The Islamic Foundation
of North America
www.ifna.net

Weekend School Mastery Level 4

Group Identity:  This level is for all those students who pass level 3 or who pass the entrance test with a 95 or above- no exceptions.  Boys and girls should be taught in separate classes from either this level or the next level onwards.  10+ year old boys and girls have no business sitting with each other anymore.

Clothing Requirement: Recommended dress code is that boys will wear a dark green kufi or topi while girls will wear a dark green hijab.

Mastery Focus:  The main focus of this level is on building a sense of cultural identity.  Students will be made aware that Muslims have a rich cultural heritage and civilization that operates even up to this day.

Methodology:  This level will be divided in four segments of 40-50 minutes each.

bulletSegment 1:  This class will explore the world of Islam.  Different Muslim cultures and societies will be explored as well as nations and customs.  Student projects will involve book reports, presentations, class discussions.  Slide shows and photobooks highlighting different Muslim lands will be shown.
bulletSegment 2:  This class will focus on Muslim art and achievement.  Muslims have a rich history of calligraphy, geometric design, painting, sculpture and architecture.  Students will learn how to produce Islamically-centered art and will participate in making their own art projects.
bulletSegment 3:  This class will continue to build on the knowledge of previous levels in Arabic, 'Aqeedah and Qur'anic comprehension.  Students will continue to master Arabic through reading the Qur'an and discussing the meaning and grammar rules encountered.  Other aspects of Islamic knowledge will come out through the reading of the Holy Qur'an.  Surahs 80-89 should be learned with meaning.  In addition, this is the level in which everything having to do with Siyam, or fasting will be taught.  All of the rules of fasting will be taught in detail along with the different types of fasting and the different occasions when fasting is recommended.
bulletSegment 4:  Physical fitness/martial arts:  Students will be given a regular period of physical fitness training and/or martial arts.  Swimming for males and females, in separate facilities, can be introduced at this level.  Perhaps swimming field trips can be organized in rented facilities on some day during the week on a regular basis.



Discussion:  Believe it or not, there are those Muslims who think that Islamic achievements in the arts and cultural realms are a waste of time.  The Blessed Prophet once said that "Allah is beautiful and loves beauty."  If we don't connect the students with the concept that Islamic civilization is well-rooted and worthy of study, then they will only study Western art and culture (as they have been doing) and they will consider non-Muslim art as valid and the highest point of creativity.  In addition, we must make our students aware of the Muslim nation and of all the rich Muslim cultures around the world.  Then they will know who their Ummah is.

Textbooks:  The following books will be selected.

bulletSegment 1:  "What Do We Know About Islam."  By Sharukh Hussain and/or "Introducing Islam."  By Khadija Knight  Also bring color slides, picture books such as "Costumes and Customs of the Arab World" available from IBTS and a big world map.  Other materials can be chosen that reflect the splendor and beauty of the cultural side of Islamic civilization.  For Example, "A Medieval Banquet Banquet in the Al Hambra Palace"  by Audrey Shabbas.  (AWAIR) + A Journey Through the Holy Qur'an by Yahiya Emerick
bulletSegment 2:  "Islamic Designs for Artists and Craftspeople." By Eva Wilson  (Soundvision). And various other books which are available from Astrolabe, islamicbookstore.com and Soundvision.   Many sellers now carry some very nice books on Islamic calligraphy, architecture and art.
bulletSegment 3.  "The Holy Qur'an for School Children Part 30."  By Yahiya Emerick.  (www.noorart.com)   "Essentials of Ramadan." by Shaykh Lemu.  "Better than a Thousand Months." (Reading Literature about Ramadan)  Get from halaco.com.  For Arabic, the teacher will concentrate on grammar and vocabulary found in the Juz Amma.


Specific Skills to Teach in Each Academic Segment:  The textbooks and the knowledge contained within constitute the requirements of this age group.

The Final Word:  By this level all of the participants are teenagers or soon to become teenagers.  Separating the classes by gender will go a long way to decreasing possible disruptions by students with overactive hormones.  In addition, girls will feel more comfortable speaking out in class if boys are not present.  Studies of classrooms in public schools have shown that boys tend to be aggressive and dominant in class while girls tend to become more timid.  We must not allow our female students to feel as though they are pushed aside.

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