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Lesson Plans: The Star-Spangled Banner

This lesson plan was written to work in conjunction with the book, The Star-Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key, illustrated by Peter Spier (Doubleday) Themes: American History, Flags, Francis Scott Key, National Anthem, Patriotism
Grades: PreK-6
Running time: 7 minutes

This is the story of the American victory during the war of 1812, set to the song created by Francis Scott Key. Detailed illustrations accompany the words of our national anthem.

The American flag, flying high over Fort McHenry, is shown in all its glory, reminding Americans of the battles fought and won to create the free nation that we are today.


  • Children will become acquainted with the national anthem.
  • Children will learn that our flag is a symbol of freedom.
  • Children will enjoy seeing a familiar song come alive.
Before Viewing Activities
Share the book The Star-Spangled Banner with children.

Then ask:
Where have you seen the American flag? What does it mean to you?

Show children an American flag. Discuss the meaning of the stars and stripes. Then supply twigs, kraft paper, crayons, and string that children can use to create their own American flags. Have children use the twigs to represent flag poles. The string will be used to attach the paper flags to "poles." Later, play some marching music. Have children wave their flags as they march in time to the music.

Give children an opportunity to sing a chorus of the "Star-Spangled Banner." After singing, have children talk about the meaning of the lyrics.

After Viewing Activities
Help children understand that the flag is a symbol of freedom. Encourage children to think about other symbols they may be familiar with. You can offer help by asking children what they think of when they see McDonald's golden arches, or what a police officer's badge makes them think of. Then, give children an opportunity to create their own symbols with construction paper, scissors, glue, and crayons. When finished, let children describe what their symbols represent to their classmates.

Talk with children about the places they have seen the American flag. Then, show children photographs or illustrations of government buildings, monuments, school grounds, where the flag is flown. Encourage children to be on the lookout for this national symbol as they travel from place to place.

Attach an illustration or drawing of the American flag to a bulletin board or classroom wall. Then, have children describe the flag and the things it makes them think of. Have children write their thoughts about the flag in the form of simple poems. (Younger children can dictate their poems to you.) Display children's poetry on the bulletin board or wall surrounding the flag.

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    The Star-Spangled Banner

    The Star-Spangled Banner

    by Christine McIsaac and Daniel Rudnicki

    First time author Amy Winstead skillfully weaves a historically accurate, yet fictional, account of Francis Scott Key and the British bombarding of Fort McHenry. The story is told from the perspective of a young boy and his brother who accidentally become ensnared in the intrigue of the historic night and culminates in the writing of our national anthem. Dramatic and rich watercolor illustrations, accurate to the smallest detail, bring the action to life.

    $2.79 You save: 30%
    Paperback Book | Grade 5
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    The Star-Spangled Banner
    Grade 5 $2.79
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    Rookie Read-About® American Symbols: The American Flag

    Rookie Read-About® American Symbols: The American Flag

    by Lisa M. Herrington

    From its humble beginnings of thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, Old Glory has grown right along with the country it represents. The well-organized chapters help students identify key details while the photographs, timelines and other text features encourage students to make connections between historical events and enable students to better understand the text.

    $4.46 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 1-2
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    Rookie Read-About® American Symbols: The American Flag
    Grades 1-2 $4.46
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