Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Our Anthem

Jill Taylor


In honor of the Olympics, students learn some national anthems of the world. They use the melody of “America/My Country 'tis of Thee” to cooperatively brainstorm and write their own town or school anthem.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping ideas, grouping related ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, observing surroundings, answering questions posed by others).

The student understands the relationship between music and other subjects (e.g., between folk songs and historical events).


-White Board or chalkboard
-CD Player with balance control
-The songs “America” (My Country ‘tis of Thee) from 4th grade [Share the Music], MacMillan/McGraw Hill
-“Oh Canada” from 6th grade edition, [Share the Music], MacMillan/McGraw Hill
-copies of the lyrics to “God Save the Queen,” “America,” and “Oh Canada”.
- World map


1. Have copies of the lyrics to the songs for each student.
Copy them from the website or give each student a [Share the Music] textbook.
2. Students should have some familiarity with some national anthems of the world including “Star Spangled Banner,” “O Canada,” “God Save the Queen.”
3. Prepare an assessment sheet with student names on the left side. Make two columns and label them: brainstorming and cooperative work. This will be used for the assessment recording.


Day One

1. Ask students what is the national anthem of the United States. ("The Star Spangled Banner.")

2. Ask students what it is customary to do when we hear our national anthem played. (Stand up.) Brianstorm why.

3. Have students stand up and sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Students may use their textbooks or lyric sheet if they need to look at the words. Many will already have it memorized.

4. Ask students to raise their hands if they have been watching the Olympic Games on television.

5. Ask students what happens when someone wins an Olympic event and gets a medal. (The national anthem of the winner’s country is played.) Brainstorm why.

6. Tell students: In honor of the Olympics, we will be learning the national anthems of some other countries of the world.

7. Tell students: Let’s listen to the national anthem of our neighbor, Canada. Point it out on the map. Students can follow along with the words on a lyric sheet and the CD track to gain familiarity with the song "O Canada."

8. Go over some vocabulary in the song. "Swagman," and the others are in the [Share the Music] text.

9. Tell students: Let’s listen to the national anthem of Great Britain which is also called England. The song is called "God Save the Queen." Point our England on the map.

10. Ask: Did the music sound familiar to you? (Yes, it sounds like “My Country ‘tis of Thee”) Help students to sing it and confirm that it is familiar. Students may use their books or lyric sheet if they need help remembering the words.

11. Discuss with students: You were right. The melody is the same. Why do you think our patriotic song “My Country ‘tis of Thee” has the same melody as the British national anthem? (Because some of the first settlers to America were from England and they probably remembered it.)

12. Tell students: Let’s sing the song, "God Save the Queen."

13. Conduct an ending review. Review the national anthems of America/Canada/England.

Day Two

1. Have a matching activity written on the board for students to match the names of the anthems to the proper country.

2. Have individual students come to the board and connect the anthem to the country.

3. The class sings each song as they are correctly matched.

4. Ask students what discovery they made about the song “God Save the Queen.” (It has the same melody as our patriotic song “My Country 'tis of Thee.”)

5. Make sure students realize that “My Country 'tis of Thee” is not the national anthem of the United States.

6. Tell students that today they will be working together to write their own anthem using the melody of “My Country 'tis of Thee”/God Save the Queen”. Review your class rules about working together. Tell students they will be assessed on their contributions and the singing of the song they create.

7. Place students into small groups. Allow students to vote on whether to write their anthem about their school or town. All groups will contribute to the class anthem.

8. Allow students to brainstorm important facts they might want to include in their song. Write down their ideas on the board. Note those who contribute and those who don't.

9. Hum the first phrase of the song, and select students to share words they think will fit with that phrase, based on the brainstormed ideas.

10. Point out that the words must fit the rhythm of the melody, and correct and help to modify students’ ideas as necessary. Write each phrase on the board.

11. Allow groups to have a few minutes to come up with a line for the song based on an event or idea. Each group should contribute something to the anthem. Sing through their words with the tune.

12. Correct phrases that the students find are not satisfying. Let them vote to decide changes if there is not a consensus. Record lines as they are finalized.

13. Let students decide a title. Each group should brainstorm a title and jot it down with their names on the paper. Share the titles and vote.

14. Let one student copy the words onto a sheet of paper so that you have a record of their song.

14. All students sing the final version of the song for the classroom teacher when he or she returns for the students. Remind students they must participate in order to receive a passing assessment. Note those that don't participate.


Assess the creation of the lyrics and titles for their own anthems that use the melody and rhythm of the song "America/My Country 'tis of Thee." Students who do not contribute ideas during the brainstorming or corrections/additions in the editing process will be marked NP (not participating) on the assessment sheet. (see Preparations)

Assess the participation of singing of their songs. Those not singing will be marked NS for cooperative workers on the assessment sheet.

During the discussions and individual group work, observe for understanding of the relationship between music and other events. The final anthems should display evidence of this as well.

Students who do not demonstrate the knowledge will need additional feedback and practice.


Students can write their own anthems about their families, school, neighborhood, or town individually.
Continue learning other national anthems of the world, especially those in a foreign language.
Incorporate singing the national anthems into a school- wide Olympic Celebration or field day.
If classes are learning about specific countries in their classrooms, teach them that country’s national anthem.

Web Links

National anthems and their words

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