Southern-Style:  A  Downhome Perspective  


Coming soon: SWIMMING WITH SERPENTS by Sharman Burson Ramsey to be released Fall of 2012 by Mercer University Press just in time for the 200th anniversary of the Creek Indian War

Contents • Education • Genealogy • Home • Houston County • Magazine • Real Estate • Recipes • Southern Garden • Southern Wedding • Wilcox County • Write Life

Critique of the Alabama Course of Study for Social Studies: 2010

Why Reading Instruction Must Be Addressed First!
Education An Historical Perspective
Thank You Whole Language
What We Must Do to Fix Our Education
Difference Between Whole Language and Phonics
How I Would Fix Our Local Schools
Marva Collins Reading List
An 18th Century Library owned by a Founding Father

My Credentials to Speak Problems in Education
Cat in the Hat
Critique of the Alabama Social Studies Course of Study


These are merely excerpts from the Alabama Social Studies Course of Study. The politicization of the classroom is evident from this course of study.  We have shifted from Traditional teacher directed classroom with sequential learning in defined disciplines to thematic, integrated, hands-on education of Progressive education.  It is little wonder children have little respect for authority, are overly influenced by their peers, have trouble with independence, see little good in our country or its contributions, and are more and more inclined toward global governance.   

 The direction of this curricula leaves our children vulnerable to the opinions of their peers (gangs?) and their teachers’ political ideas much more so than they are to be guided by facts. 

 Should children be exposed to such depressing concepts, taught that they should become politically active, at a time when they should feel safe and protected?  Could this be a reason for so much suicide? 

 Talk about gaps in education.  Jay Leno would have a field day.  Throughout this course of study there is great opportunity for social engineering under the guise of "teaching" history.



Comparing family traditions enables students to accept and appreciate diversity and gain a sense of purpose regarding their role and the role of others within the community.  (Are there absolutes taught by families that might be undermined here?)

An appropriate learning environment is one that reflects a thematic and interdisciplinary approach emphasizing instructional flexibility, multiple individual learning styles, and opportunities for student exploration and discovery.  (I object to that definition of an “appropriate learning environment.)


Constructing classroom rules, procedures, and consequences   (Children…create your own reality…Lord of the Flies)



First Grade


Listing ways to protect our natural resources

Examples: conserving forests by recycling newspapers, conserving energy by turning off lights, promoting protection of resources by participating in activities such as Earth Day and Arbor Day


A thematic approach to instruction includes active, hands-on participation through activities that include opportunities for exploration and discovery. Activities designed for diverse learning styles allow students to understand the relationship among people, places, and events of the community and the state, thus making lessons meaningful to their live


Compare common and unique characteristics in societal groups, including age, religious beliefs, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, and equality between genders. (What is the definition of gender?  Some insist there are more than 2)


Second Grade


Through a thematic approach to instruction, second-grade students acquire knowledge as they study various cultures, places, and environments.


Hands-on instruction that relates content to students’ lives provides familiarity and allows students to retain and build on newly presented materials. Students gain a deeper understanding of content through independent and cooperative learning, project-based learning, and through the examination of primary and secondary sources.


(And Newton stood on the shoulders of giants.)


Third Grade


Demonstrating the voting process, including roles of major political parties

Utilizing school and classroom rules to reinforce democratic values


(Should a classroom be an example of Democracy?  Or should the teacher be the undisputed leader?  Just as families should be guided by the authority of parents?)


Fourth Grade


The four strands of economics, geography, history, and civics and government are woven throughout the third- and fourth-grade curricula. Through the study of geography in third grade and Alabama history in fourth grade, students develop a better understanding of where they live. As they become active participants in their schools and communities, they begin to view themselves as future leaders with civic responsibilities. Students compare their own economic experiences with those of others to aid in understanding local, national, and international concepts. Through a variety of learning experiences, including the use of technology for exploration and investigation, students gain an increased level of interest and involvement in their world as they prepare to become competent, responsible citizens who lead productive and independent lives.


Identify conflicts within and between geographic areas involving use of land, economic competition for scarce resources, opposing political views, boundary disputes, and cultural differences.


Identifying examples of cooperation among governmental agencies within and between different geographic areas


Examples: American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), World Health Organization (WHO)


(No wonder kids get depressed.  9 and 10 year olds are responsible for this?)


Locating areas of political conflict on maps and globes


Explaining the role of the United Nations (UN) and the United States in resolving conflict within and between geographic areas


Describe the relationship between locations of resources and patterns of population distribution.


            presence of trees for building homes, availability of natural gas supply for heating, availability of water supply for drinking and for irrigating crops



Identify ways to prepare for natural disasters.


constructing houses on stilts in flood-prone areas, buying earthquake and flood insurance, providing hurricane or tornado shelters, establishing emergency evacuation routes


Fourth-graders’ enthusiasm for classifying and organizing information may be used for obtaining knowledge about geographic regions in Alabama. Students investigate Alabama’s role in the Civil War, civil rights efforts, and the structure of state and local governments. They compare similarities between contemporary issues and their historical origins and draw parallels among historical events in Alabama, other states, and the world.



Compare historical and current economic, political, and geographic information about Alabama on thematic maps, including weather and climate, physical-relief, waterway, transportation, political, economic development, land-use, and population maps.




Explain the social, political, and economic impact of the War of 1812, including battles and significant leaders of the Creek War, on Alabama.



Fifth and Sixth


Effective teachers utilize a variety of instructional strategies and assessment tools to address various learning styles. They consistently incorporate best practices into instruction, introduce and make use of primary sources integral to the teaching of history, and utilize current technology on a regular basis in classroom instruction. Rather than providing all the answers, innovative teachers help students develop critical-thinking skills by encouraging them to evaluate their own opinions as well as those of others. In addition, effective teachers recognize the strong need for a sense of belonging characterized by this age group and therefore provide cooperative learning experiences where students develop a sense of personal identity as well as a sense of responsibility to the group.


Fifth-grade students benefit from a positive classroom environment that provides learning activities to optimize growth and achievement, including lessons that integrate a variety of appropriate and effective instructional strategies from hands-on activities to inquiry-based learning. By developing and monitoring goals for their own learning and behavior, fifth graders are able to gain a greater sense of responsibility for their own actions, including how these actions may affect fellow classmates



Describe political, social, and economic events between 1803 and 1860 that led to the expansion of the territory of the United States, including the War of 1812, the Indian Removal Act, the Texas-Mexican War, the Mexican-American War, and the Gold Rush of 1849.


Sixth-grade students are interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of cultures and political opinions that differ from their own. Students at this age benefit from a positive learning environment that challenges and encourages their efforts and progress. As they begin a transitional stage characterized by physical, cognitive, and social changes, they begin to analyze and evaluate relationships between ideas and practices. Sixth-grade instruction should provide constant opportunities for students to explore prior knowledge and opinions. Teachers should maximize and expand students’ knowledge through the use of integral tools, including cooperative learning, large- and small-group discussions, hands-on activities, current technology, and the use of primary sources.



Describing the emergence of the modern woman during the early 1900s

Examples: Amelia Earhart, Zelda Fitzgerald, Helen Keller, suffragettes, suffragists, Susan B. Anthony, flappers, Margaret Washington



Describing the experience of African Americans and Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II, including the Tuskegee Airmen and

occupants of internment camps



Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States’ culture since World War II

Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown,

rock and roll, rap, folk, and

country music

artists—Elvis Presley, the

Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha

Franklin, Hank Williams



Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States’ culture since World War II


Analyze changing economic priorities and cycles of economic expansion and contraction for their impact on society since World War II.


shift from manufacturing to service economy, higher standard of living, globalization, outsourcing, insourcing, ―boom and bust,‖ economic bubbles


Identifying policies and programs that had an economic impact on society since World War II

Examples: G. I. Bill of Rights of 1944, Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start programs, space exploration, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), environmental protection issues


Analyzing consequences of immigration for their impact on national and Alabama economies since World War II



Evaluate significant political issues and policies of presidential administrations since World War II.


Identifying domestic policies that shaped the United States since World War II

Examples: desegregation of the military, Interstate Highway System, federal funding for education, Great Society, affirmative action, Americans with Disabilities Act, welfare reform, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind Act



Recognizing domestic issues that shaped the United States since World War II

Examples: McCarthyism, Watergate scandal, political assassinations, health care, impeachment, Hurricane Katrina


Identifying issues of foreign affairs that shaped the United States since World War II

Examples: Vietnam Conflict, Richard Nixon’s China initiative, Jimmy Carter’s human rights initiative, emergence of China and India as economic powers



Explaining how conflict in the Middle East impacted life in the United States since World War II

Examples: oil embargoes; Iranian hostage situation; Camp David Accords; Persian Gulf Wars; 1993 World Trade Center bombing; terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; War on Terrorism; homeland security



Recognizing the election of Barack Obama as the culmination of a movement in the United States to realize equal opportunity for all Americans



Identifying the 2008 presidential election as a watershed in the use of new technology and mass participation in the electoral process


Seventh and Eighth Grade overview



Effective teachers utilize a variety of classroom instructional techniques and assessment strategies. The classroom environment, activities, assignments, and assessments foster the skills of acquiring information and manipulating data; developing and presenting policies, arguments, and stories; constructing new knowledge; and participating in groups. Technology, including Internet access, computer software, videos, and television programs, is used not only to provide opportunities for students to explore historical as well as geographic concepts, but also to enable students to compete in a rapidly changing world. Because understanding contemporary events and relating them to the past are essential to any social studies course, current events is a vital component of the social studies content for Grades 7 and 8.


The classroom instructional environment should provide students with numerous opportunities to participate in learning activities that incorporate a variety of formats and learning tools, including role-playing, debate, and hands-on activities as well as the use of maps, globes, satellite images, and skills to interpret graphic organizers, text, charts, and graphs. Students should have multiple opportunities for listening, reading, and writing activities as well as group and individual projects. Culminating projects ensure that students apply geographic knowledge and skills to understand local, national, and international issues


7-th Grade Geography


Analyzing the impact of economic interdependence and globalization on places and their populations

Examples: seed corn produced in Iowa and planted in South America; silicon chips manufactured in California and installed in a computer made in China that is purchased in Australia



Explaining why countries enter into global trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), the European Union (EU), the Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)



Identifying effects of cooperation among countries in controlling territories

Examples: Great Lakes environmental management by United States and Canada, United Nations (UN) Heritage sites and host countries, Antarctic Treaty on scientific research


Explain the cultural concept of natural resources and changes in spatial distribution, quantity, and quality through time and by location.



Evaluating various cultural viewpoints regarding the use or value of natural resources

Examples: salt and gold as valued commodities, petroleum product use and the invention of the internal combustion engine

Identifying issues regarding depletion of nonrenewable resources and the sustainability of renewable resources


Examples: ocean shelf and Arctic exploration for petroleum, hybrid engines in cars, wind-powered generators, solar collection panels


environmental issues—boundary disputes,

ownership of ocean resources, revitalization of

downtown areas



Seventh Grade Civics


Students at this age should be able to assume more responsibilities in their family, school, and community roles. To address this concern, students are given opportunities to apply civic knowledge to problem-based learning situations in the community and to other activities that foster increased personal responsibility.


The classroom environment should provide students with numerous opportunities to participate in instruction that incorporates a variety of formats and learning tools, including role playing, debate, and hands-on activities as well as the use of graphic organizers, text, charts, and graphs. Students should have multiple opportunities for listening, reading, and writing activities as well as group and individual projects. Culminating projects ensure that students apply their civic knowledge and skills to understand local, national, and international issues.



Apply principles of money management to the preparation of a personal budget that addresses housing, transportation, food, clothing, medical expenses, insurance, checking and savings accounts, loans, investments, credit, and comparison shopping.



Defend how the United States can be improved by individual and collective participation in civic and community activities.



Identifying options for civic and community action

Examples: investigating the feasibility of a specific solution to a traffic problem, developing a plan for construction of a subdivision, using maps to make and justify decisions about best locations for public facilities




Determining ways to participate in the political process

Examples: voting, running for office, serving on a jury, writing letters, being involved in political parties and political campaigns



Identify contemporary American issues since 2001, including the establishment of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the enactment of the Patriot Act of 2001, and the impact of media analysis.

Eighth Grade World History


Students in eighth grade continue to need substantial guidance as they develop a sense of personal independence and civic responsibility in today’s world. Historical knowledge of people, places, and events from around the globe helps students understand that with independence comes responsibility.


The study of world history in Grade 8 addresses the organizational framework found in the National Center for History in the Schools’ National Standards for History. Content instruction includes a thematic approach that focuses on patterns of change within an interregional framework. This approach allows students to explore the following key turning points in world history in greater depth:


Instruction should be designed to involve students actively in critical thinking and exchange of ideas, including critical evaluation, interpretation, reasoning, and deduction. Instruction of this nature can best be accomplished through the use of electronic media such as the Internet, videos, and television as well as by participation in small-group and individual activities that provide hands-on experiences to increase awareness of events on a global scale, including how these events affect them.



Compare early religions and traditions and their key tenets, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.



Describing significant events throughout history that were influenced by religion, including Hebrew slavery, the Holocaust, Sharia law, the Crusades, and the Silk Road



Nine through Twelve


High school students learn best in an effective instructional environment that provides opportunities for authentic learning through analyzing and debating complex issues, conducting social science research, participating in civic affairs, and developing historical-thinking skills. Students also benefit from differentiated instruction that includes student presentations, use of primary sources, written analyses of information, collaborative group activities, simulations, and interactions with electronic and print media.


Tenth Grade



Interpreting the impact of change from workshop to factory on workers’ lives, including the New Industrial Age from 1870 to 1900, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Pullman Strike, the Haymarket Square Riot, and the impact of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Gompers, Eugene V. Debs, A. Philip Randolph, and Thomas Alva Edison



Evaluate the impact of social changes and the influence of key figures in the United States from World War I through the 1920s, including Prohibition, the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the Scopes Trial, limits on immigration, Ku Klux Klan activities, the Red Scare, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, W. C. Handy, the Jazz Age, and Zelda Fitzgerald.



Analyzing radio, movies, newspapers, and popular magazines for their impact on the creation of mass culture

Analyzing works of major American artists and writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, and H. L. Mencken, to characterize the era of the 1920s

Determining the relationship between technological innovations and the creation of increased leisure time


Explain strengths and weaknesses of the New Deal in managing problems of the Great Depression through relief, recovery, and reform programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Social Security Act.



Summarize events leading to World War II, including the militarization of the Rhineland, Germany’s seizure of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Japan’s invasion of China, and the Rape of Nanjing.



Describing military strategies of World War II, including blitzkrieg, island-hopping, and amphibious landings


Explaining reasons for and results of dropping atomic bombs on Japan


Explaining events and consequences of war crimes committed during World War II, including the Holocaust, the Bataan Death March, the Nuremberg Trials, the post-war Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Genocide Convention



Trace events of the modern Civil Rights Movement from post-World War II to 1970 that resulted in social and economic changes, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the March on Washington, Freedom Rides, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March.



Explaining contributions of individuals and groups to the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr., James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Thurgood Marshall, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the civil rights foot soldiers



Appraising contributions of persons and events in Alabama that influenced the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Rosa Parks, Autherine Lucy, John Patterson, George C. Wallace, Vivian Malone Jones, Fred Shuttlesworth, the Children’s March, and key local persons and events



Describing the development of a Black Power movement, including the change in focus of the SNCC, the rise of Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panther movement


Describing the economic impact of African-American entrepreneurs on the modern Civil Rights Movement, including S. B. Fuller and A. G. Gaston


Twelfth Grade



Explain consequences of World War II, including the economic destruction resulting from the devastation of physical landscapes and loss of human life.



Describing reasons for the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945

Summarizing main ideas of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Explaining the significance of the Nuremberg Trials in relationship to the Universal Declaration of Human Right

Comparing origins of rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the United States



Describe political, economic, geographic, and social dynamics of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, including the legacy of colonialism, polarization of wealth, and financial structure of the region.




Identifying the influence of radical leaders in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, including Fidel Castro in Cuba, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and Evo Morales in Bolivi


 Analyzing the government of Costa Rica for its unique position as a stable democracy in Central America


Trace regional geographic, political, economic, and social conditions that influence domestic and international terrorism.

Examples: Northern Ireland, Balkan region, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia



Analyze the impact of economic development and global population growth for effects on the environment, including climate change, the green movement, and the use of alternative energy resources and fossil fuels



Critique basic elements of international trade and globalization, including the rise of regional trading blocs, drug cartels, and trade agreements.



Evaluating economic alliances, including the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA), the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Union (EU), and the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Evaluating the role of the UN as an international political organization

Describing the difference between absolute advantage and comparative advantage and the difference between a balance of trade and a balance of payments


Alabama students in the twenty-first century are uniquely equipped to investigate the social sciences. They are experiencing great social and technological changes that challenge them to inquire about the world in which they live, including societal groups within that world. Elective courses for Grades 9-12 provide students with opportunities to pursue interests in the social sciences through four additional courses. These courses are Psychology, Sociology, Contemporary World Issues and Civic Engagement, and Human Geography. Content standards for these elective courses are designed to enhance student learning in the social sciences, provide an in-depth study in these four areas, and establish consistency in social studies elective course content among school systems throughout the state. Additionally, local education agencies (LEAs) are encouraged to offer a variety of elective courses that may include, but are not limited to, the courses listed above. Such courses could be History through Film, Money and Banking, the Constitutional History of the United States, or Alabama Web-based learning courses offered through Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide (ACCESS).


While elective courses may provide additional social science options for students, they do not replace any of the courses required for graduation from high school. All students must complete the Grade 9 United States History to the Industrial Revolution course; the Grade 10 United States History From the Industrial Revolution to the Present course; the Grade 11 United States Government course and the Economics course; and the Grade 12 Modern World History and Geography course


Copyright 1996  These are my own working genealogy files that I share with you.  The errors are my own.  But, perhaps they will give you a starting point.  All original writing is copyrighted.  Webmaster