October 24, 2011

I Got Some Egypt In My Pocket

The idea of a pocket is simply charming. You can make pockets in so many different ways, in so many sizes and with so many different materials. Then there is the fascinating thought of what to put into it, and what to take out of it. I love pockets!

So, this year when I wasn't sure how to organize our study of Ancient Egypt and stumbled upon Evan Moor History pockets, I was intrigued. The pocket idea sounded interesting. It had possibilities I had not thought about. To get an idea of what history pockets are I purchase the history pocket for Egypt e-book by Evan Moor from Currclick and took a look. They showed how to make the pockets and provided activities and information to put into the pockets. I liked the way the activities resembled mini books and notebooking pages we had used before. Looking at their ideas made my mind began to see even more possibilities. So from their idea we have jumped into a fun and 'not sure how it will turn out' project that will take us the whole year to put together. But we are all tickled with the new creativity it spawns in us all.

The first problem I had to solve was, what to make the pockets out of. I wanted them to be durable and look somewhat like papyrus. I also wanted the materials to be inexpensive because we plan to do nine pockets during the year. Times that by three, nine for each boy and you end up making 27 pockets. Rice paper can get a bit spending working at that quantity. Then I remembered a post Jimmie wrote last year about Sprite's sixth grade lapbook of Egypt. She had used a large brown mail envelope. That was it! So I went to work to design some pockets out of  brown mailers I had on hand here in my house.

The pocket idea from Cover to Cover.
The next problem to solve was how to make the pockets. The Ancient Egypt history pockets e-book I purchased had an idea which used one piece of construction paper, but I felt our pockets needed to be a bit larger. So I went to my shelf and pulled down a book called Cover to Cover. It is all about how to make  handmade books. In this book I found a wonderful pattern and directions for the pockets. The best thing was that I only had to throw away one 1 inch strip of my mailer and was able to use all the rest of it. I love that! The tutorial for making the pockets can be found here.

The Book idea from Cover to Cover.
Well now, looking at Cover to Cover wet my appetite for more creativity. In the pages of ideas for making books I found a style of handmade book that would lend itself easily to binding up our pockets once they were all complete. This method allows for the book to be as thick or as thin as we want. The cover can be hand crafted by the boys and then the pockets can be stitched together as if they were each a signature (a signature is a grouping pages). The cover once created can be stitched on at that time as well.

The boys were particularly interested in this stitched book idea because they are learning to hand sew on felt this year. It is a skill they chose to learn so I have been helping them with simple sewing projects. To think of sewing up a book captured their imagination and gave then a goal they wanted to work for. I may end up doing most of the sewing but it will be good for them to see how it is done.

Our idea for making the cover is simple. I have some Egyptian origami paper that the boys can hodgepodge onto a thick piece of cardboard. It will most likely be the thick cardboard from the back of our drawing paper pads. The boys will create a title to paste over that and we will see what happens then.

So our plan is to continue making pockets out of mailers, filling them with oversized mini books, maps, pictures, and other things we make or do as we learn more about Ancient Egypt.  Our first pocket, Introduction to Ancient Egypt,  is complete. We are currently working on The Kings and Queens of Egypt pocket.

Fronts of the pockets.
What's on the inside.
The items in this pocket that I added are:

'My Photos' photo album

One pocket down and eight more pockets to go!


  1. We did Evan Moor pockets a couple years ago and loved them. I bought the Ancient History one and Kei still takes it out to look at it. They have some GREAT pockets. Came to your blog from Phyllis at All Things Beautiful. :)