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CC Cycle 1 Week 9 Plan for Abecedarian Tutors

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Former abecedarian CC tutor (iijuan12), former history teacher, & currently a Christian homeschooling mama of 9 blessings

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 9 Abc Tutor Plan - Science Activity: Dissecting a Crayfish

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 9 Abc Tutor Plan - Science Activity: Dissecting a Crayfish

This is the plan I used while tutoring a Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 9 abecederian class. I have included all the subjects including new grammar, tin whistle, presentations, science, and review game. I also added my weekly parent email. This is not an official tutor plan. It's simply what I did. I'm sharing it so other tutors can use it as a springboard from which to plan your own lessons that are tailored to best meet the needs of your own class.


(Class set of trivium maps, dry erase markers, and small pieces of paper towels will already be at each seat.)

-Have the children use their dry erase markers to trace around the border of Africa and then erase them.
-Have the children put the caps on their markers and lay them down.
• Point out the locations on my map one by one. (I say, “Eyes and pointer fingers up” each time before I introduce the next location.) Each time have the children find the location on their maps using their fingers. They say the location, and I confirm, “Yes, that is…”. Repeat.
• Show me/Tell me the locations using a dry erase marker.
-Show me where [location] is. Put a dot on it. [Repeat this for each location.]
-Put the caps back on the markers, but don’t erase anything yet!
• Go through the locations with me while erasing locations one by one using the piece of paper towel. (Do them out of order.)
***Parent Helper: Collect markers and maps and return to tutor bag. Throw away paper towel pieces.***

  • (*At home we’ll be learning the locations using the songs & hand motions by CCHappyMom.)


(Ahead of time underline 8 words in the sentence on the board.)

  • Sing the history sentence while children listen.
  • Each child gets a turn erasing one of the underlined words. Then we sing it together after each time.


  • I chant while the children listen.
  • Let each child select an action craft stick. The class will do the action while we chant the prepositions. The action sticks include: spinning, hopping, while under the table, standing on one leg, standing on a chair, flapping your arms, marching in place, & while making a silly face.

(*At home we’ll be learning this using the hand motions from thomandjody. The slowed down version is below. The video at speed with the CD is at .)


  • Flash the cards, while singing card titles 1, 2, & 3, then 1-5 card titles, then 1-7 card titles.
  • Mix the cards up on the table. Have each pair of children get a turn trying to put the timeline cards in order on the table while we sing the song together slowly. (If you have a smaller class, you can let each child do it individually.)


  • I chant while children listen & watch me do the motions:

Roots – Stomp with feet

Stems - Arms and hands move straight up in front of body & up above your head

Leaves – Hands wide open, held out, and wiggle like leaves ("jazz hands")

  • Everyone chants with me & does the motions. Do it really slowly. Do it regular. Do it fast. Do it super fast. Do it super duper silly fast.


  • Hear me sing the 15s.
  • Touch Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes while singing together. Start slowly & go a little faster after each time.
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  • Use Latin Llama with a 4 birthday candle, llama puppet, a snake puppet with playing cards, & a moose puppet. On Llama Llama Latin Llama’s 4th birthday, she brought along her friend, “Oos the Moose,” to help celebrate! Latin Llama was excited to be able to introduce her to Puss in Boots! “Puss, this is Oos!” This helps us remember how the 4th declension noun endings sound! (I printed off this picture of a moose and taped it to a craft stick: .) (This idea is based on the stories by CCC user rtseely.)
  • Go through song and motions once.
  • When we do singular, we’ll use 4 fingers on one hand. When we do plural, we’ll use 4 fingers on both hands. I say and then kids repeat with song and motions after each one.
  • us: like puss so swipe your cheek like showing whiskers
    -us: like moose - fingers come out from head like moose antlers
    ui: like gooey - rub your fingers on your palm like you have something gooey on them---start from beginning of singular
    um: like a vacuum so push 2 fingers back and forth like vacuuming---start from beginning of singular
    u: like shoe – touch your shoe ---start from beginning of singular
    (3X and then sing “Singular Fourth Declension”)

    -us: like moose - use both hand to make moose antlers
    uum: like you’re grossed out by something (“eww”) in the room (“-oom”) – Hold up fingers in front of face with disgusted look on face
    ibus: like you’re driving a bus – pretend you’re moving the steering wheel ---start from beginning of plural
    -us: like moose - use both hand to make moose antlers ---start from beginning of plural
    ibus: like you’re driving a bus – pretend you’re moving the steering wheel ---start from beginning of plural
    (3X and then sing “Plural Fourth Declension)

    • Go through song and motions once.

I changed the ui sound to be like gooey, u sound to be like shoe, and uum to sound like eww and room.

Play Performance

  • Allow any children who practiced a song at home play it for us. (Each of my children wanted to stand in front of the class and play random puffs.)

Note Value & Staff

  • Quickly review dynamics.
  • Go through notes on note value & staff as directed from the Foundation Guide.

Time to Play

  • Now it’s time to play your tin whistles! Let children get tin whistles and return to the floor.
  • Review Rules: Tin whistles are sleeping. They are silent and still. If you move or touch your tin whistle when you're not supposed to be, your tin whistle will go to tin whistle time out. [Point to tin whistle jail drawn on the board.]
  • Teach Right Hand exercise from the Foundation Guide: When playing with the right hand, the left hand will play a G (first three holes closed). Allow children to try to cover the first 3 holes & blow to play a G. Were all the holes covered? Do you have finger warts?
  • Put tin whistles in chin position. Show how to finger an F# note. First do this in chin position & check finger positioning. Now try playing it. Were all the holes covered? F is lower in pitch than the G.
  • Return tin whistles to chin position. Show how to finger an E note. First do this in chin position & check finger positioning. Now try playing it. Were all the holes covered? E is lower in pitch than the F#.
  • Return tin whistles to chin position. First do this in chin position & check finger positioning. Now try playing it. Were all the holes covered? D is the lowest note on their tin whistle. All the finger holes must be completely covered.
  • Practice Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. If time allows, let each child play it alone.
  • Practice something at home to play for us next week!


  • Have children collect presentation items from the basket/table.
  • Remind that when someone else is talking, children should: Stop, Look, Listen.
  • Remind about presentations: 3-Second Rule - Count to 3 [silently in your mind] when beginning and ending. What is today’s focus? [Remember to raise your hand to answer.]
  • Each child gets 1 question token (a foam rectangle with their name written on it).
  • Have children go in alphabetical order. (We rotate each week.)
  • Next week's skill to work on: Eye Contact: Look listeners in the eye to show confidence and engage them.
  • Return presentation items to backpacks.

Bathroom Break & Snack Time

Pray. Bathroom break. Get snacks from snack basket and have snack while listening to memory work CD.

*Note: You don't need to dissect your crayfish. You could just have them sketch what they see on the outside. We dissected our crayfish, and my class loved it. Even the children who were initially squeamish were fascinated as soon as we started poking around the insides of the specimens.

  • Crayfish are arthropods coming from the same phyla as insects and spiders. Are arthropods vertebrates or invertebrates? (Invertebrates. They don’t have a backbone.) Who can name the majors groups of invertebrates?
  • All arthropods share some similarities including segmented bodies and hard exoskeletons.
  • Crayfish aren't picky at all. They eat about anything and especially love eating dead, decaying fish. They are aquatic, living in the water. They can be found in almost any fresh water source in the United States. Almost all of them are grown (70%) and eaten (90%) in Louisiana. Something neat to note is that they swim backward.

External anatomy

  • What do you notice about it? (Allow each child to share something.)
  • 6 inches long
  • Covered by a hard exoskeleton, like a suit of armor, to protect its soft internal organs. It is similar to a finger nail in that it will flex. It actually has to shed, or molt, as the crayfish gets bigger. What other animals shed their skin?
  • It's divided into segments. Let’s count how many segments it has. (6) The segmented body is characteristic of all arthropods. It's divided into 2 regions: the cephlothroax, which is divided into 2 regions, and the abdomen, which consists of all these smaller sections in the back.
  • You can also see a small indentation line that separates the head (cephalic) from the thorax, but they are not separate. There's just the line.
  • Huge claws called chelipeds. It has 2 that extend to the front of its body.
  • If you flip it over, you'll notice there are quite a few other appendages: several pairs of legs and another pair of feeding arms.
  • Arms are used to eat and pull food to the crayfish's mouth. They're located in between the large chelipid claws.
  • Below that are several pairs of legs. Let’s count the pairs. (Possibly 10. You might have some missing.) They are the walking legs.
  • Below that on the tail are small legs, swimmerets, which are like little paddles or oars, that help it move. It used this entire tail to force water backward, allowing it to swim backward. Female crayfish carry the eggs with their tiny swimmerets.
  • Toward the front at the mouth are 2 white jaws that help predigest the food. When you chew food, how does your mouth move? (Up and down.) The crayfish’s mouth moves from side to side. Using the two large claws, or chelipeds, and two small feeding appendages, or maxillipeds, the crayfish captures its prey, and passes the food to its mouth, where two jaws, or mandibles, crush the food by moving side to side.
  • It has eyes that project out from its head. The brain is just behind the eyes.
  • It has 2 pairs of antenna. The longer pair is called antenna while the shorter pair are antennules. These are the feelers. What are your five senses? What part of your body do you use for each sense? The long antennae allow the crayfish to touch and taste (and keep its balance). The shorter antennules allow the crayfish to touch, taste, and smell!

*Internal anatomy*

  • *Make 3 cuts through carapace, the top covering. We'll follow the oval shape that's already there. We'll also remove the exoskeleton near the head area. Remove the covering that goes over body and then head. [Scissors are recommended.]*
  • What do you notice?
  • What do we use to breathe? (noses, mouths, esophagus, lungs) One the sides of the crayfish are feathery things. They are gills, which is how they breathe. Water flows through the gills and releases carbon dioxide picks up oxygen. That’s how they can breathe under the water! Can you think of any other animal that uses gills to breathe? (fish) They are on either side. The crayfish has a strange way of breathing. He just walks! Since his gills are attached to his walking legs, they wave in the water as he walks along! The oxygen is absorbed by the blood vessels in the gills. What a clever Creator the crayfish has!
  • Most organs are found in the center. The largest is the stomach. It's just below the head. Inside the stomach are a second pair of teeth. They help to further digest the food.
  • Looking into the head you can see the brain. It’s right between the eyes. It is a small, white tissue area. Radiating out from it are numerous thread-like structures that are nerves. The nerves mostly run to the eyes and antennae.
  • To the right are green glands. They excrete waste. The crayfish excretes waste from the front of its body since it swims backward.
  • Going toward the back, you'll find nerves and the intestine. Cut open the tail to see the intestines. On top of the tail is the black line = intestine. Extending from the stomach toward the anus.
  • The tail is the part that is eaten. It is mainly muscle. It would be boiled or steamed. It is very muscular and flexes rapidly, allowing it to swim quickly.
  • Examine the claws: chelipeds. It's similar to a human arm. You have your forearm, wrist, and hand part. Cut just above wrist. If you look down you'll notice the muscles that attach the 2 parts of the pinchers. If you move the claws, you can see the muscles move inside. You might be able to grab the specimen tendons and move the claws to open and close them.

Bible Application from Ms. Whizzle:

  • God created the crayfish with a hard external skeleton. He gave it this armor to protect its body. When they are newly hatched, it is soft, but it hardens as they get older. Just like God has provided the crayfish with armor to protect itself, he has also given us armor to wear daily. The Bible tells us to put on the full armor of God daily to protect us from adversaries. Remember to always trust God in all areas of your life. God's armor brings victory because it is far more than a protective covering. It is the very life of Jesus Christ Himself. Ephesians 6:10 & 11: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Clean up:

  • Allow children to take home crayfish if they’d like.
  • *Wash hands if needed.*

What to notice outside (External Observation)

What you'll see inside (Internal Observation)

  • Geography Fast Review: Hand out maps to each child. Divide up children among you & the helping moms so that you are able to each check specific child and what they are pointing at. Call out the geography locations from weeks 3-9. Have children tell me or show me locations using their fingers.
  • Nerf Gun Review: Each child gets a turn selecting a subject (written on slips of paper in a bag). The child who pulled the paper answers that subject question from week 3. The next child answers that subject question from week 4, and then we move down the line until we get through week 9. Then everyone gets to head to the "Firing Range" to shoot 3 Nerf darts at the target drawn on the board. Then have the next child in line select a subject and repeat the process again.
  • Note: I always give children the option of reciting by themselves, reciting with a prompt from me, reciting with help from the entire class, or reciting with just me.

I am overjoyed that you are a part of our CC class this year, and that I get to partner with you in educating your precious families!

We'll be playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on our tin whistles at the Thanksgiving lunch. We'll be practicing it in class each week. If you’d like to have your child practice that song at home (or any other song) and play it for us in class, we’d love to hear it! At the beginning of tin whistle time each week, each child has an opportunity to perform a song they learned at home if they would like to play it for us.

Would you like a little bit extra? Each week my family enjoys reading books, doing activities, and watching YouTube video clips related to our new grammar. Memorizing the CC grammar is completely sufficient, but if you’d like to add a bit more, here is what my family has enjoyed reading, doing, & watching related to the history sentence: History Morning Basket & Activities: Lao-Tzu and Confucius in China.

This week I will be praying for each of your children. My prayer is that through our time at CC, God will teach them perseverance in all they do so that they can “run with perseverance the race marked out for [them].” (Hebrews 12:1)

Writing our names in Chinese characters on "bamboo" slips made from a craft/popsicle sticks was one of the activities related to Lao-Tzu and Confucius we did during our History Morning Basket & Activities time.

Writing our names in Chinese characters on "bamboo" slips made from a craft/popsicle sticks was one of the activities related to Lao-Tzu and Confucius we did during our History Morning Basket & Activities time.

© 2018 Shannon

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