This post “Teaching Problems and Solutions with Songs” is the final one in a series of four. This link contains a handout with the list of the songs from all four posts as well as some graphic organizers that can be used to evaluate the songs. I want to send out a special thank you to Nancy Davis’s Middle School music class for some great song suggestions! In the comment area below, I would love to hear your suggestions. Remember the songs must be classroom friendly.
Overcomer by Mandisa
Kisha’s battle with cancer inspired Mandisa to write Overcomer. The video includes a number of real life stories including Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Captain Mark Kelly, Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and Biggest Loser runner-up Hannah Curlee.
Wake Me Up by Avicii
This song has many interpretations, so there is not going to be one right answer. Students will probably take the words both literally and figuratively. ENJOY!
I See Fire by Ed Sheeran
This song wascommissioned for the soundtrack of the 2013 movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The Hobbit follows the quest of Bilbo Baggins who is trying to win his share of the treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. Students who have seen the film can name many problems and solution in the quest.
Skin (Sarabeth) by Rascal Flatts
This song tells the story of a girl’s struggle with cancer. You will tear up when you hear how the problem is solved.
I’ll Walk by Bucky Covington
This song also tells a story with an unexpected twist.
We Shall Overcome
This song was first published in 1948 by Pete Seeger and has been rerecorded several times since then. Notable artists who recorded it include Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Peter, Paul & Mary and Toots & the Maytals. Martin Luther King, Jr. also recorded a spoken word version. Joan Baez sang the song at the March on Washington in 1963 before Martin Luther King, Jr. gave this famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
U.S.A. For Africa
The video below,the remake of the song, raised money for Haiti. Students are probably more familiar with the artists in this newer version.
Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
Be sure to watch this video before showing it in class. Some of the pictures may not be suitable for all students.
Here are a few more you might try:
A Horse with No Name by America (1971)
Colors of the Wind by Vanessa Williams from Disney’s Pocahontas (1995)