Header

Mrs. King at Home About Mrs. King Contact Mrs. King Mrs. King's Music Class HOME Image Map

Teaching Patriotic Music - What to Do

Teaching Patriotic Music - What to Do  Great ideas for teaching patriotic music.  Activities and patriotic songs by grade level inspire you to add more to your curriculum.  Easy lesson plan ideas for incorporating patriotic music are also included.

In a previous blog post I asked the question "Why teach patriotic music?"  There are several reasons and I hope you'll take a moment to check out that article.  In this post I'm going to talk about my song and activity choices for my Kindergarten through 6th grade students.

I must admit that when I first started teaching I didn't focus much on patriotic music.  For the first two or three years I really just did a little something with the national anthem and that was it.  I was looking to incorporate music that really connected with students and really got them excited about what we were doing in class.  Silly me!  Patriotic music does just that!

I decided that I would come up with just a couple of songs that each grade level would learn.  By the time my students left me to move on to middle school or high school they would have a solid repertoire of patriotic music under their belts.  Then I added a few activities with patriotic music including a large unit on the "Star-Spangled Banner" for third graders.

Every August, our song of the month is the "Star-Spangled Banner".  All students review the three rules of etiquette when listening to or performing our national anthem.
1.  Stand up (and take your hat off if you are wearing one).
2.  Hand on your heart.
3.  Eyes on the flag.

This is a tough song for my youngest learners, so we usually just use this time to practice listening and being respectful.  I often put up a bulletin board in the main hallway or near the flag in my room that reminds students about national anthem etiquette.  This one is my favorite.  I've used it a couple of times.


So now, let's break this down by grade level.  Here are the songs and activities I do K-6.

Kindergarten
"You're a Grand Old Flag"
We learn the words and sometimes a very simple plate routine that focuses on them following my directions. (Nope, don't have these written down because they are mostly steady beats with plastic plates.  Think up, down, left right, etc...)
"Yankee Doodle"
We talk about march and lullaby in Kindergarten so this is one of our favorite marches.  We also use it for steady beat practice with rhythm sticks.  We don't really talk about the history of the piece.

In Kindergarten we use several Sousa marches too.  We keep the steady beat, freeze dance (well...freeze march) and sometimes write/draw about what we hear.  Since we only talk about a few instruments in Kindergarten this is a great addition to our listening repertoire.  We identify drums, trumpet and flute easily!

First Grade
"You're a Grand Old Flag"
"Yankee Doodle"
We can read most of these words by the end of first!  Hurray!  We don't really do anything new with "You're a Grand Old Flag" in first grade.

With Yankee Doodle we learn a very simple stick passing routine.  We sit in a circle and use the pattern "tap tap cross pass".  Tap on the floor.  Tap sticks together.  Pass to the right.  After we've done this activity in class, I can add it as a workstation.

"My Country 'Tis of Thee"
We learn the words to this song and talk about them.  "land where my fathers died" can be a bit confusing.  Some years we create a patriotic song quilt with these lyrics.  I'll talk more about that when in a bit.

Second Grade
"God Bless America"
Kids LOVE this song!  We listen to a couple of different performances, red and talk about the lyrics and sometimes create drawings/sentence writing to show our favorite things about America while listening to it.
"You're A Grand Old Flag"
We love this song.  It is a part of our "second grade songs" PowerPoint.  This file contains the lyrics to songs that we sing often.  I can leave this for a sub to use because it is essentially click and go.
"Allegiance Rap"
This song is by the talented folks at Music K-8 Magazine.  It is mostly the Pledge of Allegiance, but seriously cool.  The kids learn this quickly.  Some years we add a plastic plate routine with it.

Third Grade
"America the Beautiful"
I have a book with the lyrics of this song that stays in my student bookshelf.  Students can read/sing through it when they are at this station during centers days.  I take it out early in the year and we read/sing through it as a class.  Some years we will create a patriotic song quilt with it.

To make the quilt, I give them squares of paper and assign them a line in the song.  Some kids draw "Oh, beautiful for spacious skies" while others draw "for amber waves of grain" and so on.  We display them on the wall so that they look like blocks from a quilt.  Such a great display!  Some years I will print out squares with the lyrics, other years I just give them the squares.  I think 8 x 8 works best so I just cut a couple of inches of a standard letter sized sheet.

This works with "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and several other patriotic songs. LOVE the finished display.  If I can, I try to have it up for the first parent-teacher conferences.

"God Bless America"
We really just review this song and all of the other songs since Kindergarten.

"Star-Spangled Banner" Unit
I take about 4 weeks during September/October to focus on the "Star-Spangled Banner" with third graders.  We learn about the history, decipher the lyrics, work on memorizing it and more.  After experimenting with this unit for a few years I came up with some workstations that I love!  This set is available in my store and contains ten different workstations.  HERE are several blog posts about Star Spangled Banner Workstations that will let you take a peek at them in action.

I like these workstations because there's a little bit of everything in them.  Students learn about Francis Scott Key, work with vocabulary from the song, review the history of it, work on memorizing the lyrics, singing and more.  Good stuff.  Students are on task and really walk away with a great deal of knowledge.

I used to give a 10 question quiz at the end of this unit.  Instead of doing that now I use exit tickets.  We do one at the end of each class period that we are studying the "Star-Spangled Banner" and sometimes randomly throughout the rest of the year.  I use THESE with 3rd graders but honestly they would work for 3rd through 6th with ease.



Fourth Grade
"God Bless the USA"
I have a PowerPoint for this song that I use.  Kids love singing it and we add it to the list of patriotic music we know.  You can download one by Patty Oeste on THIS page.  (Scroll down.)
"This Land is Your Land"
We sing this from the "Get America Singing" books.  Some years we will learn a little descant part (from an old text book series...sorry I can't remember which one!)
Music of Missouri
Fourth graders focus a great deal on Missouri history so I try and add a few folk songs from the area, we touch on musicians from Missouri and listen to the "Missouri Waltz".  I'm always looking for new resources for this, so if you are a Missourian please let me know what you do!  I feel like I barely touch this topic.
Star Spangled Evaluations
Last year we did a huge unit on our national anthem.  This year I want to make sure they remember some of it!  In fourth grade we review the story, etiquette and vocabulary from our study of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in third grade and then we do Star Spangled Evaluations.  This activity takes one 50-minute class period and is a huge hit with the students.  I just blogged about this activity HERE.  Take a look and download the freebie to use with your class.

Fifth Grade
"Fifty Nifty"
All year.  Workin' the fifty nifty so that students leave with this song (and the alphabetical presentation of the states) memorized.  You can watch a YouTube video of this student favorite HERE.  Get a real copy from Hal Leonard.

Teaching Patriotic Music - What to Do  Great ideas for teaching patriotic music.  Activities and patriotic songs by grade level inspire you to add more to your curriculum.  Easy lesson plan ideas for incorporating patriotic music are also included.
My 5th and 6th graders performing "Rap of the Presidents" at a patriotic concert.  It makes you smile, right?

"Rap of the States" and sometimes "Rap of the Presidents"
Depending on the groups and the year I use these two gems from Teresa Jennings with 5th and 6th graders.  They are a little long, so unless we are using them for a concert performance we don't memorize them.

Songs of the Westward Expansion
A large portion of the year is spent learning folk songs from the time of the westward expansion in America.  Songs include  "Erie Canal", "John Henry", "Home on the Range" and cowboy and pioneer songs.  We sing the Music K-8 versions, watch videos of their performances by a variety of folk singers and musicians and complete a favorite project of mine, the rewriting of "Home on the Range".

This activity is actually the idea of my pal Kristin Lukow.  Check out her blog HERE and download this worksheet HERE.  The idea is that students re-write this classic song to fit their tastes.  They must work to use the original tune and keep as close to the syllabication of the original song to make it work.  Here's a good one:
Oh give me a phone, with extra minutes to roam,
with more storage than I can fill up!
With a rockin' ringtone
and a case made of chrome,
and data so I can text you "what's up?"

Phone, phone of my own,
with more storage than I can fill up!
With a rockin' ringtone and a case made of chrome,
and a camera for my selfie close-up! 



Sixth Grade
Music of the Armed Forces
The music of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are studied in 6th grade.  We use some patriotic and armed forces listening glyphs.  The big kids don't get to color as much as they would like and really enjoy the listening glyphs.  It is also a chance for them to get really familiar with these pieces because we listen to them as we work.  You can get the listening glyphs HERE.
Teaching Patriotic Music - What to Do  Great ideas for teaching patriotic music.  Activities and patriotic songs by grade level inspire you to add more to your curriculum.  Easy lesson plan ideas for incorporating patriotic music are also included.

I blogged a bit about my Music of the Armed Forces activities in THIS blog post.  I also like to use one of the five armed forces bulletin board sets I have when I display the listening glyphs.  I love to do this near Veteran's Day if I can.


Slave songs, plantation songs and traditional African American folk songs
Throughout the year, sixth graders learn about music of the American Civil War, slave songs and traditional African American folk songs.  In February we study American Jazz Musicians and do a short research assignment on them.  You can take a look at that HERE.

I hope that you've enjoyed the red, white and blue tour through my school year.  I have many patriotic resources on my Patriotic Resources Pinterest board.  Follow it to get new ideas.

post signature
Like this article?  Pin it!
Teaching Patriotic Music - What to Do Great ideas for teaching patriotic music. Activities and patriotic songs by grade level inspire you to add more to your curriculum. Easy lesson plan ideas for incorporating patriotic music are also included.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your fabulous patriotic lesson/grade level ideas!

    ReplyDelete