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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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photo of Opera Company Talks with Senior at Bowling Alley

Boom! Crash! Yes! A Strike! (VIDEO)

In order to create a realistic story and bring it to life, it is imperative that we research the setting of our opera . . . a bowling alley.  Thanks to Bowl America in Germantown, Maryland, we were able to do just that.  Half of the company had never been bowling.  What we learned from the experience far exceeded our expectations.  From bowling techniques to historical facts and anecdotes about the sport, we listened as Jackie and Mr. Robinson led us through the technical aspects of the game.  As Jackie explained how to select the proper shoes, Nii asked, “Can old people bowl?”  Without saying a word, Jackie quickly escorted us to lanes at the opposite end of the alley where a league of senior bowlers gathers weekly.  Just as the company made its way to acknowledge their elders, Jim, a ninety-eight year old member of the league, bowled a strike.  Everyone cheered.  The kids looked on in disbelief.  From that moment on, Jim became our inspiration.  On his next frame, he bowled yet another strike.  The other members of the league asked that we stay, for we had brought them luck.  As we made our way to the lanes to try our own luck with the pins, we were inspired to give this game our all.  Thank you, Jim.

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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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