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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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Measuring for Real (Video)

How can we design and construct the set and lighting for our opera without properly knowing the space we will inhabit, our stage? Set designers and electricians are busy making important decisions to bring our story to life. How many lights should be built? Where must they be placed on stage? What set pieces are needed to effectively tell our story and how will they fit in our small theatrical space?

All third graders in Montgomery County are currently learning measurement and fractions. We learn by doing. With a bit of knowledge about tape measures and how to record accurate measurements, the entire company set out to help our designers acquire the information needed to proceed with set and lighting construction.

The conversations we overhear during this period of hands-on learning reflect authentic problem solving in real life circumstances. The students are constantly assessing their methods, measurements and calculations as they collaborate to accomplish the task.

The discussions that follow this intense work session, not only result in better understanding of mathematical concepts but also lead to further inquiry and discovery. When students are actively involved in learning that is meaningful to them, they are motivated to do hard work, pursue their goal and find solutions.

Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company measures the stage.

At a glance, can you see what these kids understand and where clarification is needed? In this way, all student papers are utilized to plan for instruction.

Ashley’s Measurements

photo of Ashley’s Measurements

Ashley’s Measurements

Adrian’s Measurements

photo of Adrian’s Measurements

Adrian’s Measurements

Danielle’s Measurements

photo of Danielle’s Measurements

Danielle’s Measurements

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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

One Response to “Measuring for Real (Video)”

  1. On March 3, 2014 at 11:08 pm responded with... #

    Hmmmm. Looks like the stage width is in need of remeasuring for really accurate results.




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