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About Learning for Real

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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An Authentic Intro…Ferde Grofé Lights Up (Video)

While listening to Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé, opera company members drew pictures, stories and varied images that entered their minds. Some had entire narratives taking shape on the page. Others created descriptive sensory images through pictures and words. We extended the imaginative session as an introduction to lighting design.

Using flashlights, hand made footlights from previous opera companies and an assortment of lamps, students designed and executed a lighting plan to accompany the music. With no adult direction, twenty-five students collaborated in silence to illuminate a composition they had heard only once. Many discovered a new interest or talent that day. I observed a heightened awareness of interdependence. What do you see?

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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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