Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School: A Book for the First Day and Beyond...

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Back to school planning is still in full swing, and here is a book that you might want to consider reading on the first day of school.  

If You Plant a Seed, which has such lush, colourful illustrations (sans the facial features, of course), will capture students' attention because the prose are sparse but full of meaning. And alhamdulillaah, the point of this story is one which young children can easily grasp, relate to, and apply in shaa' Allaah

As you spend the first week of school establishing your learning community's rules and expectations, and you begin setting the tone for how learning will occur in your classroom, this book can help. Here are a few suggestions:

Before Reading the Book:

- Read the title of the book and show the cover of the book to students. Ask students what they think the book will be about. After students have given their responses, tell students that you (all) will read to see if the ideas proposed are correct.

During reading
  • On the page where Bunny, Mouse, and the Birds are all staring at one another, pause and ask students what they think is happening on this page (there is no text on this page). 
  • Ask students what they think will happen next.
  • Keep reading. 
  • Pause again on the page where Bunny, Mouse, and the Birds are screaming at one another. Ask the students why they think the animals are arguing
  • Keep reading.  
  • Pause again on the page where Bunny, Mouse, and the Birds are fighting. Ask students what is wrong with this scene? Guide students (if no one gives this answer) to understand that wasting food is not permissible in Islaam. Also, point out the behavior of Bunny and Mouse. Each is sticking out their tongue at the birds. Briefly discuss with children why this behaviour is unacceptable. Remind students of what Allaah says in the Quran: "Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow" {Al-Ahzab:21}, and mention the excellent manners of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). 
  • Keep reading until the end of the story.

After Reading:
  • Ask children why Bunny and Mouse's final choice was good. Read the following hadith: On the authority of Anas bin Malik, the servant of the messenger of Allaah, that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said : "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself" {Bukhari and Muslim}. Remind students that they are all brothers and sisters in Islaam and they must share the resources in the classroom.
  • Invite two children to model Islaamically appropriate examples how we share and assist one another and then invite two different children to model behaviour that is not appropriate. Discuss why these two students' behaviour was not Islaamically appropriate, then have those same two students (who modeled incorrect behaviour) model Islaamically correct behaviour. 
  • During the week (and as often as is necessary during the year), re-read If You Plant a Seed and invite children to model how we share with one another.  
Benefit & Enjoy In shaa' Allaah!

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