Lesson 2 – Francis Scott Key (1779 – 1843)
How well do you know the Star-Spangled Banner?
Use this interactive tool to show what you know.
Why is it important to know this poem?
1) Read the poem or listen to audio.
Ask students: What did you notice?
What perspective and/or point of view is Key using in the poem?
What do we know about the tune (“To Anacreon in Heaven”) for Key’s poem? When was it written? Did Key know the song already?
2) Dive Deep into the lyrics:
Ask students: What rhythm, rhyme and figurative language do you hear in this poem?
How would you summarize the poem?
3) Does the vocabulary give us some ideas about Key? Do Quizlet interactive activities.
4) The Banner Yet Waves (New Page from American History Museum for the 200th Birthday).
5) Research the Smithsonian Star-Spangled Banner Exhibit at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. *Collect the Stars Activity*
Ask students: When and where was it written?
Who was present when Key wrote the poem? See painting
How did Key respond to the challenges set before him?
How do you think Key felt upon seeing the flag?
Further interactive research
6) Ask: What does the poem tell us about Francis Scott Key?
How did his lifestyle, beliefs, and struggles reflected in his poetry.
What kind of citizen was he?
Star-Spangled200 (listen as you explore Key)
C-Span- Life of Francis Scott Key – Lecture
7) Based on all that you have learned, create a tableau with brief monologue, based on the painting “By Dawn’s Early Light (1912)”
The Star-Spangled Banner-click here to print
by Francis Scott Key
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known song, “To Anacreon in Heaven,“ to celebrate America’s recent stand off the British. After giving his poem to his brother-in-law it was printed on broadside for everyone to see.
However, only in 1931, was a law finally signed proclaiming “The Star Spangled Banner” to be the national anthem of the United States.
Other Examples of Patriotic Songs about our Flag:
Standards, Goals and Objectives:
1. 5.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
- Students will determine the overarching theme of these three poems, written by three very different poets in response to events in our nation’s history.
- Students will determine how characters in the poem respond to challenges set before them.
- Students will summarize the text.
2. 5.RL.5.6 Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
- Students will listen to various performances and describe how the point of view influences how events are described.
1. 5. C.1.4 Understand how cultural narratives (legends, songs, ballads, games, folk tales and art forms) reflect the lifestyles, beliefs and struggles of diverse ethnic groups.
- Students will determine how the lifestyle, beliefs, and struggles of the authors were reflected in their poetry.
Computers/Speakers/Headphones for lab
Visual of the painting
- Missing word activity
- Listen to Key’s poem, answer questions
- Discuss perspective
- Deep Dive
- Vocabulary interactive
- Research the historical context on interactive sites/answer questions
- Research Francis Scott Key
- Create Tableau
7 Things You Didn’t know about the Star-spangled Banner
American History Blog
American History Resources
National Parks, Fort McHenry
StarSpangled200 Teacher Resources
About the Author
Janet H. Berry, email@example.com
Mrs. Berry has taught K-5 general music at Celeste Henkel Elementary/Iredell-Statesville Public Schools in Statesville, NC from Aug. 2005 to present. Mrs. Berry was Celeste Henkel’s Teacher of the Year 2011-2012 and a District Top Five Teacher of the Year that same year. Mrs. Berry holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music Education from Appalachian State University, Boone, NC,Orff Certification–Level III, Kodaly Level II.
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