Planning a Unit on the Pillars of Islam

If you are new to planning units of study, here are a few tips:

1. Start with learning objectives

  • This may seem a little academic-y, but it is very helpful to establish what it is that you want your kids to learn. 
  • Be sure to make sure that your learning objectives meet the following criteria so that they are usable and not just words on paper. I like to use my learning goals as checklists for mastery at the end of a unit and for review at a later date.

“Learning Objective statements may be broken down into three main components:

1. an action word that identifies the performance to be demonstrated;

2. a learning statement that specifies what learning will be demonstrated in the performance;

3. a broad statement of the criterion or minimum standard for acceptable performance.”
Here are some learning objectives that I have identified for my kids on this topic, the Pillars of Islam (in an overview unit where we do not get into a great amount of detail for each pillar):
  • State the pillars of Islam in the order of the hadith (using Arabic terms).
  • Recognize the Arabic and/or English terms visually
  • Spell the names of the pillars of Islam without looking (Arabic and/or English)
  • Answer: What is the proof for these pillars?
  • Answer orally: What is shahadah?
  • Answer orally: What is salah?
  • Answer orally: What is zakaah?
  • Answer orally What is hajj? (answer should include where/when it is made)
  • Answer orally: What is sawmi Ramadan?
  • What month (number) is Ramadan? (optional)
  • Who is the narrator for the hadith of the pillars of Islam?
  • Recite the hadith of the pillars of Islam in Arabic from memory.
  • Read the hadith of the pillars of Islam (fluently), pointing to each word as it is read.

2. Create an outline

WhatYouSee_OutlineI love to make outlines because they are great timesavers and lesson planning aids. After I have identified the main points (which I take from my learning objectives as well), I have a kind of map to follow. At that point, I can search for resources to go along with each item in the outline.
A sample unit outline for an overview unit on the Pillars of Islam may be:

I. Introduction to the pillars of Islam, and their role in Islam. (use hadith of Ibn Umar; use TJ PowerPoint)
II. Names of the Pillars in order (according to the hadith)
III. Sight recognition of Pillars of Islam names (Arabic/transliteration or both)
IV. The Pillars, one by one (briefly)
a. Shahadah
b. Salaah
c. Zakaah
d. Hajj
e. Sawmi Ramadan

V. Learn to read the hadith in Arabic fluently.
VI. Memorize this hadith as proof for the pillars.

3. Locate your materials

Now, that you’ve got a plan (like a skeleton), it is easier to flesh it out with some meat, some substance.
To make the learning experience richer, remember to include as many multisensory media that you can, including:
  • video/flash
  • PowerPoints/slide shows
  • games
  • books
  • articles/treatises
  • fatwa
  • the Quraan and ahadith
  • games
  • audio
  • writing exercises

4. Capture your learning

5lapbook-girlmasjidartPlan for the creation of lapbooks, notebooks, file folder centers, posters, mini books and other products to help summarize what is learned for the end of the unit and to serve as review days, weeks, months, and even years later and also to document your studies.

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