Saturday, March 3, 2018


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 most people are familiar with the song, I wonder how many adults could actually write the words to the national anthem?  Could we pass a vocabulary test on the meaning of the lyrics?  

I think this is the perfect learning opportunity for students of all ages.

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…)  How can we find out what those words mean?  

Invite children to close their eyes as they listen to the song. 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?