Daily Video

December 22, 2020

Classroom Resource: The songs we turn to in difficult moments

Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Click here to read the story and get the entire playlist, and click here to listen on Spotify.

Summary: Throughout the year, PBS NewsHour CANVAS asked 15 artists and authors which songs they turned during hard times, and put their responses into a playlist. Navigating the stresses of 2020 meant actively looking for moments of joy, and listening to music was one of the ways we weathered 2020’s many crises. The compiled songs brought comfort, occupied our time, brought us together and conjured up better memories from before the pandemic. Below are some of the best songs off the playlist. 


Focus questions:

  • Why do you think music can help people in troubling times? Do you find that music helps you in this way?
  • What other activities/methods of coping do you turn to in difficult moments? Can you think of any more you would like to try in the future?


What songs would you include on your playlist, and why? Choose a few songs that have helped you get through this year and write them down/share with the class.

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers of this story approached celebrities for their playlists? Would you rather hear from celebrities or people in your own community for this sort of story?

Additional Resources:

  1. Use this lesson plan to learn how music connects us during the pandemic. “For bands in St. Louis, bringing music to the streets of their hometown is how they connect.”
  2. Watch this video to see how schools in Baltimore, Maryland, use meditation to help students cope with stress and trauma.  

Daily News Story by Rebecca Shaid, EXTRA’s intern and student at Northwestern University and Extra’s editor Luke Gerwe.

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