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The Alabama Moments project grew out of concern by state historians over the changes brought about by The Alabama Course of Study: Social Studies (Alabama State Department of Education, Bulletin 1998, No. 18). That curriculum framework eliminated the one semester 9th grade Alabama history component that had been in place for a number of years. Most historians applauded the new course of study's commitment to the central disciplines of history and geography, the overall goal of civic responsibility, and the logical sequence of courses emphasizing the study of world and U.S. history. Many historians were concerned, however, about the elimination of state history as a separate subject, and the proposed inclusion of Alabama's history and geography in the chronological study of U.S. history in the 10th and 11th grades. Most troubling was the possible lack of resources for teachers who most likely would be teaching with a standard U.S. history book that may include little or no information about Alabama. Few, if any, of these teachers would have a background in Alabama history or access to the needed resources. A discussion of these issues at the 1998 annual meeting of the Alabama Association of Historians prompted the grant proposal that led to this document.
The Alabama Humanities Foundation funded the project proposal, Alabama Moments in American History: Supplemental Teaching Materials for High School Teachers, in the spring of 1998. Additional financial support was provided by the Caroline Ivey Memorial Foundation. The project director, Dr. Leah Rawls Atkins, is a board member of the sponsoring organization, the Friends of the Alabama Archives. An advisory group made up of Alabama and U.S. history scholars and high school history teachers established the framework of the project. Scholars from around the state of Alabama contributed information about their areas of expertise to help explain and illustrate the various Alabama concepts identified, by an Alabama map icon, in the Course of Study as a required content standard or example. Information was reviewed by the advisory group for clarity and consistency. The advisory group also made format and design recommendations. Staff of the Alabama Department of Archives and History served as project editors.
The Alabama Moments in American History grant provided funds for the development of the Alabama Moments material and to publish copies of the notebooks and accompanying music cassette tape/compact disc. The Alabama State Department of Education, a co-sponsor of the project, agreed to mail one copy of the material to each county and city school district in the state. The collection has been copyrighted by the Friends of the Archives, which has given permission to school districts to copy and disseminate the material for educational use within the district. Copies were also provided to each regional teacher in-service center.
During the summer of 1999 workshops were held at each of the eleven regional in-service centers to introduce the material in these notebooks to teachers. All workshop participants received a copy of the notebook. A limited number of additional notebooks will be available from the Friends of the Alabama Archives, PO Box 300100, Montgomery, AL 36130. Teachers and/or school systems can book an Alabama Moments workshop through the Alabama Humanities Foundation SUPER program.