When I first started teaching I was so excited to teach patriotic songs. Why? I'm very patriotic. I have cousins, dad, grandfather, great, great grandfathers who have served in the Civil War, WWI, and Desert storm. I like teaching patriotic songs to my students because I feel like it gives them a chance to experience pride in their country, respect for the flag and gratitude to those who have given their lives for our freedom. There's really no other songs that evoke the same emotions.
"THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER"
I teach everyone the National Anthem. I focus on different skills as they grow through the grades beginning with the end of the song "...oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave-o're the land of the free and the home of the brave." It's a good rhyming line to begin with and they can really put their hearts into it!
WHY AND HOW
Why? When all students stand with their hands on their hearts and sing it-the adults are brought to tears. It's a very powerful moment for my students-and for me. I feel like it's very important for my students to show respect as they sing. I ask them to "sing from their heart", hands at their sides (unless doing actions) heart forward, and nice open sounds. "Sing it like you Mean it" is a common phrase I use to try to get them to connect the words to their feelings. I also use videos and pictures to help them relate to the feeling of being an American.
I usually teach these songs at the beginning of the year. It's also a great way to talk about respect in the classroom.
I use a variety of songs for different grades. I have the Making Music Curriculum and use those resources, but here are some you can use.
Kindergarten and First Grade : "America"
Second Grade: "America the Beautiful" with sign language
Third Grade: "This Land is Your Land" Hand Actions
Fourth Grade: "Fifty Nifty"
Fifth and Sixth Grade: "The Star Spangled Banner"
(I only see the students who do not take band or strings so there is a limited number of them.)
I then began writing patriotic songs. I am sharing "America is You and Me". I also have other Patriotic products in my store that can help you create your music programs. And I wrote a complete program about honoring our heroes that uses familiar tunes and some of my songs.
You can find my Patriotic products here:
For me it's important for my students to have a wide range of emotional experiences with the music in our classroom. Teaching patriotic music is such a great opportunity for students to feel good about being an American and being part of something larger than themselves. I hope you got some tips that you can use easily in your classroom.
For more ideas, check out this blog post I wrote about the patriotic songs I teach for our Veteran's Day program. PATRIOTIC RESOURCES AND PROGRAM TIPS