Songs about events in U.S. history inspire students to write their own songs.
Battle of New Orleans, Great Depression, Titanic, World War II, songs, ballad, lyric
January 8 is the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. The Battle of New Orleans, which took place during the War of 1812, has been made famous by the song "The Battle of New Orleans."
Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip. We took a little bacon and we took a little beans, And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans
Do you know the story behind that song? The song was written by James "Driftwood" Morris. Morris was a high-school teacher in Arkansas who was having difficulty getting his students interested in history, so he used his interests in singing and songwriting to get his students to pay attention. His song "The Battle of New Orleans" was written to engage and teach his students about that famous battle.
Learn more about the story behind the song.
Arrange to play this song for your students. Perhaps your library has a copy of the song, sung by Johnny Horton, or you might download it from the Internet.
After playing the song for students, provide textbook or supplemental resources to help students learn some of the history behind the battle that inspired the song.
Learn More About the Battle
Talk about historical facts gleaned from those resources that support the song lyrics. For example,
You might share some other songs about famous events in history from the History in Song Web page:
After listening to the song(s) and discussing the facts behind the lyrics, invite students to write their own songs about famous events or periods in American history. Students might work in pairs to research and write their songs. If you wish to provide a "seed list" of events about which students might learn and write songs, here is a starter list:
|American West||Amistad Revolt||Berlin Airlift|
|Berlin Wall Comes Down||Buffalo Soldiers||California Gold Rush|
|Civil Rights Movement||Civil War||Colonial Virginia|
|Dred Scott Decision||"First Thanksgiving"||Gettysburg Address|
|Great Depression||John Brown's Raid||McCarthyism|
|Nat Turner's Rebellion||Orphan Trains||Prohibition|
|Revolutionary War||Rosa Parks' Bus Ride||Salem Witch Trials|
|Spanish American War||Thirteenth Amendment||Whiskey Rebellion|
AssessmentStudents' song lyrics will be graded (by teacher and/or peers) based on the
Lesson Plan Source
FINE ARTS: Music
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-M.5-8.7 Evaluating Music and Music Performances
NA-M.5-8.8 Understanding Relationships Between Music, Other Arts, and Disciplines Outside the Arts
NA-M.5-8.9 Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-M.9-12.7 Evaluating Music and Music Performances
NA-M.9-12.8 Understanding Relationships Between Music, Other Arts, and Disciplines Outside the Arts
NA-M.9-12.9 Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.1 to 10 All Eras
See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)
For additional history lesson plans, see these Education World resources:
Copyright© 2009 Education World
Originally published 01/03/2006
Last updated 03/25/2009