May 19, 2020

​Building birdhouses for fun and profit

One of the big expectations that society has for schools is that they will provide young people with the skills and knowledge they need to find ways to make a living once they have graduated. It turns out that two Rosetown Central High School (RCHS) students, didn’t have to wait until graduation to start using the skills they acquired in school for fun and profit.

Clay Lasalle is a grade seven student at RCHS. Prior to COVID-19 and the school closures he was taking both Math and Practical and Applied Arts (PAA) from Richard Berezowski. In Math, the class was starting fractions and in PAA they were building bird houses. According to Mr. Berezowski, classroom learning was not always Clay’s cup of tea but in PAA he thrived. He said: “Clay is engaged, enthusiastic, hands on, focused and works hard. If something needs to be done in the shop he is on it, sweeping floors, vacuuming, organizing or helping out. Clay has a healthy work ethic when he is in a practical environment.”

The class was just starting fractions in Math and only had staining left on their birdhouse projects in PAA when schools closed and Clay and other students started to learn from home. Clay’s mother Jeanine found that Clay and his sister Kayce, who is a grade nine student at RCHS, both needed more than just their school work to occupy their time so she gave them the project of building birdhouses. Clay had really enjoyed building the birdhouses in PAA and so they proved a great motivator.

Clay quickly realized that knowledge of fractions was essential to building the birdhouses and it provided him with a strong incentive to continue his math lessons since he had such an immediate and practical use of the skills he was learning in the class. The knowledge of fractions that he had acquired in Math class proved essential to building birdhouses especially when Clay and Kayce began building birdhouses of their own design. It was exactly as Mr. Berezowski said, “PAA is where Math hits the road!”

Kayce’s contributions to the birdhouse project also were crucial. She put in a lot of time and work into each birdhouse and provided all the measurements. Her mother Janine said: “Most of her skills are ones she’s learned in shop at RCHS. She was a big part of the success of the birdhouses and it was really near to see her putting skills she learned at RCHS into place at home.”

Word of Clay and Kayce’s birdhouses spread fast and within two weeks they had already sold 25 birdhouses!

Clay indicated that building the birdhouses was a lot of fun and not only did he apply his Math skills but he and Kayce also are learning how to manage a business and market a product.“It was challenging and a really good experience,” said Clay.

Pictured at the top of the page are some of the birdhouses that Clay and Kayce designed and built.