Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Author’s Workshop

January Summary 2019

This was a short month, with only 2-3 classes, depending on which site your child is attending.  However, we covered some big concepts and jumped right in!


  • A story has a beginning, middle, and end.  We read Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One by Kate Duke to find out the key things that belong in each section of a story.
  • How to write the beginning – hooks and introducing your character(s) and setting.
  • How to write the middle – bringing in a problem/conflict, explaining the character’s attempts to solve it, and using transition words to move the story along.

Students keep a journal in which they do free writing at the beginning of each class.  After the lesson, I have them do a short practice exercise of what they learned.  At the end of class, they usually have 15-20 minutes to work on their own stories, poetry, etc. (it is their choice what they write).

On a related note, I often get questions about spelling.  Although we don’t correct spelling until the final stages of the writing process, both reading and writing are great for spelling.  I see students attempt a word, stare at it, and then fix it.  Sometimes the fix is not correct either, but they are starting to notice that something is not right.  If a student is really stuck, I will tell them how to spell something.  I often put it on the board and we have a little discussion about the word’s spelling.  The other children end up joining in.  We had quite a discussion about the different forms of “there” (or their or they’re) last week in San Jose, and how you know what meaning they each have.  I believe a useful, teachable moment like this is going to stick with them more than a word list – unless the list is of words they want to learn, are struggling with, or words that follow the same phonetic pattern.

Finally, here is an article with a list of games that help with spelling.


Feel free to contact me with any questions:



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