SSB Celebration Week Resource Pack

RESOURCE PACKET for Star Spangled Banner Birthday Celebration Week

by: Susan Ferguson

Scroll through this pack to see suggested activities for each day of the week.
THE FLAG MAKER, Susan Campbell Bartoletti
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, Peter Spier, (lesson plan)
Discuss adjectives/words that describe the flag: American, patriotism, respect, honor, valor, pride, United States, military, national, anthem, freedom, independence, bravery, symbol, strong, free, Colonial life, children’s roles in 1812, etc.
Anthem – a national song
Banner – country’s flag
Broad – wide
Commander – a person in the armed forces who is in charge of other people
Gallantly – brave and fearless
Hail’d – variation of “hailed,” to greet
Independence – freedom
Lyrics – the words of a song
O’er – variation of “over”
Patriotic – showing love of and loyalty to one’s country
Perilous – extreme danger
Rampart – the surrounding wall of a fort built to protect against attack
Rockets – similar to today’s bottle rockets, left a red trail of light in the sky
Spangle – bright decoration, i.e. lopsided star
Twilight – soft diffused light when the sun is just below the horizon
Verse – one part of a poem or song made up of several lines, poetic paragraph
 Happy Birthday Bulletin Board* – Spray patriotic fabric with sticky mount and hang in hall OR bulletin board in cafeteria. “Happy Birthday Star Spangled Banner!”  Have students write a Birthday message to the SSB.
Illustrate the Banner Wall* (everyone please do this early in the week, or week before) – put up the lyrics to the SSB (kindergarten hall from lobby along to office back door). Assign a line to each class. Have the kids illustrate what the line means on a 4 ½ x 6” (1/2 construction paper) piece of white paper. Hang all the pictures in column form under the lyrics. After read-a-loud, discuss what your class line means. Guide students to visual understanding for successful completion of their illustration.
Illustration wall assignments:
Oh, say can you see                                                       Ka&b
by the dawn’s early light                                               Kc&d
What so proudly we hailed                                           Ke&f
at the twilight’s last gleaming?                                     Kg & 1a
Whose broad stripes and bright stars                          1b&c
thru the perilous fight,                                                    1d&e
O’er the ramparts we watched                                       1f&g
were so gallantly streaming?                                          2a&b
And the rocket’s red glare,                                              2c&d
the bombs bursting in air,                                               2e&f
Gave proof through the night                                         2g&3a
that our flag was still there.                                             3b&c
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave        3d&e
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?    3f&g
Flag Code – There are laws concerning the treatment of the American Flag. Ask students what they know about these rules and regulations. If there are boy scouts in your class, have them share with the students what they know about respecting the flag. Stand when the flag goes by, hand over your heart for the Pledge and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, etc.  Discuss Flag code and respect
Morning Announcement – We began a war in 1812 against the British because they wanted to control our trade. The British army and navy were very powerful. The American people fought hard. But in 1814 the British burned part of our capitol in Washington, DC. Then the British Army headed to Baltimore to attack Ft. McHenry. The American army was ready for the invasion. American troops held the fort and won the battle. (:30)
SSB Version- POETS & PATRIOTS, Cut 17/Side 1, 4:58 (with vocal to 1:10 first verse), 4:58
Teacher Background Information

  • In 1812 after years of Britain boarding our merchant ships, essentially kidnapping American sailors and trying to control our trade, Congress declared war on England. The battle at Fort McHenry took place during the War of 1812, as the British attempted to take the harbor at Baltimore. Ft. McHenry stands guard in Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay. This was a couple days after the British burned the Capitol, the White House and the Library of Congress in Washington DC forty miles to the west. It was important to hold the Fort. If the British won this fight, America would surely lose the War and the independence they had been fighting for since 1776. British ships fired 1,500 bombshells and 700 rockets at Ft. McHenry during a 25-hour period September 13, 1814. It is said that the Battle was so fierce it could be heard 100 miles away in Philadelphia. The War finally ended in February 2015. Some Americans called it the 2nd war of Independence.

Read* – The Star-Spangled Banner, illustrated by Peter Spier (K – 3) Talk about the pictures. Challenge the students to find the flag in every picture.
Teacher Resources
*Teachers, introduce the week from the Smithsonian Website. Have whole class “Collect the Stars” by projecting and using the interactive feature on this link. (Use the interactive flag feature later this week.)
-Teacher’s Guide with lesson ideas –
-Copy “A Soldier’s Life” from Junior Ranger PDF for partner work
Video – Intro to Battle and Fort (14:00)
Ft. McHenry and the War of 1812 (15:00) 2-3,
Suggested Lesson/Activities –
 K-1 – Life in Colonial Times, marching like a soldier
The Star Spangled Banner mini book Pg. 51 from OUR NATION, Scholastic
2-3 – Overview of Fort and Battle included in this pdf
Morning Announcement – The commander at Ft. McHenry ordered 2 flags from local flag maker Mary Pickersgill. Mary made a living sewing flags for the armies and ships that came through Baltimore. Her flag in 1814 had 15 stars and 15 stripes. Every time a new state was added to the Union, a star AND a stripe was added to the flag. The flag that flew over the fort was 30 feet by 42 feet. It was huge! (:30)
SSB Version – POETS & PATRIOTS, Side 2, Cut 18, First verse to 1:05
Teacher Background Information

  • The gigantic flag hanging over the fort was build by Mary Pickersgill, her daughter Caroline, and a couple of helpers. (The Flag Maker, Susan Campbell Bartoletti) It was 30 feet by 42 feet in size. It was made of 400 yards of wool, and weighed at least 80 pounds. Each of the 15 stripes was more than 2 feet wide. Each star was also two feet wide.
  • The massive 30 x 42 flag was NOT flying all night through the battle. Instead it was the smaller 17’x25’ “storm flag” also commissioned by Mary Pickersgill. General Armistead, the fort commander, was flying the smaller flag because it was a stormy the day of the battle. (It is estimated that the larger flag would weigh over 400 pounds wet, which would snap the flagpole in half!)
  • It is assumed that after the battle Armistead ordered the larger flag aloft, and perhaps that is really the one viewed by Francis Scott Key. The Smithsonian Institute did a recreation during their refurbishing of the Banner. They hoisted the 30’ x 42’ modern replica at Ft. McHenry and then boated to the spot where they think that Key was six miles away. In fact, the flag was visible from that distance.

Read*: THE FLAG MAKER, Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Do*: This Reader’s Theatre of the making of the banner.
Teacher Resources –
-Return to the Smithsonian website. Use the interactive link to explore various features/facts about the banner.
-For all grade levels, includes color sheet and measurement activities for the flag.
-Copy Mary Pickersgill page from Junior Ranger PDF for morning work. (below)
Video – History of the flag (13:00) Levels 2 – 3 Start @ 3:42 if you want to cut a couple minutes.
Suggested Lesson/Activities –
 Math for all levels –
K-1 – Measure out the size of the flag. Use 12” tiles in the gym. Have children count to 40 on one side and to 32 on the other.
2-3 – Measure out the size of the flag. Use 12” tiles in the gym or on the playground with yarn cut to 30 feet and 42 feet lengths. See this math lesson plan at the SI website for further instructions.
Morning Announcement – Francis Scott Key was an important man. He was waiting and watching the Battle for Ft. McHenry from a ship in the distance. The fight raged on through the night. Key couldn’t tell who was winning the fight because of the smoke and the dark, stormy weather. Finally, the fighting stopped and the sun came up. Then Key saw the flag flying at the Fort. The Americans had won. (:20)
 SSB Version – Aretha Franklin, First Verse to 2:12 (6:53)
 Teacher Background Information

  • Francis Scott Key was a well-connected lawyer from Washington DC when he was asked to help free Dr. William Beanes who had been arrested by the British. British General Robert Ross agreed to free Beanes, but the men would have to wait until after the battle that was about to begin. They waited on a small boat that was tied to a larger British ship. Key waited it out during the 25-hour battle. He and others with him peered through the smoke of the battle at dawn waiting for a view of the flag over Ft. McHenry. No one knew who had won the battle. If the flag was still flying the men would know that the British had been defeated.

Teacher Resources –
Video*– SHORT video on Francis Scott Key (1:08) Also synopsis for teachers on this page.
Suggested Lesson/Activities
K-1 – star patterns
2-3 – Read the letter to a friend contained in this PDF lesson.
Ask students to pretend that they were watching for the flag beside Key the morning after the battle. Have them write their own friendly letter. Review parts of a letter.

  • Complete the Star Spangled Booklet Project outlines on Pgs. 70 & 71 in THE BEST OF MAILBOX/SOCIAL STUDIES GRADES 2-3.
  • Symbols Review Puzzle Pg. 74 (above book)

Note: This is also Patriot Day, in remembrance of 9/11.
Morning Announcement
As soon as Francis Scott Key spotted the flag flying he knew that the British had lost the battle. He began writing his song to a tune that was already in his head. In only a couple of days, his song was printed on the front page of newspapers as Americans celebrated. People were singing it in pubs and at meetings. Everyone loved Key’s lyrics and soon everyone knew the words. (:25)
SSB Version – West Point Glee Club, to end of vocals in First Verse 2:15 (7:06)
Teacher Background Information

  • The song, the Star Spangled Banner and the flag, the star spangled banner are intrinsically tied to each other. At Ft. McHenry when they mention the SSB, they are referencing both song and flag.
  • There are many myths about the song. It was not a “drinking song,” but was a song sung at a social club. Key wrote the lyrics to a tune he already had in his head called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” This was a tune that most people knew, like most people know “Mary Had a Little Lamb” today. Legend has it that Key wrote the lyrics on an envelope, but there were no separate envelopes for mailing letters in 1814. The damage that can be seen on the flag today at the Smithsonian was not caused during the bombs of battle. The giant 30’ x 40’ flag was not flying that rainy night, but likely was raised again in the morning after the battle. The damage seen on the flag now was caused when people cut off pieces of the flag for souvenirs. The entire missing star was cut out and given away.

Read*: BY THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT, Steven Kroll (2 – 3)
Teacher Resources:
*Use the interactive flag link to talk about facts about the banner. This also shows you what the flag looks like now. Click on each circle to learn about the flag.
Video – How the song became the anthem (8:08)
K-1 – Cut & Color 5 point star. Count points. Good template
2-3 – History & Poetry, teach students to interpret the lyrics of Key’s song
Make a 3D 5 point star (Teachers you might want to master this first!)
5 point star #2 – printable directions
—————————-Friday (Red, White and Blue Day)——————————-
Star Spangled Music Day
Morning Announcement
In 1889, the song became the official anthem of the US Navy. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson said it was the national song. But not until 1931, did it become the official National Anthem through an act of Congress. There is NO official version of the anthem recognized by law. That allows performers to sing it any way they want and to make the song their own. (:25)
SSB Version – Stand and sing to our school’s version
Extra –The Birth of our National Anthem (Scholastic Non-fiction book), comprehension reading passage (3, cold text)
Assembly Friday September 12th
Design a Friday assembly that might include ROTC color Guard, Boy Scout flag folding demonstration, music teacher leading patriotic songs, poetic readings, skit of Mary Pickersgill, high school band playing Star Spangled Banner.
Websites and Teacher Resources – Thomas Hampson’s site with lots of patriotic music/links – SSB site/Smithsonian – Junior Ranger Program booklet for Ft. McHenry. There are a couple pages in this PDF that could be used for morning work and could be completed without visiting the Fort.
Reader’s Theatre – with attached lessons
About the Author
Susan Ferguson is a NBCT 3rd grade Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher in Camden, North Carolina.   She was Teacher of the Year in 2011.  This is her 21st year in the classroom. IMG_0141