I tend to teach patriotic music in the late spring because the vocabulary  and often the melodies  for most of the songs are rather advanced.  By waiting until the late spring, I share these super fun songs with my students when they are the oldest they will be all year long.  By the time we sing these songs, they have a good habit of reading words, singing melodies and reading rhythms.  Plus, they will be prepared to sing all of our patriotic songs in time for summer fireworks and baseball.  I like to use all sorts of ways to get these songs into my students.
I have created lots of my own power point presentations using free clip art from either msnclipart OR  stock.xchngstock.xchng  but creating your own presentations from scratch for every song is very time consuming.  I have found really great presentations of songs using powerpoint  musicbulletinboards.net  VERY useful!

Especially the Fifty Nifty United States! powerpoint created by Linda Barnhart

However, my two FAVORITE things to use are BOOKS! and CENTERS!

Last year I while checking the musicbulletinboards site for updates I happily discovered these REALLY awesome centers for the Star Spangled Banner!  Tracy King did an awesome job when she created these gems!  They are reasonably priced and worth every penny.  They are awesome because they are simple and they are fabulous because all I had to do was PRINT!  I’ve used them with my students this week and they have worked VERY well!  I’m a fan of supporting great work, so ya’ll go support this music teacher by purchasing her excellent materials!

When using books to teach patriotic songs you can never have enough because each version brings it’s own charm.  Also, I don’t tend to be one of those teachers who can resolve to assign a specific set of songs to each grade level and stick with it.  Because I’m afraid I’ll forget something,or they will move away and they’ll leave my school and miss something entirely, I tend to introduce songs earlier than may be typical and we just make sure and sing them every year.  Because I am crazy enough to teach really “too hard” songs to my younger students, books are the very best way to crack open the meaning of the songs to my young learners.

You’re right! My  kinder students who sing “America the Beautiful” at kinder graduation might not have a clue what they are singing about….. BUT when we revisit “their” song in first and second grade, they have a ton of “aha” moments…… I’m going for the  “long haul” pay-off.

By that time, my big kids are ready to really analysis the musical elements and meaning of songs they’ve known “all their lives”.

A nice song to add to 5th grade patriotic music is “Song of Peace” in the Macmillan textbook.   The melody is “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius  The lyrics speak of  the worth of each country and how each country is worthy of celebration.  Very nice indeed!

Here are some wonderful Patriotic song books that I’ve been using for years.  Some of these are so well loved that it is time for me to replace them.

Katherine Bates, author, – Wendell Minor, illustrator


Scholastic paperback
Scholastic paperback

These are books that I would dearly enjoy having in my classroom and hope to acquire sooner or later.

Public Domain, George M. Cohan Composer, Norman Rockwell, Illustrator
Patricia A. Pingry
Katherine Bates, Neil Waldman Illustrator

There are MANY MANY more!  In fact the list is so extensive I’ll probably do another post on patriotic books just so that I can keep track of what I would like….. As my momma says, There is NOTHING wrong with my “wanter”.

This spring I was able to get a large number of books from donorschoose.org.  I was happy to discover this beautiful series of books!  I have two of these and hope for the other three soon.  I taught with them today and it and they were a great hit.   In kindergarten we had a great time counting the stars on the flag for “You’re A Grand Old Flag” because every page had a flag with even MORE stars.  Then the “Star Spangled Banner Book” has the BEST illustrations for dawn and twilight I’ve yet to see.  What better way to teach those words than with the “right” picture!

Marsha Qualey  did a wonderful job!



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