Learning for Real

October 24, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn


My Anger Dragon (VIDEO)

In talking with my students about living a great story, I simply asked, “What parts of our story can we control and what parts of our story are beyond our control?” Several shared that anger sometimes gets the best of them and they are not able to control it. For this reason, every day after […]

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October 3, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn


Discover the Music Inside: A Big Part of our Great Story (VIDEO)

We are Discover the Music Inside Kids Opera Company. After reflecting on the experiences we have shared since school began, the students were able to synthesize the metaphors, inspiring song lyrics, profound books and all we have lived together these last five weeks to arrive at their company name. It will surely serve us well […]

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September 18, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn


Others Matter (VIDEO)

Late Friday afternoon as the first week of school drew to a close, I asked company members what they had learned over the five instructional days. Samir, who rarely contributed ideas during discussions and group sharing, raised his hand and responded, “Others Matter.” As hands shot up around the circle and students generated a comprehensive […]

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September 6, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Live a Great Story

Live a Great Story

On day one, I presented the incoming company members with the directive, Live a Great Story. I simply asked, “What does this mean to you?” Their responses, so authentic and introspective, launch our year-long journey of discovery. “Write my story.” ― Eugene “I want to live my life like a story, make it beautiful and […]

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June 20, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Millennium Stage June 8  2016   Target Family Night  Bigger Than Our Barriers   YouTube 5

Bigger Than Our Barriers (VIDEO)

Back in September, Take Off the Mask Kids Opera Company was invited to present its original opera on The Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. We knew then that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and that we must work hard and persevere to deliver […]

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May 26, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

If I Had Kids

What I Want For My Kids

After a particularly difficult session in art class one day, where class behavior failed to meet the company’s expected protocol, I asked a question. What seemed to be a simple question, led to introspective thought about the future. “How many of you think you will have children when you grow up?” Almost every hand in […]

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April 11, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Human Knot 2

The Human Knot (VIDEO)

Our individual and collective barriers oftentimes get tangled up in enormous knots which seem impossible to overcome and disentangle. But we must remember that if we collaborate, if we communicate effectively and if we trust in one another, we can break free of the knots that bind us and hold us back. Watch as company […]

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February 23, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Stedwick Jasmine Perfect Pitch 2

Pitch Perfect (VIDEO)

To sell an idea, promote a product or further a mission, one must craft the perfect sales pitch. Getting someone to purchase something he really does not need or want, takes persuasion, persistence and probable cause. Our company mugs are lovely, but who needs another mug? It’s what the mug represents, the purpose for funding […]

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February 12, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Reading Coach   YouTube

I Get It! (VIDEO)

For years, teachers have engaged in taking running records to assess reading progress. Teachers analyze mistakes, determine strategies to help students correct mistakes and create an instructional plan of next steps to help students become proficient readers. When used correctly, this tool can provide great insight into teaching and learning in a profound way. The […]

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January 19, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

A Rainy  Introspective Morning   YouTube

A Rainy, Introspective Morning (VIDEO)

Though the sky was spitting wetness and the damp, cold air was uninviting, it didn’t keep us in. Parked under the overhang of the school entrance, we sat in the stillness. We let our pencils guide us as we poured our thoughts and feelings onto paper.        

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