By Aviva Engel, Director of Communications

It doesn’t take a genius to know that Hebrew Academy kids are, of course, smarter than the average student. Any doubts to the contrary were surely quelled at last night’s incredible Genius Hour Fair for Grades 3 to 5, held in the HA gym.

Genius Hour is a unique initiative that encourages students to explore topics of personal interest in depth. Dressed in t-shirts designed expressly for the occasion, the students impressed family, faculty and peers with animated presentations on such topics as retail vs. online shopping, optical illusions, coding, volcanoes, how to sew a skirt, what is sleep, making candy, creating a new sport, Paris, pollution, both World Wars, Coco Chanel and the Titanic. Projects were divided into six sections: Art & Entertainment, Science & Technology, Nature, Culinary Arts, Geography & History and Sports & Leisure.

Director of English Studies and Technology Integration Elyse Haber organized last night’s fair and introduced Genius Hour to Hebrew Academy three years ago. For Mrs. Haber, the evening was particularly special because it was a chance to showcase her students’ passion for the program and particular topics.

“The students took their presentation responsibilities seriously and were excited and proud to share their learning,” she said.

Highlights of the evening included a video and photo booth featuring a cut-out of Albert Einstein; kids listed their passion on a whiteboard and then posed alongside him.

“Tonight reminded us what we know in our hearts so well – learning for tests and projects isn’t all there is to it, and in order to create life-long learners, we need to find the spark and fan it,” said HA parent Chaviva Lifson.

“Genius Hour was my absolute favourite event (of any school that I’ve been a part of). The ability to give the kids the space to pursue a passion, or discover a new interest, or just show us what they know… All I can say is WOW! Yasher Koach on a night that should be a model of how we teach our children – give them the tools and a guiding hand as they lead the way to loving learning,” said Lifson.

Our sincere thanks to Mrs. Haber, Grades 3, 4 and 5 English Teachers Alanna, Korman, Sheri Gray, Lauren Thurber and Renee Pervin, and to assistants Ashley Martin, Celina Haber and Jess Fried  for their hard work in preparing the kids for the fair. Thank you as well to the many other teachers and assistants who helped set up for the day.

Please click here for more pictures, with thanks to Morah Rina Sebbag.


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