Making Curriculum Pop

Going to be teaching Touching Spirit Bear to 7th graders this fall - I am putting together a list of songs that might work as a "soundtrack" for the novel. The main character is angry and lashing out, putting him in less than comfortable situations and at the beginning of the novel, he sees no fault in himself. This changes through the course of the book.

I have just started a list. So far, I have the following:
"Headstrong" Trapt
"Lifeline" Papa Roach
"The Way I Am" Staind

Would love any suggestions, especially in the genres of hip-hop/rap, as I don't have much expertise in that area. Thanks!

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Can you post the summary and themes of "Touching Spirit Bear" so we can know what to hunt for. Would love to help.

The book follows Cole, a troubled high school boy in Minnesota whose abusive father and weak mother have left him as a bully who terrorizes others but doesn't have any remorse for his actions. When he seriously injures a boy at school, he is offered the chance to avoid jail by participating in Circle Justice, a Native American custom that brings the community, the victim and the wrong-doer together to decide on a solution. Cole is "sentenced' to live alone in the wilderness on an Alaskan island as his parole officer, a Tlinglit, did when he was a young man. After trying to unsuccessfully "escape" the island and burning down his shelter and supplies, Cole is left with nothing and encounters a Spirit Bear who responds to Cole's taunting by mauling him within an inch of his life. While he is laying near death, he starts to realize his errors. After recovery time, he returns to the island, scarred and different, to fulfill his sentence and learn how to release the anger he has carried all his life.

Major themes: forgiveness, blame, letting go of the past, trust, learning from the wisdom of others' experiences...

Hope this helps.
"Creep" by REM might work. It's a different kind of anger though. And it can be interpreted in so many ways. Love that song, especially performed by Brandi Carlile. One student told me she sounded drunk singing it, which put a whole new spin on the song, and I never thought about it like that.

Sorry to get on a Brandi Carlile kick here, but this is a perfect song by her "My Song":

Side note: Brandi's "Have You Ever?" would go perfectly with the Romantic era if literature.

"Self-Destruction Override" by Denial
Great idea, when you said "putting him in less than comfortable situations" I thought of the line from Citizen Cope's song, Bullet And a Target...

"...But what you've done here Is put yourself between a bullet and a target And it won't be long before You're pulling yourself away..."

Song lyrics

Music Video with additional rap lyrics

Student written and visual works inspired by the song



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