Sunday, October 28, 2012

Veterans Day Music Lessons

As I'm winding down my Halloween lessons, it is time to honor two holidays in November! Here are my activities for Veterans Day

For 1st grade, we are going to read Pepper's Purple Heart. Then we will discuss what a veteran is and why we have a day to honor veterans. We will then transition to discussing heroes. I want the students to give me examples of people they consider to be heroes. Once everyone has given me an example, we will each illustrate a hero on a stamp template.

I am also teaching the 1st graders My Country 'tis of Thee.

In 2nd Grade, we are discussing the story of Veterans Day. We will also discuss the lyrics of My Country 'tis of Thee and sing the song, but we are also going to illustrate a line from the song. Each student will be able to pick the line they want to illustrate and a template to do so.

In 3rd -5th grades, I will be varying the level of difficulty, but the general design of the lessons is the same. In the upper levels, we are going to discuss the origin of Veterans Day.

We are also going to watch this  video about the origin of the Star Spangled Banner. We will look at the lyrics, define new words and sing the song. I am going to let some of the students play the finger cymbals when they listen to the recording of the National Anthem. I am also doing an illustration sheet with these students. They will illustrate a line from the SSB.

In addition, we are going to play a game with songs for each branch of the military. 
The students divide into “teams” of the five armed forces branches: Navy, Coast Guard, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force. We will listen to the corresponding songs for each branch and discuss each song. 

Navy – “Anchors aweigh my boys, anchors aweigh…"  (define aweigh)

Coast Guard – “Semper Paratus, duh, duh, duh (these words help them remember the motto and the melody)
Army – “And the caissons go rolling along…" (define caisson)

Marine Corps – “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…" (listen for the leap in the melody)

Air Force – “Off we go into the wild blue yonder" (point out that the melody ascends like a plane)

After you have spent time on each song play one randomly. Have students listen for their listening clue. If they think that the march belongs to them, have them stand. They do not have to stand as a team. Their vote is individual. 

There are also some really great resources for teachers available from 

Ultimately, great examples of our student work completed during these lessons will be displayed with our "Wall of Remembrance". This idea came from Music K-8. Families are asked to submit information about veterans in their family. I am asking for name, branch of service, years served and student relationship. I will transfer this information to "bricks" to build a wall in our hallway. 

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