Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May is Mental Health Month

Help promote mental health wellness this month by participating in spreading awareness towards the issues and debates surrounding mental health!

There are many Web resources devoted to mental health and awareness regarding mental health. Mental Health America is a nonprofit organization devoted to "helping people live mentally healthier lives." nmha.org

Take some time this month to explore some of these issues and share your insight with friends and family. You may create a postive outcome with someone as a result of your well-placed remarks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Using education to reach out to others

In his speech at the Arizona State University commencement President Barack Obama encouraged students to use their education to reach out to others and give to the community. In his speech he challenged:

With a degree from this university, you have everything you need to get started. Did you study business? Why not help our struggling non-profits find better, more effective ways to serve folks in need. Nursing? Understaffed clinics and hospitals across this country are desperate for your help. Education? Teach in a high-need school; give a chance to kids we can't afford to give up on - prepare them to compete for any job anywhere in the world. Engineering? Help us lead a green revolution, developing new sources of clean energy that will power our economy and preserve our planet.

Below is a list of films that are based on, or inspired by educators who did just that. They taught and inspired high needs and at risk youth. Included are the call numbers to access these materials through the UNT library resources, as well as bibliographic information on books written by, or about these educators. Our library has access to each of these materials through the UNT library collection, or other resources, such as interlibrary loan and the TexShare program.


The Films

Music of the Heart
Based on: Roberta Guaspari
UNT Library Call #: DVD 109

In director Wes Craven's inspiring Oscar-nominated drama -- which is based on a true story -- violinist and single mother Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep) struggles to convince the administration at an East Harlem high school to let her establish a music program. Having won that battle, Roberta nonetheless continues to face an uphill climb as budget cuts threaten her determined and deeply felt efforts to bring the arts to underprivileged kids.


Dangerous Minds
Based on: LouAnne Johnson
This film available through interlibrary loan or TexSare card

In this blackboard-jungle drama, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Louanne Johnson, an erstwhile lady leatherneck turned teacher who squares off against a classroom of impudent, inner-city teens. The students' bullying tactics nearly drive Johnson out the first day, but she radically changes her lesson plan to include bribery and browbeating (despite objections from the prissy principal) in an effort to teach the class that learning is its own reward.



Johnson, L. (1992). My posse don't do homework. New York: St. Martin's.
UNT Call #: PS3560.O38 D3 1993

Johnson, L. (2005). Teaching outside the box: How to grab your students by their brains. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
UNT Call #: LB1025.3 .J6395 2005

Stand and Deliver
Based on: Jaime Escalante
UNT Library Call #: DVD 4339

Anyone who's ever been in a classroom will be touched by this moving, mostly-true story of famed East L.A. math teacher Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos), who finds himself in a classroom of rebellious remedial-math students. He stuns fellow faculty members with his plans to teach AP Calculus, and even more when the mostly Hispanic teens (including Lou Diamond Phillips as Angel Guzman) overcome the odds and eventually go the distance.



Mathews, J. (1988). Escalante: The best teacher in America. New York: Holt.
UNT Call #: LD7501.L73 M37 1988

Knights of the South Bronx
Based on: Richard Mason
This film is available through interlibrary loan or Texshare card

Ted Danson stars as Richard Mason, who turns to teaching after getting the ax for blowing the whistle on his corporate employer. Assigned to a class of fourth graders at a tough urban school, Mason finds himself struggling to connect with his cynical students -- until he hits on the idea of teaching them the game of chess. Kate Vernon plays Mason's wife in this inspiring made-for-TV drama based on a true story.


Freedom Writers
Based on: Erin Gruwell
UNT Library Call #: DVD 7192

Hilary Swank stars as a young teacher who inspires her at-risk students in this moving drama based on true events. Erin Gruwell (Swank) assigns her class an ambitious project: While studying works such as The Diary of Anne Frank, the kids keep journals about their troubled lives, applying history's lessons to break the cycle of violence and despair that threatens their futures. Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton and Patrick Dempsey co-star.



Freedom Writers, & Gruwell, E. (2006). The Freedom Writers diary: How a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them. New York: Broadway Books.
UNT Call #: HQ796 .F76355 2006

The Ron Clark Story
Based on: Ron Clark
This film is available through interlibrary loan or TexShare card

Idealistic young teacher Ron Clark (Matthew Perry, in an Emmy-nominated role) is full of hope as he leaves the familiarity of his hometown for New York City's provocative and volatile inner-city public school system. Clark's fearless devotion and fresh approach to learning is his key to unlocking the chains of ignorance that bind his students. Randa Haines directs this Emmy-nominated biographical drama based on the inspiring true life of the innovative educator.



Clark, R. (2004). The essential 55: An award-winning educator's rules for discovering the successful student in every child. New York: Hyperion.

Clark, R. (2004). The excellent 11: Qualities teachers and parents use to motivate, inspire and educate children. New York: Hyperion.

To Sir, with Love
Based on: E. R. Braithwaite
UNT Library Call #: DVD 809

Sidney Poitier stars as Mark Thackeray, an engineer by training who reluctantly takes a teaching job in a working-class London high school. His unruly students (played by an impressive group of unknowns) assume they'll easily gain the upper hand. Poitier, of course, has other ideas. Eventually he wins the students over, changing their lives -- and his -- in the process.


Braithwaite, E. R. (1960). To Sir, with love. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Coach Carter
Based on: Kenneth Carter
This film is available through interlibrary loan or TexShare card

Samuel L. Jackson plays the titular, controversial coach, a hardliner who firmly believes that scholarship and a sense of ethics go hand in hand with excellence on the basketball court. A man of his convictions, Coach Carter benches his undefeated team of high schoolers when they turn in poor academic grades (much to the chagrin of the players' parents and many of his fellow teachers). Co-stars Ashanti. Thomas Carter directs.


Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story
Based on: Marilyn Gambrell

Millions are sent to jail every year. But what about the children they leave behind?
Texas parole officer Marilyn Gambrell has reached a breaking point. Tired of watching her clients end up back in jail while their kids are neglected and abused, she decides to quit her job and start working with the people who need her most: the kids of prison inmates.
With the help of colleague Perry Beasley, Gambrell creates No More Victims, a support group for teens whose parents are incarcerated. But when the duo enters Smiley High, one of Houston's toughest high schools, they'll have to deal with a limited budget, skeptical faculty and super hostile students. The do-gooder duo have only one year to prove that they can make a difference in the lives of students everyone else has quit on.


Teachers - Marilyn Gambrell mentors teens with family in prison. (2003). People Weekly. 129.

Lean on Me
Based on: Joe Clark
This film is available through interlibrary loan or TexShare card

When Principal Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) takes over decaying Eastside High School, he's faced with students wearing gang colors and graffiti-covered walls. Determined to do anything he must to turn the school around, he expels suspected drug dealers, padlocks doors and demands effort and results from students, staff and parents. Autocratic to a fault, this real-life educator put it all on the line to give kids a chance.



Clark, J., & Picard, J. (1989). Laying down the law: Joe Clark's strategy for saving our schools. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway.

The Miracle Worker
Based on: Anne Sullivan
UNT Library Call #: DVD 700

A bout with scarlet fever has rendered Helen Keller (Patty Duke) blind, deaf and mute. When her parents can no longer cope with the feral girl's tantrums, they call in novice but innovative teacher Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft). Though Helen perceives sign language as a finger game, Annie's unflagging tutelage ultimately awakens in her charge the concept of words. Oscars deservedly went to Bancroft (Best Actress) and Duke (Supporting Actress).


Based on: Pat Conroy
UNT Library Call #: MV 9999

Like many works written by Pat Conroy, The Water Is Wide - the inspiration for Conrack - is autobiographical. Conroy's character, played by Jon Voight, decides to be a teacher at a one-room schoolhouse on an island off the coast of South Carolina. The island is accessible only by boat, and everyone who lives on the island is black. The school is woefully neglected by school administrators on the mainland, and Conroy (called "Conrack" by his students) shakes up the administration by demanding that they treat his students equally to the white students on the mainland. Conrack is shocked to learn that the students on the island haven't been taught what country they live in and what the name is of the huge ocean that surrounds their island. He and the students all learn a lot more than they thought possible.


Conroy, P. (1972). The water is wide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
UNT Library Call #: LC2852.Y3 C6

Take the Lead
Based on: Pierre Dulaine
This film is available through interlibrary loan or TexShare card

When a former professional dancer (Antonio Banderas) offers his skills to the New York public school system, his traditional methods clash with his students' hip-hop sensibilities, but by combining the two techniques -- and learning to work together -- the class creates a style uniquely their own. Alfre Woodard co-stars in this inspiring dance drama based on the real-life experiences of instructor Pierre Dulane.


Based on: Harold Jones
UNT Library Call #: DVD 3202

A small-town high school football coach (Ed Harris) befriends an illiterate, developmentally disabled man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) nicknamed "Radio," who has always been the target of jokes and teasing. Although their friendship raises eyebrows at first, Radio's growth under the coach's guidance ultimately inspires the local townsfolk. Based on the true story of the life of James Robert Kennedy.


Friday, May 15, 2009

King Tut!

The library has a new addition… King Tut! 26 UNT Dallas Campus students recreated King Tut and other artifacts from ancient Egypt as part of their project in Dr. Rhonda Vincent’s Methods of Social Studies and Geography class. The students presented this “mini-museum” to Bowie Elementary School students. Please stop by the Dallas Campus library and take a look at part of this wonderful project.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May

Cinco De Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican peasant militia, commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza, over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla, Mexico in 1862. May 5th is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities, and although Cinco De Mayo is mostly a regional holiday, it is also celebrated in other parts of Mexico and many U.S. border towns, as well as U.S. cities with significant Mexican populations. In order to celebrate the concepts of freedom liberty, and friendship, celebrations include: singing, native dancing, eating, costumes,fireworks, and a variety of different types of entertainment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Faculty Interview: Dr. June Azua

Dr. June Azua teaches Bilingual Education at UNT Dallas. She also teaches graduate level Education Administration electives that relate to linguistics or cultural diversity. Dr. Azua is from a little town in the Panhandle called Locknee Texas. Her Ph.D is in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in bilingual education from Texas A&M, master’s is in reading and supervision with an emphasis in bilingual education from Texas Woman's University and her bachelor’s is in elementary education specializing in bilingual education with a kindergarten endorsement. Dr. Azua began her education focusing on art, but decided that she wanted to combine her interest in language studies with her interest in teaching. In her spare time Dr. Azua reads, and loves spending time outdoors.
Dr. Azua looks forward to the students at UNT Dallas. She enjoys their diverse backgrounds and experiences. She likes to get to know her students views, and appreciates the diversity within the field of education. Her advice to UNT Dallas campus students is to recognize the resources available in the southern sector. She explained that there are many resources for students to gain experiences in this region.