Saturday, February 16, 2013

Maine Pocket Person Project

Students have been researching famous Mainers for the past month or so and created pocket person projects. I don't remember where the original idea came from...I saw it online years ago, and our 4th grade team has tweaked it over the years. The basic idea is to create a poster person who has 5 pockets. In each pocket is a card with information about a different aspect of that person's life:
  • Pocket 1: What the person is most famous for and how he/she has helped the world
  • Pocket 2: The person's, education, challenges they faced
  • Pocket 3: Adult life...spouse, children, hobbies, interesting facts
  • Pocket 4: How the world remembers this person...honors, awards, things named after him/her. Also, when and how they died, (if they have), or where they are living now
  • Pocket 5: Reason for choosing this person, personal connections, how he/she has inspired you, what you want people to remember about this person.
Denisha with artist Dahlov Ipcar, famous for her animal paintings
Students have taken turns presenting their finished projects while the rest of the class records information in their fact books. We finished our last presentation a couple of days ago, and now students are responsible for passing a matching test of all the people and why they are famous. Here are the rest of this year's projects!

Maha with Percy Spencer, who invented the microwave oven by accident when a chocolate bar in his pocket melted while he was working in a lab.
Jaden with Percival Baxter, a former governor, senator, and representative, who donated thousands of acres to the state to create Baxter State Park, where Mt. Katahdin is located.
Olivea with Leon Leonwood Bean, who invented the Maine Hunting Shoe, aka the Bean boot, and started a very successful business, now famous around the world!
Connor with Joshua Chamberlain, who was a Civil War general and governor. He was awarded The Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Gianna with William King, a businessman and Maine's first governor. He played a major role in getting Maine to separate from Massachusetts in 1820.
Liam with Hannibal Hamlin, a politician who was a representative, senator, governor, and most importantly, vice-president to Abraham Lincoln during his first term.

Emily with Olympia Snowe, one of Maine's most popular senators. She recently left politics because she was frustrated that the two political parties could not work together.
Gunner with Robert McCloskey, an author and illustrator of such children's books as Make Way for Ducklings,  Blueberries for Sal, and One Morning in Maine.
Nevaya with Amy MacDonald, another children's book author, who wrote books such as Little Beaver and the Echo, Rachel Fister's Blister, and Cousin Ruth's Tooth.
Laney, with Samantha Smith, who wrote a now famous letter to the leader of the Soviet Union when she was only 10 years old, asking why he wanted to have a war. She was invited to visit the Soviet Union and became a symbol of peace. Sadly, she died in a plane crash at the age of 13.
Dominique with Donn Fendler, who survived being lost on Mt. Katahdin for 9 days back in 1939, when he was 12 years old. He later helped to write a book about his experience, called Lost on a Mountain in Maine, which is always our first read-aloud of the year. Donn recently collaborated on a graphic novel about his experience called Lost Trail.
Abby with Patrick Dempsey, an actor on Grey's Anatomy, and the organizer of the Dempsey Challenge, a race that raises money for cancer research.
Michael with Robert Peary, the first person to reach the North Pole. It took him 3 tries, and he lost eight toes to frostbite, but he didn't give up!
Kyle with Joan Benoit Samuelson, who was the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal for the woman's marathon. She also started the Beach to Beacon race, which raises money each year for charity.
Maddie with Margaret Chase Smith, one of Maine's most loved politicians. She was a representative, senator, and the first woman to run for President, back in 1963. Margaret also helped make the rose our national flower.
Deacon with Chester Greenwood, who invented earmuffs when he was only 15 years old. Chester provided many jobs for people in the Farmington area for 60 years.

Dylan with Milton Bradley, who started a game company named after him. His first game was called "The Game of Life".

So many skills go into this project. Students need to:
  • take good notes
  • put facts into their own words
  • determine important information
  • summarize
  • organize information into the correct pocket
  • practice time management in order to meet due dates
  • demonstrate strong oral presentation skills  
  • remember why each person is famous
We will practice matching each person with why they are famous when we get back from February vacation. The test will be on Friday, March 1. Great job on your projects, everyone!



  1. Thank-you! The kids were really proud of their projects...they worked hard!

  2. I love this project! It is so creative! I used to teach Texas History in 4th grade and this would have been a perfect match for the curriculum. I'm thinking about using it for scientists. Thank you so much for sharing. I found you through Teach n Tex! I'm your newest follower!

    Teaching With Moxie

  3. Hi! I live in Australia and I think what you're doing with your class is amazing! Even though I'm in Yr 6 I still wish my teacher would do something like this, haha. Please tell your students that I think they're all awesome!

  4. These are so great! I'd love to incorporate this idea into our classroom. Thanks for sharing!