JANUARY 20, 1997

 The Edwards Agency


Hammering, sawing, and sanding at Hollywood Hill

"Wood was chosen because it captures kids, and learning by doing ... is a powerful method."


Jim Clements, manager of Woodinville Knoll Lumber, watches as 5th grader Chris Solum (standing) and 4th grader Tyler Wristen sand a part for a tool box.
Photo by Deborah Stone.

enrichment program by Deborah Stone
   The room is filled with the sounds of saws and hammers and constant sanding. The voices are full of enthusiasm and confidence, and there are smiles on the faces of all the busy children participating in this new enrichment program at Hollywood Hill Elementary.
   Created by Occupational Therapist Martha Cady and Hollywood Hill Elementary teacher Catherine Hennum, this applied learning class began last year with a small group of eight children, funded entirely with out-of-pocket money. This year, the program received a Northshore Public Education Foundation Grant and a Hollywood Hill PTA Grant, as well as support from Knoll Lumber who discounted the cost of the materials.
   There are twenty-two children, third through sixth grade, enrolled in the program which meets once a week for one hour. The group is divided into two classes with third and fourth graders together for the first hour and fifth and sixth graders for the second hour. Teachers refer students to the program who they think will benefit from additional methods of instruction and a more applied learning approach.
   The program provides practice and application of the essential skills in communication, reading, and math through construction of various hands-on projects. The children make tool boxes, CD holders, and belt racks out of wood, sew shop aprons, create greeting cards, envelopes, and print blocks.
   According to Cady and Henum, the goals of the class include improving students' motivation and attitude toward learning, as well as their functional skills in math and reading. It also strives to increase social skills and work ethic behavior, both of which are related to success in the working world.
   "Wood was chosen as the primary medium because it captures kids," says Cady, "and the learning by doing, kinesthetic way, is such a powerful method." Hennum adds, "We've given these kids another avenue of learning and are helping them see the relevance of reading and writing to the real work world."
   The program fits well into the district's standards of learning and enriches what the children know and are working on in their regular classes. Cady has seen an increase in cooperative work effort, an excitement about school, and more confidence in those involved in the class. "The kids have really been enthusiastic about the projects and have a sense of pride in their abilities," Hennum said.
   Evaluation of students' progress will be done by Cady and Hennum, the classroom teachers of the participating students, and the students themselves. A team project will be the culmination of the class and will be presented to adults and peers at the end of the school year.
   Knoll Lumber's participation creates a community-school connection. "Knoll has a long-standing tradition of helping support community projects," Jim Clements, Manager of Knoll Lumber in Woodinville, said. "What these kids are doing here is great, and they can be proud of what they've created."
   Clements plans to begin setting aside some materials that the program will need for next year and has offered to have the students take a field trip to Knoll Lumber for a tour and to view some woodworking demonstrations.
   Both Cady and Hennum see the program continuing in the future through the support of PTA funding and the community. "We are very very appreciative of all the support we have received from so many sources, including the PTA, Michele Williams, Principal of Hollywood Hill Elementary, the Northshore School District, and the community businesses, specifically Knoll Lumber," Hennum said.