Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Author’s Workshop

October Update: Classes 5-9

Here are the lessons and activities we did this month:

  • Using sensory details in writing and writing a Fall Sensory Poem (describing fall using each of the 5 senses)
  • Playing theater games to loosen up our creativity and get out of our comfort zones
  • Learning about the typical “Story Arc” in a basic children’s story.  We read Dragons Love Tacos, but it would work with The Three Little Pigs, Goosebumps books, or just about anything.  More advanced novels might have more plot twists and subplots but would still follow this basic structure if you just look at the main plotline.
    • Just to fill you in on the language our diagram uses, from left to right along the arc, it has SOMEBODY (characters & setting), WANTED (goal), BUT (obstacle), THEN (main steps taken to reach goal and overcome obstacle), SO (outcome).  We talked about other words we know for these, such as “climax” or “high point” for THEN.  I really like this chart, because the all-caps words could be memorized and then students could make their own chart before writing a story so they know where they are headed before they start.  This way of mapping out a story is also helpful for comprehension after reading a story.  If your child can make a chart of the entire story arc, it shows full understanding, doesn’t it?
  • The Cupertino class revised their “The Day I Shrunk” story, so I’m attaching that here for you to see.
  • At the last class, I asked students to go back through their journals and choose a story that they would like to develop more and take all the way through the publishing step.  This will be our main focus for the rest of the semester.  We started to talk about editing, and I gave them a simple editing checklist with the abbreviation COPS: Capitals, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling.
  • An optional worksheet was given out on making a list of witch’s brew ingredients to help Helga win the witch’s brew contest.  Just some seasonal, creative fun!


Copy of The Day I Shrunk.Cupertino.Revised

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