Asalaam aleykoum and welcome to the 2017/2018 school year!
This school year brings both some minor and major shifts in the Sunday school curriculum, and we are excited to share them with you.
In an effort to maximize student engagement, and contribute the growth of our youth, we are undertaking a total overhaul on the Islamic studies portion of k-3, and adding some student-led projects for our older students.
For the k-3 crowd, Islamic studies now consists of more learning through story-telling and hands on projects. The stories will sample from the Noor Kids, Mini Mu’umin, and other age appropriate storybooks that deal with contemporary issues faced by young Muslims, as well as stories of our prophets and teachings of the Quran. These stories are designed to generate conversation and inspire our youth.
There is not a lot of change for levels 4-6, as the Weekend Learning textbooks are an excellent resource, although I would like to see a heavier focus on discussion and action.
Levels 7-12 will also continue with the Weekend Learning textbooks, however there will be student-led projects assigned to be completed outside of Sunday school. Sunday school is only three hours a week, and I can’t stress how important it is that we don’t condense Islamic studies into something we do for only three hours, once a week. These projects are assigned with the idea of sparking curiosity and wonder in our students.
Levels 7-12 will be assigned a research project, related to a category of their choosing: Islamic history, Invention or Discovery by Islamic scientists and scholars, or Inspiring/famous Muslims. The students will research a specific event, period in time, specific invention or discovery, or a biographical piece, and then they may either write a paper, create a poster or other visual aid, or make a brief presentation. These will be shared at the midterm.
Level 12 will also be assigned a senior project. This project will be a brief reflection on how the student has used the teachings of Islam to deal with every day events in America. This project will be shared at the end of the school year ceremony.
As we move closer to Ramadan circle time is starting to take a bit of a new direction. This past week, the older students gathered together to begin shaping the service project, and the younger students had story time.
The story that was read was Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Amazing Journey , which was selected as it lightly touched on the topic of refugees. Many of the younger stories didn’t know the definition of refugee, and the older students had voted to have the service project benefit refugee youth, in shaa Allah.
Our new schedule has a bit of differentiation between the older and younger students also, in that we have shortened Iqraa by 20 minutes for the younger students (to allow for younger students needing more physical movement and having a shorter attention span than the older students) so that they may have snack and a 20 minute recess, so and be ready to participate in Islamic studies on time. The older students have their normal hour long Iqraa, and then they still have their full 20 minutes for snack and break.
This photo is part of a chalk art activity the students did during recess:
Alhamdulilah, we have moved into the new masjid Mashallah, the students were excited to see the new space.
We started out circle time by going over where classes would be held, and then broke into two groups (kindergarten-4th grade, then 5th grade and up). The younger students went on a tour of the masjid, while I sat with the older students to discuss our upcoming service project, in Ramadan in shaa Allah. The students that wanted to take part in the planning committee for the project signed up, and they will be given the opportunity to help shape and plan this project. It will be exciting to see ideas come forth and for the students to be able to give back to the community in shaa Allah.Read More
The March 12th circle time was dedicated to students expressing ways in which we behave with kindness and respect, both in the masjid and in any other social setting. The students got into small groups to discuss and agree upon basic rules of conduct. After they discussed these rules, we brought out a large poster board, and the groups took turns writing one of their rules on the poster board, and then we all signed it.
This activity will serve as a good segue into our move, as the next Sunday school class in shaa Allah will be held at the new masjid location. The students have also acknowledged that because they were able to come up with this list on their own, these are behaviors we all already know, and its important to keep them in mind.Read More
Circle time this week was a continuation of the posters being prepared for the presentation day (February 5th in shaa Allah). They are coming along quite nicely and it has been wonderful to see the students working together and putting their creative skills to the test!Read More
After a long winter break followed by a few snow days, the youth are back at Sunday school alhamdulilah. This past Sunday during Circle Time we decided to do a craft so that the students could spend some time visiting a bit after not being together for so many weeks.
The decided theme was “What the Masjid Means to Me”, each student found a partner to work with, and they were instructed to sit and talk for a bit, plan out their design and work together to create a poster.
Circle time today was “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney. This book tells the story of a little girl that had two big goals in life: Seeing the world, and making the world a better place. To make the world a better place, she eventually decides to throw flower seeds into the wind as she walks through town each day, and the people began to call her “the crazy lupine lady”, although when the flowers begin to make them happy, they change her name to simply “the lupine lady”.
This story sparked a great discussion about how we can do even just little things, as simple as a smile, to bring happiness and joy to others. We also talked about how important it is to recycle, take care of plants and animals, and how we should be nice and friendly and kind.Read More
Our circle time story today was “The Moon in the Well”, from the Folktales anthology, The Moon in the Well: Wisdom Tales to Transform Your Life, Family, and Community by Erica Helm Meade. There are many versions of the story of “The Moon in the Well”, this particular one has a group of monkeys that attempt to rescue the moon, believing its reflection in the water to actually BE the moon in the water. One monkey sees that it is only a reflection, and that the true moon is still in the sky. He does not follow them, and remains safe, while those that followed the incorrect monkey all fell into the water.
This story was selected for the theme of staying true to our own knowledge, even when the crowd is going in another direction, an important theme for people of all ages, but particularly for school-aged children as they begin making new friends and encountering a variety of lifestyles and cultures. The children had a wonderful discussion on examples of how they can avoid following others that they don’t agree with, and they identified a variety of adults they could talk to if they ever felt uncomfortable/pressured to do something they shouldn’t do (teachers, school staff, parents, etc).Read More
How can we, as Muslims, make the best use of our time each day? Where have we, as individuals, been perhaps wasting time in our days?
“Time is like a sword: if you don’t cut it, it will cut you. Second is yourself: if you don’t busy it with right, it will busy you with wrong.” – Imam Shafi’i
We only meet together once a week in shaa Allah, let’s make the most of that time and have a wonderful school year in shaa Allah!