There are so many wonderful directions you can go with a study on Francis Scott Key! Our top recommendations are is to study his life, the Battle of 1812, listen to American patriotic music & learn the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner. Here are a few ideas to get you started in those areas!
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For All Ages
This is America Charlie Brown – learn all about America with Snoopy and the Gang
The Francis Scott Key Letter is a great way to introduce American patriotic music to your family. Here are a few wonderful CDs to get you started:
- Lee Greenwood’s American Patriot CD 10 of America’s best loved patriotic songs sung by Lee Greenwood.
- American Patriotic Military Songs –Instrumental songs by various US military bands. This is an amazing compilation!
- John Wayne’s America, Why I Love Her If you listen to nothing else on this album, listen to the title track “Why I Love Her” and “The Pledge Allegiance to the Flag”
- The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail - earn your virtual Star-Spangled Trail Junior Ranger Badge
- Fort McHenry National Historic Shrine in Baltimore, MD
Francis Scott Key Memorial in Washington, DC
Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, MD – visit the home where Mary Pickersgill sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry
- View the Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History or visit Smithsonian’s Interactive Star-Spangled Banner Exhibit
- Terra Rubra, the birthplace of Francis Scott Key in Keymar, Maryland
- Subertoob: USA, Figure Playset -includes American symbols such as the Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Bald Eagle, and many others
The Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier – a lovely picture book set to the words of the Star Spangled Banner
- Can You Sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”? by Martha E. H. Rustad
- Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Patricia A. Pingry – available as a board book, tells the story of our national anthem in simple terms with accompanying illustrations representing a wide variety of American ethnic groups
- A Is for America (Babylit) Board Book by Greg Paprocki - a delightful alphabet primer for toddlers and preschoolers
Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner by Jessie Hartland – a picture book that explains the background behind the flag flying a Fort McHenry, the War of 1812, and Francis Scott Key’s writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
- Our Flag Was Still There: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Tracy Michele Leininger – another great book about Francis Scott Key’s writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
- America A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney – a wonderful primer all about American history and patriotic symbols
- Flags Over America by Cheryl Harness – a picture book history of the flags of the USA
- A Is For America: An American Alphabet by Devin Scillian – learn all about America with the beloved American alphabet book by Devin Scillian
- H Is For Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian – learn all about the US Military and the honor, privileges and sacrifices of military families everywhere
Middle School/High School & Beyond
- What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life by Marc Leepson – a wonderful biography on Francis Scott Key’s life (chapters 5-6 contain the most information about the circumstances surrounding his penning of our national anthem)
- God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book by Multnomah
One Week with Francis Scott Key
Day 1: Learn about Francis Scott Key and “The Star-Spangled Banner”
- Read the Heritage Letter from Francis Scott Key
- Read books about Francis Scott Key or “The Star-Spangled Banner” (depending on how many books you have available or the length of the books you could space them out over the week)
- Listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner” (do this each day this week to learn the lyrics to the first verse, the lyrics are included in the free downloads available here)
Day 2: Map
- Find Baltimore and Fort McHenry on a map
- View images of Fort McHenry here and a map of Fort McHenry here
- Watch the video from the National Park Service about the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail telling the history of the War of 1812, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and Francis Scott Key.
- Listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and start singing along.
Day 3: Patriotism Vocabulary
- Learn the meaning to some of the words in “The Star-Spangled Banner” using the vocabulary matching cards in the free downloads for the letter.
- Discuss what patriotism means. How do you show it? Is there something new you would like to do to show your patriotism? If you decorate for the 4th of July this is an excellent time to decorate or make a patriotic craft. (check out our Pinterest board for ideas)
- Listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and singing along.
Day 4: The United States Flag
- Practice putting the lyrics to the first verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in order using the sequence cards in the free downloads for the letter.
- Listen to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and sing along.
Day 5: Celebrate America
Culminate your week of study with a patriotic party. Make crafts, listen to patriotic music, & sing "The Star-Spangled Banner".
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