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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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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 first week of school, my former colleague, Ellen Bloom, came to my class to teach students how to monitor their own reading progress by administering running records. Why should the teacher be the sole proprietor of the assessment tool and the process through which students learn to be better readers?

As students learn to monitor their own progress and the progress of their peers, they better understand themselves as readers and for the first time, can unlock the meaning to the printed words on the page. The words come to life. It all begins to make sense.

Since Ms. Bloom’s visit in September, my students have persevered in their efforts to become proficient readers. They coach one another and provide unsolicited assistance and support for fellow readers. When we turn over the responsibility of learning to our students, they do not disappoint.

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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