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Frank McCourt’s Lessons and More

Here are a few news stories I have been following this week:

With the recent passing of Pulitzer Prize winner, author, and former NYC school teacher, Frank McCourt, I’ve been inspired to research his life, since 30-years as a New York City school teacher is no small feat.

Consequently, I’ve learned that McCourt leaves behind a legacy of wisdom. Hopefully educators will read about his struggles and triumphs, and become inspired to think beyond the chalk box. Please watch the video. The message, believe in yourself, and all things can be done – if you work hard – is evidenced in his words. Also, I’ve paid particular attention to the accounts by some of McCourt’s former students. One student, John DeNatale, interviewed McCourt and asked him what was his greatest moment. It was featured in an op-ed piece in the NYT. “I figure I’ve taught some 10,000 New York City kids over the years. I like to think when I gave them Shakespeare, they got Shakespeare.” (See the full tribute here

In other news…

Cellphone Etiquette for Kids By Warren Buckleitner: <—This NYT article is an updated and a comprehensive list of best practices/tips – for kids – on how to appropriately use cell phones. First tip listed, "Always take a call from the person who is paying the bill." *smile*

Lastly, North Korea and the US are reportedly in negotiations regarding the release of reporters, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. I’ve been following their story because as I have said in a previous post, I have been there (not in North Korea, but was briefly detained in Yugoslavia during the war). In the fall, I have lesson plans, ready for my students, so they can better understand the challenges journalists face when they have a passion for a story. 

Upcoming posts:

1) Michael Jackson: A lesson plan on his blackness and whiteness
2) My interview with author and professor, George Edward Stanley, on his recently released novel, Night Fires (ALADDIN, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009) "Night Fires is set in an era when America was plagued by ignorance and racism. Verbal abuse and the use of racial epithets were common, as well as the kind of physical brutality described in the novel." (comes from inner book jacket) By the way, if you read some of my recent comments, you’ll learn more about George and the wealth of knowledge he will bring to his upcoming post. I have been learning so much from him and am looking forward to his interview.
3) Using Twitter in Schools

These are just a few.


  1. George Edward Stanley says:

    Some absolute jewels here, Amy. The comment from one of Frank McCourt’s students that while the death of a great author is a terrible thing, the death of a great teacher is even more tragic put a lump in my throat. And thanks for reminding us all again how often journalists put their lives on the line to bring important stories to the rest of the world: you in Yugoslavia, Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea, and countless journalists doing their best to report the tragedies being played out on the streets of Tehran (and othe Iranian cities) after the recent election. Sometimes, when we’re reading these accounts in the newspapers or online, we tend to forget what was involved in getting them to us.

  2. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thanks, George! You are so right. And let me add AUTHORS to your assessment. Your book, NIGHT FIRES, is riveting. Bringing history into a novel is as important as what journalists are credited for doing.