Core Class

Broad and Immersive

In this comprehensive, in-depth class, we will immerse ourselves in language arts broadly and creatively. We will cover writing mechanics including spelling, grammar, and word roots in addition to writing poetry, stories, research projects, persuasive essays and more. We’ll explore storytelling, the history of the English language, and map-making as a narrative tool. The in-person classes also incorporate art, singing, and active outdoor play and nature immersion.

Frog Hollow offers several Core Class options:

Wednesdays 9:00 to 3:00 in Carnation. Taught by Becca Hall.

Thursdays 9:00 to 3:00 in Carnation. Taught by Sawyer Mickle.

Thursdays 9:30 to 12:30 Online. Taught by Becca Hall

Fridays 9:00 to 3:00 Seattle. Taught by Becca Hall

All classes for ages 8-12.

For more information about cost and registration, see the registration page.

Seattle Class

The Seattle Core Class meets at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, just off the West Seattle Bridge. Built as a school in 1917, the center now houses many different arts and education organizations in its vibrant, beautiful building. We meet in a peaceful room with plenty of space to move and create, and head out to play at the nearby parks, creek, community garden, and greenbelt. We enjoy a fertile cross-pollination with the other arts organizations in the building, and often have visiting poets, songwriters, and film-makers from the Youngstown community enrich our class.

Online Class

The Online Core Class meets for an hour, has an hour off-screen for students to take a break and do a writing project, and then meets again for another hour. In addition to the writing project done the morning of class, students have a homework project and journaling prompt to do on their own over the week. This class covers equivalent academics to the in-person class. Plus, we get pet (and sibling) cameos!

Carnation Classes

The Carnation classes meet in a cozy space with couches, a reading nook, and a gas stove for cold mornings. We can walk to Tolt MacDonald Park, where we can run in the fields, hike the forest, play on the gravel bars, watch salmon  from the suspension bridge, and immerse ourselves (and our imaginations) in a vibrant and varied ecosystem. The classroom is up two flights of stairs.

Core Class Curriculum

Each day at Frog Hollow includes two project blocks and a snack in the morning, at least an hour at the park after lunch, and another block for writing games or poetry in the afternoon. We begin with a circle where we practice spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word roots and we end with twenty minutes of singing. The online class follows a different rhythm, without the outdoor play and singing, but with wiggle games and plenty of fun.

Each year we do some new projects and some old favorites, covering creative writing and poetry, observational and descriptive writing, research writing, narrative writing, analytical and argumentative writing, writing mechanics, and general word nerd geekery. All projects are taken to individual levels of complexity depending on each student’s academic abilities. Past curriculum included the following:

Creative expression and poetry

Exposure to poetry by a wide range of poets including William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Lucille Clifton, Haida poets, and contemporary poets; exploration of poetic forms including ghazals, Old English riddle poems, haiku, found word poems, list poems, lie poems, ballads, odes, and collaborative poems; play with sound, color, comparisons, imagery, emotions, and silliness.


Weekly word roots, spelling rules, punctuation, grammar, and revision. We use our creative writing as material to practice spelling and punctuation, as well as working on mechanics directly.


Observational/descriptive writing

Nature observation, spying (er, I mean, observing people), writing about colors and sounds, food writing, writing how-to guides, travel writing.

Research writing

Field guide pages focusing on local animals and plants in which we develop research and summary skills, practice putting things in our own words, and gain a richer understanding of the living beings we encounter at the park.

Persuasive writing

Practice writing convincing arguments, Martin Luther King Jr. inspired speeches, letters about things we want to see change in the world, and book reports; pre-writing, organization, revision, and rhetorical skills.


Storytelling and mythology, world folk tales, family stories, collaborative picture books, short stories, comics, and play-writing; practice with narrative structure and character development; map-making as visual storytelling.

Word nerd geekery 

Exploration of the history and evolution of the English language, dialects, idioms, code-writing, Anglo-Saxon runes, hand-clap rhymes, tongue twisters, translation, word families, etymology, rhyme and other sound-play, puns, homophones, mad-libs, word games, and many other forays into the joys and craft of language.

Art and singing 

Art is incorporated into writing lessons, as we make illustrated books of our work. We close the day with singing: rounds, seasonal songs, silly songs, beautiful songs, ballads, camp songs and more.

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