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.

1 comment:

  1. Bismillaah

    As Salaamu Alaikum

    I'm reading through this site- I hope to better how I do lesson plans and gain some knowledge on how to use Islaam through all subjects- Math, Science/Nature- so Baraka'Allaahu'Feekum for the help :)