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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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Encouraging Young Writers (Video)

What is it that inspires us to put pencil to paper?
A song? A poem? An experience? An emotional response to our world?

So many things happen in the lives of children everyday that illicit strong feelings and powerful, personal responses. Providing the space and time necessary to share these thoughts, feelings and ideas in writing is critical for young writers to blossom.

To facilitate and foster a life-long love for writing, children need positive feedback and encouragement from teachers, peers and parents. But most of all, they need to write about their passions, interests and aspirations. What they care about deeply and that which has profound meaning to them is key. As teachers, we must help our students discover their true talents, gifts and abilities by providing authentic experiences that engage all types of learners.

At our monthly parent meeting last night, I asked parents to respond in writing to their children’s poetry. We sat in a circle, reading, interpreting and digesting poems written by all members of Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company. Our task was to reflect on each poem and to write a specific and encouraging comment to the poet about his original composition.

 

Imagine their responses when the students read the kind, sincere comments from their parents. No doubt, they will want to write more, continuing on this journey of self-discovery through writing.

The poetry was inspired by an original music composition, a high school student’s poem about hope, Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the theme of our opera, reconnection.

Álvaro by Pedro Sarmiento

Destiny’s response to “Álvaro”

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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.

Comments

4 Responses to “Encouraging Young Writers (Video)”

  1. On January 11, 2014 at 10:01 am responded with... #

    Dear Destiny,

    I love your response in such a poetic way! Keep up your reading, writing, and acting. You will continue to do do great things! I know you love your teacher Ms. McGinn…so do I!

    • Mary Ruth McGinn
      On January 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm responded with... #

      I will proudly share your comment with Destiny. Thanks for following us and supporting the larger mission of authentic learning.

  2. On February 20, 2014 at 6:24 pm responded with... #

    Congrats Destiny, your writing is beautiful and authentic. I was really touched.

    • Mary Ruth McGinn
      On February 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm responded with... #

      So good to hear from you. I will pass on this comment to Destiny. Hope all is well. We miss you.




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