OK what I'm gonna do is assign each kid as one of the thirteen colonies right when we study them. The New England kids will be sitting together, the Middle Colony kids too, and of course the Southern Colonies. Then when we learn the songs, they'll likely remember at least their own and have some others to chime in together, built-in camaraderie, and since the state name tags will have the state shape on it, that's one-thirteenth of them memorized simply by association. Seeing the states of the others in their region should boost recognition, too.
(You would be shocked at how many kids do not know the names of states on a blank outline map. Oh, they can tell you the capital of Louisiana, but they can't find Louisiana.)
And then as we eventually study states' stands on historic issues, they'll have stance, just like a real congress. And as our country expands, maybe each kid will get another state on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line, so when we discuss North/South issues, they will have a deeper understanding.
Do I make and laminate cards that look all pro and use these? Nah. I think kids will have to make their own and keep it--the cards will have the OUTLINE of the state in the color of the REGION (ie, all the Middle Colonies will be green) with the NAME of the state on the back? And the ABBREVIATION on the front. Later the kids can add key facts/peeps/stances as we travel through time together. So I need to find an easy way to have kids draw their states. Choice of free hand and overhead trace, I suppose. I'll need yarn. (Can you believe it? Yarn? I don't believe I've never typed that word before...)
OK. So kids will have to keep them in their backpacks. They'll wear them first semester. I'll bring out the tricorn hats. Flava, you see. Drama, don't you know.