GRADES: 6-12

This is always one of my students’ favorite projects. I have used it in 6th-12th grade Art and it works well in each level.


  • 12X18 sheet of white drawing paper
  • pencil
  • marker (any color, but each student only needs one color)
  • ruler
  • stencils or cutouts of symbols for various things (optional-you can make them draw everything themselves, but I find it easier to provide them some cut outs to use)


  1. Think of 10 symbols that could be used to represent YOU (baseball, music, telephone, reading, car, etc.)
  2. Draw the ten symbols on your paper covering as much of the paper as possible.
  3. Use a ruler to draw horizontal and vertical lines every two inches on top of your drawing to make a checker board.
  4. With the marker, fill in every other space alternating shape, background, shape, background and so on. Switch at the beginning of each row. i.e. checkerboard-like
  5. Remember, you need to plan and think ahead. Mistakes in coloring are very difficult to fix.

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GRADES: 6-12

Music & Movement is an activity for drama students (or others!) to be able to use music to heighten a dramatic pantomime. They relate the changes in tempo, feeling and mood in music, and instruments used in the interlude to action and activity.


  • tape recordings of classical music pieces from two to four minutes in length.
  • tape recorders – one for each group for the follow-up activity — just one needed for the initial activity
  • pencil and paper for each group to record their storylines to hand in
  • optional props and costume pieces.


  1. Students listen to a short piece of classical music (one of the easiest to start with is “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker Suite”) and try to pick out musical instruments used.
  2. Once they have heard the music once, they listen a second time to get an overall feeling and mood of the music, and try to think of a “plot” for a pantomime which will go with the music.
  3. After the second listening, students get into groups of 4-5 and share ideas of what “storyline” the music brought to their minds as they listened to it.
  4. Each group picks it’s favorite “storyline” out of those presented by others in the group and begin to outline a pantomime and assign parts to each group member.
  5. I continue to play the music, time after time, as they brainstorm then write down their sequence of actions for their pantomime.
  6. Once their actions are written down, each group practices their pantomime to the music for approximately 15-20 minutes (I play the music about 10 times). Their goal is to have their pantomime not only enhanced by the music being played, but to END the pantomime story when the music ends.
  7. Each group then presents it’s pantomime, and other groups critique the performances.
This activity is good for either Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced Drama classes. The difference in each class would be the piece of music and the length of the pantomime.
I usually follow this initial activity up with each group receiving a DIFFERENT piece of music and a tape recorder so each group will be planning a pantomime scene to a different piece of music. While this creates quite a cacophony in the classroom for awhile, it does increase concentration on the part of each actor as they work on their own group presentation.
If you wish, you may add things like costumes and props to be chosen from, to help with the presentations.

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GRADES: 5-12

Here is an example using three verses of “The Star-spangled Banner.” Learning these words can increase understanding of the song, and it can even introduce words which might be on tests such as high school achievement tests and the SAT! Imagine coming to a difficult word on the test. You smile because you sang that word in the national anthem that morning and you knew the meaning.
Encourage children to visualize the scene in this song. Encourage them to think of people who have given their lives trying to come to the USA to find freedom. Encourage them to think of people who have fought in wars so that the USA can keep its freedom and its flag.


  • copies of the lyrics and vocabulary below


  1. Read the following historical commentary for the song: Frances Scott Key wrote “The Star-spangled Banner” soon after he was released from the British. They had kept him prisoner on their ship which he had boarded to negotiate the release of an American in The War of 1812. Helplessly, he watched the British bomb Fort McHenry which protected Baltimore. As the war raged and evening came, he hailed his country’s flag which waved over the fort. He paced the deck during the night trying to see if the flag still waved. He hoped and prayed that it would not be replaced with the British flag meaning Fort McHenry was taken over by the British. They gave him no news about who was winning. Sometimes, the light made by the rockets and bombs gave him a quick glimpse of his beloved flag. Early the next morning, the fog lifted and there was enough sunlight for him to see the flag. He was thrilled to learn that the battle was won by his countrymen. He was released that morning. This experience inspired him to begin writing about the experience on the very day he was released.
  2. The students can sing the song or listen to an adult read these verses. Have the children stand up and look at the flag while the song is sung or read. This song has so many difficult words, you might want to teach only the first verse. You might want to teach additional verses to older children.
  3. After hearing the song, ask about some of the words. Use the words which are listed below for these three verses. Help children guess the meanings. Young children have guessed the meaning of the word “perilous” because of the reader’s body language and tone of voice. If that doesn’t work, it helps to ask, “What kind of fight was this?” You can even give this hint: if they had bombs, what kind of fight was it?
  4. From verse one, do they know these words: dawn, hail’d, twilight, gleaming, thro’, perilous, watch’d, ramparts, gallantly, streaming, glare, bursting, yet, spangled, banner, o’er? Even though they know the words “through,” “watched,” and “over,” do they recognize them when they are written this way? Do they know why the words “Star-spangled” and “Banner” are capitalized in the verses? Do they know that these words are not capitalized unless they refer to the flag of the USA or the national anthem?
  5. From verse two, do they know these words: dimly, mists, deep, foe, haughty, host, dread, reposes, steep, fitfully, conceals, discloses, beam, reflected? Even though they know one meaning of the words “deep” and “steep” do they understand how they are used in this song? Are these words used here as adjectives or nouns?
  6. From verse three, do they know these words: thus, lov’d, desolation, vict’ry, heav’n, rescued, praise, Pow’r, hath, preserved, nation, conquer, just, motto, triumph? Do they know that “Power” is capitalized because it refers to God? Do they know that our motto on our money comes from this verse of “The Star-spangled Banner?”

The Star-Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key

Verse 1
O say! Can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that Star-spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Verse 2
On the shore dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows half conceals half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream,
‘Tis The Star-spangled Banner. O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Verse 3
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto; “In God is our trust!”
And the Star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


These definitions show how these words are used in “The Star-spangled Banner.” Some of the words have other definitions.
Verse 1
dawn – n. Daybreak.
hail’d – v. Welcomed or greeted with a salute, a military greeting.
twilight – n. The small amount of sunlight just before sunrise and just after sunset.
gleaming – v. Shining or glowing.
thro’ – prep. Through, from the beginning to the end. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music.
perilous – adj. Very dangerous.
watch’d – v. Watched, looked at. This spelling is sometimes used in music and poetry.
ramparts – n. Walls around a fort to protect it.
gallantly – adv. Done in a grand manner or way.
streaming – v. Flowing like a river.
glare – n. A strong, bright light.
bursting – v. Breaking open quickly. The slang use of this word is busting.
yet – adv. At the present time, now.
spangled – adj. Decorated with small bright bits of something such as stars on the flag.
banner – n. Flag.
o’er – adv. Over. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music.
Verse 2
dimly – adv. Not clearly, not brightly.
mists – n. The tiny drops of water in fog.
deep – n. A deep place such as an ocean.
foe – n. An enemy. Someone who fights against you.
haughty – adj. Too proud of yourself.
host – n. A large amount or a large number of something.
dread – adj. Fearful of what might happen.
reposes – v. To lie down in order to rest.
steep – n. A steep or high place.
fitfully – adv. Nervously, moving quickly, not stopping to rest.
conceals – v. Hides.
discloses – v. Shows something which was hidden.
beam – n. A narrow ray of light such as the light of a flashlight.
reflected – v. Showing the image or likeness of something. An image can be reflected in a stream like it can be reflected in a mirror.
Verse 3
thus – adv. This way, or like this.
lov’d – v. Loved, cared very much for someone or something. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music.
desolation – n. Complete ruin. Nothing useful or good.
vict’ry – n. The winning of a war or contest. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music.
heav’n – n. The home of God and the angels. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music.
rescued – v. Saved from something bad happening or from a bad place.
praise – v. To speak highly of someone or something. To worship.
Pow’r – n. Power. This spelling is sometimes used in poetry and music. In this song, “Power” is used as another name for God. This is why it starts with a capital letter.
hath – v. Has. This is a very old use of the word. It is not used today except for special uses such some religious writing which is meant to sound old.
preserved – v. Saved for a long time.
nation – n. A group of people under one government.
conquer – v. To win a war or a fight.
just – adj. Correct.
motto – n. A sentence or phrase that shows what is important to a group. Scouts, ball teams, churches, countries, and other groups have mottos.
triumph – n. Victory.
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