Saturday, July 25, 2015

Back to School: Classroom Design Inspiration

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

The summer is almost gone. That means long range plans have to be done, curriculum mapping is coming soon, and thinking about how to design the classroom for the upcoming school year also looms in the horizon (among other things)

Some of the things involved in back to school planning are fun, others require patience and persistence, but all are essential and have to be done. Alhamdulillaah, classroom design ranks high on the list of fun things that have to be done when preparations for back to school begin. Here is one reason why...

For the upcoming school year in shaa' Allaah, I will be adopting a different literacy instruction model, and it's one that I am really looking forward to implementing. For years, guided reading has been the main way of delivering literacy instruction and there are so many benefits to this method that I never really considered using any other model (I will be combining the two models, actually). However, this new literacy instruction model encourages, and makes it easy, for children to do copious amounts of reading alhamdulillaah (which gives them the opportunities they need to become competent, life-long readers). That woke my little grey cells up. Why? Because lots of reading means re-designing the classroom to accommodate and encourage all of that reading, and that immediately brought to mind reading nooks!

I searched the web and discovered many beautiful reading nooks that could inspire a classroom (or homeschool classroom) reading nook and I want to share them with you. 





All of these reading nooks have one thing in common: they allow children to be immersed in reading and when/if they want to grab another book, the books are right at their finger tips. And even though the new literacy instruction model that I hope to use next year has children reading with their book boxes next to them, being surrounded by books helps children sink into the book and disappear into the story. It makes them feel like readers.

Also, having a reading nook in the classroom (or home) invites children to read, and that is what we want: we want to extend an invitation that is so inciting children cannot resist, because current research indicates that the more children read, the better readers they become in shaa' Allaah. 

And do you know what is lovely about reading nooks? They can be fairly easy to set up. Just find a window that has space underneath it for an ottoman bench or child-sized sofa, two book shelves (one to place at each end of the ottoman), and lots and lots of Islaamically appropriate books. Ensure the lighting is sufficient and maybe even add a few beautiful houseplants and then let your imagination loose. The possibilities are many and varied.

Here, I'll leave you with one last reading nook to inspire you in shaa' Allaah.


 How will you inspire your young reader(s) next school year?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Islaamic Sight Word Book: Fast

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillaah, here is the sixth book in the Islaamic Sight Words Series.  Now that Ramadan has begun alhamdulillaah, children are hearing the word fast very, very often. In'shaa Allaah, this sight word book will help them learn how to spell the word that is on the lips of Muslims world-wide during this blessed month. 

The instructions for all activities are included in the mini-book, however, if you have any questions about any of the activities, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer as soon as possible in'shaa allaah. And jazakillaahu khayr to the sister who suggested adding the Arabic word for the sight words, at the end of each book. Going forward in'shaa Allaah, the sight word books will have the word in Arabic for children to colour and learn.

Download your free Islamic Sight Words Book: Fast here in'shaa Allaah, or from A Muslim Child is Born's Teacher Notebook store

Benefit & Enjoy In'shaa Allaah!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Three Ramadan Games

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillaah, here are three Ramadan games for children 4-6 years old. 

Each of these games is entitled "I Have, You Have, Together We Have", and while each game has a different focus and target skill level, all of the games help children learn and/or practice reading and spelling the sight words had, have, I, you, and we. The games are ideal for use in play groups or in the masjid during taraweeh, if your masjid offers babysitting in a separate room, and of course, the games can be played at home. 

The first game is I have, You Have, Together We Have 5.

This game is intended for children learning how to make 5. Easily assembled and played, in'shaa Allaah, children will have fun working together to make 5. 

How to play:
  • Print and cut out the game cards. Do not cut the cards down the middle, simply fold the cards down the middle so you have the front of the card and the back of the card (showing the dates), in one easy step. 
  • Give each child a card and explain to the children that they have a card that helps them make 5 but they will need to search the room for the student who has the card that can help them complete 5. Demonstrate: take a card (let's say the card with 3 dates, as in the picture above). Have another student or adult take the card with two dates on it, and have a second student or adult take the card that has some dates on it that will not help you make 5 (i.e. when you add the dates on your card with the dates on the other person's card the total will not be 5). Share your thinking: Walk around the room and share your thinking out loud so the students hear and see how you solve the problem. For example, you might say something like, "Tayyib. I have three dates on my card and I need to find someone who has enough dates on their card to equal 5 dates in all. I see Suliaiman over there. I will go and ask him if he has enough dates to help me in'shaa Allaah. (Walk up to the student). Say, "Assalamu aliakum. Suliaman, I have three dates, and you have (prompt Sulaiman to tell you how many dates are on his card) 4 dates. Demonstrate counting the total number of dates, either using your fingers or by pointing to the dates on your card and then the student's card, and count out loud until you have counted all of the dates. Then say, "Subhana'Allaah, I have 3 dates and you have 4 dates. That equals 7 dates! Together, we have 7 dates! That is too many. Jazakallaahu khayr, Sulaiman. I will keep searching in'shaa Allaah." Do the same thing with one or two other students and then find the student who has 2 dates and repeat the process with that student and say, "Alhamdulillaah, I have 3 dates and you have 2 dates. Together, we have 5 dates!"
  • When the students have found the person who has the card that can help them make 5, ask the students to sit along the wall or at a table in pairs and complete the Record Book thus allowing the other students, who are still searching, time to find the matching card they need. 
  • When all students have found their matching card, give the students new cards and repeat the game in'shaa Allaah. 
  • Be ready to assist students who may struggle to add the dates correctly. 

I Have, You Have, Together We Have 10 is played in the same way but the students substitute the numbers when they say, "
Alhamdulillaah, I have ____ dates and you have ___ dates. Together, we have ___ dates! "

The last game, I have, You Have, Together We Have... uses words instead of numbers. Students play the game in the same way they play I Have, You Have, Together We Have 5 and I Have, You Have, Together We Have 10 but they substitute the numbers for the words they spell together. In this game, chldren will try to find the student who has the card that will help them spell the following words:
  • Moon
  • Date
  • Pray
  • Fast
  • Iftar
  • Masjid
  • Suhoor
  • Iman
  • Qiyam
  • Good
  • Deeds

Download the games for free above or below in'shaa Allaah. Please be aware of the Terms of Use for the materials on the blog in'shaa Allaah. Jazakillaahu khayr!


All games are also available to download free in A Muslim Child is Born's Teacher Notebook store.

Enjoy and Benefit In'shaa Allaah!   

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ramadan Craft Activity # 8

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Picking up from the Ramadan craft activities from previous years alhamdulillaah, here is a simple craft for children 4 and 5/6 years old. 

This little gift box is easy to make, and when done your child can fill the box with dates and/or sweets and give the box away to a family member, friend, or neighbour in'shaa Allaah.

Here is what you will need to make the box in'shaa Allaah:
  1. An empty square box.
  2. Black, white, red, yellow, and green construction paper. 
  3. Construction paper in any colour that your child chooses, for the sign. 
  4. A plastic straw.
  5. Two toy cars - make sure they are cars that your child won't mind having glued to the box and given away. 
  6. Glue (a glue stick and liquid glue).
  7. Scotch or packing tape.
How to make the gift box:
  • Prepare the streets first (depending on the age of the child). Measure the box and cars to see how long and wide your streets need to be.  Make sure you leave enough space in one corner to insert the straw. Also, be sure to measure and prepare the streets for both the lid and the sides of the box at the same time (i.e. if you measure and prepare the streets for the lid only first, once the child has glued the streets to the lid, he or she will have to wait while you measure and prepare the streets for the side of the box. Have all streets prepared in advance.)
  • Cut out the black construction paper to make the streets and then use the white construction paper to make the small lines for the middle of the street. 
  • Invite the child to glue the streets to the top/lid of the box, using the glue stick. Allow to dry. 
  • While the streets are drying, invite the child to glue the streets on to the side of the box. Allow to dry. 
  • Prepare the streets lights ahead of time as well, for young children. Use the black, red, yellow and green construction paper to make the stop lights. Invite the child to glue the stop lights on to the side of the box with the glue stick
  • When the box top/lid has dried, make a hole in the corner of the lid (THIS PART/STEP CANNOT BE COMPLETED BY THE CHILD). Cut the plastic straw to the appropriate length and invite the child to insert the straw into the hole. Place the lid on the box to make sure the straw will not prevent the lid from closing completely. Once verified, put liquid glue around the base of the straw on the inside of the lid and on the outside of the lid. Allow to dry. 
  • While the lid is drying again, invite the child to make his or her road sign using construction paper. When the sign is ready, have the child write the words, "Race to do good deeds" on the sign.
  • When the lid is dry, place the sign on the straw and secure it with a piece of scotch or packing tape (see picture below). 
  • Using the liquid glue, put a dab of glue (about the size of a dime, depending on the size of your cars) on the bottom of the car. *You may need to put the glue on the wheels of the cars if the bottom of the cars are not low enough to touch the lid of the box. In this case, you will use less glue.*  
  • Allow the glue on the cars to dry and fill the box with dates/sweets and give the box away! 

Benefit and Enjoy In'shaa Allaah!
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