Do you know what today is? That’s right! The Star-Spangled Banner officially became our national anthem on March 3, 193l. It was written during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key. Seeing the American flag flying over Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor inspired him to write the song.
Although your students will be familiar with this song, today is a perfect time to discuss what the lyrics mean and to introduce vocabulary words. (I wonder how many adults could actually write the words to the national anthem?)
Put a copy of the first verse on the board and read over it. Invite children to tell you what they think the lyrics mean. Explain that when things are difficult to understand it helps to read one line at a time. Take each line and discuss the meaning. (This is really going to be a challenge for young children, but it’s good to stretch their brains - and maybe your brain as well!)
Vocabulary – Ask children to come up and highlight words they are not familiar with. (dawn, twilight, hailed, perilous, ramparts, gallantly…)
Invite children to close their eyes as they listen to the song sung. You could also show this video where the words are connected to photographs.
Want to learn more? Check out this website:
FYI Did you know that the famous write F. Scott Fitzgerald was a distant cousin of Francis Scott Key and was named after him?