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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Lesson Plan 1

NEH Landmarks Workshop July 2008

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

"The Songs of the Blue and the Gray"

Third Grade Music Class

Two 45-minute music class periods/Intro & development

Two 45-minute music class periods/Review & reinforcement

Illinois State Board of Education Goals

Goal 25 " Language of the Arts"

Goal 27 " Understand the role of the arts in civilizations, past and present"

Introduction and Anticipatory Set

We have just completed our "Star-Spangled Banner/Francis Scott Key" Unit. Think about the feelings you experience when you hear our national anthem played over the Scott Air Force Base loudspeakers every afternoon. Does it make you feel secure? Is it somewhat of a comfort? Many of you have experienced military life overseas. Is it different hearing our national anthem when you are not living in the United States? Turn to your partner and share your experiences of hearing the Star-Spangled Banner in other places besides here at Scott.

After sharing, let's list on the board your observations.

As we prepare to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's birthday, let's explore the songs his northern armies sang, as well as the songs of the southern army.

On your desks are two folders, one blue and one gray. Why do you think those two colors were chosen?

As we "listen and learn" the four new songs on your desk, we're going to determine if the songs are more applicable for the "Yankees" or the "Rebels."


Map with Union and Confederate states identified

Blue folders

Gray folders

CD accompaniment and printed lyrics to:


Battle Hymn

Goober Peas

When Johnny Comes Marching Home


¨ Give a brief overview of the division of states during the Civil War, using the prepared map. Allow some time for the students to absorb the enormous difference between a UNITED country and a country that was DIVIDED. Explain the responsibility and burden placed on President Lincoln.

¨ Listen & learn the four war songs. Take time to discuss and list unfamiliar vocabulary from that time period. Look for humor, particularly in "Goober Peas." When listening for the first time to the CD accompaniment, survey the students to see if there is any previous familiarity with these chosen songs. If so, from what context?

¨ Discuss the role of our Scott Air Force Base Band of Mid-America ( i.e. building morale, community relations, recruitment). In what ways could these Civil War songs serve in similar ways?

¨ With a partner, divide the songs into the two folders, predicting the song origins as to being blue (Union) or gray (Confederate.)

These songs will be reviewed and included in our lessons for the next two weeks, as we continue our study of music and President Lincoln.

The third-grade classroom teachers have also been provided the CD accompaniments and words to these four songs, to supplement their classroom teaching regarding President Lincoln.


The children will be reminded that music aided in shaping the meaning of the war in the North and the South. The spirited marches energized the soldiers. The sad songs offered support and consolation to grieving families. The popular songs entertained the public who needed some relief and diversion.

Explain to the students that music cannot ALWAYS be perfectly divided between two song folders. For example, "Dixie" was the "Song of the South." However, it was written by a "Northerner" and reportedly was President Lincoln's favorite song, played at his inauguration. PEOPLE draw the lines that divide a country; MUSIC crosses those lines!

The teacher will make real-time assessment with a yes/no student participation checklist.

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