My 3rd graders complete a unit on the American Revolution and some of the songs suggested are sightly too complicated for many of my ELL students in 3rd grade.
I also wanted to teach this to students because they also learn "This Land is Your Land" and asked me if they could learn "God Bless America" because they wanted to decide if they liked it (they learned that Wood Guthrie wrote his song because he didn't like "God Bless America").
I shrugged off the stigma of singing a song with mention to God and decided to teach them "God Bless America". I feel it is important to know the stories behind a song so I was amazed to know the story of this song.
The composer Irving Berlin was serving in the military and wrote this song in 1918 and then later revised it in 9138 as Hitler came into power. Berlin was Jewish and rewrote it as a "peace "song". Woody Guthrie called it unrealistic and the Klu Klux Klan protested it because Berlin was Jewish.
I included the original opening verse that is usually excluded. This verse is based on a Jewish melody that may be "When Mose with His Nose Leads the Band". I have included below the link to the premier of the song performed by Kate Smith that includes the opening verse.
My students came to the conclusion that they liked the song even though Woody Guthrie didn't. I hope you students find it enjoyable as well!
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