The anniversary of the penning of our National Anthem is September 14th.  MENC, the National Association for Music Education, has made this historic date an annual event!  In an effort to help get Americans singing again, they have called this “The Campaign to Restore America’s Voice.”  Schools across the nation will participate in this event by gathering together on September 14th to sing the National Anthem.

Last year, my school participated in this event.  We held an assembly on the date, gathering hundreds of children ages 3 through 10.  We reviewed the events of the day with a PhotoStory made by our fourth graders, heard the entire poem recited and finally sang together.  That moment was amazing: the entire school coming together as a community of American children and adults.

It was a great example of school-wide arts integration.  Many (if not all) teachers took time out of their first week of school to teach the history of the poem by Francis Scott Key.  They helped them learn the lyrics and the etiquette of singing the song.  Some classes made artistic representations of the battle at Fort McHenry and others used the history of the song to practice story structure and story telling as well as oral skills.  New vocabulary was introduced and sentence exploration occurred. (Declarative and interrogative sentences are used throughout.)  All because of one very powerful song.  My class was in charge of creating the movie.  They used my netbook loaded up with PhotoStory to import relevant pictures, record narration and lay down the music.

Today, as we remember September 11th, we also are reminded of how fortunate we are to be Americans.  To be free and able to learn and teach.  We are free to gather together and sing our hearts out.

Music is one of those art forms that can truly connect people and create a community.  And that is what the National Anthem does for us at the beginning of a baseball game and before a national event.

This Tuesday, my school’s community will gather together again, take a moment to remember the importance of freedom and raise our voices in song.

If you are interested in learning more about this event (including resources, music and history) go to this site: