (I always let them trade and grade except on tests.) 

For example, when you do Step 3: Finding the Subject, don’t just check for the subjects that students find in each sentence. That would only give students 20 answers at 5 points apiece and make it easy for them to get a low score. 

Instead, count the prepositional phrase(s) in each sentence as one point, the verb phrase as one point, and the subject as one point. Voila! Now there are over 60 answers and students can miss several and still get a decent score. 

Of course, these tips work with any assignment you give your students whether or not it comes from one of my books. 

For each step, you can decide which parts of the sentence are the key parts. For example, when working on Step 4: Finding the Complements, the key is deciding if the verb is action or linking before looking for the complement. When grading each paper, be sure to count the verb and whether it is an action or a linking verb along with the complement as key elements in the score. 

Use the answer pages in the back of the book to count the number of elements you plan to score in each lesson and make your directions clear about which parts of the sentence students are to mark when scoring papers. This is another opportunity for the teacher to re-teach and emphasize that sentence analysis must be done in steps, and that the steps must be done in order. Skipping a step is a recipe for confusion and disaster. 

This method could get to be a bit too much of a hassle if the teacher had to do the math each time papers are graded and figure out the correct score for papers that have 63 answers, or 71 answers, etc. It could, but it won’t, if you download my Grading Scale Chart. (It's on sale for half price right now.)

You can print it on both sides of a sheet of paper, slip it into a plastic folder sleeve and take it with you anywhere. You can even give your students a copy if you so desire. 

I always just called out the answers out loud: minus 18 equals ? (or whatever). Then I asked the whole class to raise their hands as I called out the grades starting with 50 or below. When the student heard his/her grade, he/she was to put his/her hand down. At the end, the students with 99 or 100 still had their hands up and got a round of applause, but no one was embarrassed at having a low score. 
Simple Steps to Sentence Sense Logo photo

Simple Steps to Sentence Sense is an easy and enjoyable way to teach grammar. You will find the books HERE. You know you are successful when you hear students say, “This is fun.” Grammar? Fun? Well, all right! 

Please tell your friends and colleagues about my book. (Hint: Simple Steps to Sentence Sense is also a useful tool for foreign language teachers to use, and it is really successful with special education and ESL students.) 

Books by Charlene Tess Photo

Friday, August 16, 2013

Huge Back to School Sale at

Huge Back to School Sale at

Sunday, August 18th and Monday, August 19th are the two days for the huge back to school sale at Now is the time to stock up on useful products. Everything in my store including all of my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books and materials will be on sale.

Huge Back to School Sale at photo

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Must Stories Have a Happy Ending?

 Do you feel cheated when you finish a book if the ending is not a happy one?

People often do. A good friend of mine confesses to reading the end of a novel before she buys it. If the ending is not happy, she puts it back on the shelf. Now that she reads on her Kindle, it's not so easy to preview the book's ending, but she usually goes with authors she can count on to let their characters live happily ever after.

I have no such requirement in mind when I read, or for that matter when I write a novel or short story.

What I want is for all the loose ends to be tied up, for all the characters' problems to have a chance at resolution (even if the resolution is not particularly a happy one), and most importantly, for the ending to be uplifting and offer hope.

Although most of my novels do have a happy ending, I do not insist on making that happen. Maybe the best thing that could happen to the characters is that they go their separate ways. Perhaps they were making each other miserable. Now, however, they may have a chance to find the one person who will make them truly happy.

Maybe the protagonist's dream has been shattered, but he finds the courage to carry on and find a new dream.

There are so many what if's. Life is like that.

Visit my Kindle Store and take your pick, All of my books are only $2.99.

If you don't have a Kindle, no problem. You can download a freeKindle reader for any smart phone, iPad, PC, or Mac. The download is offered on the Kindle website.

I do all my reading on my iPhone or my iPad because they come with a built in night light.

Our Hearts Remember by Charlene Tess photo

Also, take a look at my nonfiction books. I have all of my Simple Steps to Sentence Products on sale for 4 days in my Teachers Notebook Store. in celebration of my three grandsons' birthdays. Happy Birthday to Alec and Mason who turn 16 on the 27th,  and to Dawson who turns 10 on the 30th. 
I love you guys! You have my heart!

My teaching tip is being featured today on
Click here to read: So Many Papers to Grade: So Little Time.

All the best,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Driving Lessons

photo 1959 Plymouth Belvidere

Although I took driver’s education in high school, it was really my dad, Kenneth Bourland, and my uncle, Charles Bourland, who taught me to drive. I learned valuable lessons from both of them. When I got my learner’s permit we lived in an area with farm roads that were not too busy at most times of the day, and my dad frequently let me drive when we went to the store or out on errands. 

He told me that looking in the rearview mirror was just as important as looking through the
windshield. He said I should always know what might be coming up behind me, and should try to anticipate problems ahead of me on the roadway. (Later, I realized that was a good metaphor for life, but at 15, I thought it just meant to keep my eyes open.)

Mostly, I practiced driving the 1950 blue Ford, but I remember how excited I was when the family got a brand new gray Plymouth Belvedere in 1959. It was sleek, had fins, and smelled new. The whole family was excited about this car. It was a big deal to be able to afford a nice car like this one. After I got my license, the day came when my parents said I could drive the new car all by myself to visit my two cousins who lived about three miles away.

I could give you plenty of examples of my dad’s devotion to his family. Anyone who knew him
could do that. But on this Saturday morning, I got a true lesson about his priorities in life.

We had a three-sided carport with a garage door. Dad opened the garage door and stood near the front of the carport to watch me back out. His intention was to close the garage door when I pulled out onto the street. What happened next is kind of a blur, but I remember excitedly dashing to the car, opening the driver’s side door, and tossing my purse on the seat. Then I put the key in the ignition, started the car, put it into reverse and started backing up.

The only problem was, I had forgotten to shut the car door.


Dad yelled, “Stop. Hit the brakes.”

I did, and then just sat there kind of in shock about damaging the brand new Plymouth. Dad walked around the back of the car and helped me out. I felt so bad and so dumb. I stood there and
cried while Dad got in the car, and put it in forward to clear the car door from the wall of the carport.

I continued crying and wailing as as if I had run over somebody. I don’t know what I expected. Dad had never yelled at me in my entire life, so I knew he would not do so now, but I did deserve a lecture, a punishment, or at least a stern warning about not being a complete spastic idiot when I was excited about something.

But my dad did none of the things I imagined. Instead, he got out and took me in his arms, and squeezed me really tight. “Sugar, come on now. Stop this crying. Everything’s all right. After all, it’s just a car.

Kenneth R. Bourland
1916 - 2008

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

17 Super Secondary Teachers to Follow on Pinterest

Here are 17 teachers who have some amazing teaching ideas and are willing to share them. You will find help with English Language Arts, foreign language, math, and art. We follow each other on Pinterest and thought you might like to follow us also. Read their bio information and then follow them on Pinterest to keep up with the latest products and advice they have to offer.

The Tutor House

Bio:  Hi!  I'm Adrianne from The Tutor House.  I love tutoring and creating engaging lessons for math in reading for grades 3-8!  If you've ever thought about starting your own tutoring business, you should come on over to The Tutor House!

Follow Adrianne of The Tutor House on Pinterest.

TeachitWritelogo photo chalkboard-apple2_zps1805ea76.png 

Bio: Welcome! I am Connie from Teach it Write. I am a retired English teacher and Iím thrilled to now write curriculum full time that I love to share on my site My book, The House of Comprehension, shows how the elements of literature form the structure of any fiction or non-fiction text. Check it out on my blog site or on

Follow Connie of Teach it Write on Pinterest.

2PeasAndADog Blog

Bio:  Hi Everyone! It's Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. I am a Canadian middle school teacher who loves to pin and blog about things related to Grades 6 and up.

Follow Kristy of 2 Peas and a Dog on Pinterest.


Bio:  Hiya there!  I'm Jamie but you may know me as MissMathDork! I am a lover of all things mathematical!  Patterns, sequences, geometric shapes, if it's mathematical, I'll find a way to make it fun!  Want to see some of my ideas? Check out my ideas and pictures at!  You won't be disappointed!

Follow Jaime of Miss Math Dork on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hello, there. I'm Charlene Tess from Simple Steps to Sentence Sense. Thanks for visiting my blog. If you are not following me on Pinterest yet, please do. Grammar is my specialty. I have always loved taking sentences apart and putting them back together, and I successfully taught my students using the simple steps method for over three decades. Please continue to visit my blog to get helpful tips on grammar, usage, and writing.

Follow Charlene of Simple Steps to Sentence Sense on Pinterest.

Tammy Manor!

Bio:  Hi my name is Tammy and I've been teaching high school English for 13 years now. I know that teaching can be very stressful. My school is constantly changing the book list and I've taught every grade 6-12 as well. As a result I have unit plans for a large variety of novels, plays and memoirs. Come check out my store on TpT for a variety of ELA materials. Follow my blog for teaching related posts.

Follow Tammy on Pinterest.  

Bio:  Meet Sabrina, author of A Space to Create.  Find teaching resources for art teachers and classroom teachers alike. My art lessons teach students the creative process enabling them to build confidence and have amazing results.  Come visit my blog A Space to Create! (K-12)

Follow Sabrina of A Space to Create on Pinterest.

All Things Algebra

Bio: Hi there!  I'm Gina from All Things Algebra.  I have taught Algebra and Pre-Algebra for seven years and have a passion for creating activites and games that engage my students.  If you are interested in finding ways to have more fun in math class, head on over and check out my blog!

Follow Gina of All Things Algebra on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hi there!  My name is Amy Brown and I write a blog called "Science Stuff."  I am a 29-year teaching veteran of biology, chemistry and AP biology.  I love science and I love kids, so I have the best job in the world!  Hopefully, I have passed my love of nature and the environment on to many students.  My blog has tips and tricks for teaching science as well as a lot of free science teaching materials.  I hope to see you there!

Follow Amy of Science Stuff on Pinterest.

Numbers Rule My World

Bio: Hi! Iím Krystina from Numbers Rule My World. I love incorporating hands-on activities and technology into the classroom for Math: grades 7-9. If youíre looking for great ideas about math then you should come on over and check it out at Numbers Rule My World!

Follow Krystina of Numbers Rule My World on Pinterest.

4mulaFun Blog Fan

Bio:  Hello, my name is Jennifer Smith-Sloane. I am a Middle School Math and Special Education teacher. I have a strong passion for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each learner in and out of my classroom. I love seeing the light in a student's eyes when something finally clicks and I do everything that I can to make that happen as often as it can.  Visit my blog 4mulaFun!

Follow Jennifer of 4mulaFun on Pinterest.

Innovative Connections

Bio:  Hey! I am Ann Marie from Innovative Connections. I enjoy blogging about various topics: Projects and lessons going on in my classroom, ideas I've learned or ideas I've thought of at the most random of moments (At 2 a.m. when I can't sleep, I can come up with some stellar ideas), teaching resources I find beneficial to fellow teachers and/or bloggers. Due to the wide range of grades I've had the pleasure of teaching, Innovative Connections caters mostly to language arts but loves to share and collaborate with teachers/bloggers of various grade levels.

Follow Ann Marie of Innovative Connections on Pinterest.

Bio:  This is Madame Aiello, author of Teaching FSL. Although I've taught other subjects as well, French as a Second Language has always been my passion. My focus is the higher grades, since I taught high school originally but teach grade 7 & 8 since six years ago. I share lots of resources, blog about second language teacher specific topics as well as those that apply to all teachers.

Follow Madame Aiello of Teaching FSL on Pinterest.

Liz's Lessons
Bio:  Bonjour! Hola! I'm Liz from Liz's Lessons. Languages are one of my passions, and I love teaching with technology. I create fun lessons for teaching secondary French, and Spanish. I also make formative assessments and technology activities in English, that can be used in any secondary classroom. If you are looking for some engaging activities for your classes, be sure to stop by Liz's Lessons!

Follow Liz of Liz's Lessons on Pinterest.

For the Love of Teaching Math
Bio: I'm Andrea Kerr from For the Love of Teaching Math. It is my mission to change traditional math classrooms one game and activity at a time. If you like to incorporate hands-on, group activities and games into your classroom, check out For the Love of Teaching Math!

Follow Andrea of For the Love of Teaching Math on Pinterest.

Addie Education ñ Teacher Talk

Bio:  I'm a middle / high-school teacher and I love to create ELA, Social Studies and Geography related resources.  I blog at Addie Education - Teacher Talk... come on by and see some of the fun things I do with my students.

Follow Addie Education on Pinterest.

Bio:  I'm a high school English teacher in a 1:1 school who loves books and fostering creativity. My blogs are Mrs. Orman's Classroom and Hunger Games Lessons. I share my teaching resources on TeachersPayTeachers.

Follow Tracee Orman on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hi! I'm Kim from Teaching Math by Hart. I am forever planning and thinking of new and innovative ways to teach math to my students. Why, you ask? Believe it or not, I think learning Math should be FUN and it should be REAL! If you are looking for some ideas to engage your students in math class, come check out Teaching Math by Hart - in the middle years classroom! Follow Kim of Teaching Math by Hart on Pinterest.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

You Can Score on Teacher Materials This Weekend

You can find my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books and many other lessons on Two Great Web Sites. BOTH of them are having sales on Super Bowl Sunday Weekend.  Click on the links or the posters below to visit the stores and take advantage of the savings. Some of your favorite sellers have lowered their prices just for this sale.

Teachers Notebook

Here's hoping your team wins the Super Bowl and you score on some great products!

Signature and photo Charlene Tess

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Free Gift for the New Year

If you are a student or a teacher who would like to brush up on your grammar and sentence structure skills, my book Simple Steps to Sentence Analysis is on sale for only $5.

Plus, as a bonus, for a limited time it includes a link to a FREE set of practice exercises.

Along with the practice exercises, I have included the Sentence Analysis Master that my students fondly referred to as SAM.

Cover Simple Steps to Sentence Analysis by Charlene Tess

Learning to analyze sentences is easy if you follow the 8 simple steps in my book.

I hope your new year is off to a great start!
Photo and signature Charlene Tess

Friday, January 11, 2013

Take a Look at Some Adorable Clip Art

Most of my products are for secondary students, so clip art is not a huge deal for me, although I do like to use it in my blog posts, BUT, I have lots of friends who home school their children and lots of friends who teach in elementary schools, and I want to tell them about some clip art that is unique and adorable.

Here's just a tiny sample of what's available from FUN4U at

Fun4U Clip Art at

Click here to visit the Fun4U store. This is not an affiliate link, and I will not profit from any sales. I just think these are amazing, and they were done by one of my favorite people on the planet.

Here's to a wonderful start to the new year!

Photo and signature Charlene Tess