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This jigsaw puzzle game helps students memorize “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other songs




4, 5  

Title – Jigsaw for The National Anthem
By – Stephanie Sobecki
Primary Subject – Music
Grade Level – 4-5

Objective: To help students memorize or review the words to The Star-Spangled Banner .

Materials: Paper, paperclips, basket or small box.

Description: A fun, cooperative activity, this lesson gets kids working together, and nobody knows who is in their group until they do the activity (reduces their stress and mine). This is more enjoyable than a third or fourth day of running through the same song over and over again (I have also used it for plays to memorize songs).

Anticipatory set: Students should be familiar with the song. This lesson is a great cooperative activity, brain-compatible, and really effective after you have introduced and worked on the National Anthem.

Teacher preparation: Type up and print the lyrics to The Star-spangled Banner . I space the page out to divide it into 5 sections:

  • Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
    What so proudly we hailed, at the twilight’s last gleaming?
  • Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
  • O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
  • And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
  • Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

*You will need a set of these for each 5 students.

*DON’T number the sections of the lyrics. Cut the paper into the 5 strips of lyrics, fold each strip, paperclip it, and put it in a basket or box. (If you have a number of students non-divisible by 5, pair up weaker students with strong ones to even it out).

Teaching the lesson:

      Explain to the students that they will each pick a strip of paper out of the basket. (Again, if you have, say, 22 students, pair up weak with strong as a “team.”)
      Tell them not to open their paper strip until you say “Go!”
      Tell them that they are going to be assembling the lyrics to the National Anthem in order, and that they will need to have 5 different lyric strips, arranged in the correct order, to complete the song.
      Tell them that when you say “go” they will have to start working their way through their classmates to find parts of the song.
      They will have to work their way around the room, finding kids with lyrics other than their own, like finding pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. (They “hang on” to the kids with parts of the lyrics; as they go, their “team” grows).
      Once they have a group with all 5 strips, they need to find a place on the floor to lay out the song in the proper order.
      First group to assemble the song correctly, and sing it, is the winner! (I use little American Flags for prizes, and sometimes red and white starlight mints. The flags are donated by the local American Legion).
      I have done this a number of times and the kids love it! It takes a little practice for them to do it if they are not accustomed to cooperative work, but they like moving around the room, it gets them to team up with anyone who “helps their cause” (regardless of whether they are friends), and they really commit the song lyrics to memory.
    As a review for any song you want them to memorize, it is fun and they love the competitive aspect of it.

E-Mail Stephanie Sobecki !

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