Checking in with you!


We invite you and your students to join us for a virtual tour of America’s unsung wonders and off-the-beaten-path communities. At every step, we’ll be documenting our travels via daily photos, essays, sketches, and videos.

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The Daily Minute: 1.3.23
In which our spirits are high as the sun shines down on the mountains of northeast Alabama.


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Hi Friends! Today we’re in Alabama, whose official flower is the camellia (they smell SO good), official dance is the squaredance, and state motto is Share the Wonder.

Alabama also has a state language — English. A few over half the US states have an official language. On a federal level, though, the US has none. Many people speak English, but there are actually more than 400 languages spoken and signed within our country! And nearly 200 of these are indigenous.

Although Alabama’s past, as with much of the South, has at times been fraught with injustice, it, because of this, also gave rise to many champions of difference and equality.

Many strides for the Civil Rights movement were made in AL — it was in Montgomery, for example, that Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat on the bus to the white man demanding it. 

Actually, not many know that a few months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, another woman, only 15, did the same, and was arrested — her name was Claudette Colvin, an activist in her own right.

Jesse Owens, the inspiring four-time 1936 Berlin Olympics track-and-field gold-medalist, came from AL, too, as did Helen Keller, the author and disability rights activist, a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the first deafblind woman in the US to earn a BA.

AL also has a diverse environment — in fact, the state is 70% forest and ranks 5th for biodiversity! 

In fact, AL has an odd monument to the boll weevil, a destructive critter which used to devour cotton farms. This forced AL to diversify its crops, which ended up being better for the land itself.

On the industry side of things, up in Huntsville, you'll find the US Space and Rocket Center — the largest spaceflight museum in the world. Saturn V, the rocket that powered the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, was built nearby.

Oh yeah, and on the subject of flights — apparently, when airline luggage is truly lost, and all efforts to return it to its original owners fail, it ends up in Scottsboro, AL. The Unclaimed Baggage Center sells the luggage contents as if it were a thrift store. Which is actually wild.

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The Daily Minute: 1.2.23
In which Jasper reports on his very good day at Madison Cross Roads Elementary.


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