The reproducible books in the History Pockets series can supply a substantial part of your history curriculum for students in first and second grade, but beyond that, they should serve as supplements to more comprehensive resources.
The History Pocket titles address ancient history and some eras of U.S. history. Titles available for grades one through three are:
- Ancient Civilizations (ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Greece, Roman Empire, China, and the Aztec world)
- Native Americans
- Life in Plymouth Colony
Titles for grades four through six:
- Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome
- Explorers of North America
- Colonial America
- The American Revolution
- The American Civil War
- Moving West (the westward expansion of the U.S.)
These books are ideal for use alongside a spine book or textbook covering the same historical era, such as The Story of the World - History for the Classical Child: Volume 1 – Ancient Times, The Story of Civilization: Volume 1 – The Ancient World, History Quest: Early Times, A Child’s First Book of American History, History Quest: United States, and the BJU Press Heritage Studies books for grades two, three, and five that cover American history. You might use more than one History Pockets book in a school year.
Each book covers seven to eleven topics in about 100 pages. For each topic, students will create a pocket from a 12” x 18” sheet of construction paper. The pockets will be joined together to form a book. Detailed instructions are included for each topic. The reproducible pages for each topic include a pocket label, a Fast Facts Bookmark, an “About” page that provides expanded information, and activities that vary. The activities might involve assembling a mini book, completing a graphic organizer, cutting and pasting a block of information and illustrations, completing map work, filling in a form (such as a pretend job application), and solving a word-search puzzle. Students are expected to either read or listen to the information included on some of these pages. There are few direct, comprehension questions, but students often need to assimilate information and apply it in creative writing assignments. Some books include vocabulary words and associated activities. (Answer keys for the few pages that have predictable answers are near the back of each book.) All of the completed pages will be stored in the pockets.
I’ll give you an example of the activities for one Pocket in Colonial America. The second pocket in this book is about the first settlements in what is now the United States. Students cut out the Fast Fact bookmark, paste it on a strip of construction paper, and read through the facts it presents. Then, they read and discuss the page titled “About the First Settlements” which provides expanded information. Another page titled “The Lost Colony” has a paragraph about the Roanoke settlement followed by a graphic organizer for students to write an article about what happened and draw an illustration. Then two pages provide instructions and pieces to cut and paste to create a folder map of the Jamestown settlement with brief information.
Timelines are often included for the introductory pocket of a study. Every pocket has at least one arts-and-crafts project. Some are relatively simple, like the Jamestown map, while others are a little more complex, like the Jacob’s Ladder toy constructed from wood blocks for the fifth pocket in Colonial America and the paper moccasins students make for themselves for the tenth pocket of Explorers of North America. Most projects require few supplies other than construction paper, scissors, glue, and coloring media, but occasionally one will require more, such as the wood blocks for the Jacob’s Ladder and cooking ingredients to make hardtack.
Many of the activities are designed to help children envision themselves within each era. These books offer a more experiential, hands-on way of learning rather than one that covers a lot of historical information.
At the back of each book are two pages, one for the student’s self-evaluation and the other for the teacher’s evaluation.
The books are available in print or as PDFs. You are given permission to reproduce pages for your family or for a classroom.
One or two of the History Pockets books are included within each of Evan-Moor’s social studies bundles for each grade and their grade-level bundles covering all subjects.
History Pockets should work best as a supplement that adds a hands-on dimension for learning history.