Envelope Books

Saturday, September 15, 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. I love the envelope books. I am thinking about buying the smaller envelopes so that they can be glued in their Math journals. There are always manipulatives that I would like for the students to keep so that they can practice at home and even share with their parents. Great Idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Donna - I love your idea for using the envelope book to store math manipulatives. I would love to see how it turns out!


  3. Love it! I used a smaller envelope and am thinking of making math reference books for my 3rd graders next fall.

  4. Love it! I used a smaller envelope and am thinking of making math reference books for my 3rd graders next fall.



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