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About Learning for Real

As a teacher with 28 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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Stedwick ES student playing xylophone

I Finally Know the Music Inside Me (VIDEO)

After reading The Music Inside Me, a book written by fourth graders in Massachusetts, my students pondered their music within. They drew pictures. I asked if they wanted to represent these drawings with music. A collective yes resounded. We gathered in the music room, surrounded by an assortment of instruments. Bells, glockenspiels, xylophones and recorders waited to be played.

Each student selected his instrument of choice and the exploration in composition began. It was fascinating to watch the creative process in action. For most, it was a first experience.

The time came to share the musical masterpieces with the class. Many seemed nervous as they joined their circle of fellow musicians. As they played, one after the other, the room filled with possibility, joy and accomplishment.

Carlos was deeply engaged in the experience and completely focused on finding his music within. Upon reflecting, Carlos did not hesitate to write. He wanted the world to know his discovery.

Carlos Music Inside Me 2

Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 28 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. Fifteen 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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