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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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LIGHTNING STRIKE Kids Opera Company

What’s in a name?

Who are we as a group?  What do we represent?  What is our purpose?  What face do we want to show the world?

LIGHTNING STRIKE says it all.

Spending four weeks getting to know one another has given rise to a host of amazing metaphors that led us to determine our company name.

We began this process thinking about our common experiences, the books we have read, the team exercises and challenges we have worked through and the songs we have sung.   The idea of who we are began to surface as we thought of ourselves through metaphor.

The most powerful metaphors were a mirror, presented our first day of school while thinking about what we see, a dot, coming directly from Peter Reynold’s inspirational children’s book, and lightning, an idea generated through an experience with a Congolese fishing song.

“You look in the mirror and see yourself as you change.  You see your life in the future.”

“The dot represents a masterpiece where all of us as tiny splattered dots come together to create a huge unique work of art.”

Lightning presented us with the most vivid, striking representation of who we are as a group.  The more we read about lightning, the more we realized our commonalities.

  • We are positive and negative charges colliding.
  • When there is friction, we heat up.
  • We are bright.
  • We are conductors of energy.
  • We are powerful.
  • When inspiration lights us up, we get the energy to push ourselves.

Our final step in the process was to craft a name that would not only describe who we are as a group, but would also draw the attention of our public.

Among the finalists were the following ideas:

Lightning Bolt
Bright Lightning
Lightning Power
Lightning Strike

All company members defended, verbally and in writing, which of these ideas they thought would best represent the company.

An overwhelming choice became apparent.

Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company would be our name . . .

“It’s a strong word.  It has more action.”  Devon

“We will zap everyone with the energy inside us.  Everyone’s brain will change.”  Raneem

“The strike is so bright that we light up the whole wide world.” Destiny

“We strike people with our energy.  We pass it to the audience.”  Rachel

“We strike people with our work and progress.”  Philip

“It can make people get up and be prepared.”  Linda

“It is powerful.”  Katie

“When lightning strikes, we come together as a group.”  Jianna

“We are shocking people with a bolt.”  Emmah

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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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