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:


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:
    • – 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.
    • – 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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