Alhamdulillah, following on from the success of last year’s Hajj Activity Day, we had the opportunity to go in to our children’s school again – this time to share the month of Ramadan with them!
Each class came into the hall and we had about 35 minutes with them. After a quick introduction to how Muslims greet each other, we introduced the notion of the month of Ramadan being an Islamic month (it’s not one of the 12 months they know about) and that it’s a month of fasting. The children were asked if they knew other religions that fasted (yes, they do!), and were told that they would be learning all about how Muslims fast. The children were divided into groups of five/six and went off to different stations around the hall!
Each one got their Ramadan Activity Day station card represented by the different stages of the moon. Once all stations were stamped, the month would be over and it would be time for Eid!
The stations were as follows:
Lunar Calendar and Moon Phases:
Here the children were first introduced to a calendar which follows the moon rather than the sun, and therefore how it changes over the years. They were introduced to the fact that some other religions also follow the lunar calendar, and then as a group, they went through the moon phases, and then were given the task of arranging pre-cut moon phase shapes into order. An added challenge for Key Stage 2 (but many from Key Stage 1 were also able!) was to label the phases too!
Fasting from dawn till dusk:
Here the children learnt about the timings of the fast, and that no, we don’t starve for 30 days on the trot! The younger began by discussing the times they woke up, went to school, went to bed, etc – and were encouraged to stick relevant pictures on to the clock faces and try to set the clocks themselves if they were able. They then discussed how Muslims don’t eat from sunrise to sunset, and older children were shown how this varies across the globe, and across different years. They had a fact sheet to look at about the different hours of fasting around the world!
At dusk, we break our fast with dates – the children were shown a plate of dates and explained how this was a constant, and why it was recommended. This station had an amazing display of pictures of people in different countries breaking their fast with different spreads – the children then had to go around the spot the dates and circle it in each different picture!
The Holy Qur’an:
At this station, the children learnt that one of the reasons Ramadan is so special is because the Holy Quran was revealed in it! The Holy Quran was likened to the Holy books they may have heard of, such as the Bible. They had an opportunity to look at a Quran and also listen to the recitation on some iPads and then share how they felt – some of the feedback was amazing on this: “When I listen to the Quran it feels like it’s taking all my troubles away.” Many said they found it soothing and calming, and they often didn’t want to stop!
To introduce them to the content of the Quran, we made some simple booklets which they were briefly explained, and then had the opportunity to look into themselves. These were – Science in the Quran, Morals in the Quran (e.g. respecting elders and teachers, being nice, smiling) and Stories of Prophets from the Quran.
We invited a calligraphy artist to come into school for this program! The art of calligraphy was introduced, and the fact that it was most often done from verses in the Holy Quran. Lots of pictures were up on display for them to see the different recognisable shapes that could be made up by calligraphy, such as animals and fruits. The artist then sketched their names in Arabic in pencil, and the children traced over this with calligraphy markers, learning how to manoeuvre the pens, and make the diamond dots. This (and listening to the Quran) was by far one of the most popular activities of the day!
Fasting with the whole body:
There were two parts to this station. Firstly, they looked at how fasting is good for the body and how it affects us positively. Secondly, they looked at how fasting is not just about eating or drinking, but how we need to fast with our whole bodies (e.g. not hitting with hands). On post-it notes, children wrote how they thought fasting was done with a certain part of the body and then stuck it on a life-sized body chart.
A letter to the parents had gone out, requesting certain food items to be brought in for this day. When the children came to this station, they discussed the concept of charity and that so many in this world don’t have enough, even in the UK today. They talked about food banks and what they do, and how fasting helps us empathise more with those that don’t have enough food. They were also made to think about the fact that as well as handouts, many people who are suffering also just want to know that people remember them and are thinking about them, and so they wrote out little messages to the recipients of the food and stuck these on to the food items.
Once all the stations were completed, it was time for EID:
At this station, they talked about how Eid is a celebration – not because we don’t have to fast anymore, but because of the fact that after this month, we are hopefully better people! They discussed what people wear and do on this day, such as visit the mosque, visit family and exchange presents, and then were given a treat that they got to pick out from a Lucky Dip box.
Once this was all done, they had an opportunity to write their thoughts down. It was amazing to read their reflections!
We finally gathered them together and left them with this thought – once the month is over, it doesn’t mean we go back to all of our bad habits. Ramadan is like intense training that we go through, to serve us for the year ahead. Just like when people want to be a fire-fighter, police, etc – they go through such intense training to make sure that when a real fire/situation arises, they are ready to deal with it. With that final thought, we got a resounding THANK YOU before they went back to their classes with their hands full 🙂
Alhamdulillah, the staff were really appreciative of this day – they felt like they learnt a lot too, and that the children could relate so well to all of the activities. Parents were also invited in at one point to have a look which they enjoyed also. Inshallah with steps like these, we can try to prevent the prejudices that arise in society today due to lack of knowledge!
There is no stopping children with a passion. I love this! They haven’t let their situation stop them. May their voice be heard far and wide and bring about change, Inshallah.
WoW! Show your teens this – we don’t need to change our values to fit in – being true to ourselves and our faith can get us just as far, if not further!
“When the high school senior found out that she had been nominated for prom queen, she was more worried about getting permission to attend than wondering about winning.
Prom queens, she reasoned, are usually the most popular girls in school, the cheerleaders, the student government officials, the kids who go to the parties.
But her friends were determined to get her the crown.
They each wore a hijab to show their support for Zarifeh, who has covered her hair throughout her high school years. On the morning of the school vote, they huddled together to pass out dozens of colorful scarves. A few held balloons printed with “Don’t be a baddie, vote for the hijabi.” Among the more than 2,000 students at the school, just four girls typically wear the head covering.”
Read the full article here: http://nyti.ms/1N7MQgg
On Tuesday the 22nd of March we held an event for the under 4’s on Quran teachings. This first session was teaching them about Animals in the Quran.
MashAllah we had a great number of children sign up for the event.
We began by singing our salaam alaikum song, and then introducing our Amina and Yousuf dolls. Yousuf told the children that he was going to sing them a song and they had to guess what the topic of the day was. We all sang Old Mc’Donald and the children guessed we were talking about animals.
Next we did circle time where the kids had to sing “what’s in my bag’ and a few lucky children got to come up and pick from the bag. Inside they found different animals mentioned in the Quran! Whales, cows, horse, pig, spider, elephant etc. We made the animal sounds and learned the Arabic names for the animals.
To get the children moving, we did a little physical dance where the children got up and acted like the animals through song – they loved this!
After that we broke for our arts and crafts activity. The children used all the crafts they were given to create either a whale, ant or elephant paper plate. They came up with some super art work.
To end it all we read a story on animals in the Quran and sang our fiaminallah song.
The children seemed to really enjoy the session and learned a lot.
To view the pictures, see: http://childrensislamiclibrary.com/photo_gallery_view.php?id=30
The Children’s Islamic Library held a Science and Islam day for children ages 7 and older. Alhamd we had a full turn out (due to space issues it was capped at 20) – and they had a busy 2 hours of fun and learning!
It began with them forming into teams, which were named after famous Muslim scientists. They then each received a pack of miscellaneous information on these scientists which they had to order and match. The focus was then on one of these scientists in particular – Abbas ibn Firnas, the first man to try to fly. After discussing more about him, the children then went on to try and create their own flying machines – made out of recyclable material.
The teams each presented their gliders to the group, explaining why they had chosen to make what they had, and were peer-marked on them, including appearance – I loved the finishing touches they put on! Now came the test! To see whether it would fly, they dropped their gliders from a height – each flight was timed, and points given to the teams accordingly. We even had one fly all the way to the end of the next door neighbour’s garden!
After a snack, the day was topped off with a science quiz, where the children answered Islamic and general knowledge questions on science – it was very interactive with them having to physically demonstrate some answers, as well as solve some anagrams to get to the right answer. These were totalled up and the winners announced! They were all winners, in my opinion!
A special thanks to the lead organizer who volunteered her time and energy to plan this Science and Islam day!
P.S. For pictures, pls see: http://childrensislamiclibrary.com/photo_gallery_view.php?id=34
For the lesson plan, activity sheet and quiz, pls see: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12898635/Muslim%20Scientists%20in%20Islam.docx
As seen on Facebook via Graciela Moreno Abc30:
“Yesterday, we were working on a story about a 9-year old boy being bullied at school for using a My Little Pony backpack. The school responded by telling the li…ttle boy to leave his bag at home… a move that seems to punish the little boy and not the bullies. Many people complained that schools often ignore these issues or simply don’t know how to handle them… Among the comments, I came across the story of one teacher who struggled with how to teach kids about the harm caused by bullying. So she decided to use apples as visuals. If you have 3 minutes read this story and share with your teacher friends:
— I decided to stop by the store this morning and buy a couple apples. During our morning meeting (where we sit in a circle and do spiral lessons), I told my class we were going to try something different and I showed them my two apples and asked them to list the differences and similarities between the two apples. They were both exactly the same color and shape…one was a little brighter and bigger, but that was literally the only difference.
I then held up the other apple that was only slightly discolored and smaller and I said, “Gross. This apple looks disgusting!” and dropped it on the ground. My kids all looked at me like I was INSANE! A couple laughed uncomfortably, but for the most part they thought I had lost my mind.
I then picked it up and passed it to the student sitting beside me and said, “isn’t this apple just stupid?! You should say something mean to it and do this!” Again I modeled dropping it in front of me. “Now pass it to the person next to you so they can say something mean to the apple, too!”
Long story short, my kids got very into saying mean and hurtful things to this apple and dropping it in front of them. “I hate your skin.” “You’re an ugly color of red” “Your stem isn’t very long” “You’re probably full of worms” on and on and on….
So by the time this little apple made it back to me everyone had had a chance to really rip this little guy apart. I seriously started feeling sympathetic towards an inanimate object… but moving on…
I then held both of the apples up for my kids to look at and asked them to now list the similarities and differences of the apples again… It came back the same… There really was no difference. Even after they had repeatedly dropped this apple you couldn’t really tell that it had any damage.
I then asked my students who wanted a piece of the apple… of course… FOOOOOOOD…. and ALL my students raised their hands because they wanted some.
I took out a cutting board, knife and proceeded to cut the shiny apple open. It was perfect. And all my kids “ooooohhh and ahhhh’ed”…
Then I cut open the second one and when I opened it, it was covered in mushy brown spots and bruised all inside from where we dropped it. When I held it up my kids were like, “EWWWWW. I don’t want to eat THAT apple!” “Yuck!” “That looks disgusting…”
That’s when I just looked at them and said, “But didn’t we all contribute to the apple looking this way?! We did this… why shouldn’t we eat it?” They all just kind of stopped and got really quiet and I was like, “See guys… this is what we do to other people when we say mean and hurtful things. When we gossip or call someone ugly or fat or tell them they aren’t good enough or that they can’t be friends with you… we are just dropping them and causing ONE MORE bruise… a bruise that while we can’t see on the outside is VERY REAL and very destructive inside of them! It doesn’t just go away, the bruises just keep getting worse and deeper… THIS!” I said as I held up the bruised apple, “is what we do to each other. We have to stop dropping each other.”
I’ve never seen my kids “get” something so fast before. It was so real to them… people cried and laughed and it was very emotional but absolutely amazing and they got to then journal about everything and some of the responses I got… well, I sobbed all the way through lunch. I had so many kids come up and hug me later and tell me that they were so happy that a teacher “got it”. :)”