Saturday, May 2, 2015

Thank You, Teachers, for All That You Do


I appreciate all teachers. Retired teachers, public school teachers, private school teachers, and home school teachers. Thank you for the contribution you make to the betterment of our society.

You will find my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense books and educational products on two websites. I am having a sale on both websites during Teacher Appreciation Week. Be sure to take advantage of this sale and stock up on any materials you need. Get a head start on next year's curriculum and SAVE!!!
Be sure to include the promo code when checking out to receive the maximum savings!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tips for Using Who. That, and Which

Here are a few simple hints to help you decide whether to use “who,” “that,” or “which” in the sentences that you write.

Use “who” when referring to people. For example: The man who answered the phone was very polite.

Use "that" for clauses that define something specific and provide necessary information. For example: The cake that I made yesterday was delicious. (You are talking about a specific cake.)

Use "which" for clauses that can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. The movie, which I saw yesterday, was about a war hero.

Clauses that begin with “which” can be placed between commas or in parentheses.

Click here to visit my store for educational materials to help you write and speak clearly and correctly.

Charlene Tess Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips to Avoid 3 Common Usage Errors

Tips to Avoid 3 Common Usage Errors

How to choose between:
Fewer? or Less? * Who? or Whom? * Bad? or Badly?

Fewer? or Less?
If you mean “not as many,” choose fewer. If you mean “not as much,” choose less.
 Examples: I bought fewer pencils. I ate less pudding. (Use fewer when items can be counted.)

Who (Whoever)? or Whom (Whomever)?
Find the verb nearest the word in question.  If found in front of the verb, who (whoever) is correct. If it follows an action verb choose whom (whomever). If it follows a linking verb, choose who (whoever). Whom (whomever) follows a preposition.

Bad? or Badly?
Badly describes an action. He danced badly. 
Bad describes a feeling or emotion. (I feel bad.)
Always use the word “bad” after linking verbs such as: look, feel, seem, and taste. (You look bad.)

Click here for an easy to use interactive PDF that students can load on their computers and complete without any help from the teacher.

Thanks for reading!
signature and photo Charlene Tess

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Use the Active Voice

Whenever possible, use verbs in the active voice. The passive voice is weak and uses unnecessary words. 

“A captain has been appointed by the team” 
is weaker than 
“The team has appointed a captain.”  

Sentences with verbs in the passive voice use "is, am, are, was, were, be, or been" as a helping verb with the past participle. Sentences in the passive voice often contain the preposition “by.”

To change a sentence into the active voice do the following:
1. Remove the form of the to be helping verb. Be sure to keep the tense of the verb the same as it was.
2. Remove the word by. Flip the ends of the sentence.

Step 2 in SimpleSteps to Sentence Sense is all about finding the verb and the verb phrase.

Click here to watch a video explaining Step 2.

Once your students have learned to find the verb, I have a great lesson on using the verb correctly. Click here to see the All About Verbs product.

If your students master the use of the verb, they will become better writers.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 6, 2015

Join Secondary Teachers for a One Day Spring Sale

Join us for a One Day Spring Sale

CLICK HERE to Visit the Blog Hop
and Save! Save! Save!

My best selling poetry product is on sale today.

Enjoy! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Practice with 

Subject Verb Agreement


If you have followed the steps 1-3 in Simple Steps to Sentence Sense, it should be very easy for you to find the subject and the verb. Once you find them, you can be sure they agree in number. 

This means:  
If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular.
If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. 

Singular means one person, place, or thing.  
For example: boy, city, tree.

Plural means more than one person, place, or thing. For example: boys, cities, trees 

The subject and the verb agree in this sentence: 
The leaves are brown and brittle.

The subject and the verb do not agree in this sentence: The leaves is brown and brittle. 

is=singular   are=plural  leaf=singular  leaves=plural

It will help if you remember that singular verbs end in an “s.”

After you find the subject, decide if it is singular or plural. If it is a singular subject, be sure the verb or the helping verb ends in s.

For example:

The children (is, are) going to the park.
The subject is “children.” The word “children” is plural, so choose the plural verb. The one that does not end in “s.”  
The children are going to the park. 

The child (is, are) going to the park.The subject is “child.” The word “child” is singular, so choose the singular verb. The one that ends in “s.”  

The child is going to the park. You can see how easy it is to make the subject and verb agree in number. 
That’s because the sentence would sound strange if you were to choose the wrong verb. 

For example, who would say: The dogs barks? That sentence would probably sound wrong to anyone who reads it.

Watch for these 3 special circumstances.

1.  Sometimes, however, it is not so easy to spot a subject/verb agreement error because a prepositional phrase located between the subject and the verb can fool you. 

For example:  
One of the dancers are more experienced. 
That sentence may not sound wrong, but it is. It has an error in subject and verb agreement. 

The word “dancers” is not the subject of the sentence because it is in a prepositional phrase. 

Remember that the subject of a sentence will never be found in a prepositional phrase. 

If we follow the steps and eliminate the prepositional phrase (of the dancers); find the verb (are) and then find the subject (one), it is easy to see that the subject is singular, but the verb is plural. 
One are

Now you can hear the error. 
Remember: If the subject is singular, you would need a verb that ends in s.

So the sentence should read: One of the dancers is more experienced.

2.  Sometimes the subject of the sentence is compound. 

Two or more subjects joined by the conjunction “and” take a plural verb. Apples and oranges are both delicious fruits.

If two or more subjects are joined by 
the conjunctions “or” or “nor,” make the verb agree with the subject nearer to it.

The minister or the choir members are riding on the bus.

The choir members or the minister is riding on the bus.

3.   If the subject follows the verb in a sentence (such as in sentences beginning with there or here), be especially careful to find the actual subject and verb and make them agree in number.

Remember: The words there and here are never the subject of the sentence.

Example: Here (is, are) the keys to our house.
The subject of this sentence is the word "keys."

Click here for more help with subject/verb agreement and a 20 question practice exercise with answers included. 

Thanks for reading!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Free Products for Grin & Grab it Day

Grin and Grab it Day 3-22-2015

Grin and Grab it Day 3-22-2015
This post is about Grin and Grab it Day 3-22-2015. Several sellers are participating, and we hope you find this to be a good opportunity. If you have read this blog before, you will know Grin and Grab it Day is when we make some usually priced Teachers Pay Teachers products free for the day. We do not all live in the same time zone, so just check and see if the items are free, and"grab" them if they are. Don't wait! Of course, we so appreciate kind feedback if you like a product. This post will also point out some always free items, just in case you weren't aware of them.

Fun Frog Theme Day: If you think you will need a substitute this spring, or you would just like to have an entire day that is just "print and go," this frog theme day would be perfect. It could be used anytime, really. Grab it and add it to your sub binder, or use it yourself in between units or after testing week. Print-and-Go-Fun-Frog-Theme-Day

Word Play Higher Order Thinking Skills Activity: Change a letter, change a lot! Students will find the word that matches each definition by replacing only one letter in the previous word. Fun and challenging.
La Casa Dream House: How about a dream house project for your Spanish students? Have your students design their dream house in descriptive detail! There are TWO rubrics included in this packet to help your students practice their writing skills. One is for a "Dream House" and the other is for "Mi Casa Nueva."  La-Casa-Dream-House-Project-for-Spanish-classes

Breakfast, Lunch, Desayuno, Almuerzo Vocabulary Practice, Cloze: “Cloze” sentences give clues to breakfast and lunch vocabulary words in Spanish. Students use their problem solving skills to decide which vocabulary word from the list makes sense in each sentence. Practice for your next meal in a Spanish restaurant!

Cootie Catcher Fortune Teller Comecocos IR in the PRETERIT: A “comecocos” is also called a “fortune teller” and a “cootie catcher.” The instructions on how to fold the paper are included in this packet.

Practice in Base Ten with the Base Ten Kids: This 65 page unit supports learning Numbers and Operations in Base Ten. There are matching games for place value and math thinking sheets. Worth your time to download and enjoy in your classroom!Practice-in-Base-Ten-With-the-Base-Ten-Kids-Numbers-and-Operations-in-Base-Ten-811640

Odd and Even Numbers in the Barnyard Song and Printables: You are getting a fun odd and even song ready to print and display in your class. The children love it and its helps them to remember the odd and even numbers. You are also getting 7 printables in black and white with numbers to sort for odd and even. Odd-and-Even-Numbers-in-the-Barnyard-a-Song-and-Printables

Similar to Pete the Cat I Have Who Has Game with Fry's First 100 Words: Grab your I Have Who Has game using the Fry's First 100 Words. There are 24 cards in this set. Similiar-to-Pete-the-Cat-an-I-Have-Who-Has-Game-with-Fry-Words

Decision Making Grade 4 Personal, Family, School, Community: Here is a product usually priced $4 for fourth grade about decision making. I made this thinking about the fact children are not always taught how to decisions are made. See a free similar product, a decision making freebie, at this link. Decision-Making-Grade-4-Personal-Family-School-Community

Compound-Word-Puzzles-Sampler-free-The following products are always free by Gramma Elliott's Educational Tools. Compound Word Puzzles Free Sampler
Long-Vowel-Clip-Art-Sample-Freebie  Long Vowel Sample Clip Art, always free

And, finally, another always free product, Insects for Your Bulletin Board! This would certainly
Insects-for-Your-Bulletin-Board-Magnified-by-an-Electron-Microscope capture the interest of students.   We hope you like our Grin and Grab it Day products! Thank you so much, Carolyn Wilhelm

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