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About Learning for Real

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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If I Had Done My Part (VIDEO)

Though lining up in birthday order may seem like a fairly straightforward assignment, with twenty-six third graders and no adult intervention, it becomes quite the challenge. A host of emotions surface as company members attempt to collaborate to achieve their common goal. With limited time, minimal direction and students tuning in and out of the task at any given moment, success feels unattainable.

But . . . the company will return for a second attempt. By writing and sharing genuine thoughts and feelings immediately following the experience, students gain insight into the hard work of collaboration. They ask themselves, “Did I do my part?” The next time . . . they will begin with a new perspective and lessons learned.

The next time . . . they will begin with a new perspective and lessons learned.

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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.

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