authentic learning

June 3, 2020 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Blog: Plant a Seed of Kindness

As we move through difficult days with the hope that tomorrow will be brighter, we must find our own way and also help others navigate a safe and healthy path forward. Though my students are not able to present their original music compositions this year as a collective group, they have found a vehicle to […]

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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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April 11, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

The Human Knot (VIDEO)

Our individual and collective barriers oftentimes get tangled up in enormous knots which seem impossible to overcome and disentangle. But we must remember that if we collaborate, if we communicate effectively and if we trust in one another, we can break free of the knots that bind us and hold us back. Watch as company […]

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February 23, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Pitch Perfect (VIDEO)

To sell an idea, promote a product or further a mission, one must craft the perfect sales pitch. Getting someone to purchase something he really does not need or want, takes persuasion, persistence and probable cause. Our company mugs are lovely, but who needs another mug? It’s what the mug represents, the purpose for funding […]

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February 12, 2016 | Mary Ruth McGinn

I Get It! (VIDEO)

For years, teachers have engaged in taking running records to assess reading progress. Teachers analyze mistakes, determine strategies to help students correct mistakes and create an instructional plan of next steps to help students become proficient readers. When used correctly, this tool can provide great insight into teaching and learning in a profound way. The […]

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November 18, 2015 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Mask Making (VIDEO)

In order to truly take off our masks, we first need to design and make a physical representation of our metaphors. Nina Muys, retired art teacher, led the company in a session of mask making that taught not only the artistic process of creating an actual mask, but also the care and respect the artist […]

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November 10, 2015 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Some Things Aren’t Easy In Life (VIDEO)

Though we had a clear plan, improved communication and the will to persevere, our second attempt to defeat the Magic Carpet Challenge was not successful. The company experienced a host of emotions during the sixty minute session. Did we fail or just not finish? The written reflections expressed deep, thought provoking thoughts and feelings that […]

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November 2, 2015 | Mary Ruth McGinn

Breaking the Barriers of Language (VIDEO)

When first we broke into groups of three to discuss the central message of our opera, Andrew, Beki and Josúe seemed a bit uncomfortable as they attempted to communicate. Neither Beki nor Josúe has a command of the English language. In fact, Josúe arrived from El Salvador in August speaking no English at all. Beki […]

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