Saturday, July 24, 2010

Next book in the Prophets Sent by Allah Series: Musa (alayhi salam)

Assalamu alaikum,

The next book I'd like to do a lesson plan for in the Prophets sent by Allah Series is the book about Prophet Musa (alayhi salam).

Right now I'm introducing the Arabic alphabet but I know that many of your children are past this stage alhamdulillah so I wanted to collaborate with you all to see what you would like to see so I can possibly make the lesson plan multi-age appropriate insha'Allah.

Please leave a comment if there are certain aspects you'd like to see covered in this lesson plan insha'Allah, and/or you have ideas you'd like to share with others insha'Allah. I'll be sure to list where each idea came from insha'Allah (and link to your blog if you have one). I will also try to make as many of the activities (files) as I can, black and white *smile*.

Jazakum Allahu Khayran

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Storytime: One Watermelon Seed

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read One Watermelon Seed by Celia Barker Lottridge

This is a counting book that has beautiful, vibrant pictures of a garden and all that is grown there. The story is about a brother and sister who grow a garden in their backyard. The seeds they grow and the number of seeds is presented in simple text accompanied by colourful numbers. When I read the book I changed the characters name to Muslim names and we enjoyed the book more than once.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Storytime: Freight Train

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read Frieght Train by Donald Crews

I was surprised how well this book was received on the first read. I was asked to read it five or six times in a row subhana'Allah! The text is simple and the illustrations are colourful.

The story is about the parts of a freight train - the box cars names and the engine- the author then describes the freight train's movement in short sentences. Simple. Subtle. A toddler hit alhamdulillah.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos

Assalamu alaikum,

This is a book I'm happily enjoying right now alhamdulillah.

This book is small, square and one I am so glad that I bought alhamdulillah. Full of useful tips to help parents, teachers, grandparents, and caregivers, choose books for babies, toddlers and twos; know what to expect at each developmental stage when reading aloud to a child (i.e. will the book be sucked on, thrown, or torn, etc.) and of course, the wonderful benefits of reading to your child are abundant and well placed throughout the book. The book also features small snippets of other parents' adventures when reading to their child (it helps to know that you're not the only parent who has had a child crawl (or walk) away right in the middle of a read aloud! *smile*).

The book has one feature that I really like: it helps parents recognize patterns in the types of books their child likes. For instance, they suggest that you ask yourself, "Do the books that my child likes all have bold or subtle illustrations?", "Do the characters talk?", and several other probing questions that help you see beyond the immediately noticeable similarities and help you see what your baby might be seeing in each book that makes it his/her favourite book to be read aloud.

I think this would make a nice gift for a sister who is expecting (that way she has time to read it insha'Allah, before baby This was another bargain that I found and I hope that you will be able to find it in your local library insha'Allah.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Raising Children in Light of the Quran and Sunnah

Assalamu aliakum,

In my book basket this week is a book small in size but heavy in its content.

From the publisher: Although short in size, this book offers a wealth of beneficial advice and guidelines on raising children in Islaam starting from the age of infancy to the years of adolescence. Therefore you will find covered in this treatise issues relating to a child before he is born, at the time of his delivery and during his youth and pre-teen years.

The author presents the material in an easy to follow format employing evidences from the Qur’aan and Sunnah as well as personal suggestions and comments.

In these present times when Muslims are increasing in the West in vast numbers, a book like this is necessary in order to deal with the many issues and questions that arise amongst families trying to raise their children in a correct and proper Islamic manner.

About the Author:

‘Abdus-Salaam bin ‘Abdillaah As-Sulaymaan is one of the students of knowledge in Saudi Arabia who has done a great amount of work in transcribing many of Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan’s lectures and lessons for their publication in book format. He has also authored some works on his own, this present book being a prime example, which Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan has reviewed and approved of, may Allaah preserve them both.

You can buy this beneficial book here insha'Allah.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Storytime: My Librarian is a Camel!

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs 

This book is intended for children in grades 3-5 however we enjoyed the book simply by telling the story based on the pictures. I checked this book out because of the camels in the story of Prophet Hud (alayhi salam). I used this book as an extension to teach a bit more about camels and also link to a topic very familiar here...the library. I wanted to invite an exploration of the various ways goods are delivered to people. In the story of the Prophet Hud, for example, it mentions that the people of 'Aad traded with caravans and were very rich but lost sight of where the blessings came from which led to their destruction. In this book, children see how a different type of item is delivered to people: books.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Preschool Lesson Planning for Muslim Homeschoolers (Part 2) - The Lesson Plan

Assalamu alaikum,

I was asked to do a sample lesson plan that provides ideas of how to incorporate Islam throughout the curriculum for preschool age children insha'Allah. This lesson plan is a sample that is meant to provide an idea of how a day in preschool might look.

For this lesson plan I used the story of Prophet Hud (alayhi salam), published by Dar-us-Salam.

I designed just a few resources to illustrate certain parts of the lesson plan. I left the lesson plan somewhat general to give parents the choice to choose what they wish to teach if they use this guide insha'Allah. Here is a sample of some of the activities insha'Allah:

Pictured is a puzzle where children are invited to put Prophet Hud's name in the right order (spelling) and the back of the puzzle has a picture of a caravan when put together correctly. There are also cards that show sand dunes and children are invited to complete the pattern (i.e. which picture would come next in the pattern). Also pictured are camel number cards where children are invited to make a caravan by correctly lining up the camels from 1 to 10 insha'Allah. There are other activities that are not pictured and these are all provided to give you an idea of how you can bring this story to life in a preschool classroom insha'Allah.

Before continuing insha'Allah, I'd like to mention a few words about Circle Time, what is accomplished/ taught in circle time, its importance and benefits insha'Allah.

Circle Time: This is a time that has proven to be very effective in setting the mood for the day in a preschool setting. Circle time can be implemented in a homeschool setting to achieve the same goal. What does circle time accomplish? Circle time allows children to settle in to their day/routine and lets them know what their day will be like insha'Allah. From this vital few moments, children know what to expect in their day. For preschool aged children this knowledge is emotionally important for them. It contributes to their sense of security knowing that the events of the day, as much as humanly possible, are not going to be random and unpredictable insha'Allah. During Circle Time, there is a lot of learning taking place. This is the time when a parent/teacher teaches about weather, the passage of time (days of the week, the months of the year, etc.) and takes time to point out important events that may be forthcoming or have passed (i.e. Ramadan will be in x number of days insha'Allah). For Muslims, circle time can be a platform to teach adthkar as-saba (morning supplications), the dua that we say when we conclude a gathering, and the greeting of salam, for example. Circle time is also a time when parents/teachers can teach social values (i.e. taking turns, saying jazakum Allahu khayr, speaking good words, etc.) and help children learn how to deal with their emotions in an appropriate way insha'Allah. Short stories are also told that are directly related to the learning that will occur in class that day insha'Allah. Lastly, circle time is a time when parents/teachers teach children how to transition from one activity to another in an orderly, organized fashion insha'Allah.

The remainder of the lesson plan is straight forward and very familiar insha'Allah. Quran memorization is included, storytime (I suggested a few books that can be read each day that directly relate to the story of 'Aad, the people that Allah sent Prophet Hud to), math activities and some suggested literacy activities for the letter 'ha'.

For art activities (not listed in the lesson plan), you may wish to try the following ideas insha'Allah:

- Give children leaf cut outs and invite them to colour/paint/decorate them. Attached the completed leaves to a yarn vine around the classroom insha'Allah.
- Invite children to design a desert scene using paint, sandpaper (the sand), construction paper (for palm trees) and hang the completed pictures up for display insha'Allah.
- Invite children to use play-doe to make the letter 'ha' (this is excellent fine motor skill work).

If you have ideas that you would like to contribute to this lesson plan please do leave a comment and if you'd like to have the file of an activity you've done shared, please email me insha'Allah, as I would like that we share ideas that may be of benefit to each other insha'Allah. I wish I had more time to design different activities but insha'Allah, perhaps I may have an opportunity to update this post with other ideas before or after Ramadan.

Here are the files for this lesson plan (they are very simple activities for pre-school that can be easily done to your specifications but you are welcome to use these insha'Allah):

Prophet Hud Story Arabic Words Worksheets (pages 1 & 2) - these files are too large/heavy and I'm having trouble uploading them...please check back...jazakum Allahu khayran.
Prophet Hud Story Arabic Words Worksheets (pages 3 & 4) - these files are too large/heavy and I'm having trouble uploading them...please check back...jazakum Allahu khayran.

Literacy Activity Ideas for the Alphabet

Assalamu aliakum,

From my classroom resource library: here is a book that will help parents plan fun activities for the alphabet insha'Allah. This is a teacher resource that can make the transition to a homeschool with very little effort insha'Allah as the ideas can be used outside of circle time without taking away from the impact, fun, or goal of the activity. The activity ideas provided in Literacy Activities for Circle Time: Alphabet can easily be adjusted to the Arabic alphabet insha'Allah, and those who may not have access to purchase this book through the mail can purchase and download the ebook online insha'Allah!

As you begin planning your literacy curriculum for next year, this book may prove to be very helpful and take hours off of your lesson planning time insha'Allah. But I must tell you that there are some activities that suggest the use of food in a manner that is wasteful and thus not permissible in Islam. As always...skip those parts and benefit from the various other activities provided insha'Allah. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Storytime: The Story of Prophet Hud (alayhi salam)

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read The Story of Prophet Hud (alayhi salam)

To be honest with you, I have heard parents/teaches express concern about the text level of this series (and a few other aspect of the series). This led me to explore a way to make the story enjoyable for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners. After having read the story, I honestly do not feel that the text level is inappropriate for toddlers, preschoolers or kindergarteners if the stories are being read aloud. In fact, when the storyteller (i.e. parent/teacher) varies his/her tone, pitch, etc. while reading, I think the stories can be easily enjoyed by young children. I am in agreement with sister Saara about the illustrations in Islamic children's books. You can read more about that here on her blog insha'Allah. This is just my opinion and of course waallahu alim. 

The story of Hud (alayhi salam) is also the story/book that I will be using for the preschool lesson plan I intend to post here in a few days biithnillah. I'm working on various activities to supplement the book insha'Allah, and I'm working on circle time activities and art activities as well insha'Allah.

This book can be purchased world-wide in Islamic bookstores or directly from Dar-us-Salam insha'Allah.

Please check back in a few days and insha'Allah, I'll have the lesson plan (preschool) posted.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Storytime: Lemons Are Not Red

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

This is a book that is an excellent tool to use to teach the colours. I'm trying to think of how to adequately describe how the book is designed. Let's try this: the child is presented with a page that has a cut out of a shape, animal, or other object. The background (which is the next page of the book) is the wrong colour for the object cut out being shown. For example, the first page says, "Lemons are not red" and then you turn the page and it tells the child that something else is red and it shows the picture of what is red.

The illustrations are beautifully done so this helps keep the child interested in the story and the short text supports independent reading for children in Kindergarten and grade 1 insha'Allah. This story can be read to newborns as well as toddlers, kindergarteners and grade 1 students. The copy I have now is from the library but I will be hoping over to to get a copy of my own insha'Allah. I think over the weekend insha'Allah, I'll put together an activity to go along with this book and I'll post that on A Musilm Child is Born biithnillah.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Preschool Lesson Planning for Muslim Homeschoolers (Part 1)

Assalamu alaikum,

This is part one of a two part post that will look at writing effective, Islamic lesson plans for the preschool level.

There is an aspect of homeschooling that is critical to the direction a day of learning takes: a lesson plan. Admittedly, lesson plans are not quick, easy documents that you can whip up in a few minutes; they take time, consideration, research, and preparation. But without a lesson plan, the chances of the lesson ending in frustration (for teacher and child) increase drastically.

In my classroom, I cannot imagine arriving without a plan of what I hope to accomplish with the children, the manner in which I will present the information, the materials and resources I will need to insure that each student is successful at gaining understanding (and eventually mastery) of the material presented, and having a clear idea of how much time will be needed to present the lesson. On the rare occasions that I did not have a lesson plan, I did not feel that I was giving the students their rights. Islamically, the children in my class (and your children), are an amana (a trust). As a teacher, you must ensure that you have done all that you are capable of doing to make sure you have given the children their rights. Quality education is one of the rights of our children.

In a homeschooling environment, there exists a certain degree of flexibility that cannot and does not exist in a classroom setting (one of the perks of homeschooling *smile*). Your lesson plan must still be present but the ebb and flow of your homeschooling day will look very different than that of a classroom.

I would like to share some tips for writing an effective lesson plan for the preschool environment. Keep in mind that while this lesson plan is geared toward preschool, the general guidelines for writing the lesson plan apply to all grades. The lesson plan I will present after the guidelines for writing a lesson plan, is concerned with several factors: 1). Successfully integrating Islamic principles throughout the lesson/day 2). Meeting and/or exceeding your provincial (or state) standards that are outlined in the curriculum 3). Accurately assessing that the student (your child) has learned what you intended for him/her to learn in the lesson.

Following are some guidelines that will help in writing an effective lesson plan insha'Allah:
  1. The first thing to remember and include when planning a lesson is to look at your provincial (or state) curriculum. Make sure that you understand what your province (or state) requires be covered in a school year. Some provinces/states require homeschooling families to maintain records that document that the child(ren) are learning what children at their age/grade level are expected to know.
  2. Once you've decided your topic for a particular lesson, decide on your lesson objective. Simply put, what do you expect your child to be able to do by the end of the lesson. You will have in your mind certain tasks that, by the end of the lesson, you will ask your child(ren) to demonstrate in order to assess their proficiency with the task(s) insha'Allah. For example, if you are doing a lesson on Prophet Adam (alayhi salam), you may have objectives like 1). Student will be able to spell Prophet Adam's name correctly using Arabic letter pieces 2). Students will know that Adam is the first prophet that Allah sent to mankind and verbalize this when asked 3). Students will re-tell the story of how Adam was tricked by Shaytaan and made to leave jannah because of a mistake that shaytaan made him commit, etc. Try to make your objectives direct and clear. To help you do this, ask yourself the following questions: What will your child do in the lesson? How will he/she do this?
  3. If your topic/lesson is not directly Islamic (i.e. salat, Ramadan, Hajj, etc.) decide how and where you can incorporate Islam in the lesson. If you're lesson is on trees, how will you connect tawheed to this lesson? How can you include ahadith in this lesson?
  4. Decide/list and gather the materials you will need to teach the material. Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time insha'Allah. You do not wish to deflate a student's enthusiasm by discovering that, after getting the student excited about the topic, you do not have everything you need to do the activity.
  5. The next step is deciding how you will introduce your lesson insha'Allah. Will you ask questions to draw on students' prior knowledge? Will you have a picture on the board/wall related to the lesson and ask students to describe what they see and lead into your lesson that way? Will you have an object that students will be asked to hold, smell, describe, etc. Your goal is to spark you child's interest. You want your child to wonder, imagine and want to know more about the topic insha'Allah.
  6. Now comes the part of a lesson plan that is involved: writing the procedure. How are you going to teach the lesson? What will you do exactly? What techniques will you use to teach the material? Reading a picture book? An experiment? Learning centres with activities related to the lesson? Also, include ways that you will measure the students comprehension during the lesson. Will you walk around and peep over students shoulders? Will you mini-conference with students as they write in their journals to see how it's going? How will you know that a child is on the right track or not?
  7. Decide how you will allow your child to practice what they've just learned. Will you use a review sheet? A quick game? Will you assign homework (at the preschool level I do not encourage this - every once in a while but use sparingly insha'Allah)?
  8. Determine how you will close the lesson. How will you review the key points of the lesson with your child(ren). How will the child communicate to you what he/she took away from the lesson (i.e. learned from the lesson)?
  9. Lastly, how will you assess that the child(ren) understood and successfully grasped what you intended to teach? This is an important aspect that is not to be left out insha'Allah. Here, a teacher sees where students struggled, where more teaching is needed or where more practice with the material may be helpful, etc.
In my next post insha'Allah, I will post a preschool lesson plan that incorporates the aspects listed above. I invite you all to submit a lesson plan that you feel is effective and well-written (past or present) so that others may benefit from the knowledge you have to share insha'Allah. Additionally, you may find this lesson planning guide helpful insha'Allah.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Storytime: Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read, Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek, by Minfong Ho

Oh! This is a very cute story! The father in the story pretends to ask each animal he encounters if they have seen his daughter who is hiding. In the story there is one word, "Jut-ay" (pronounced as "Shut" and "A" in ABC) that begins each sentence where the father asks an animal if it has seen his daughter. From what I could discover, Jut-Ay means morning has come in Thai. The story has a flowing rhyme that is playful and bouncy, making it fun to read aloud.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Storytime: One Beautiful Baby

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read, One Beautiful Baby by Martine Oborne

This is a counting story that is nice for young infants and toddlers. From the first page the story begins, "take one sweet smile", and from then on, on the pages that follow, each item increases by one so that by the end of the story the child has counted to ten. The last line of the story asks what you get when you add all of those things up and the answer is: One Beautiful Baby!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Storytime: Book!

Assalamu alaikum,

Today we read, Book! by Kristine O'Connell George

A just right book for the child who loves books! Book! tells the story of a child's joyful reception of a new book that he receives as a gift. The little boy reads it to his cat, takes the book to his secret hiding spot and lots of many other endearing gestures are shown toward his new book. The story is short and rhymes and has playful illustrations. And after I finished typing this post I had to come back to update it because I stumbled across the author's webpage where she reads the story aloud. *Note: I've not read any other book by this author. Please note that I do not know if her other titles are Islamically appropriate*

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reading With Your Young Child

Assalamu alaikum,

This book, Reading With Your Young Child, was one of several books put into my hand by the local librarian.

The book covers ages 0-5. Although many of the books recommended by the authors are not Islamically appropriate (but there are some that are appropriate alhamdulillah), the authors provide suggestions about how to choose books for your child, how to enrich your reading time with your child, ways to build literacy and language skills, when and where to read to your child as they grow, and lots more! A great guide to helping you make the most out of your read aloud time with your child insha'Allah. Also, you can easily implement many of the strategies outlined in the book when reading the Quran aloud to your child insha'Allah.