Classical Conversations – Week 1: Math, English, History, Latin, Geography, Science, and Art

Web

My last post outlined how we are going to build our studies this year around the Classical Conversations Timeline. (You can click here to read that post.) This being said, we will still be supplementing and “diving deeper” into the other subjects that are featured in the CC Memory Work. This post will list the books, games, videos, and other activities that we will be using for Week 1 of math, English, history, Latin, geography, science, and art.

Math

Depending on your child’s grade level, they will be learning skip counting or multiplication tables, beginning this week with 1’s and 2’s. Rather than sharing resources for 1’s and 2’s, I will try to share some general multiplication and skip counting resources each week. I will begin with those that we have already tried and really enjoy.

Although I am currently using Saxon math with both of my students, I am a huge Montessori fan. I love the hands-on approach that really allows children to see math and understand what is happening with each new concept. For multiplication, I LOVE the Montessori Pythagoras board. All Montessori materials use repetition to develop mastery (which fits right in with the Classical education model). Children complete the times-tables board by placing each number tile in its proper place so that, when finished, if you place one finger on a number along the top, and one on a number along the side, and draw your fingers together, the number where they meet will be the product of the two. (I remember as an elementary student at a Montessori school being allowed to take the completed Pythagoras board to other classrooms to “show off”…it made me feel so accomplished!) I guarantee that a child who completes the Pythagoras board regularly will be a child that learns their multiplication facts! If you are interested in purchasing a board, please consider using my affiliate link below:

Purchase the Montessori Pythagoras Board on Amazon

Another learning tool that I love is the multiplication wrap-up. This tool works best with kids who have a beginning grasp of multiplication tables and are working towards mastery. The workbook that comes with the wrap-ups is quite helpful as well. It claims that your children will learn their multiplication tables in 10 days. I think that is wishful thinking for most kids…but drawing it out over a year is more doable and more enjoyable.

Click here for JUST the Multiplication Wrap-Up from Amazon

Click here for the Multiplication Wrap-Up and the Workbook/CD on Amazon

A fun outdoor activity involving skip counting is to combine your memory drills with a physical skill. For example, we will go outside and work on passing a football without dropping it. We will stand in a triangle and one person will throw the ball saying the first number in the skip counting sequence while the ball is in the air. The next person then has to catch the ball and say the next number as they throw it. “3-6-9-12” and so on. If the ball is dropped or a wrong number is called out, we start over. Once we can comfortably complete a skip counting sequence with no mistakes, we time ourselves. We try to beat our previous best time for each number. This can be done with balloon volleyball, Frisbee, jump rope, etc. I love that Skip-Count Catch is cooperative and the whole family works together.

Another game we’ve tried is the Jump Card Game. I was somewhat disappointed with this. I am posting the photo below, but I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t allow you to play with all of the numbers, so kids aren’t able to learn all their skip counting sequences, only 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. Not worth it.

English

The English memory work for Cycle 1, Week 1 focuses on prepositions. Since we use Montessori materials to help learn the parts of speech, I am working on some Montessori-style materials that use kinetic play and movement to teach the concept of prepositions. I will offer these materials on the blog as soon as I complete them. At the moment, we are still working through nouns and verbs, so we haven’t started prepositions yet. In the meantime, I like the books below because they introduce the concept of a preposition in a fun and engaging way.  I am organizing them in order from youngest to oldest (recommended reader age.) They are all quite affordable as well.


Buy “Up, Down, and Around” on Amazon (Ages 3-6)


Buy “Bears In The Night” on Amazon (Ages 3-6)


Buy “Along a Long Road” on Amazon (Ages 3-6)


Buy “Elephants Aloft” on Amazon (Ages 4-7)


Buy “If You Were a Preposition” on Amazon (Ages 5-10)


Buy “Under, Over, By the Clover – What is a Preposition?” on Amazon (Ages 7-10)


Buy “Behind the Mask – A Book About Prepositions” on Amazon (Ages 7-10)

Here are some free worksheets that provide extra mastery practice for prepositions:

add-the-prepositions This worksheet is labeled as Grade 4-5. The child reads a story and then inserts the appropriate prepositions from a word bank. I like it because: 1. The definition of a preposition given in the instructions is almost word-for-word the memory work for Week One. And 2. the worksheet pulls double duty as reading practice.

For a slightly easier version of preposition fill-in-the-blank (probably grade 2-3) try this: where-are-the-pets

Finally, here is a fun preposition crossword for the K-1 set: preposition-crossword

Like multiplication and skip counting, we will be working on prepositions for several weeks in Cycle 1. This will allow me to collect, review, and offer more resources for fun and learning as we go along!

History

History for the first two weeks focuses on learning the 10 Commandments. Of course, a great place to start is to read the story from the Bible about how Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive these words from God. To get some context, I like to read both Exodus 19 & 20.

When I was a teenager, I ran a free Vacation Bible Camp at my house for a bunch of little kids from my swim team. I don’t remember much about what we learned, but for some reason I vividly remember playing “10 Commandments Steal the Bacon.” I think I made up the rules to the game, but maybe I’m fooling myself! Has anyone else played like this? Here is how we did it: I lined the kids up on either side of the grass, just like normal Steal the Bacon, but instead of assigning them numbers, I would just call out the names of two children, one from either side, to run to the center. I would also call out a number. That number corresponded to a Commandment. 1 for the first Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and so on for all 10. In the middle of the lawn were 10 pieces of card stock that I had cut into the shape of “stone tablets.” On each tablet was written one Commandment. They weren’t labeled with numbers and they weren’t in order…so the kids had to remember which commandment was which in order to know which tablet to pick up. Even now, almost 30 years later, I remember how much fun they had and how quickly they learned the 10 Commandments. The game can easily be played with any number of children with a minimum of 2.

I purchased the “Kids 10 Commandments” DVD set for my daughter and she has thoroughly enjoyed them. The animation is surprisingly good considering the entire set is only $10. There are 5 total stories, each about 30 minutes long. Some sets have 5 DVDs and some have 3. They appear to both have the same number of stories.


Buy “Kids Ten Commandments” DVDs from Amazon

We just received our order of “Prescripts – Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons – Ancient History” today from the CC Bookstore. My daughter completed the first lesson which involves tracing the first 5 commandments in cursive and then drawing a picture of Moses. She actually loved it, which was a shock. She normally fights me on handwriting practice, but I think she enjoyed it because she knew that when she finished tracing the cursive page she got to do a drawing lesson. CC for the win!

Latin

In Classical Conversations, the kids don’t begin a formal study of Latin until Challenge A. They do, however, begin learning declensions and conjugations in Foundations. Therefore, it is not necessary for CC students to learn any Latin other than what they are memorizing in Foundations. However, I have heard from several veteran CC parents that kids can sometimes struggle a bit coming into the first year of formal Latin in Challenge A. I decided to purchase a Latin curriculum for my kids so that we can learn a little vocabulary to go along with our grammar rules and so that they will hopefully have some more confidence once they enter Challenge A.

I reviewed and researched about a dozen Latin curricula. Since I have zero prior experience with Latin, it was important to me that I find something that was easy to follow and provided me with teaching “scripts.” I ultimately settled on the “Latina Christiana” set from Memoria Press. This curriculum is designed for students in grades 3-5. Although you can purchase the complete set for $98.90 directly off the Memoria Press website, I found a brand new set on Amazon for $42.99. The only difference is that the Amazon set does not contain the instructional DVDs. It does, however, contain the CD and the Teacher’s Manual, which I feel is enough. Here is the link to the Amazon version:

Buy the Latina Christiana Set from Amazon (no DVDs)

If you have a younger student, Memoria offers Prima Latina for grades 1-3. It is available on Memoria for $90.90, but again, a version is offered on Amazon that contains everything but the DVDs for $36.93. Here is that set:

Buy the Prima Latina Set from Amazon (no DVDs)

If you are considering purchasing any of these resources, I cordially ask you to consider using my links to put them into your Amazon cart. You won’t pay a penny more, but I earn a small commission and that helps me buy more materials to review on this blog. Thanks!

I have also downloaded some great Latin printables to use as the year goes along. I will share them in future blog posts.

Geography

We purchased the Classical Conversations Trivium Table for Geography. Pros and cons. On the plus side, I love the easy access to all of the geography memory work for the whole cycle. I also like that the folder is laminated so you can work on labeling with a dry erase marker and it will essentially last forever. On the down side, the maps are awfully small for use with a dry erase marker, especially for little hands. We will definitely be using this resource, but I also would like something a little larger and easier to work with for my 8 year old. So I created a labeling worksheet for Week 1 Geography – The Fertile Crescent. The .pdf below contains one page that is a blank map of the Fertile Crescent with arrows pointing to the features corresponding to the memory work and manuscript lines for writing in the names of the features. The second page is an answer key.

CC Fertile Crescent Answer Key

You are welcome to download it and use it as you wish: CC Fertile Crescent Blank Map and Answer Key

Another great resource for learning Classical Conversations Geography is the Seterra online map game. This website offers dozens of free online map quizzes that allow students to learn the capitals, countries, major cities, and physical features of every continent. The only complaint is that there is much, much more information than what our kids are asked to learn through CC. Well fear not! I have a solution! I have created a custom quiz that covers only the physical features for Week 1 and Week 2 in Classical Conversations.

Screen Capture of Custom Geo Game with Labels

Here is a link to my custom game: Custom Seterra Quiz for Weeks 1-2 Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Geography

Science

I absolutely adore this biography of Karl Linnaeus. It is uplifting, fun to read, and does a good job of introducing the concept of taxonomy in a way that even young children can understand. A perfect “read out loud” book for the whole family.

Buy “Karl, Get Out of the Garden” on Amazon

I purchased a package of hands-on materials for the classification of living things from another blogger and I didn’t love them. I think I am going to redo them as an optional sorting/lap-book activity that will cover the first few weeks of science for Cycle 1 along with some additional material. I will post them on the blog when they are ready.

Art

Art lessons at the CC communities will begin by learning about the 5 Basic Elements of Shape. This concept is taken from the book “Drawing With Children” by Mona Brookes. You can purchase that book here:

Buy “Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners Too” from Amazon

This book is widely used among various art schools and there is a great video on YouTube from the Logan School of Art that introduces the 5 Basic Elements of Shape:
The 5 Basic Elements of Shape

This website offers fun .gifs where simple animals are constructed using basic shapes. Even young students can follow along as they watch the .gif unfold. Good fun! Drawing Animals with Basic Shapes

For older students, or those with some background in art, I really like this lesson on Art Tutor. He breaks down a photo of a flamingo showing that the student can begin to draw the animal by focusing on the basic shapes that make up the image: Art Tutor – Drawing Using Basic Shapes

That’s it for this post. Follow my blog for more great resources as we dive into Week 2! Happy Learning.

6 comments

  1. Thank you for all of these ideas! I love so many of them. Through CC, you can get access to RightNow Media and the 10 Commandment DVDs mentioned are on there. I added them to my queue. Can’t wait to read your next blog!

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  2. So excited to find your blog!! I graduated my step-son from CC last year, and I am about to go through foundations with my little girl for the first time. I love all the idea. I especially love your geography on Seterra!!! Will you be doing that for all the weeks? Its great practice for me!!! Thanks so much and look forward to your blog posts!!! Are you going off the 5th edition guide?

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    • Rachel…thank you for your kind words! Yes, I am planning on making lesson plans/guides and Seterra maps for all the weeks of Cycle 1. I am working on the first post for Week 2 as we speak. And yes, I am using the 5th Edition. I would suggest clicking the button on the blog to “follow” so you don’t miss any new posts. Have a great day!

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