Memorial Day: War, History, and Music

Monday May 30th, is Memorial Day. A day to honor soldiers, both men and women, who have died while performing their military service. Due to it proximity to the end of the year, I feel this holiday doesn’t always get the attention it deserves in the classroom. I aim to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in my music class with a 2 week unit that incorporates both music and history.


Find full lesson and materials here:

Walk into any store at the end of May and you know that it’s barbecue season. The grills, and meats, and “kiss the cook” apron are usually on display as soon as you walk in. In a sense I feel Memorial Day has become more or less “Official BBQ Day.” Now, I love a good rack of ribs or some blackened chicken as much as anybody, but for a good lesson they do not make!

    With my older students, we’re really going to explore some contemporary American history as well as the true meaning of Memorial Day. I aim for the lesson to take two to three periods of class time and really engage students with music, video, and all sort of interactive media. If you’re interested in doing the same lesson you’re going to need to gather some tech and do a little prep work. Here what you need:


If you’re 1 to 1 I suggest using a site like Edmodo or Google Classroom to share the links digitally. That was students are listening to the exact version of the songs you want them to, and it makes the material easy and accessible. I’ve really used these sites a lot and in my experience they’re pretty intuitive, plus the students are total wiz’s on stuff like this. If you are lucky enough to have iPads or tablets floating around your room/school consider using QR codes (images that when photographed take you directly to a link) If all else fails use to create short easy to type links!

s-l1000If you’re not 1 to 1, I’d recommend picking up a few Headphone splitters. I’ve used them in my class more times than I can count. I’ve also had teachers from almost every subject and every grade ask to borrow them at some point throughout the year. They’re so versatile and useful I feel like they’re almost a “must have” in the modern classroom. 

You’ll need headphones as well, and earbuds can be purchased en mass for cheap these days, but the best option is to just give students advance notice and have them bring their own. My students like the BYOH policy since most have some they want to show off anyways.


The .ppts are all ready to go, plug and play, but you’ll need to do some printing. Lesson one has a podcast from NPR and I like to print out the transcript so students can read and follow along. There’s also a worksheet. Lesson two has a lot more, I create two lyric packets for each group (one for each topic) and if using iPads you’ll have to print our the QR code sheets as well. If not, you’ll have to post the the links in the Google Classroom or Edmodo. If all else fails, copy and paste your short links into a word .doc and pass that out! 

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 4.18.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 4.18.25 PM

 Find more here

Part I:
Part II:

Part III:
Full Lesson and Materials:

6-8 Middle Schoola sound mindamerican historyanti-war musiccommon corecontemporary american historyeducation blogelementary schoolhomeschoolintegrationkindergarten lesson planmemorial daymemorial day musicmiddle shoolmusicmusic educationmusic integrationsocial studiesSocial Studies Integrationsoldierssupport the troops musicteachers pay teacherswar

Frank Cademartori • May 18, 2016

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar