Our Anthem

Our Anthem lesson plan

What images stand out when you sing your national anthem? Add an artistic twist to patriotic songs—write and illustrate an original anthem.

  • 1.

    Any anthem is better than an old one. This was the comment of a young Australian when asked about Australia’s recently adopted national anthem. Until 1974, Australians sang Great Britain’s "God Save the Queen" as their national anthem. Many Australians wanted a song that reflected their history and nation. Australia held a competition for a new anthem. Although there were almost 4,000 entries, none were accepted. Three popular tunes were then proposed and citizens were asked to help choose a winner. By a majority of one million votes, "Advance Australia Fair" won over "Waltzing Matilda." Peter Dodds McCormick had written the winning anthem almost 100 years earlier!

  • 2.

    Ask students to identify the national anthem of their home country. Do they know the words and melody for the national anthem? Invite students working in small groups to learn about the history behind the words, images, and music of their country's anthem. Provide text and electronic resources to assist with this investigation. When research is complete, students come together to discuss their findings. Ask if they are surprised by any of their learning. Also ask if students feel the words reflect the country they know today.

  • 3.

    Even if they love the national anthem, challenge groups to brainstorm new or additional words to describe their nation. Write ideas on a white board with Crayola® Dry-Erase Markers. Suggest students choose words that tell about their country’s people, cultures, history, arts, landscape, visions, and future.

  • 4.

    Working in small groups with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, students copy the words they might use for an original anthem. Write new music if so desired, or use a familiar melody.

  • 5.

    Student groups create a presentation of their updated anthem on posterboard. Include drawings of the images the words describe with Crayola Twistable Slix Sticks Crayons.

  • 6.

    Students cover work areas with recycled newspaper. With Crayola Watercolor Paints and Brushes, students accent the illustrated anthems using a crayon resist technique. Air dry flat.

  • 7.

    Each group of students presents its updated national anthem to classmates. Artwork should be integrated into the presentation.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Explore ways that language, art, music, belief systems, and other cultural elements may facilitate global understanding or lead to misunderstanding.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.
  • VA: Compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

Adaptations

  • Students research the country's national anthem. When was it written? Historically, what was occurring in your country when the lyrics were written? Who wrote the lyrics? What is his/her connection to the anthem? Organize this research in an electronic format to present to classmates.
  • Students research the national anthems of different countries. Find the shared qualities between the anthems. Are some words often used? Does your country's national anthem seem outdated? If so, how would you change it?
  • Create a new anthem for your school, sports team, or other group. Compose the lyrics and the accompanying music. If possible, ask the school's music teacher for assistance.