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. 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 other children’s poetry; exploration of poetic forms including Persian ghazals, Anglo-Saxon riddle poems, haiku, found word poems, list poems, lie poems, ballads, odes, and collaborative poems; play with sound, color, comparisons, imagery, emotions, and silliness.
Mechanics: weekly word roots, spelling rules, punctuation, grammar, and revision.
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: on-going field guide project 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 beings we encounter at the park.
Analytical and argumentative 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.
Narrative writing: Storytelling and mythology, world folk tales, family stories, collaborative picture books, short stories, 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.
Singing: Rounds, seasonal songs, silly songs, beautiful songs, ballads, camp songs and more.