Learning for Real View All Posts

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

Discover Other Local Blogs

We have a great number of amazing blog posts contributed by our local bloggers. Discover what is happening in your neighborhood by reading their latest posts.

photo of school chair

Parent Participation: Integral to Learning Process

Every classroom culture is unique. If we invite parents to step inside and take a closer look, they will better understand and be able to participate actively in the learning process of their children throughout the year.

I believe that when parents experience situations similar to the experiences of their children in class, they can understand more profoundly how and what is expected of students on a daily basis. They can empathize and offer guidance with greater insight and perception.

Every month, we host parent meetings to help parents feel more connected to the learning process. We build a community of support for students so that the relationship between parent, child and teacher is open and purposeful. We lead parents in exercises and activities intended to mirror student learning experiences. Last week we began our ninety minute parent session with a chair exercise. The objective, to keep the person standing from occupying the empty seat. The purpose, to show how students learn to recognize their own tendencies. With multiple opportunities in this exercise, students learn to yield to others, to be patient, to be conscious of their surroundings, to commit to a decision or action and to alter expected behaviors to help the collective group attain a common goal. Students then transfer this thinking and way of being to their lives outside the classroom.

Without these fundamental competencies, we cannot be successful in life. As you’ll see in the video clips below, it’s not easy to master the exercise, even for adults, but when we do, what we learn can change the way we are in the world.

Chair Exercise With Parents

Chair Exercise With Students

Why do this exercise? What are we learning?

“It helps us concentrate and pay attention so people won’t get hurt.” Sofía.

“Doing something little can help a lot of people.” Danielle

“I learned about myself that I don’t have to move and be first.” Elliot

“We have to be ready for what’s coming our way.” Tammy

“We did this so we can learn how to cooperate and feel people without physically feeling them.” Destiny

“This will help me communicate with others when I grow up.” Lauryn

“It’s better to yield, work together and focus.” Ashley

Like this post? Sign up for our Daily Update here.
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

| No comments yet.



Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter