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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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Broken to Pieces

Striking the Set pic

Students striking the set

Everyone is caught off guard by mixed emotions the day after the opera. Realizing that the culminating event for which we have been preparing all year has now passed is depressing and disappointing. The process of striking the set and taking everything down that we have spent months creating illicits a host of feelings that opens the flood gates. Tears flow and sadness permeates the room. What do I do now? What is my purpose? Who am I? The conversation that follows is perhaps the most poignant of all. In this new space where we find ourselves, the students acknowledge their profound accomplishments and make decisions about how to move forward. But this, only after expressing where they are in the moment.

Striking Set- David M

Striking Set- Manuela

Striking Set-Jovan

Striking Set-LeslieStriking Set-Nebi page 1Striking Set-Nebi page 2

Striking Set-Nii

Striking Set-Perry

Striking Set-Sana

Striking Set-Sonia

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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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