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Movies, podcasts, video games, and music recommendations for older Middle School students

March 31, 2020 | Brent Harris

Seventh grade teacher Brent Harris created this list of recommended media for his students during the COVID-19 social distancing.  He challenged them to send him a response for extra credit.

Parents: use your discretion with the recommendations. We know that different families have different levels of comfort with content. Common Sense Media is a resource for age-based media reviews.

Looking for something to do? Watch, listen, or play any of the things on the list and respond to it.

Be creative with your response, but here are some possibilities for how to respond:

  • Write a 250(ish) word response. The response can be about anything. Maybe a deep dive on a specific character or a comparison between the movie you watched and a book you read… whatever!
  • Make a video where you talk about things you were thinking while you took in the media.
  • Create a drawing of an important location in the story.
  • Write an alternative ending.
  • Find another creative way to respond, or just enjoy the media for fun!

Movies

Arrival
March of the Penguins
Remember the Titans
Interstellar
The Imitation Game (Great, but quite intense)
The Dark Knight (pretty violent, FYI)
The Lord of the Rings Movies… watch them in order! (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)
I suppose The Hobbit movies too, but they’re half as good…
Inception (pretty violent, FYI)
The Original Star Wars trilogy
Life is Beautiful
Back to the Future
Bridge of Spies
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Wall-E
Rear Window
2001: A Space Odyssey
Vertigo
Citizen Kane
The Truman Show
Stranger than Fiction
The Help
Jurassic Park
Dead Poets Society
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Literally any documentary that seems interesting/appropriate
OR watch a movie about gender roles (and write your response on that)
OR watch a movie about racism (and write your response on that)
OR watch a movie about __________ (and write your response on that)

Music

Music (I’m thinking listen to the whole album and do a response on it… bonus points if you record a cover!):

Disclaimer: This is all music I (Mr. Harris) listen to regularly. I find these albums to be particularly poetic and beautiful. There are plenty of other amazing albums and musicians that aren’t on here. Maybe ask your parents for suggestions!

Lord Huron
Lonesome Dream (2012)
Strange Trails (2015)
Vide Noir (2018)

Simon and Garfunkel
Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)
Any other album. They’re genius songwriters, particularly Paul Simon

Paul Simon
Graceland (1986)

REM
Automatic for the People (1992)

Fleet Foxes
Helplessness Blues (2011)

Darlingside
Extralife (2018)

The Milk Carton Kids
Prologue (2011)
The Ash & Clay (2013)
Monterey (2015)
All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do (2018)

Pink Floyd
The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

The Eagles
Hotel California (1976)

U2
The Joshua Tree (1987)

Fleetwood Mac
Rumors (1977)

Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run (1975)

The Beatles
Abbey Road (1969)
The White Album (1968)
Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Video Games

Note: If you don’t have a way to play Video Games, you can download an App on your computer called Steam and make a free account. From there, you can buy/install/play games!

Portal
Portal 2 (single player or multiplayer, or both!)
The Witness
Q.U.B.E.
Q.U.B.E. 2
The Turing Test
The Swapper
Valiant Hearts
Obduction
Unravel
Unravel 2
Thomas Was Alone
Typoman

Podcasts

Levar Burton Reads
Stuff You Should Know
Ridiculous History
The End of the World with Josh Clark

Brent Harris

Teacher, Grade 7; Language Arts, Seventh and Eighth Grades

Brent Harris has been teaching Middle School students since 2015. He loves teaching students how to understand the world through literature and writing. He teaches English Language Arts, but he likes to teach other things too! Both of Mr. Harris' parents are educators, and despite trying his hardest to avoid following in his parents’ footsteps, he graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English Education and a Minor in Physical Education; as a result, Brent is a great argument piece for any “Nature versus Nurture” debate.

In addition to teaching, Mr. Harris enjoys playing guitar and drums, listening to music, spending time outside, playing sports, and hanging out with his kind and loving wife, Lauren. A native of Ontario, Canada, Mr. Harris stays true to all the Canadian stereotypes by being extremely kind and perpetually sorry. He has been a director and counselor at multiple children’s camps in Canada and Michigan, and he appreciates the idea of teaching students and campers in a place where there is freedom to entertain new ideas and try out new things. Mr. Harris has enjoyed coaching volleyball, soccer, and baseball, and while he loves nature, he is being slowly converted into a city boy.

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