ALEX Lesson Plan


Alabama's Five Capitals and First Governors

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Heather Hartmann
System: Mobile County
School: Meadowlake Elementary
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 21069


Alabama's Five Capitals and First Governors


Students will research the five sites of Alabama's capital and the first governors of the state. They will create a presentation including the physical location of each site and the political and geographic reasons the site was chosen and abandoned, if applicable. The presentation will also include information about the (or a) governor that served while the capital was at the specific location they are researching.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
IL (K-12)
1. The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.
  • Recognizes the need for information.
  • Recognizes that accurate and comprehensive information is the basis for intelligent decision making.
  • Formulates questions based on information needs.
  • Identifies a variety of potential sources of information.
  • Develops and uses successful strategies for locating information.
  • IL (K-12)
    2. The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently.
  • Determines accuracy, relevance, and comprehensiveness.
  • Distinguishes among fact, point of view, and opinion.
  • Identifies inaccurate and misleading information.
  • Selects information appropriate to the problems or question at hand.
  • IL (K-12)
    3. The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
  • Organizes information for practical application.
  • Integrates new information into one's own knowledge.
  • Applies information in critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Produces and communicates information and ideas in appropriate formats.
  • IL (K-12)
    9. The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.
  • Shares knowledge and information with others.
  • Respects others' ideas and backgrounds and acknowledges their contributions
  • Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies, to identify information problems and to seek their solutions.
  • Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies to design, develop, and evaluate information products and solutions.
  • ELA2015 (4)
    11. Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. [RI.4.2]
    ELA2015 (4)
    29. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. [W.4.8]
    SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    2. Relate reasons for European exploration and settlement in Alabama to the impact of European explorers on trade, health, and land expansion in Alabama.
  • Locating on maps European settlements in early Alabama, including Fort Condé, Fort Toulouse, and Fort Mims
  • Tracing on maps and globes, the routes of early explorers of the New World, including Juan Ponce de León, Hernando de Soto, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa
  • Explaining reasons for conflicts between Europeans and American Indians in Alabama from 1519 to 1840, including differing beliefs regarding land ownership, religion, and culture
  • SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    3. Explain the social, political, and economic impact of the War of 1812, including battles and significant leaders of the Creek War, on Alabama.
    Examples: social—adoption of European culture by American Indians, opening of Alabama land for settlement
    political—forced relocation of American Indians, labeling of Andrew Jackson as a hero and propelling him toward Presidency
    economic—acquisition of tribal land in Alabama by the United States
  • Explaining the impact of the Trail of Tears on Alabama American Indians' lives, rights, and territories
  • Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will research the location of and political and geographic reasons for choosing and/or leaving one of Alabama's capital sites, and provide a brief biography of the (or a) governor's life who served at the site. Students will organize the information into a Learning Log and use it to create a presentation of their choice following the guidelines provided.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will contribute to the learning community by working in groups of two or three to complete the research project. Students will access, evaluate, and use information to complete the research project.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Teacher created guidelines for research/presentation, teacher created check list for daily progress, textbook, library resources (books, encyclopedias, atlases, almanacs), thin spiral or composition notebooks

    Technology Resources Needed:

    LCD projector, laptop, enough computers with Internet access for each group, online databases (AVL), bookmarked websites


    Create guidelines for student research/presentations, bookmark appropriate websites, Library media specialist/teacher teach a series of How to do Research lessons, previous lessons on summarizing and paraphrasing

    1.)Use an LCD projector and computer with Internet access to review how to search the AVL and give an overview of the websites bookmarked for student use. Examples are:
    (Alabama Department of Archives & History)
    The governors site contains links to biographies on all of the govenors of Alabama. The capitals site contains a brief history of the five capitals of Alabama.

    2.)Divide the students into groups of two or three depending on class size and assign each group an Alabama capital site and the (or a) govenor that served at that site. (St. Stephens-William Wyatt Bibb; Huntsville-Thomas Bibb; Cahaba-Israel Pickens; Tuscaloosa-John Murphy; Montgomery-group choice)

    3.)Give out Learning Logs (1 spiral or composition notebook per group) and guidelines. Discuss these with the students and answer any questions they have. Show the students the Checklist for Presentation that you will use each day to monitor their progress and answer any questions they have.

    4.)Take the students to the library media center and/or computer lab to complete research over two to three class periods. Ask the library media specialist to assist when possible.

    5.)As they locate information, the students are to summarize or paraphrase the information in their own words in their Learning Logs. See the My Guidelines attachment for the required information.

    6.)Check the students' Learning Logs as they have questions and throughout their research time and, record their progress on the Checklist for Presentation sheet. (See attachment) The Learning Logs and checklist will be part of the assessment.

    7.)Once the students have collected all of the necessary information, explain the choices that they have for presentation format. (PowerPoint, Written Report, Reader's Theater, Video)

    8.)Have each group choose their format and ask the library media specialist to help you give mini lessons on each type. The library media specialist may take the groups that chose PowerPoint and video to the library media center for mini lessons, while you give mini lessons to the groups that chose to do a written report or Reader's Theater.

    9.)Allow two or three class periods for groups to complete the presentations. Again, monitor their progress with the Checklist for Presentation. Ask the library media specialist to assist the groups completing PowerPoints and making videos in the library media center, while you assist the other groups in the classroom.

    10.)Have two groups present their work each day, until all groups have gone. You may want the groups that finish early to begin presenting while the other groups are still working or you can draw numbers/names from a hat.

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    Assessment Strategies

    The assessment will include the progress check list, the Learning Logs, the classroom presentation, and the hard copy of the presentation material.


    Students will go on a field trip to Montgomery following this lesson. Students may research current statistics of each site (population, size, major industries, historical sites, etc.)


    Students may use the textbook or other groups' projects to increase knowledge about Alabama's five capitals and selected governors.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.