Helpful and Timesaving Tips for Using Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

This is a brief, but helpful article to help you get the most out of using Simple Steps to Sentence Sense by Charlene Tess.

Using Apostrophes Correctly

Use this with your class to review when to use apostrophes and how to use them correctly. The lesson, practice exercise, and the answers are included.

A Look at Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs can be transitive or intransitive. If you follow the proper sequence and look for a direct object first, it's easy to decide if a verb is transitive or intransitive. As always, in exercises written by Charlene Tess, learning to analyze sentences in the proper sequence is what makes learning grammar easy. 

Reducing Wordy Sentences

With practice, anyone can become a better writer. One of the best ways to improve one’s writing is to cut extraneous words from essays, letters, emails, or manuscripts.In fact, Twitter is a great place for people to learn to practice reducing long, convoluted, rambling sentences into 140 character tweets. This free exercise allows students to practice reducing 10 sentences into shorter, more concise statements.

 Use Compound Constructions Sparingly

Compound constructions (like compound prepositions) use several words to do the work of one or two. Using them makes sentences longer and more complicated than necessary. This exercise has ten sentences to rewrite. The answers are provided.

 Using 3X5 Cards to Set Up Scenes

This is a free exercise Charlene Tess used with her creative writing students to practice arranging the sequence of events in a plot. Following the plot of the familiar fairy tale Cinderella is an excellent way to arrange plot points into the proper order. Students will learn to recognize the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and  denouement of this familiar story, and will then be able to do the same with other literary works they read and with the stories they may write. The exercise contains 3x5 cards that the students can cut out and arrange into the correct order.

Holiday Freebies 

This is fun exercise that helps students practice Higher Order Thinking Skills as they work in small groups to classify items into general and specific categories. 

Students will examine ten groups of four items and determine into which general category they fit. Then, they will determine which item is different in some way from the other three and remove it. What remains will be a specific category that they will identify.

Charlene Tess used this exercise on one of the days before Thanksgiving to give her students' minds a workout and to celebrate the holiday.

Secret Santa Week Activity

The last few days before a holiday can be a challenge for the teacher. Even if the last days are test days, there is still time for this activity because all preparation can be done outside of class. (If necessary, you can move the time line back.) Here is an activity that is sure to please your students. Each student will have a Secret Pal and provide small treats and gifts for that person each day of the last week before the Winter Break. On the last day of the activity, students will learn the identity of their Secret Santa. Charlene Tess used this activity in her classroom to teach writing skills, listening skills, and to provide an opportunity for students to have fun 

Twenty-five Kisses 'till Christmas

Is it Christmas yet? Help the young ones in your life keep track of the days leading up to Christmas Day. This is a fun gift for your younger students or for the young ones in your life. Give each child a special calendar on which they can keep track of the countdown to Christmas. Attach a small candy treat to each day on the calendar, and when all the candy is gone, it will be Christmas Day. There is also a calendar to keep track of how many days in December until the birth of Jesus for those who teach in religious schools.

Winter Holidays Classification Exercise and Holiday Crossword Puzzzle

Two free activities to keep students engaged during the class periods before winter break. One is a higher order thinking skills classification exercise and the other is a holiday crossword puzzle. Both exercises are fun for the students and yet they require thinking. This is just what you need to fill those moments in class when students have finished their work. Enjoy! 

Gratitude Booklet Creative Writing Exercise

A Gratitude Booklet makes a heartfelt gift for Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or any occasion. This is a creative writing unit that requires students to research one of their own family members or significant friends and write biographical sketches. They will enjoy learning more about their family history, and will experience the joy of giving a truly unique and special gift. The recipient of the Gratitude Booklet will learn how loved and valued they are by those who contributed to the booklet.

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