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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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We Didn’t Fail, We Finished! (VIDEO)

After the opera, the company loses its sense of purpose for a short period and needs to find its way, its new path. The students try to revert to previous behaviors and “old ways” until they realize that they are changed forever. They can’t go back. Then, they determine the route for a new journey forward.

Back in September when the members of Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company attempted to accomplish the magic carpet challenge, it wasn’t to be. Now, after eight months of living the process of creating an original opera, working collaboratively, being conscious of one another, thinking about we, not me and independently putting on their very own production of Strike and Spare, they did it! They defeated the magic carpet. While standing on a plastic tarp, the company strategically managed to flip this “magic carpet” to the other side without stepping off onto the floor. This was no easy feat.

Since the company had to work through feelings of disappointment and sadness after the opera was over, I insisted that each student convince me that it was indeed the right time to attempt the challenge anew. As you will see below, they were very persuasive and I agreed.

When writing about this frustrating experience at the beginning of the year, Rayn stated, “We didn’t fail, we just didn’t finish.” Now we can report, “We didn’t fail, we finished!”
Carpet Persuasion-Aedan

Carpet Persuasion-Sana

Carpet Persuasion-Taliyah

Carpet Persusaion

Carpet Persusaion-Perry page 1
Carpet Persuasion-Perry page 2

Magic Carpet drawing-Nathan

Magic Carpet Yes- David M

Magic Carpet Yes-Miguel

Magic Carpet Yes-PerryMagic Carpet Yes-Selena

Magic Carpet Yes-Sonia

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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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