Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

April/May Summary

In April we cover all the rest of the lowercase letters!

  • Before the break, we did: p, r, n, m, h, b, and f
  • When we return, we will finish up with q, x, and z
  • The last two sessions (May 6  & 13) we will go over the numbers: 1-5 & 6-10.

Activities during April:

  • Match the capital letter to its lowercase letter and hole punch it
  • Make letters out of play dough
  • Fill in a dot picture with dot stickers
  • Trace-and-color Earth Day, Earth Day word search
  • Recycled Art (making art by cutting and gluing pictures and words from old newspapers)
  • Spring puzzles

Activities for May:

  • Something secret for Mother’s Day
  • Make a Zoo Puzzle

Last day of class is May 13.  Students will get a small gift from me, plus the will be bringing their workbooks, small crayons, and small pencil home to keep!  If for some reason your child cannot be there, please let me know so I can get their things to them the week before.

Thank you, parents, and have a great summer!

If you have any questions, please email me at

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Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Author’s Workshop

April/May Summary

This is a summary of what we have done so far in April, and also a few notes about what we will be doing for the rest of the year.

In April, we did lessons on Character Traits and Setting.  Students also worked hard each week on finishing rough drafts of their stories so they could be revised and edited by the end of the year.  Most students are done or almost done.  Many plan to DISPLAY THEIR STORIES AT PERFORMANCE NIGHT (May 11, 4pm, Cupertino Campus).  We will have a table just for the Author’s Workshop classes to show what they have accomplished!

After the break, we will “publish” our books.  Students will be able to rewrite or type their stories (adult assistance with typing is fine).  I will bring materials to class for them to design a cover if they would like to.  We will spend any additional time in the May classes playing word games, learning simple poetry forms, solving word puzzles, etc.

Please do have your child come to the last class even if their book is finished.  (For Cupertino families, your last class will be May 13, after Performance Night.)  I would like the students to come because I have a gift for them, and they really enjoy having a day to play games together and celebrate their accomplishments.  If you know that you cannot be there, please let me know so I can congratulate your child and give them their little gift at the previous class.

Thank you for all your support, parents!  Have a wonderful summer.

Please feel free to email with any questions:

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Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

March Summary

This month we learned the letters l, k, y, and j.  We talked a lot about which letters are “tall”- going above the double lines, which letters are “small”- staying within the double lines, and which letters are “descending” – going below the double lines.  This was introduced before, but placing the letters on the lines is tricky so it is important to go over again and again – especially with these complicated letters we are learning!

Student workbooks also have a page of words and sentences each for them to write each week.  This uses the letters learned in previous weeks and gives us a chance to talk about letter sounds, too.

We did two color, cut, and paste activities this month: a ladybug with mostly round shapes, and a robot with mostly rectangular shapes.  We also did activities with tongs, Magna-doodles, letter puzzles, and more.

Please see below the flyer for A-TEAM’s Spring Performance Night:

Spring 2019 Perf Night


Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Author’s Workshop

March Summary

This month we learned about voice and personification.  Students chose an object and wrote a short piece from that object’s point of view, telling what it likes and doesn’t like about its life.

We also talked a bit about sentence fluency and editing for conventions, since this is the last part of the six traits.  However, I stressed again to students that they shouldn’t worry about correcting these things when they are writing rough drafts.

Finally, it’s PROJECT TIME!  I will be talking about this more in class after the break but wanted to let parents know as well.  Each student will choose a writing piece to revise, edit, and publish.  This is very open-ended so it should not be stressful.  It could be a story, a poem or set of poems, a comic book, or even a non-fiction report or poster about something they are interested in.  There are probably endless possibilities.  The main idea is for them to “finish” something that is an accomplishment for their own level.  I’m sure there will be questions, so feel free to contact me at

P.S. See below the flyer for A-TEAM’s Spring Performance Night.Spring 2019 Perf Night

Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

February Summary

This month we learned the letters a, d, g, u, – and we will finish the month with i and e.  We also continued copying words and sentences.

Our craft activities included a dragon mask, a valentine card, and our final craft will be making paper puppets and giving them “haircuts” to practice our scissor skills.

The kids are enjoying the letter activities, so I’m bringing in some new ones where they can use letter tiles to fill in the alphabet or try some words with missing letters.

Please continue home practice and let me know if you have any questions.

Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Author’s Workshop

February Overview 2019

This month we discussed story endings and how to make them “excellent endings,” we took a week off from lessons to write a Valentine to someone special, and we will end the month learning about “wow words” – powerful vocabulary we can use to make our writing more interesting.

In addition to the exercises I give them to go with the lessons, students are still journaling and writing their own story drafts each week.  In a couple of weeks, they will choose their favorite story to revise and finalize, using all their new skills!

Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

January Summary 2019

Our class only met twice this month, but I wanted to send you to be informed about what we’re doing.  Everyone is working hard and having fun!

Letters: we have practiced the lowercase letters c, o, s, v, w, and t

Words: the workbook has 2- 3-letter words made with the letters they know so far (such as “cot”).  They have done a page of 6 words each week.

Crafts: We start each class with a craft to help with fine motor skills.  The first class they rolled the dice to find the color on the color key and traced their names in at least 5 different colors.  The second class they made a color, cut, and paste tiger.

Hands-on activities: When they have finished their workbook and I have checked it over, children can choose an activity.  I bring things that help with learning letters and words or building motor skills.  Examples include: picking up small objects with tongs, magnetic letters, word puzzles, magna-doodle, etc.

We are going through the lowercase section of the workbook in order.  It would be great if you could practice at home because one day a week is not enough for young children to remember how to form all 26 letters!  In February, we will be covering a, d, g, u, i, and e.  Attached below are the instructions for making each letter the way we teach it in class.  You can use any type of lined paper that works for your child.  It is good for them to get used to different types of paper.  I’m also attaching the capital letters chart and a handout about pencil grip in case these are useful.

If you have any questions, please let me know:


K_CA_Capital Formation Chart

K_CA_Teaching Lowercase Letters Step by Step

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:



Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

November/December 2018

In the last two months we learned the following letters:

C, O, Q, G, S, A, I, T, and J

We are now finished with all the capitals!  Please continue practicing them at home.  I have attached some worksheets at the end of this post.  We will be moving into lowercase next semester so it is important that children are strong with their capitals so they don’t get them mixed up.


  • Letter C Book – they colored and cut out pictures of things that start with C, and we stapled it into a little book.
  • Thankful Turkey – they colored a turkey picture and wrote what they are thankful for.  If they chose to, they could trim around the feathers to make the top turkey-shaped.
  • Winter Color-By-Letter, Letter A Dot-to-Dot – color a winter scene using a letter key; do a dot-to-dot that makes the letter A.
  • Roll a Snowman; Snowman Name Craft – roll dice and use the key to find out what to add to your snowman; cut out the snowballs with letters of your name on them and glue together to make a snowman.

In addition to practicing the letters, hand strength and active play are both very important.  Here are some resources for you.  Let me know if you have any questions:  Happy 2019!




K_CA_Capital Formation Chart

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Beth Hankoff, Class Information

Powerful Printers

October Update: Classes 5-9


We finished up the Frog-Jump letters with M and N.  Then we started the Starting Corner Capitals.  These are letters that start in the upper-left corner, just like frog-jump letters, but then do not frog-jump back to the top.  We will be finishing them up in October or early November, depending on which class your child is in.  I have attached a practice page you can use to review at home.  The starting corner capitals are H, K, L, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.

Here is a cute song from Learning Without Tears called “Sliding Down to the End of the Alphabet” that helps children practice all the diagonals in the letters V-Z.



  • M is for Mouse craft (mouse face on a big letter M)
  • Q-tip dot painting on train picture
  • Decorate a monster with glued-on craft supplies, stickers, and coloring
  • Coming up: color, cut, and glue pumpkin craft
  • Weekly – I bring activities for early finishers such as magnetic letters, tactile letter cards, magnadoodle, tongs with small objects to pick up, etc.

Here is a link for your home practice worksheet.  If you have questions or want more information, please let me know!

K_HL_Starting Corner Capitals