Lesson Plan

Teach This Poem: "A New National Anthem" by Ada Limón

Ada Limon's poem, "A New National Anthem," offers young scholars an opportunity to reflect on the significance of the US national anthem and the extent to which Key's vision applies to all Americans. After watching a video of Whitney Houston singing the national anthem and annotating their copy of the lyrics, class members do a close reading of the poem and craft a short response to Limon's comments about the third stanza of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • To prepare for the lesson, instructors should read the linked essay "The Idea of America" by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • Have groups research when and why playing the national anthem at sporting events became a tradition and why it is now frequently not played
Classroom Considerations
  • Presumes class members have experience engaging in safe, respectful discussion of sensitive issues
  • Requires copies of Ada Limon's poem and of the complete text of the US national anthem
  • Includes extension suggestions for grades 7-8 and for grades 9-12
  • The noticing approach to poetry used in this lesson is designed to bolster pupils' confidence in their analysis skills
  • None