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History Pockets Review by Heather Jackowitz

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, California 93940

I reviewed two History Pockets books from Evan-Moor, The American Revolution and Ancient Egypt, both for grades 4-6. Each book helps students create seven pockets full of projects. Each pocket is made from a 12" by 18" piece of construction paper folded and stapled along one edge. When all seven pockets are filled, students bind them together with yarn to make a portfolio of their history study. For each lesson, students begin by creating a "Fast Facts" bookmark and a labeled pocket. Then they read the one-page lesson that, together with the "Fast Facts" bookmark, provides the necessary reference material for the projects. These projects include writing assignments, art projects, and timeline activities. The Ancient Egypt book also includes a form for summarizing each lesson. The following is a list of each book's seven lessons and a sample project from each one:

Ancient Egypt:
Introduction to Ancient Egypt—start a timeline of Ancient Egypt
Daily Life—make a necklace that displays common Egyptian symbols
Government and Leaders—make a booklet of six famous Pharaohs and queens
Religion—cut and paste objects into the appropriate rooms of a tomb
Architecture—make a book showing a pyramid being built from start to finish
Language—make a cartouche nametag with hieroglyphs
Arts and Recreation—draw an Egyptian figure using the style called frontalism

The American Revolution:
Introduction to the American Revolution—make a map of the thirteen original colonies
Causes of the War—write about Benjamin Franklin's "Join or Die" political cartoon
Famous Patriots—copy a portion of the Declaration of Independence
A Soldier's Life—make a cutaway booklet with illustrations and information about Continental and British uniforms and equipment
Battles—create a pop-up book to display a map and information about the Battle of Bunker Hill
Spies and Traitors—decode one of Benedict Arnold's most important messages
Birth of a Nation—learn about and color a drawing of the Great Seal

In order to use these books, you must have access to a photocopier and some basic art supplies, such as scissors, glue, and markers or crayons. Everything else is provided between the covers of these user-friendly books! Add a work of historical fiction, such as The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw or Toliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady, and you have a ready-made unit study. Most children like to make things, and Evan-Moor's History Pockets help children create impressive portfolios that they will be proud to share.

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, Senior Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2008