Halia Hillsburg – Teacher Award – Elementary Exhibition – Woodroffe Avenue

Halia Hillsburg – Woodroffe Avenue Public School – Elementary Exhibition Teaching Award

Halia is passionate about teaching the arts as she feels that it’s one of the most empowering subjects where every student can shine. She has been teaching for 11 years and has been with the OCDSB since 2010. Through her art she has incorporated many of the social sciences: Sociology, Psychology, Economics, nthropology, Culture and  olitics. Students in the Grade 6 class read the “silent” graphic novel “ARRIVAL” by artist Shaun Tan, which is a 128-page book of illustrations without words. Through a series of connecting images, this novel tells the story of an anonymous migrant leaving some unfortunate circumstances in his home country, crossing an ocean to a strange new city, and learning how to live there. The students were then asked to reflect on what newcomers to Canada may have had to face in coming here and in getting used their new homes. Then they were asked to create their own artistic interpretations related to immigrants and refugees. From a student: “Mme. Halia is a great art teacher. She is very nice to everyone, and is an inspirational artist herself. She asks us to think about art and how it makes us feel and how to express ourselves in an artistic way. We talked about immigration in class and were asked to express how immigration is experienced by different people using our own ideas. It was our first time using charcoal  and we had to learn how to it properly. I learned that immigration can be very tough and we should support immigrants and their struggles. In this project, we had to think a lot about immigration and what it must be like to move to a new country. This made me think a lot about what other people experience and the sadness and emotions of immigrating.”