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Star-Spangled Banner Resources

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Credit: http://www.usflag.org/the.15.star.flag.html

This week, the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America, will celebrate its 202 anniversary of when Francis Scott Key wrote it during the attack on Fort McHenry. Many music educators address this during their music classes this week. If this is something you have done or would like to do, there are numerous free resources available to assist with the lesson. Here are just a few:

Activities:

I have performed a variety of activities throughout the years that I have taught the history of the song to grades K-4. Some of their favorite activities are:

  • Learning and performing the etiquette to when they hear the national anthem at a sports event.slide_8
  • Viewing a variety of videos with performers of the anthem from a solo singer, to a group singer, to solo instruments, etc, so that they can hear and use a compare/contrast (double bubble) thinking map to reflect.
  • Using SMART Notebook sentence arranger tool, mix up the screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-10-30-39-pmphrases and have the students put the song back together. You can also do this by printing the lyrics, cutting up the phrases, placing them in an envelope, and give each envelope to the groups that you created in the classroom.
  • After the kindergarteners practice the etiquette, they color the flag and bring the coloring sheet home. On the coloring sheet, I have written the activity so the parents can ask questions to their children about it.
  • Since there is current news making headlines about some choosing to not stand during the national anthem, I read about how to approach this on the Music Teachers Facebook page and thought that it was a great idea:
    • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PechzO5LASs – Show this video of the pole vaulter who is an US Army reservist and track and field star, Sam Kendricks, who stopped mid-run when he heard the anthem played.
    • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ktCZBiEK408 – Usain Bolt from Jamaica, stops an interview when the Star-Spangled Banner is played. He stands in respect and then continues the interview after the anthem is finished.

These are just some ideas. There are many more that can be found through a simple google search of “Star-Spangled Banner lesson.”

What are some of your activities to celebrate the 202 anniversary?

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Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award and the 2016 NJMEA Master Music Teacher Award. TI:ME . You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com
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  • Sang Park

    I like those lesson ideas. I teach at a high school in California. We often have discussions regarding how singers perform our national anthem. We usually start with phrasing, timbre and diction as I mainly teach choirs. I pose this question to my high school singers. If we have important historical documents such as Declaration of Independence and others that we would not alter for the sake of modernizing it, can we (should we) have music that we wouldn’t alter for the sake of modernizing. It usually leads to interesting discussion.

  • That’s a great approach!