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Supplemental Materials for the Classroom
Unbroken Spirit
Classroom Study Guide
Book Clubs
Book Club Qs

The Study Guide under development organizes the book into 10 sections; each section contains ideas for Quiz questions to assess comprehension, and suggestions for Discussion/Essay questions. Following are draft Section overviews and sample Discussion questions suitable for Social Studies, English/Writing or Life Skills lesson plans. For chapter titles, please refer to the Table of Contents.

Section I. Prologue through Chapter 3
The section will focus on Culture and Upbringing. Students will consider what is most important to a child, from the child's own perspective and from that of the family, community, society.
Sample Discussion Questions
* Why did the author's Aunt ask if he wanted to go to Philadelphia with her? Would she have asked that of a child who was not growing up on a reservation?
* How much water do you use every day? What if you had to haul it instead of turning on the tap?
* What impact did the author's grandparents have on his life?

Section II. Chapters 4 through 6
The section will focus on Education, School and Learning.
Students will be asked to...
* Compare and contrast educational experiences between boarding school, public school, private school, religious school
* Examine the history of Indian Boarding Schools
* List things are taught in the home and by whom
* Think about contradictions that can occur between what is taught at home and what is taught at school. How should they be resolved?

Section III. Chapters 7 through 9
The section will focus on Role Models and Authority Figures. When the author loses the most significant person in his life, his grandfather, he grapples with a variety of other authorities - parents, teachers, counselors.
Students will consider such questions as...
* Who is in control?
* How is the author reacting?
* What is affecting him positively or negatively?

Section IV. Chapters 10 through 12
The section will focus on Setting Priorities, Work and Play. Students will explore the balance in their own lives between recreation, school studies and activities, and employment.
Sample Discussion Questions
* Have you sold something you made yourself? If so, what was it? How did it make you feel?
* What did the author mean when he said it was tough learning "the white man's way?" Does the author interpret this as a good or bad thing?
* The author talks about how strict his father was, why do you think he was allowed to ride his motorcycle without a license?

Section V. Chapters 13 through 15
The section will focus on Handling a Crisis. Students will consider what they would have done if they were in a situation similar to the author's.
Sample Discussion Questions
* How do we behave when we're overworked, bored, restless, insecure or faced with an emergency?
* What makes one well- or ill-prepared for unexpected events and decisions required in the moment?
* How do we decide who to trust?

Section VI. Chapters 16 through 18
The section will focus on Mind-Body Connection. Students will offer intuitive responses to questions about mind and body, such as: How does attitude affect healing, coping, survival? When our bodies are disabled how do our minds compensate? Does one's character change fundamentally after a serious injury or illness, or do we stay the same "inside"? They may then compare their answers to current scientific findings on the topic.
Sample Discussion Questions
* Why and how did the author's attitude change toward the hospital staff?
* Do you find it unusual the author did not know what stress was? Had he really never felt stress, or was the word just new to him? What other words describe that feeling?
* What do you think of the way the author described his accident and recovery? Could you be as accurate and honest about a trauma in your life? What is the value of remembering and writing about such terrible events?

Section VII. Chapters 19 through 21 The section will focus on Having a Plan. Students will assess their own goals, and how they are working toward them or what is holding them back.
Sample Discussion Questions
* What challenges do all young adults face, and which are unique to those with disabilities or cultural disadvantages?
* How does tragedy also lead to opportunity?
* The author describes numerous setbacks during his time in college. Why was he so determined to continue his education?

Section VIII. Chapters 22 through 24
This section will focus on Opinions and Expectations of People with Disabilities. Students will evaluate the author's situation from different perspectives: how he views himself, how friends and family view him; how strangers may view him; how teachers, doctors and social workers view him, and how they themselves view him at the end of the book compared to what they expected at the start.
Sample Discussion Questions
* In what areas is the author self-sufficient? When he needs help, where does it come from?
* Is the author actively making decisions and plans or just floating along? Do we agree with his decisions? Are we anxious for him?
* Were you surprised the author earned his bachelor's degree? Why or why not?
* What does the author mean when he says, "I never thought I would be alive this long?"
* Have you used humor to break the ice in a difficult situation? Do you know anyone who does this frequently?

Section IX. Chapters 25 through 27
This section will focus on Making a Difference. Students will list the skills the author had to develop in the course of becoming an activist.
Sample Discussion Questions
* The author compares his computer to a "ventilator keeping him inches away from death." Do you feel the same way about technology? What technology is the most essential to you, and why?
* The author mentions that there were not a lot of groups advocating for Native Americans with disabilities. What does it take to be an advocate?
* Why was the author so involved in activism? Would he have done the same if he had not had a spinal cord injury? What is your cause, and how did you come to it?

Section X. Chapters 28 through Postscript
The section will focus on Autobiographical Writing. Students will compare the writing styles and content of the three sections of the book and consider the challenges the author faced in working on it for such a long period of time, within the limits of his health and available technology.
Sample Discussion Questions
* The author compares the Navajo Nation to a third-world country. What does that mean?
* The author says, "It is my understanding that a mind is the only element needed to do almost anything." Do you agree with this statement?
* Have you experienced a "numb zone" in your life? What was it like? Was there someone or something that helped you overcome it?
* The author continues to refer to the "white man's way" but does this mean something different to him after all of his adult experiences than it did when he was a boy?
* What does the Postscript fill in that was not told or made clear earlier?
* How does one make peace with the distant past? With one's own past? How might one view the importance of family and culture differently between youth and adulthood?

General Essay Questions for the Classroom
* Do you feel you have a purpose in life? Are you looking for one?
* How do you meet negativity? Are you able to accept setbacks, even outright defeat? What keeps you going?
* What is the significance of motorcycles? Why does the author keep dreaming he is driving one?
* What does the Reservation represent to the author? What do hospitals represent?
* If you could ask the author any question, what would you ask?
* In what way has this book broadened your perspective about a difficult issue, either personal or societal?
* What do you think the author's life would be like if he had not been severely injured? What do you suppose he would have chosen to do after high school? How would the lives of his family members have been different?
* How has this book affirmed your ideas or made you think differently about: Fate, Faith, Culture, Family, Education, Medical Science, Nursing, or People with disabilities?

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