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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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From Consensus to Construction (Video)

Understanding, analyzing and interpreting story elements is a significant part of the elementary language arts curriculum. While learning the components of narrative, and thinking from the perspective of the reader and the writer, Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company must know these elements on a profound level in order to create an original story. Characters, setting, plot, conflict, resolution, etc. The students must also know the theatrical elements that bring a story to life on stage. For soon, they will apply, audition and be hired for jobs as lighting designers, set designers, costume and make-up designers, actors, writers, composers, public relations officers, production and stage managers.

As an introduction to set design, the task . . . to design, as a small group, a specific scene from the story of a song we have been singing since school began. O lé lé. Students must come to consensus on the scene, design it and then construct a set from their design using an assortment of materials scattered about the floor.

They set to work immediately, communicating and collaborating to accomplish their collective goal. As is customary, I would have imagined great difficulty agreeing on a scene and even more disagreement in design and construction. I was surprised. Most came to consensus quickly and moved on through their creative process. They had limited time to “raise the set” and were eager to share their decision making process. They listened attentively as all groups divulged their design secrets. As a result of the creative experience, many were intrigued with the job of set design.

Small group designs set ideas.

Small group designs set ideas.

Company members collaborate to construct a set for O lé lé.

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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

2 Responses to “From Consensus to Construction (Video)”

  1. On October 22, 2013 at 6:34 am responded with... #

    Proponerles hacer algo que nunca han hecho… y dejarles trabajar libremente. ¡Qué suerte tienen esos chicos y qué gran experiencia! Enhorabuena.

  2. Mary Ruth McGinn
    On October 22, 2013 at 7:13 am responded with... #

    Es así.




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