Learning for Real

February 13, 2018 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Inspiration . . . Starting a Fire

In order to study an art museum setting for our original opera, we went on an excursion to The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. To visit this beautiful, vast space filled with paintings and sculptures from all over the world was a once in a lifetime experience for many. With eyes wide open, […]

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December 30, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

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 […]

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December 6, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Trust Walk (VIDEO)

Learning how to lead and how to follow are difficult concepts, even for adults. But these eight-year-olds must understand the importance of both as they begin working in collaborative job groups to create and produce their original opera. What does it mean to trust? How do I let go of my fears and allow someone […]

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October 18, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

You Deserve a Medal (VIDEO)

How do we show appreciation for all that our building service workers do for us? For starters, we become aware of our surroundings. Then, and only then, we see our part in contributing to the overall “dirtiness” of our school. As we observe carefully, we become witness to the extraordinary tasks and duties that building […]

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October 4, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

If I Had Done My Part (VIDEO)

Though lining up in birthday order may seem like a fairly straightforward assignment, with twenty-six third graders and no adult intervention, it becomes quite the challenge. A host of emotions surface as company members attempt to collaborate to achieve their common goal. With limited time, minimal direction and students tuning in and out of the […]

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September 26, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Inspired by Aida (VIDEO)

There’s no better way to start the year than to be inspired by our professional counterparts from The Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. From lighting, to set design and construction, to costume and makeup, singing and dancing, conducting the orchestra and being in the grand venue of the opera house, we were on […]

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September 5, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Ready to Learn New Things About Life

We begin the academic year with renewed energy and determination to discover our hidden gifts and talents and to use them in pursuit of something bigger than ourselves. On the final day of school in June, I met my incoming class. As always, I asked the students to write what they were thinking and feeling […]

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May 9, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Maze (VIDEO)

On a beautiful, sunny morning while on a retreat in Buckeystown, Maryland, I happened upon a magnificent labyrinth. Its circular stone path called to me. I had no choice but to enter. As I took my first step into the maze, I thought about my students and their challenging journey this school year. I decided […]

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May 2, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Art of Collaboration (VIDEO)

Merriam Webster defines collaboration as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” When stated as such, the act itself sounds relatively simple to achieve, yet most of us struggle in situations where we are expected to work together to accomplish a common goal. We see this everywhere . . . in […]

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January 25, 2017 | Mary Ruth McGinn

On the Rink (VIDEO)

Though almost half of the class had never roller skated before, the company decided that the best setting for our opera story would be a skating rink. So, last week we went on a field trip to Wheels Skating Center in Odenton, Maryland. Owner and professional skater, Pam Muegge, welcomed us and opened her rink […]

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