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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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A REAL Job in a REAL Company (VIDEO)

How many eight and nine year olds can claim that they have been hired to work in an opera company as an electrician, set designer, performer, writer, costume and makeup artist, public relations officer, composer, stage manager or production manager?

When the work we do in school is authentic and meaningful, students tune in, turn on and become intrinsically motivated to learn. After studying all of the jobs in the opera company and their correlating responsibilities, students were eager to get to work.

All company members completed job applications for the three jobs they most wanted. Their objective . . . to convince the director that they would indeed be well suited for these particular professions. They were also asked to solicit a former teacher to serve as a reference for the application process.

After careful consideration and observation in and out of the classroom, all students were hired and signed contracts to signify their commitment. Now we are ready to bring our story to life by taking it to the stage.

 
Damian’s Job Reflection

Mickle’s Job Reference

Markel’s Job Contract

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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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