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As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the... Read more

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A Story is Born – The Plot Thickens (Video)

From intricate opera character relationships, a story is born. Conflicts, directly transferred from our collective lives to our original characters, come to life and create a storyline sure to make us think. The process for writing our scenario begins as we determine how our primary and secondary conflicts develop and are resolved in our setting, a train station. Why are the characters at the station, together? What events and activities take place that enable us to see the conflicts played out in a believable fashion? What is logical? How do we see these situations in our daily lives? How do we show connections to our theme and thesis throughout the story? What is the central message we wish to deliver to our audience?

These questions guide us as we improvise, discuss plausible possibilities and carefully weave together our powerful thoughts and ideas. A combination of individual contributions through homework, partner work, small group discussions and whole group sessions provides the creative framework to produce a profound and meaningful story.

See how eight-year-olds make this happen.

Imari and Lauryn discuss action between characters:

Daylon, Raneem and Elliot improvise fake injury for scenario:

Small groups discuss possibilities for scenario:

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Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the learning experiences and opportunities of students and their families.

Sixteen years ago she had an experience that changed her life and altered her professional path in a profound way. She attended training sessions at The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, spent nine intense days living the process of creating an original opera and learned how to replicate the experience with her students. She then began creating opera with her students and using the process of creating the opera as a vehicle through which to teach curriculum and life skills. The authentic purpose for learning coupled with the arts provided the perfect stage on which to construct a love for life-long learning.

She currently teaches at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village, Maryland where she is creating another original opera with her third grade students.

Read more of Mary Ruth’s blog Learning for Real.

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