Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sing 'The Star Spangled Banner'

A few weeks ago when we were discussing customs and traditions, one of my CAE students asked if I would sing the National Anthem. I sang a few bars but promised I would teach it to them. The following week after searching on YouTube for a simple, straightforward rendition of the song (and failing!), I ended up downloading a music track for 'The Star Spangled Banner', and we sang it karaoke-style.

There are several reasons to teach our National Anthem. First, there's actually quite a lot of useful vocabulary (dawn, twilight, burst, perilous, banner, broad, stripes, 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'). Secondly, as with any song, by singing or saying it aloud, you get a sense of the rhythm and pronunciation of English. You learn to pay attention to stress patterns and to link final consonants to words with initial vowel sounds (dawn 'searly light). Finally, if you live in a town with football or baseball teams and your students attend games, they can participate in the opening ceremonies and sing the National Anthem with the crowd of sports fans. Even though these students are not American, they can take part in our tradition of singing this song and, unlike some Americans, actually understand the meaning of the words.

Here I also include The National Anthem link to Wikipedia which gives the history of the anthem (for a longer content-based lesson). Now stand up and sing!

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