What We’re Watching: Stedwick Elementary Opera

Third-grade students from Stedwick Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., spent a year writing and producing an original opera, coming up with everything from the songs to the script to the stage design all without the help of adults.

As Therese Vargas of the Washington Post explains

The same year that No Child Left Behind was born, so, too, was a program at a Maryland elementary school that gave a rare opportunity to a class of second-graders, many from low-income neighborhoods and homes where English wasn’t regularly spoken. That year, infused into every part of the students’ curriculum was the creation of an opera.

Their teachers describe seeing striking changes in them. Shy students began to speak more. Students who hated writing began filling pages on end with their thoughts. Students who were ambivalent about school suddenly began showing up every day.

The students talk about their experience in the video above.

In Fall 2010, Mark Bauerlein wrote about the purpose of arts education for Education Next.

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