Monday, January 23, 2012

Quraan Centre Word Work: Surah Al-Masad Activities & Workbook

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillaah, this is this Quraan centre word work for surah Al-Masad:


In the word work for this centre, along with the shadow matching of words and the workbook, students embark on early map reading skills with another word hunt! This time, using a simple map, students explore the room looking for certain words from the surah. They are helped by pictures representing centres in the classroom (I've tried to pick centres that can also be places in the home). Students also enjoy a game of completing their ayah before their classmate. Each student gets a game board and the cards are placed face down (shuffled) between the two students. Students take turns picking a card. They must read the card accurately and if they need that card on their board they keep it and put it in its correct place. If they need the card but read it incorrectly after three tries or they cannot read it, they return the card to the bottom of the pile and the next player takes his/her turn. If they do not need the card they simply return it to the bottom of the stack. The game ends when a player accurately complete his/her board.


Students also work with the word building cards mentioned in this post. The teacher/parent-teacher cuts the cards in half, shuffles them and the students work to accurately match the cards to spell some of the words from the surah. Again, Control of Error is built into this particular exercise in the following way: when cut in half, the cards can only be reassembled with their correct match. If the student mismatches two of the cards, the rectangle they form will not be symmetrical/even. It will be either too long or too short. This helps students reconsider the two cards they have placed together and try again insha'Allaah.

Students have an opportunity to work on their handwriting with a tracing worksheet. In another worksheet, they match the words in the right column to the correct word in the left hand column. This worksheet is familiar as students have worked with this in previous suwar word work.  There is the word wheel for this surah and students also have the surah written in large print for independent reading. For this activity (the surah in large print), students use their pointers - made from Popsicle sticks with a small/medium decoration at the tip - to read the surah. Using their Popsicle stick pointer, students point to each word as they read it.

Pointers for independent reading or "Read The Room" activities


There are also selected words from the surah in large red print. These can be placed in your classroom pocket chart in the Quraan centre or used in other activities insha'Allaah.



 


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Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quraan Centre Word Work: Surah Al-Fatihah Activities and Workbook

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This is the word work for Surah al-Fatihah:


The word work for this surah is brief. Children work with the student workbook as in the other word work files, they have a word wheel as in this post, and they have movable Arabic alphabet cards for one of the words in the surah. Students cut out the letters and move them around until they correctly spell the word. They also have the word matching worksheet as in other word work files. There is also a mini-memory game for children to take home/use at home. There are four memory cards that are blank so teachers/parent-teachers can write in words that their students/children may need extra practice with. 

There are also four word cards that teachers/parent-teachers cut in half and invite students to reassemble the words correctly. Control of Error is built into this particular exercise in the following way: when cut in half, the cards can only be reassembled with their correct match. If the student mismatches two of the cards, the rectangle they form will not be symmetrical/even. It will be either too long or too short. This helps students reconsider the two cards they have placed together and try again insha'Allaah.


Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Three Part Cards: Shapes

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته



Shapes included are: 

- Circle
- Crescent
- Diamond
- Heart
- Hexagon
- Oval
- Parallelogram
- Pentagon
- Rectangle
- Star
- Square
- Trapezoid
- Triangle

All of the shapes are the same colour to allow the child to focus on the shape they see on each card and not be distracted by different colours.  

Print on cardstock and laminate for durability. Download the cards here (English) and here (عربي) insha'Allaah. You can find more information here about how to use Montessori 3-Part cards.


Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quraan Centre Word Work: Surah Al-Falaq Activities & Workbook

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This is the Quraan centre word work for Surah Al-Falaq:

 
Pictured (from right to left): Quraan word wheel, Quraan word sorting activity. 
Bottom row (right to left): Word Hunt, word matching worksheet and Surah Al-Falaq workbook with sample page).

To give students a bit of variety,word work centres have some variation. The activities for Surah al-Falaq, while slightly different from past Quraan word work centres, are those that students have worked with in the past or are familiar with. 

The word work for this surah includes: 

* A word hunt: students are given a clipboard, a glue stick, and the clipboard worksheet pictured. The words on the clipboard are hidden around the Quraan centre, classroom or home and during their time at the centre, students quietly search the room for the words. As they find each word, they take the word card from the spot they found it and glue it in the right place on the worksheet. For older students, you can tape the word cards around the room and students can take the words as they find them and tape them to the worksheet in the correct spot. 

In the file, you will find the words for the word hunt in large red print and also on smaller cards in black ink. The smaller cards are for the word hunt. You will make more than one copy so you can hide each word 3 (or more) times so that each student has the chance to complete their worksheet insha'Allaah. There are also two different clipboard worksheets, each with different words for students to find. When done, students write their name on their worksheet and place it in the basket for completed work. The large red word cards can be used as flashcards or for other games/activities.


* A word race: The word wheel above on the right with the orange centre is a word race. There are two (or more) copies of this wheel at the Quraan centre (depending on how large your groups are for centre work). The words on the wheel are on clothes pins like in this post. Make sure there are enough clothes pin words so that each student can complete the word wheel. To play, each student/child takes a word wheel and a set of words on clothes pins and places them on their right. Students race to see who can complete the word wheel first. You can also make this an individual activity by having students race themselves using an egg timer (pictured on the right). 

* Sorting exercise: Students/children take a mat. There are word cards in the file so that the parent/teacher can decide which words they wish the students to sort. The parent/teacher puts the two words in the two boxes above the circles. Parent/teacher then gives the child the circular words cards (mixed up) and invites the child to sort them by putting the words in the correct circle (as shown above). The file also contains blank circle word cards and blank square word cards, allowing teachers/parents to add words from the surah that may not be in the file.

* Shadow matching words: you can see an example of how this activity is done here

* Matching words: students draw a line to match the words on the worksheet

* And the workbook: The workbook is slightly different for this surah. Instead of students seeing a single word from the ayaat in a blue box at the bottom of the page, students see two words. They also have one word in each ayah that is written in green. Students read the ayah, paying attention to the green word, and then from the two words on the bottom, they circle the word that is the same as the word written in green in the ayah. Example pictured above.



Also, the word work for surah Al-Fatiha should be posted soon. The delay is due to the  file being redone. 


Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Homeschooling: Planning Your Lessons (Part 3)


السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

It must have seemed that the third part of the series on where/how to start homeschooling had been forgotten about *smile*. Alhamdulillaah, it was not forgotten. The third, and insha'Allaah, last post in this series is on Lesson Planning. This is a long post, and before we move into this topic I will preface it by saying that some people consider lesson planning to be tedious, time consuming, frustrating, or unimportant. The first three they might be, the last - never.

Lesson planning is a facet of teaching that is essential. With it, a teacher looks ahead to try to anticipate what goals he/she would like to help his/her students master, and he/she plans what type of activities will most effectively accomplish this. It is during this planning stage that a teacher also tries his/her best to anticipate what challenges may hinder students from mastering material in the easiest, most effective manner. If, for example, you have the intention to teach about ocean habitats but you know that 1). You live and teach in an area where there is no ocean and 2). most of your young charges have most likely never seen an ocean before in their short life, then when planning your lesson you will anticipate that you may see a lot of blank/lost looks on the faces of your students if you jump right into the lesson without first pre-teaching some basic information about oceans (for example showing a picture of an ocean).

The process of lesson planning itself is not mind-boggling nor difficult. But it is a process and so, to a large extent, it requires that the teacher adhere to a certain method to help him/her write the most effective lesson plan possible. This means that the information in your lesson plan is logical and relevant to your students.

For those who homeschool, the lesson plan is no less important than for those who teach in a classroom setting. Teachers and parent-teachers both need to know the same basic information when preparing to teach a topic/subject:

 - What do I want my students/child(ren) to know/learn when I am finished teaching this topic?
- What materials will I need to teach this topic effectively and make it fun and interesting at the same time?
- What way will I teach this information? Meaning, how will I teach this topic? What activities will I use to teach this topic?
- How long will the lesson take?
- What activity/assignment will I give my students that will help them practice what they have learned? Will this activity/assignment reinforce what I have taught and show me/demonstrate that yes, alhamdulilaah, they've got it?

Looking at these questions, you will quickly notice that they summarize the basic information contained in a lesson plan. The first question: "What do I want my students/children to know when I am finished teaching this topic?" is your objective. Every lesson plan needs an objective. As a teacher you have to know what your ultimate goal is for your students. For some teachers, the objective is the most difficult part of the lesson plan to write and as a result, it can end up being too general or too vague. Some examples of vague lesson plan objectives are:


* Students will appreciate the Quraan
* Students will begin memorizing ahadith
* Students will understand addition

Why are these lesson plan objectives (not the topics themselves) poor, vague and overall, weak?

They are all of these things because they don't tell us anything specific about the lessons. "Students will understand addition". Yes, but how? What will they do/use that will show they understand addition? What aspect of addition will they understand?What will they do to learn addition in this lesson?

Let's re-write that weak lesson plan objective and make it strong, clear, specific and measurable insha'Allaah.

Stronger objective: By the end of the lesson, using manipulatives, pictures and modeling, students will accurately add single digit numbers up to 5.

Why is this a stronger lesson plan objective? With it, we know that students will understand how to add single digit numbers up to 5. We know that they will learn to do this using manipulatives such as counting blocks, or modeling (i.e. teacher has 2 students stand in front of the class and he/she 'adds' 1 more student and asks children how many students are there all together/in all), and we know that to demonstrate that they have leaned what we intended to teach, the students will add, with accuracy, any of the numbers 0-5 using a worksheet (as an example).

Try this. This is a weak lesson plan objective: "Students will learn to tell time".

Come up with a stronger objective and re-write it insha'Allaah. If you like insha'Allaah, you can share your new/stronger objective with others by leaving a comment.

The next question: "What materials will I need?" is the section of the lesson plan that tells you (or someone filling in for you), as precisely as possible, what you will need to teach your lesson. Will each student need to have a sand tray? Will you need a sock puppet? Will you need the overhead projector? If so, make sure you reserve it early enough so it will be available to you insha'Allaah (and don't forget to make sure you have enough over-head transparencies *smile*). If it is an addition math lesson, how many counters will each student need? 

The materials sections is just as important as all other sections of the lesson plan. Many lessons go by the way-side because the teacher/parent neglected to foresee what they would need (materials) to teach a topic. They dive into the lesson only to realize that they need a balance scale with various weights (for example). The maddening search begins. In the classroom storage closet, the teacher rumbles around, becoming more frantic and frustrated as he/she tries to find it and this search, no matter how brief, allows students (almost invites them) to get off task. If the search goes on too long, the teacher may, on top of the search, have to deal with classroom behaviour problems. Or the search may leave the classroom as the teacher goes door to other classroom door: "I'm sorry to disturb you. Do you have a scale and the weights for it? No. Okay, sorry to disturb you." Do you see a problem here? Has one question jumped out and screamed to be answered? Yes? The question is: "Who is with the students during this time?" And, what are the students doing while unsupervised? For those who teach in school settings (or parents who have had a child who was bullied), you will recognize this as being one of those times that have been identified as an opportunity for bullying to happen - when no teacher/authority figure is around.

Sometimes, neglecting this part of lesson planning is seen in the most basic way: the teacher leaves the classroom or sends another student out to get copies made because he/she forgot to make sure there were enough copies for each child. So while the teacher is out making copies, again, who is with the children? Or if the teacher sends another student, the teacher tries to pass that empty time with fillers. Just something to occupy the students until the needed copies return.

Even in a homeschooling setting, this section of the lesson plan warrants appropriate attention. It does not matter if you have one or ten children, you do not want to interrupt the lesson to go grab the paintbrushes that you forgot. When you return you will have to spend how much time getting the children re-focused and back on task? Early on, make it a goal to teach your children to respect knowledge and time. Be prepared for your lessons. Plan down to the detail. If you will be doing an activity that requires children to follow simple directions such as colour all of the trees green, make sure all of the colours they will need to complete that activity are present and within reach. Do not make it an option that in the middle of the lesson you tell your child(ren)/students, "Ok, now you need to colour each tree green" and your child says, "I don't have a green crayon!" and you say, "Oh! Ok, well run to your room and grab it. Quickly, quickly!"

The third question asking "what activities will you use to teach the lesson", is the procedure section of a lesson plan. This part should be proceeded by a pre-teaching/activating prior-knowledge session which takes less than 5 minutes. You can see an example of both here insha'Allaah. The procedures section is very important. In this section you will literally go through, step by step, how you will teach the topic. What questions will you ask the students? What will you say to illustrate an example? Will students need to move to another section of the class/house? The procedures section may appear to be almost like an instruction manual and perhaps it is similar. It is step-by-step. It does not need to be very long but it does need to go into enough detail that anyone could step in and teach your lesson.

When thinking about the activities you will use to teach the lesson, you bring to mind your students/child(ren), reminding yourself of their learning styles, attention span, learning disabilities, the cultural diversity of your classroom, etc. If you have a child who dislikes seat work, your activities should be a suitable combination of seat work and movement activities. This does not mean that you never have seat work for this type of child; it means that while training him/her to learn to sit still and focus, you also respect his/her learning style and give him/her the opportunity to learn in the way that he/she learns best. Likewise, if your son absolutely enjoys fire trucks, making his activities centred around fire trucks helps engage him in the activity and when his learning is joyful, insha'Allaah, it will be remembered and mastered with ease.

The next question asking "How much time will the lesson take" is like its companions: important and not to be ignored. If you are wondering why it matters knowing how much time a lesson will take (in a classroom or homeschool), try viewing it from this perspective: if you teach in a school, it makes transitioning very difficult for students when they hear the signal for the next class and the teacher is not done, so the teacher tries to rush to finish, assign any homework, collect any classwork, get students to put their books away, clean up their area, stop talking, and get ready for the next teacher. Are you out of breath? Imagine how this effects your students. Transitioning is an important aspect of children's learning. You can read more about why here. Conversely, if your lesson is too short, you are left trying to figure out what to have the students do now. Assigning them a meaningless task whose only purpose is to fill up the last 15 minutes of class is not an appropriate option. "Free-time" is an even less appropriate option. The children in your care are an amana. You will be asked about them. Your job as a teacher/parent-teacher is also an amana that you will be asked about. Here, we have to remind ourselves to fear Allaah.

If you homeschool, this section of the lesson plan is important to attend to. If your lesson goes too long, your child may loose interest and his/her behaviour may indicate that they've had enough. While his/her behaviour may irritate or frustrate you, the fact remains, you may have overloaded him/her. If it is too short, you have gotten your child excited about this topic and their hunger for knowledge is there but now they may be left needing more or not completely understanding your lesson. Also, if your lessons go too long, your schedule for your home duties can become so disturbed that one or more things doesn't get done (i.e. children calming cleaning up their area and returning materials to their place - and as a result, things get left where they are, or the salat being made calmly and on time) because YOU'VE GOT TO GET DINNER STARTED! Another potential problem that can result from not planning the time/length of your lessons is this: if you always start your homeschooling day with the same subject, one or more subjects may consistently be neglected and one day you may find yourself frightfully behind in that subject.

The next question you will ask yourself is "what will I give my students/children to help them practice what we just learned?" Will it be a hands-on activity that is directly related to what we just learned? Will it be a worksheet? A field-trip?

As an example, if you have just finished teaching about animals that live in the ocean and animals that live on farms and other places, an appropriate follow-up exercise to reinforce learning (and also as an assessment tool that shows you, at a glance, if students understood what you taught), is a sorting exercise. This cross-curricular activity asks students to sort animals into groups based on where they live. Easily, you can see if your students mastered the material by looking at their completed groups. If you see a giraffe in the ocean you see where you may have to review with that particular student.

Your lesson plan will not be as long as this post insha'Allaah but it needs to be concise, relevant, and clear. The more your lesson plans meet these criteria, the more confident you will be when teaching insha'Allaah. You can go to your lesson knowing what direction you want it to take and the ways you will deliver it to make sure it gets there. Of course, sometimes lessons don't go exactly as you had planned but having the lesson plan gives you a framework to keep you focused and on track. If your lesson goes a bit wonky because one of your groups seems really confused and they don't seem to be grasping the lesson and they are letting you know by calling out, there are things you can do to quickly remedy this situation and move on with your lesson as planned. If you have no lesson plan, how do you even know where to begin teaching a topic? How do you know how much of the topic you want to teach? How do you know what aspects of the topic you wish to cover in this 30-40 minute session (if teaching in a school)? And when that group doesn't seem to be understanding the topic, how do you know it is not because your delivery of the information was not clear? And if one of your students calls out, "This is boring!" in the middle of your lesson (ouch!), will you stop and ask yourself if this student's comment, although inappropriate, is true? Without a lesson plan, have you been talking your way through a subject with no real direction? Plan your lesson. Keep your talking to a minimum, especially in the lower grades. Be prepared. Be fun. And be ready to teach.

You may also wish to adopt the habit of making short notes to yourself in the side margin of your lesson plan after the end of each lesson. Note: what went well? what didn't go so well? why? what might you want to change about this lesson plan if you had to teach it again? Nothing long but enough that you grow and learn from the experience. Here is an example:
The lesson plan, along with your curriculum and long range plan, helps you traverse your classroom/homeschooling learning journey. When you don't know where to start, these three things combine to help put you on the right road insha'Allaah. For example, your pre-schooler is just officially entering the world of "structured" learning. What topic(s) do you start with? Return to your curriculum, your long range plan and start there. Pre-schoolers need to know some basic things: their name (first and last), their age, basic fundamentals about their deen, basic colours, shapes, numbers to 10, basic information about books (where is the front of the book, which direction do we turn the pages), etc.

When you have consulted those two sources, move to your lesson plans. Again, they do not need to be long but they do need to include the basic information covered in this post. And yes, it was a lot! But...are you ready to give it a try? Great! Download this basic lesson plan template and try it for yourself (this lesson plan may help with the materials, activating prior knowledge, and procedure sections). While you are doing it, note how you feel: frustrated in the beginning? Lost? Confused? More confident about your next lesson? Don't worry, it takes practice and patience but it will make you a more effective teacher insha'Allaah and your students/children will reap the benefits of your well-planned, well-delivered lessons. So do not give up on lesson plans and do not abandon them. Master them!

Happy Lesson Planning!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Together We Read (January): Book & Activity Resources

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Although, Together We Read activities haven't been posted in several months, the program has not been abandoned alhamdulillaah. For January, the book that we will be reading is I Am Small by Emma Dodd.



This book,  I Am Small, is packed with sight words! There are so many, that once children learn them, and the few none sight words in the story, they can read this book independently insha'Allaah. I hope you will be able to find this book at your local library so that you can join us for Together We Read: January. But remember, you don't have to use the same book we use. So join us again for Together We Read!

The activities for this book are being posted here for your convenience insha'Allaah. Inside the activity pack you will find:

* A poem for your classroom pocket chart
* Math activities
* A penguin science activity
* Sight word games
* Practice constructing and writing sentences
* Word cards for your word wall
* Word wall cards for your students to practice handwriting and to use for independent story writing
* Sight word flashcards that can be used for a variety of games and purposes
* Montessori 3-part cards related to the story
* Mini Reader for students using sight words from the story to aide in independent reading (can be used for Guided and/or Shared Reading also)
* Opposites activity & worksheet
* Puzzle with a hidden message that is discovered when students assemble it
* and more!


Download Book Pack here insha'Allaah (or from the link above)
**Download Missing Montessori 3-part cards here (these are missing from the file above)**

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Qur'aan Centre Work: Surah An-Nas Workbook & Worksheets

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This is the students mini-workbook and worksheets that accompany the word work for Surah An-Nas:


On each page in the mini-workbook children have a single ayah from surah An-Nas. Under the ayah in a blue box they see one of the words from that ayah. Using a highlighter, in the ayah, they highlight the word that they see in the blue box.

Here is a sample from a student's mini book for Surah Al-Fatiha


Students also work with shadow matching words from two ayaat from the surah. The next worksheet (on the bottom right) is for children to not only shadow match the words from the ayaat but when they have completed that task, they cut the ayaat apart on the lines and mix them up and rearrange them in the correct order insha'Allaah. Teachers/Parents may wish to put numbers on the back of each strip so the child can self-correct by turning each slip of paper over to make sure they are in the correct numerical order insha'Allaah.

Lastly, children have a visual worksheet puzzle that invites them to try to locate all of times they see the title of the Surah (i.e. the word An-Nas). Teachers can have students record their responses on a small response sheet (with their names written on it) and place them into a sealed jar/can and when all of the students have submitted their responses, the teacher can invite a student to randomly select one of the slips from the jar/can. If the response on the slip of paper is correct, the teacher can reward the student in a way she feels is appropriate (i.e. a book, a bookmark, etc.). If the response that was drawn was incorrect, the teacher or selected student draws again.


Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Qur'aan Centre Work: File Folder Game for Surah An-Nas

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This file folder game, "Let's Read" is part of the word work with Surah An-Nas for the Qur'aan centre:


The game is placed in the Qur'aan centre and when each group of students has their turn at that centre, they play this game to help them in their goal to read surah An-Nas independently insha'Allaah (students have been working with Surah An-Nas before this game is placed in the Qur'aan centre so these words should be familiar to them).

Up to four students can play. To play the game, you will need game pieces for each colour on the board (i.e. one green, one yellow, one blue, and one red game piece). You can use Counting Bears:


Or you can use Snap Cubes (pictured):



To play the game, each student picks a different colour playing piece and sets their piece on the start circle that matches the colour of their playing piece. The playing cards are shuffled and placed face down on the opposing page of the file folder. Students take turns picking a word card. If that word is a word from their column and they need that card, they read the word on the card and then place their playing piece on the word. They return the card to the botom of the stack. The next student takes his/her turn, doing the same thing. If players pick a word card that is not in their row, they replace the card at the bottom of the stack.

It will happen that players end up moving backward and forward on the game board because they will pick words that are ahead of the space they are currently sitting on or behind the word they are currently sitting on. When this happens, the player moves his/her piece to that word.
When a player reaches the last word in his/her row, on his/her next turn, he/she must read, accurately, all of the words in their column to be able to advance to the square that has a picture of the Qur'aan. If/when they do this, they have won/completed the game. If they cannot do this, they must wait until their turn comes again and attempt to read the words accurately. While they wait for their turn to come again, they use the words on the board (in their row) to review the words. When their turn comes again, they make a second attempt. When a player reaches the Qur'aan picture and has finished the game, the other players continue playing.

Insha'Allaah, I will upload the other word work for Surah An-Nas and Surah Al-Fatiha later in the week.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Participants

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