"Becoming" American: Symbols, Signs, and Songs

liberty “Becoming” American: Symbols, signs, and songs

Social studies, visual art, music, literature

Grade Levels (adaptable to all levels)

by Clydia Forehand, Tulsa (OK) Public Schools

Description. Project intends to involve students on both sides of the issue (native or naturalized) in understanding how symbols, signs, and songs inform what it means to belong to American culture. It integrates history, literature, music, art, and foreign language.
Essential question: How do American symbols transfer identity and belonging–to “being” American?
Focus questions: How does someone become American? Who is an American? How is identity determined through self, family, and/or culture and sub-culture?
Goals and Objectives. At end of lesson, I can. . . 
Music. . .  sing the Star Spangled Banner in English, French, and Spanish
Social studies. . . explain why the Star Spangled Banner (the song and the flag) are important symbols of American culture.
Reading/Literature. . . comprehend and compose original writings, discussing how symbolism and patriotism are transmitted through poetry, music, and painting.
World language. . . present information about familiar topics using simple words, phrases, and memorized expressions (song, pledge)
Description. This project is designed to demonstrate the processes through which individuals become American. Whether by virtue of growing up immersed in the culture from birth or by becoming a naturalized (or intentional) member of American society, knowledge of how the American identity has been shaped in the past and how people today may join this culture is the focus of this project
Materials Needed
1. Powerpoint (link here)
2. Activities list (below)
3. Resources list (below)
Activities 1. Engage. 2. Present.  A powerpoint is included. 3. Explore. More information, click here.
Resources Becoming American: Symbols, signs, and songs. ppt
References with links to more online resources
Teacher Guide This project is intentionally open-ended, to allow teachers opportunity to adapt the suggested activities and resources for their own needs.
Standards Oklahoma state standards relevant for this lesson plan can be accessed here. Oklahoma Academic Standards for Visual Art, Music, Social Studies, Lit, and World Language, specific to this project
About the Author
Clydia Forehand is a veteran Oklahoma educator, published author, and presenter in areas of collaborative creativity and learning through the arts. She currently works as English Language Development Specialist for Tulsa (OK) Public Schools, facilitating accessibility for immigrant children to build deeper understandings of American language and culture.
Former work includes directing an East Asia program at the University of Oklahoma and working with students and teachers in China, Japan, Korean, Cuba, and the United States. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, Fellow with Oklahoma A+ Schools, and former presenter with the San Francisco Keeping Score program. The last two are programs designed to integrate the arts and other disciplines.
.About Banner Moments Made available as part of the 2014 Banner Moments K-12 Institute—a project of the American Music Institute of the University of Michigan and the Star Spangled Music Foundation, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

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