Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Top 12 Things We Are Loving on CC Connected Right Now

If you’ve been participating in Classical Conversations for any length of time, I’m sure that you’ve heard the term “CC Connected” thrown around. CC Connected is a wonderful resource where fellow parents can upload resources they have created and share with others.

(And I will confess, it’s not the easiest thing to first figure out. Check out my popular tutorial on how to navigate CC Connected, as well as tips on how to organize the files you download.)

It feels like there are bazillions of files on CC Connected… and not every item on there is necessarily the best fit for your family. Personally, we love CC’s Stick in the Sand philosophy: keep it simple. And even with a simple-motto, there are glorious gems to be found.

  • BTW – for legality purposes, I cannot provide links to the files themselves, but I can share a few photos and I will underline all usernames so you can retrieve the files for yourself.
  •  Most of the items I am highlighting can be found across multiple cycles. When I wrote this post, I was originally focusing on Cycle 1.

Here are the Top 10 Favorite Things we are loving from CC Connected right now: 

1. Songs. This is perhaps the best-known feature on CC Connected. You can find some FANTASTIC songs centered around the memory work. After awhile, you’ll figure out which usernames are your “golden standards” and favorites. Right now, we are loving anything by marykbry (especially all her science songs and second-semester math songs) and lbbcyouthpastor. Additionally, we use the same songs campus-wide for English.
            -Prepositions: tbrowne
            -Helping Verbs: sing4jy
            -Linking Verbs: thjonkers

You can no longer find official CC songs on CC Connected for download, but you can purchase the CDs for your own personal use. Latin, History, and Timeline all have songs on the Cycle CD.
CC Username: melodystroud
2. Memory Work Flip Books. These flip books by melodystroud and keppel are literally my salvation. I keep one in my car, one in my tutor bag, and one with our homeschool collection. All the memory work for the whole year is formatted beautifully into a single 4x6 page that you can print and stick in a 4x6 album, like found at the Dollar Tree. My kids love flipping through them and they are my #1 indispensable tutoring tool, making review time a snap.
CC Username: TierneyTribe
3. Geography Flip Books. Of course, no memory work is complete without geography. Thankfully, tierneytribe has completed some GORGEOUS maps that are both easy-to-read and wonderful for geography. She does a great job zooming in on difficult places so you can see exactly what you are supposed to find. And, yep. These are designed to fit in your 4x6 memory books. LOVE THEM!

4. Geography Hand Outs. Well, tierneytribe really is my geography hero. In addition to her 4x6 flipbook maps, she has some excellent 8.5x11 maps that you can print in either color OR black and white and have your student color them in. Love. Them. So. Much. Don’t forget, you can also print the official CC maps, too. Look for uploads by fmoderator1.
CC Username: tara504
5. Science Pictures. Although CC makes their own science flash cards, I find the pictures to be… not very helpful. However, tara504 has created some beautiful handouts that you can use to help explain each item on the science memory work. In some cycles, she even gives a small explanation as to what each item is. One can simply look at the page, or write in an answer, or cut and paste. Lots of options.

6. Science Snippets. If you haven’t seen the back of science flash cards produced by CC, you should check them out. They are extremely helpful. Or you can find them uploaded by fmoderator1 in an easy-to-print document.

7. History Highlights. Similar to the Science Snippets, you can find a full page explanation of each weekly history sentence uploaded by fmoderator1. This Wikipedia-style document may be over the head of some younger kids, but it is great for explaining more detail to parents.

8. History Strips. If you’re looking for a way to shake up the (very long) history sentences, TammyOostdyk has some history strips that are just brilliant. Print the document, cut into strips, and have your kids arrange in proper order. I love that this requires very little printer ink.

9. Timeline Hand Motions. While I studied American Sign Language in high school, understanding the CC Hand Motions is a little beyond me – especially because not every sign is actual ASL. If you want step-by-step instruction broken down weekly, rafikipaka is your gal. She demonstrates and explains in wonderful videos. NOTE: Hand motions are NOT mandated by CC, nor do they have to be standard. If your community does something different, great. Hand motions are purely optional. NOTE: CC Connected Moderators have since removed rafikipaka's videos, which makes me very very sad. You can find a printable description of the timeline hand motions under fmoderator1.

10. Timeline Tidbits. Well, this may be at the risk of tooting my own horn. On the back of the Timeline cards is a whole host of information about each fact. But I found my young kids’ eyes glossing over when I read it to them. Using my background and degree in history, I used the Timeline Cards (and several other sources) to write simple explanations of the Timeline Cards for younger students. Look for my Timeline Tidbits under my username, bentkitchen.

(Looking for a way to create your own portable Timeline Cards? Check out my tutorial.)

11. Printable Posters and Placemats. If you’re a visually-based person, there are all sorts of gorgeous printables people have made. Perhaps my most favorite are the ones by otanna, who puts all the science (or history, or geography) for the semester on one large document that you can make into a poster or placemat. Granted, we have yet to actually print ours. But I think it is a really cool idea. :)
CC Username: SherriEllis

12. Notebooking Pages. Okay, I just have to confess something. THESE PAGES ARE ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. And they are free (with CC Connected membership, of course). SherriEllis has done the CC community an amazing service in creating these notebooking pages. You can find more explanation on her blog. She has each notebooking project broken down by subject (history, English, science, etc) and then divided into skill-appropriate categories based on your needs. There is literally something for everyone here. 

We printed off a large binder before the year began, and you should see how awesome it is. If you can only get TWO things from CC Connected, I would get the flipbooks and these notebooking pages. Because they are. that. awesome.

Got any other favorites from CC Connected? Share them in the comments below!

How To Make Your Own Portable CC Timeline Cards {Tutorial}

There are so many things that I love about Classical Conversations, and one of the things that ranks right up there is the amazing Timeline. Not only is the song super-catchy and well done, but there are hand motions and Timeline cards to assist in learning.

While the Timeline cards aren’t the cheapest item on the planet, I do believe they are worth every penny. They are prized possessions in our household, with beautiful illustrations and a wonderful hand-feel. You might say the quality of the product just inspires reverence and delight in the hands of the user.


I also live in a home with little people. Who do not quite understand the cost-value of said Timeline cards and who aren’t necessarily as gentle with the 160+ cards.

You might say I’m a little possessive of my Timeline cards... and I know I’m not alone.

We actually purchased our set used, and they already came with holes punched and on a GIANT o-ring. I love it. We actually store ours in a container designed to hold deviled eggs. (You can find them at your local grocery store for cheaper.)

How We Store Timeline Cards in a Deviled Egg Container.

I’ve seen some people do the cards-in-small-plastic-sleeves-in-binders option as well.

But I wanted to something that I could hand to my three-year-old and not have any fears or worries about what might happen to the product. And also something a little more portable than the giganticus stack of Timeline cards.

And so, I give you my tutorial to make your own portable Timeline cards.

Now, there’s a few things I need to be clear about up front first:

1. My mom is a nationally-published author of several books. I have seen first-hand the pride an author takes in their work -- and their frustrations when they feel their work has been impinged upon. Therefore:

2. I am a big, big fan of supporting copyright laws. This tutorial does NOT exist to tell you how to shirk the system. And I will not be breaking copyright laws and handing them to you. You have to do your own work.

3. You must have a paid subscription to CC Connected for this to work. And, for legality sake, you should purchase your own Timeline cards as well.

4. Feel free to share this post with friends who may want to create their own Timeline cards. But, please. Respect Classical Conversations AND copyright laws. Do not share your files. It may seem innocent, but it is really just plain old stealing.

So, we good? Excellent.

How To Make Your Own Portable Timeline Cards

1. Log in to CC Connected. It's actually not as direct as it sounds. If you’re not sure how to make this happen or need step-by-step instructions, check out my popular tutorial.

2. Instead of selecting Fileshare or Forum, click on the lowest link: Student Tutorials.

3. When you get inside the Student Tutorials, you will see a screen to select which cycle you would like to view. The Timeline cards repeat every year, which is wonderful! However, the three cycle presentations of the Timeline actually do NOT look the same. Personally, I preferred the look of the Cycle 3 Timeline tutorial, so that’s what I went with. 

4. Click on your preferred cycle. Select the Timeline Tutorial.

5. The Timeline cards will pop up one at a time. Wait for them all to appear on the screen, pause the tutorial, and then take a screen shot. (Not sure how to take a screen shot? Don’t worry. Google how to do it on your device. You can even take screenshots on iPads.)

6. Print your Timeline screenshots on white cardstock and then run through a laminator. There will be 24 pages total.

7. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top corner and connect with a ring, if you so desire.

And there you have it. Portable Timeline Card Photos for your family to enjoy, slobber on, mangle, and squish to their heart’s content. And they fit in a backpack SO much easier than the big stack.

Bonus Tip

If you look at the back of the original Timeline cards, you’ll see a whole bunch of information that explain what that Timeline fact is all about. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to explain the Timeline cards to younger children, check out my Timeline Tidbits by bentkitchen on CC Connected.