Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Series: The 50 States - Alabama

Today begins a summer series on the 50 U.S. States.  I will go in alphabetical order and cover such things as motto, capital, state bird, etc.  I will also find some famous individuals from each state and provide other resources for further learning.  Let's begin with...


On December 12, 1819, Alabama became the 22nd state.  As of March 28, 2012, there were over 4.8 million people living here.  It is located in the southeastern United States between Georgia and Mississippi and lying directly north of the panhandle of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.  By area, Alabama ranks 30th in size. (There are 29 states that are larger.)

The state abbreviation is AL, and the capital is Montgomery.  This city became the capital in 1846 when the Alabama Legislature voted to change the capital city from Tuscaloosa.  It was named after General Richard Montgomery, who died in the Revolutionary War.

Alabama's flag is a white background with a crimson cross of St. Andrew.  The state bird is the Yellowhammer, also called the Northern Flicker.  The Monarch Butterfly is the state insect, and the Black Bear is the state mammal.

The Camellia is the Alabama state flower, and the Southern Long Leaf Pine is the tree.

Alabama's state motto is "We Dare Maintain Our Rights."  The words were taken from a 1781 poem and used to replace the first motto, "Here We Rest."  Alabamans felt this new motto reflected their spirit more appropriately.

Alabama also has a state reptile, the Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle, and a state amphibian, the Red Hills Salamander.  There is no official state nickname, but it is often referred to as "The Heart of Dixie."  "Dixie" is said to have originated with an 1859 song which was popular with Confederate soldiers.

There are a few famous Alabamans I will mention here.  The first is Booker T. Washington.  He was an African-American man who founded the Tuskegee Institute.  He educated fellow African-Americans and taught them the benefits of labor and that it is necessary for one to learn a trade.  He focused on agricultural sciences.  Peanuts , cotton, and corn are major agricultural products in Alabama.

John Allan Wyeth is another famous Alabaman.  He founded the first postgraduate school of medicine in the United States.  Up until this point, doctors had no practical experience; everything they knew came from books.  Wyeth believed doctors needed to have more experience in the field, so he opened the New York Polyclinic Medical School and Hospital.

The third man I will mention was not born in Alabama, and he only spent a few years in the state; but he left a lasting impression.  This man has a college football trophy named after him - the Heisman Trophy.  John Heisman coached at the Agricultural and Mechanical College from 1895 to 1899.  This school is now Auburn University.  Heisman is credited with the hand off, the double lateral, and the "flea flicker."  He invented the center-to-quarterback snap so that the ball wouldn't simply roll across the field from the center to the quarterback. He also is credited with using the word "hike" in football.

The state song of Alabama is, of course, "Alabama."  There is another song called "Stars Fell on Alabama" based on a meteor shower in November 12, 1833.  The shower was so incredible that it became a part of the state's folklore.  A book was also written with the same title by Carl Carmen in 1934.

Click here for a crossword puzzle about Alabama that can be printed out.

I hope you have enjoyed a brief tour of Alabama in fact and history.  Here are some other resources in case you are interested in learning more:

40268X: Alabama Biography Bingo Alabama Biography Bingo
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Must know state facts for kids to learn while having fun! Includes: Statehood Date, State Name Origin, Capital City, State Flag, State Motto, State Bird, State Population, Economy, Media, Governor, Explorers, Native Peoples, Current Events and more! Each game includes 36 different playing cards.

405220: Alabama Survivor, Grades 3-8
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Do your students complain they're hounded by history, jumped on by geography, or suffocated by social studies? Divide your class into two "Team Smart" groups and pit them against one another in a rip-roarin' laughter fest of tornado-fast true and false, hair,raising history timelines, mad-dog matching, chilling charts, cranium-crushing crosswords, quicksand quagmires of question and answer fun-ALL TIMED! Grades 3,8; ages 8-14.

498762: Alabama My First Book, Grades K-5
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

An "early bird" intro to basic state facts. Covers state basics such as state nickname, seal, song, bird, motto, flag, regions, industries, neighbors, and weather, plus an intro to state history, people and more. Includes: drawing, mazes, matching, coloring, and more! Reproducible. Available for all 50 states. Grades K-5; ages 5-10.

499637: Let"s Discover Alabama CD-ROM, Grades 2-8
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Interactive CD-ROM with lots of fun facts for kids to learn about their state. Includes: government, state symbols, a timeline, geography, civics, nickname, landmarks, parks, schools, historical places, and more. Each of four sections is completed with a quizzing game and rewards. Also includes a FREE printed reproducible quiz. Grades 2-8

22289DF: Alabama State History Lapbook - PDF Download [Download]
By Cyndi Kinney & Judy Trout / Knowledge Box Central

Get to know your home state! Comprehensive state history lapbook resources from Knowledge Box Central are designed so that children of all ages can study together. Explore state symbols, songs and landmarks, famous people, geographical regions, timelines of historical events, and more. The included state-specific study guide provides background information, history, and other factual information; this study guide is the same for both lapbook (Grades K-8) and lapbook journal (Grades 6-12) students, so that the parent only needs to go over the information once.
This lapbook includes a list of all the supplies needed if following the included base guide. Blackline masters are provided for students to cut out and paste into their lapbook, while a photo of a finished lapbook provides a visual example. This Lapbook is structured for use with K-8th Grade Students.
Get started on your lapbook immediately with this PDF Download.


  1. oh, wonderful! I will so be following this for my kids. They will love it! We're a USAF family, so we've lived in four states (so far) and visited several others.

  2. How fun!!! I can't decide whether to do world geography this year or US Geography. This has me leaning more toward US Geography now :)

  3. How cool! What a great series this will be!

  4. I'll have to book mark this and come back! Great series!

  5. Great resource! Thanks for putting this together.

  6. Great information. We will soon begin a state study here.