One of my favorite patriotic activities utilizes the awesomeness of YouTube and encourages students to evaluate and critique. I call it Star-Spangled Banner Evaluations. I give students a sheet to fill out while listening or watching performances of our national anthem. The worksheets ask students to write down the name of the performer, the genre, if it is acapella or accompanied and then rate it using a 5-star system. There is also a place for a few notes that will help students write about the performance later. At the end of class (I usually leave about 10 minutes, maybe less.), I ask students to write a paragraph (4-6 sentences) about their favorite one.
I use a wide variety of examples. They hear soloists, groups, choirs, instrumental versions, classics, children and whatever else I can find. I usually cue up these performances before they get to class, but sometimes we'll vote on the ones we watch.
I have most of my favorites saved on my national anthem Symbaloo board. Check out this page to see all of the performances that I have bookmarked. You can save this page too and use it in your classroom.
This activity leads to great conversations about vocal quality, how to classify genre, how to name groups (quartet, sextet, etc..), stage presence and more. For some students this is an introduction the term "acapella". This is also a lot of fun, so students often don't realize what higher order thinking skills they are using. Love that!
Would you like to try out the Star Spangled Evaluations? You can! I've uploaded them to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store as a free download. If you like them, please leave a little feedback. I love 4 star ratings and your comments help me create more things that you'll love.