Songwriting Workshop (3rd-8th Grade)

Every Tuesday from August 20th - December 10th in Orangevale, CA

11 am - 12:30 pm 

* 16-week course  -- not counting Nov. 26th, the week of Thanksgiving 

Overview: Mr. Hammond is a professional musician who has been writing instrumental and lyrical songs for over 30 years. He has been a recording artist, producer, and arranger in Austin, TX and is currently teaching private lessons for piano, guitar, drumming, voice, and songwriting. Children are natural-born songwriters. Most children, before they are "cursed" with the crippling inhibitions that can come with an evolving self-consciousness, compose numerous songs spontaneously. There are studies that show composing spontaneous songs help toddlers and young children to deepen their facility with spoken language. Unfortunately, most of us lose this proclivity to break out into song. Thankfully there is hope! 

Mr. Hammond has designed this course as a once-a-week version of his popular and intense 1-week-long Summer Songwriting Bootcamps. Within the same amount of teaching time -- 24 hours of instruction -- he will teach your child to take the seed of a song idea from its very inception to a polished song at the end of the course. We will celebrate the entire process with a live performance for the families on the 2nd week of December.

Cost: $100/month for this class alone ($400 for 16 Weeks) 

 *if combined with Creative Writing, the price is $150/month for both classes ($600 for 16 weeks).

Creative Writing Workshop

For 3rd - 8th Grade

Every Tuesday August 20th - December 10th

9 am - 10:30 am

* 16-week course  -- not counting Nov. 26th, the week of Thanksgiving 

Overview: Mr. Hammond has been a professional writer and editor since the early 90s and a writing teacher since 2002. His specialities are creative non-fiction in the area of travel, culture, philosophy, and the outdoors as well as short fiction, poetry, and songwriting. He strongly believes that each human being is hardwired to be a storyteller. Mr. Hammond teaches a naturalistic mode of writing where he shows students how to have a dialogue with the words they write on their paper or type on their keyboards and how to maintain a state of flow where the "inner critic" is shut off and the creative mind and heart are allowed to express themselves freely. He has been very successful in taking students who struggled with their writing, or had convinced themselves that they "hate" the act of writing and has helped them to fall in love with the storytelling aspect of writing. 

Students will learn how to outline their ideas using best practices such as mind-mapping and how to consistently cultivate a state of flow where "perfectionism" does not interfere with their natural instincts to tell a compelling story. Students will learn how to edit each other's writing and offer constructive criticism while helping to sincerely reinforce each other's confidence as writers. 

This 16-week course will conclude on the 2nd week of December with the publishing of a Literary Magazine consisting of selections of each student's best work (to be jointly decided by the student and Mr. Hammond). 

Cost: $100/month for this class alone ($400 for 16 Weeks) 

 *if combined with the Songwriting Workshop, the price is $150/month for both classes ($75 per class per month) or $600 for 16 weeks.

For more information, please email

Outdoor Environmental Science

Along the American River (3rd - 8th Graders)

On Wednesdays from August 21st - December 11th

9 am - 2 pm 

16-week course (not counting Nov. 27th, the week of Thanksgiving)

Overview: Mr. Hammond has his degree in Environmental History with an emphasis on natural history and outdoor education. This course will be taught completely outdoors -- rain or shine (with the exception of extreme weather events) -- and will focus on the stunning beauty and wealth of plant, animal, geographical, and geological features of the American River ecosystem just a mere 5-minute walk from Mr. Hammond's Center for Project-Based Wonder in Orangevale (not far from Negro Bar).

By the end of this 16-week course, students will have spent 80 hours of fully engaged, meaningful time outdoors before the Christmas break. They will know the American River watershed from Folsom Lake to Negro Bar to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery like the back of their hands. 

With advancing technologies (personal computers, internet, video gaming, and cell phones) and the ever-quickening pace of life those technologies allow, the NEED for outdoor time and the slower pace of the natural world becomes more pronounced. 

Each week we will read a selected passage from some of the great naturalists such as Thoreau, John Muir, and Rachel Carson, as well as drawing on the accumulated wisdom of the native tribes that have been living in California for thousands of years.

Each Student will learn to:

*  Identify native plants and trees and their traditional uses by humans as well as their vital function within the ecosystem. 

* Identify the birds (especially the family of bald eagles that has made this stretch of American River its home for the past few years) and animals that populate the American River watershed. 

* Understand the unique geography and geology of the area that provide the foundation for the American River that flows through our area.

* Understand the hydrology of the American River and its tributaries and feeder streams that create a watershed for the surrounding flora and fauna while being the primary source of our drinking water, water for industrial production and far above any other demand, irrigation for agriculture.

*  Maintain a Nature Journal with pages for sketching, leaf and flower pressings, along with their own written observations. 

* Read a compass and a map 

* Build a temporary shelter (along with a few other essential outdoor skills)

Most importantly, each student will deepen their connection with the land and water while hiking, singing, splashing, climbing trees, skipping stones, playing outdoor games, and exercising their limitless capacity for wonder.

Come join us for the Adventure!

Cost: $200/month ($800 for the entire 16-week course)

Please email with any questions.