Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks
Interactive Notebooks



Throwback Thursday – Envelope Books

Hey everyone!  I’m joining up with Cara Carroll at First Grade Parade with my 1st Throwback Thursday post. 

I like to add some umph to my lessons by making paperbag books, envelope books, and lots and lots of foldables.  We do so much cutting and gluing in my class that some kids ran out of glue last year.  Anyway, here’s one of my favorite activities that I posted about in September 2012.

I love creating interactive notes with my kids!  I’m not sure why, but folding, cutting, and gluing can make any topic more interesting.

My kids created these envelope books last week to keep their notes from our map unit in. In addition to learning map skills, our map unit included a lesson on an explorer and his impact on the present. Many of the pages we added to our books are from our mandated curriculum but I tried to spruce things up where I could.

This is a timeline that we accordion folded into our books.

This is the foldable I had planned to add to our books. I forgot to make copies so I had to improvise – oops!

The left side shows the notes we took instead of using the foldable. The right side shows a pocket we created using a map. The map shows the route Juan de Onate took. The folded paper inside the pocket is information about Juan de Onate and his journey.

The left side shows notes that we took on the outside of the folded pocket we made. We stored the maps we created inside this pocket.

These books are so easy a caveman 3rd grader can do it.  Here are the instructions if you would like to give it a try.

Start with a manila envelope of any size. I used 9 x 12 envelopes to make the map books.

Shave off the edges so that the envelope will open up.

Open up the envelope and turn it sideways. This is the inside of the envelope. The clasp should be on the left.

Fold the left side over until it meets the center crease. You will now be able to see the metal clasp.

Lift up the edge you just folded over and place glue at the top and bottom edges.

Fold the flap back down and hold in place until the glue dries. You now have a pocket.

At this point, you can see the 3 panels on the inside of the book for you to fill up with notes and foldables.

To close up the book, fold the pocket over.

Fold over the left side again.

Fold the flap over. I use this as the front of the book. That’s it – you’re done!You can add velcro dots to the flap if you want your book to stay closed. 

I love making these books. They are so simple to make and there is so much you can do with them. My 3rd graders made their own books with me modeling the process. I heard several kids comment that the books were really cool and they couldn’t wait to take them home.
If you’ve made similar books before, I’d love to know what topic you created them for.


  1. Love these! My student teacher showed me how to make one of these this year. Apparently, six years into the teaching profession and I'm already falling out of the loop. LOL! Thanks for posting clear directions, seeing as I'm getting old and outdated I would probably forget. Hehe. :)


  2. Wow, this is truly amazing!!!! I totally love it. What a great, memorable, and engaging activity. This is one activity that I wouldn't mind breaking the bank for. A great investment. I am not so creative, so I would love to know what other activities we can get students to use them for. The only thing that I can think of is using them also for mini projects and/or presentations. Please keep me posted for ingenious ideas.

  3. This is awesome! Added you Friday but went back to view this again. =) Thanks for sharing!
    Kids Math Teacher