Our Anthem

Our Anthem lesson plan

What images stand out when you sing your national anthem? Add an artistic twist to patriotic songs—write and illustrate an original anthem.

  • 1.

    Any anthem is better than an old one. This was the comment of a young Australian when asked about Australia’s recently adopted national anthem. Until 1974, Australians sang Great Britain’s "God Save the Queen" as their national anthem. Many Australians wanted a song that reflected their history and nation. Australia held a competition for a new anthem. Although there were almost 4,000 entries, none were accepted. Three popular tunes were then proposed and citizens were asked to help choose a winner. By a majority of one million votes, "Advance Australia Fair" won over "Waltzing Matilda." Peter Dodds McCormick had written the winning anthem almost 100 years earlier!

  • 2.

    Do you know the words and melody for your national anthem? Learn about the history behind the words, images, and music. Do you feel that it proclaims all that is good and true about your country today?

  • 3.

    Even if you love your national anthem, with your classmates brainstorm new or additional words to describe your nation. Write your ideas on a chalkboard with Crayola® Anti-Dust Chalkboard Chalk. Choose words that tell about your country’s people, cultures, history, arts, landscape, visions, and future.

  • 4.

    Work in small groups if you wish. With Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, copy the words you might use for your original anthem. Take several days to think about and compose your anthem. Choose words that resonate with you. Erase the others. Write new music if you like, or use a familiar melody.

  • 5.

    Create a presentation of your song on posterboard. Include drawings of the images your words describe with Crayola Twistable Slix Sticks Crayons.

  • 6.

    Cover your art area with newspaper. With Crayola Watercolor Paints and Brushes, accent your illustrated anthem using a crayon resist technique. Your crayon words and drawings will sizzle! Air dry flat.


  • Students learn words to their national anthem and comprehend its message and meaning
  • Students in a large group brainstorm words to describe their nation.
  • Students individually or in small groups compose a new anthem and present it in a dramatic and visual way.


  • Research the national anthems of different countries. Find the shared qualities. Are some words often used? Does your national anthem seem outdated?
  • Does it sing of things that exclude people or ignore others? A number of words needed to be changed to update <I>Advance Australia Fair</I>. Instead of the word <I>sons</I>, a new word was needed that would include people who were not sons.
  • Create a new anthem for your school, sports team, or other group. Write the words and the music!