Muslim Teacher
A Sound Vision Newsletter Helping Teachers to Connect & Share December 8 , 2011
Talking to Your Students about Jesus & Christmas

Teaching Citizenship to Children12 Talking Points for Teachers
By Samana Siddiqui

It's impossible to ignore Christmas when you're living in North America and other pre-dominently Christian countries, with the decorations, holiday sales, classroom artwork and parties, and of course, the yearlytelevision Christmas specials. Although the holiday has become more secular over the years, it is still about celebrating the birth of Prophet Jesus or Isa as he is called in Arabic, peace be upon him.

Muslim teachers take various approaches to dealing with the holiday, similar to how educators and parents of other faiths may decide to not discuss or talk about it, embrace it in a full-fledged manner or choose a method somewhere in between.

Regardless of what way is chosen, this is still an ideal time to discuss with your class the personality of this great Prophet and Messenger of God. It will not only serve as an important Islamic lesson for the kids, but it can also teach them how much they share with their Christian neighbors, peers and classmates who celebrate the holiday. Read More >

Muslim Teacher Team

Editorial Team:
Samana Siddiqui
Taha Ghayyur

Editorial Board:
Abdalla Idris Ali, Dr.
Yahiya Emerick
Preacher Moss
Audery Shabbas

Sound Vision's Board of Directors
Abdul Malik Mujahid, President
Muhammad Khalid Riaz, Md. Secretary
Ahmed Murad
Taufiq Ahmad, Treasurer
Muhammad Fuad Lashkarwala, Director
Janaan Hashim, Director
Hanna El-Amin, Director


Treating Christmas with Respect

There have been a number of legitimate criticisms of the holiday from Muslims and non-Muslims based on theological and cultural considerations. However, this cannot be used to disregard the holiday as merely an exercise in ancient pagan practices, for instance, or excessive consumerism. Muslims have to remember that for practicing Christians, Christmas really is about Jesus. Read More >


Divine Guidance for Educators

Muslim educators, whether in a classroom environment, or at home as a parent, or as a writer, or as a study group (halaqa) facilitator, are given an extra incentive to share their knowledge: You get the reward for not only your own good actions and for the act of conveying the message, but also for good deeds of those who learn from you! Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, explains:

"Whoever guides or directs to good, then he gets the same amount of blessing as the one who does it." [Muslim]

Time Saving Tips

Do not waste class time by calling out students' names in order to take roll. Once students are at work, take roll. If you have a seating chart, you can see who is absent in one sweep. Elementary teachers have many options: You can write each student's name on a clothes pin and pin it to a chart near the door. As students come in, they place their pin in a small bucket. Or, vice versa. The pins could be placed in the box and the student takes his or hers out and places it on the chart. (Especially useful if you have to do a lunch/milk count.)


50 Opportunities to Say "You're Terrific"

Create a positive environment and reinforce good behavior by praising your students for:

11. Handing in homework
12. Being a polite audience at an assembly
13. Beginning work right away
14. Asking questions when unsure
15. Good behavior during a test
16. Participating in a class discussion
17. Walking appropriately in the halls
18. Working cooperatively with a partner
19. A performance in a play or presentation
20. Cleaning up

Stay tuned for more in the next issue...

Source: Lee Canter & Associates-1992 ================


Staying Productive This Winter: Don't Hibernate! Staying Productive This Winter: Don't Hibernate!
By Meha Ahmad

"The best season to a believer is the winter, nights are long for those who wish to pray, days are short for those who wish to fast."
— Imam Hasan Basri

When the snow falls, the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and all you want to do is sit at home by the fireplace and hibernate until spring. But rain or shine, snow or bloom, life goes on and it is important to stay productive, even during the winter season. Here are a few tips to maximizing your productivity during the chilly months.. Read More >

How to Develop Intelligence-Friendly Schools How to Develop Intelligence-Friendly Schools
By Robin Fogarty

An intelligence-friendly school is a place where the teaching and learning process involve developing the intellectual potential of students.

In this series, every month we discuss guidelines and strategies to create intelligence-friendly classrooms:

2- Create a rich learning environment.

An enriched environment requires attention to the physical aspects of the intelligence-friendly classroom. The ideal classroom resembles a children’s museum, in which students are repeatedly and implicitly invited to interact with the learning environment. In such a stimulus-rich setting, explorations, investigations, and in inquiries are irresistible.

This enriched environment presents science equipment, art supplies, tools and workbenches, toys and building blocks, optical illusion posters, and an electronic circus of computers, telephones, and fax machines. The intelligence-friendly classroom has different mini-environments for quiet reflection, noisy projects, learning centers, and one-on-one tutorials. The sensory input — ranging from print-rich materials, music, and recordings to visually appealing bulletin boards and to signs, games, puzzles, and lab setups — provides an intriguing and engaging place for teaching for intelligence.

Stay tuned for more in the next issue...

Robin Fogarty has taught all levels, from kindergarten through college. A native of Chicago, she trains teachers around the world in cognitive strategies and cooperative interaction. She is the author of Ten Things New Teachers Need to Succeed, among other books.

MyClassroomMyClassroom: Creating Harmony in Physical Environment:
  • Ideally, the room should have a rug, flowers or plants and nasheed / music to help create a positive and happy atmosphere.
  • Desks and learning centers should be movable to allow for flexible seating— have students sit on the floor, on chairs, on pillows.
  • Post positive signs to encourage and inspire students, such as:
    “I can do it!”
    “It will be a great day Insha Allah!”
    “I’m feeling energized."
    “I’m a positive friend.”
    “It’s safe to make a mistake here.”
    “Say something nice to someone and feel good too.”
    “It’s okay to risk learning in this classroom.”
    “To have a friend, be a friend.”
    "I am want to be an achiever in this life and the next!"
    “Every little step I take, is a step toward my success.”
    “I’m proud to be a Muslims.”
    “I lik the way Allah made me.”

Homeschooling MythsHomeschooling Myths
By Shehnaz Toorawa

Muslim Parents often consider homeschooling but are held back by beliefs and concerns that, although valid, are usually false. Every month we will highlight a common myth about homeschooling:

Myth #2: I don’t have a teaching degree so I can’t homeschool!

Most homeschoolers do not have teaching degrees—and they don’t need to! The Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education performed a statistical analysis which revealed that “no difference can be found between the academic percentile ranking of those students whose parents hold teaching certificates compared to those whose parents do not”.

Most homeschooling parents learn as they teach, by observing what works best for their children and by talking to more experienced homeschoolers..

Shehnaz Toorawa holds a degree in Education from the University of Toronto and a degree in Islamic Studies from the American Open University. She is a homeschooling mother and a program coordinator at the Understanding Islam Academy (UIA) in Mississauga, Ontario.

Three Ways You Can Contribute:

  1. Feedback: We want to hear from you, the teachers, homeschoolers, and educators, about what you find most beneficial in this newsletter? What topics would you like to see addressed in future?
  2. Submit Articles / Tid Bits / Resources: Have you written something about teaching that could benefit other teachers? Any interesting resources (website, video, or book) you want to review and share? Please send it our way!
  3. MyClassroom Experience: Got a classroom success story to share? Is there some teaching practice that you discovered? Share!
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