Students participate in "If I Had a Hammer" project - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students participate in "If I Had a Hammer" project

October 9, 2002

Valdosta - The nationwide "If I Had a Hammer Project" all started with Perry Wilson's vision.

"Perry failed the 5th grade because he had a learning disability," said Lynne Wilson, Valdosta Area School-to-Work Chairman. "He later helped one of his friends build a tree house, where he learned a lot and it got him excited about learning."

Perry grew up to be a master carpenter and realized that though his job, he could easily grasp the principles that eluded him in the classroom. "He said if I can do this, so can other children and he started the program three years ago," said Wilson.

The project uses a hands-on approach to teaching fifth graders math and communication skills. They work as a team and in just two short hours, completely construct an 8 by 11 foot house.

"Perry realized that all students learn differently no such thing as a learning disability," said Ken Tunstall, "If I Had a Hammer" COE. "Some children just need a different way to learn things, rather than turning in a worksheet at the end of class."

The Parker Mathis Elementary fifth graders who participated in today's build say they enjoyed a day out of the classroom. "We got a chance to run and be outdoors, which is something we couldn't do in the classroom," said Logan Fisher.

But along with the fun came some valuable academic lessons.

"I learned that to build a house, you need math, reading, and communication skills," said Blake Brimmage.

And the final project was not only a newly constructed playhouse, but thirty fifth graders with a new self esteem and sense of accomplishment for their hard work.

posted at 3:00 by ashley.harper@walb.com