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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 student explaining options to flea market buyer

Flea Market Fundraiser (VIDEO)

Members of Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company spent all day Saturday selling the importance of their unique project to total strangers at the Gaithersburg Flea Market. Who are we? Why do we need funding? Why does our mission matter? I watched as my students approached all passersby, took the initiative and engaged them in conversation about the opera process and its mission. Their confidence, clarity of purpose and commitment to working together to get the job done was an inspiration for all who witnessed this collective energy in action. I stood back and watched. The kids took over. They raised $542 to replenish the company coffers. I am proud.

Counting back change is an essential skill with which many struggle. In the digital age, there is no great need to learn this basic skill when a computer screen can simply display the calculated change within seconds. What happens when the system fails? Having an authentic situation, like the flea market, where one must determine a customer’s change without technology, helps students understand the need to learn specific math skills. This experience provided many opportunities to apply the cognitive and social skills necessary to be successful in school, in work, in life.

Take a bow, bright stars, for you are indeed ready for the work world.

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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

One Response to “Flea Market Fundraiser (VIDEO)”

  1. On February 11, 2015 at 10:44 pm responded with... #

    This is great! Thank you Ms. McGinn. This definitely will be one of the most memorable year at Stedwick.




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