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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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Overcoming Setbacks (Video)

In order to reach the summit of the mountain, to cross the finish line, to ring the bell, we must endure setbacks. The manner in which we approach the obstacles we encounter is essential in fostering the life long skills of commitment, resilience and perseverance.

My students are learning these critical lessons as they move toward their May 7 premiere of the opera. From the first week of school, Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company has been singing a Congolese fishing song called O lé lé, which serves as a metaphor representing the determination to face challenges in life and to never give up. Row! Row! Over the last few months the students and I have had many opportunities to put the mantra from this metaphor into practice as we have experienced many setbacks.

Lightning Strike Kids Opera Company singing O lé lé

photo of list of setbacks

No matter what roadblocks appear on the track, the students know that the opera will go on as scheduled and that they will be responsible for making it happen. When a setback occurs, students step up, take the initiative and work collaboratively to guide the company “back on track.”

Row! Row!

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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

2 Responses to “Overcoming Setbacks (Video)”

  1. On May 1, 2014 at 8:03 am responded with... #

    Mali: Very nice and Very happy for you and proud of the kids. I’m going to use this is my class to Army Officers on Resilience to point out obstacles and that all can be overcome as well as that it applies to families as well. All the best!! Go Blue Hose!! Making a Difference!

    • Mary Ruth McGinn
      On May 2, 2014 at 4:58 am responded with... #

      My Dear James Kennedy, I have shared with my kids that you plan to use their experiences as a model for your class. Thanks so much for sharing. This is the idea.
      Thank you for making a difference.




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