Scrapbook project encourages 4th graders, families to explore Alabama

Published 2:34 am Saturday, August 18, 2018

Students at Straughn Elementary School and W.S. Harlan Elementary School are learning Alabama history in a creative and memorable way, through scrapbooking.

SES fourth grade teacher Tammie Evans said that she got the idea from a project that her niece had to do in school.

“The idea of a scrapbook, particularly an Alabama history scrapbook, is not original to me. My niece had to complete one years ago at her school,” Evans said. “I took the idea and tweaked it for my classroom.”

Evans said that she loved the concept of the scrapbook because it is a way for students to explore their state and appreciate its people, places, and history.

“Another reason I like this format for the students is that it creates an opportunity for them to share the experience with their family and friends while compiling it, but also as a timeless keepsake of our year together studying our great state,” Evans said. “The students have 37 itemized requirements to fulfill to get full credit. These range from the State of Alabama symbols to historical markers and important events and people in Alabama history.”

Evans said that If people see students around Andalusia and Covington County having pictures made at the courthouse, the library, various city halls, fire departments and other places like that, they are probably either Straughn or W.S. Harlan students at work on their books.

Evans’ daughter teaches Alabama history at W.S. Harlan Elementary School, and her students do the same project each year.

“At the end of my first year at W.S. Harlan, I had a student turn in his scrapbook along with his mother’s scrapbook from her time in Mrs. Joann Geohagan’s Alabama history class there,” Brandi Evans said. “It made me realize what a keepsake this is and what a shared experience it can be for family, community, and school. I am so proud to be able to provide the opportunity for my students and fortunate to teach at a school with a long tradition of love for Alabama’s history.”

Evans said that they have been doing this project for a long time, but this year it is extra special, considering it is Alabama’s 200th birthday.

“This project began in my classes long before the bicentennial, but I think the celebration has helped bring an awareness of our state’s treasures to the general public, as well,” Evans said. “Fourth grade is now the only year Alabama students study their state’s history, so there is extra importance, to me, to light a fire that will burn in them for years to come.”

Jayla Morrow, a student at W.S. Harlan said that the scrapbook is hard work, but worth it in the long run.

“The scrapbook was a lot of hard work but fun at the same time,” Morrow said. “It was a true scavenger hunt. Between searching for historical markers and Alabama state symbols, I learned so much about our great state.”

Morrow said that her favorite part was the field trips because she loved all the hands-on learning and being out of school.

“Ms. Evans made learning Alabama history so much fun that she has inspired me to want to become an Alabama history teacher,” Morrow said.

Isaac McMath, a student at SES, said that his favorite part of the project was collecting the state symbols.

“I really enjoyed this project,” McMath said. “Several of the things I found that I liked were the pictures we had to take, the business cards, the newspaper clippings and just everything that needed to go in the scrapbook.

From doing the scrapbook project McMath said that he learned about some famous Alabamians, like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

“My favorite place that I visited was the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville,” McMath said.

Drew Ferguson, a student at SES, said that now that he has done the project, he has learned a lot about Alabama.

“The scrapbook project was fun because I got to learn and explore new things about Alabama and going to all the historical landmarks,” Ferguson said. “I also didn’t realize there are so many famous people from Alabama.”

One thing that Ferguson learned from this project is that there are so many rivers in Alabama.

“My favorite place to visit was Fort Toulouse,” Ferguson said. “It was neat seeing the historical thing in real life.”