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Curriculum

Curriculum Expectations

Teachers at NAA are expected to:

  • Implement the NAA curriculum
  • Integrate the curriculum areas in their instructional delivery.
  • Promote continuity and acquisition of knowledge through the effective use of the adopted curriculum.
  • Provide an Islamic framework and perspective in each subject.

The Continuous Progress Model

  • All students are capable of achieving success.
  • Success leads to more success.
  • Instructive is adapted to improve learning.
  • Clear outcomes, high expectations, and on-going appropriate assessment improve learning.
  • An appropriate level of challenge improves student achievement and engagement.
  • Individualized student learning needs are continually assessed and considered to maximize academic progress.

Curriculum at NAA

  • Clear and measureable targets stated for each target area.
  • Target indicators describe what student success looks like for each target.
  • The adopted curriculum provides a sound foundation for students entering high school.
  • Targets reflect national and state curriculum standards.
  • Refinements are ongoing and reflect student learning needs, best practices, and current research on student learning.
  • The development of an Islamic personality, well trained to lead society in an Islamic direction is the foremost goal of the NAA curriculum.

 

 

 

Reading and Writing Curriculum

Reading is the first commandment of Allah and writing is the second (Quran 96:1-5). The focus of reading and writing instruction at Noor Academy of Arizona is to develop communication skills for all learners. In order to do this, we have developed a curriculum that is based on the Arizona State Standards in Language Arts, the International Reading Association/National Council of Teachers of English standards, and current research.

The following are NAA’s underlying goals in the areas of reading and writing:

  • Motivating students to read for both pleasure and learning.
  • Teaching students skills and strategies to enable them to independently construct and gain meaning any kind of text.
  • Teaching students to read critically and evaluate text.
  • Teaching students to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • Teaching students skills and strategies to enable them to communicate well.

Beliefs about reading and writing:

  • Reading and writing are processes. Readers use knowledge about words, concepts, and text structure to construct meaning from the printed page. Writers plan, draft, edit, revise, and publish their works to share their ideas.
  • Reading and writing are forms of communication and are part of the language arts.
  • Children’s reading and writing abilities develop together.
  • Fluent readers and writers require facile control over elements of the processes.
  • Readers and writers apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experiences, their interactions with other readers, and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features.
  • Readers and writers employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences and for a variety of purposes.
  • Readers and writers adjust their use of spoken, writer, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Readers and writers apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print texts.
  • Readers and writers conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Readers and writers use a variety of technological and informational resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • Readers and writers read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions of human experience.

 


 

Mathematics Curriculum

The student outcomes for the mathematics program reflect the best knowledge of the growth and development of children, the needs of the children in our community, and the mathematical content that is critical to teach based on Arizona State Standards and the standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

The structure of the K-8 math curriculum is developed around the five strands that encompass the NCTM Standards and the Arizona State Standards:

Strand 1: Numeration, Reasoning, Problem Solving, Communication, and Connections

Strand 2: Measurement

Strand 3: Geometry

Strand 4: Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability

Strand 5: Patterns, Algebra, and Functions

 

Throughout mathematics instruction, students use reasoning, communications skills, appropriate manipulative materials and technology to make connections with real-life problem solving situations. Teachers focus instruction on the learning outcomes using a variety of strategies and methods. Teachers may provide instruction on outcomes children have not learned from previous grade levels or provide extra practice on the grade level outcomes children have not yet mastered. Teachers may also provide instruction to extend learning beyond the grade level outcomes.

Teachers use performance assessments matched to the outcomes to measure the progress of individual students to plan for continuing instruction based on results.

The goal of the mathematics program for students in grades K-8 is for students to develop a firm understanding of mathematics concepts, strategies, and algorithms. It is the expectation that students will be able to apply, generalize, and extend their knowledge of mathematics. Students will become fluent with mathematics and will be able to make connections within the discipline of math and to other disciplines.

 

 

Science Curriculum

The following statements are intended to form the philosophical framework for science instructional and curricular decisions. Many of the following principles, assumptions, and standards are derived from the National Science Standards.

Principles of Learning Science

Learning in the sciences is governed by the following principles:

  1. The universe has been created by Allah (SWT) for man to reflect, ponder, reason and learn from the majesty, beauty and systematic organization of it. Quran (3:190-191)
  2. Learning science is an active physical and mental process.
  3. Progression in learning is usually from concrete to abstract.
  4. All students are capable of learning science.
  5. What students learn is influenced by their existing ideas.
  6. Effective learning requires feedback.
  7. Teacher expectations affect student performance.

Principles of Teaching Science

  • Teachers of science should plan and implement a science program that is inquiry-based. They should develop short and long-term goals; adapt curricula to student interest, experiences, and abilities; align curricular targets to assessments; and collaborate with other teachers within the across grade levels and subject areas.

 

  • Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning by encouraging and supporting student inquiries; facilitating student discussion about scientific ideas; encouraging students to become personally responsible for learning; responding appropriately to individual differences and diversity in the classroom; and modeling scientific methods and skills, curiosity, and openness to new and/or different ideas.

 

  • Teachers of science participate in ongoing self and student assessment. They utilize multiple types of assessments to continually gather data related to student development and progress. Assessment data, when appropriate, is communicated effectively to students, other teachers, parents, policy makers and the general public. Student data should be used to reflect and improve teaching practices to meet the needs of all the learners in the classroom.

 

  • Teachers of science structure time for extended investigations, create a supportive and safe learning environment for children, and make science tools (technology, equipment, materials, and print resources) available and accessible to students.

 

 


 

Social Studies Curriculum

The focus of the Social Studies instruction at Noor Academy of Arizona is to develop the academic content and skills in the four interrelated disciplines of history, geography, civics/government, and economics that are essential to the understanding of human experience for all learners.

History

  • To develop an understanding that history of mankind has been a struggle between the truth (Al-Haq) and the falsehood (Al-Batil). As long as we follow the guidance from Allah (SWT), and the way of the Messenger of Allah, we will be successful.
  • To develop an understanding of chronological thinking, the connection between causes and effects, and between the continuity and change.
  • To develop citizens who understand contemporary issues with a depth and wisdom drawn from the experience of the past.

Geography

  • To recognize that the concepts of monotheism implies universality, equality, fraternity and brotherhood of man.
  • To teach students to think spatially.
  • To develop an understanding the human and physical characteristics of the Earth’s places and regions.
  • To understand how people of different cultural backgrounds interacted with their environment.
  • To develop an understanding of the essential skills of asking geographic questions:; acquiring, presenting, and analyzing.

Civics/Government

  • To develop an understanding of man as the Khalifah (vicegerent) of Allah (SWT) on this planet who runs his affairs with mutual consultation (shura).
  • To develop in all students the knowledge and skills for informed, responsible participation in public life.
  • To develop a basic understanding of politics and government, and practice the skills of good citizenship.
  • To develop an understanding of the importance of each person as an individual, and the respect for human and civil rights of all people.

Economics

  • To recognize the concepts of trust (amanah), development (tazkiyah) and investment (infaq) for the Sake of Allah (SWT) as the powerful foundation for social justice, prosperity and equality in the society.
  • To develop an economic way of thinking and problem solving in order to understand and apply basic economic principles to decisions that will be made as consumers, members of the workforce, citizens, voters, and participants in the global marketplace while adhering to the principles that were characteristic of the Prophet Muhammad in all our transactions.

 

 

Technology Curriculum

The Noor Academy of Arizona has the vision that all members of their community will have access and knowledge to use the tools of technology to be learners and contributing members of the 21st century.

The Technology Curriculum was designed to provide teachers, parents, and students with a specific articulation of NAA’s expectations of what all children are expected to learn and apply. The Technology Curriculum reflects the best knowledge of the growth and development of children, the current and future needs of children in our community, as well as content that is critical to teach based on the Arizona State Standards in technology.

The structure of the K-8 technology curriculum is developed around strands that encompass the Arizona State Standards:

Strand 1: Essential Technology Skills

Students learn to use computer technology to enhance their learning. Students learn computer operations and keyboarding and develop skills in word processing, presentations and working with spreadsheets and databases.

Strand 2: Conduct Research using Current Technology

Students learn to access and use information to support their daily learning and to enhance daily living. Students access online catalogs, databases, and use CD ROMS and other technical sources.

Strand 3: Apply Technology

Students demonstrate an understanding and application of various curricular content through the integration of technology in teaching and learning activities.

Technology is a set of tools to enhance learning throughout the various curricular areas. Technology provides students with the tools and strategies for solving problems, using information, increasing productivity, and enhancing personal growth. Technology has the potential to fundamentally transform the way students learn.

 

 

Physical Education Curriculum

Our body is a trust from Allah (SWT) for which we are accountable to Him. A strong and healthy believer is better than a weak one (hadith). The Noor Academy of Arizona Physical Education Curriculum is committed to developing a positive learning environment that instills, promotes, and motivates students to personally value a healthy and physically active lifestyle that enhances the quality of their daily life.

Guidelines

Teachers will use the following guidelines to fulfill the Physical Education curriculum at NAA:

  • Modeling enthusiasm for fitness and physical activity.

 

  • Demonstrating respect for one another that is desired in the behavior of students.

 

  • Meeting the same qualitative standards held for all other curricula and educators.

 

  • Developing student understanding of the benefits of health related physical activities.

 

  • Designing lessons and units focused on health-related physical activities that ensure students are active an optimum amount of time.

 

  • Designing lessons that result in students gaining an appreciation, an understanding and an enjoyment of health related physical activities.

 

  • Designing lessons and units that develop personal responsibility in students through setting and monitoring realistic personal goals.

 

  • Modeling and teaching students sportsmanship, respect for others, and the skills and attitudes necessary for teamwork.

 

  • Providing students choices within and among activities.

 

 

 

Arabic Curriculum

The NAA Arabic curriculum recognizes the importance of Arabic as the language of the Holy Qur’an. The Arabic curriculum emphasizes reading, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, and grammar. In order to choose the best teaching style for each student, our teachers become familiar with their educational level. The teacher has the ability to meet the learning needs of students through differentiating the lessons. In addition, they are able to supply the students with the knowledge and understanding of the material being taught.

After teaching students an appropriate level of reading and comprehension skills, the focus shifts to conversation skills. Teachers help them memorize Arabic vocabulary nouns and verbs in order to enhance students’ understanding of the Quran. In addition, they develop conversational lessons designed to teach how to use the language in practical settings and situations that they face in daily life.

At NAA, Arabic instruction is divided into grades and levels.

Pre-K to 3rd grade: The students learn the same Arabic curriculum. Learning strategies used:

  • Cards are used in teaching words, sentences, and answering questions.
  • Use new words to make sentences, ask questions and give answers, correct wrong sentences.
  • Arabic culture stories.
  • Show and tell plus similar techniques.

4th grade to 8th grade: Students are divided into four levels.  Each level has a special curriculum. To speak a language well, in a culturally authentic way, the speaker must develop skills in four specific areas. The four components of competency are:

  1. Strategic competence: knowing how to sustain conversation.
  2. Linguistic competence: Using the correct grammar and syntax.
  3. Sociolinguistic competence: Knowing when and how to use culturally appropriate language.
  4. Discourse competence: being able to use language for a wide range of functions.

Ten teaching techniques for Arabic:

  • Teach meaning not form.
  • Teach the whole before the part.
  • Follow the natural sequence of learning language skills.
  • Think as a learner while developing lessons as a teacher.
  • Be creative.
  • Assign quality tasks not quantity tasks.
  • Teach the language not about the language.
  • Use simulations and games as much as you can.
  • Match between teaching styles and learning styles.
  • Use audio-visual techniques.

 

 

Quran and Islamic Studies Curriculum

The primary objective of the school is to introduce and instill the main teachings of Islam. The school uses a very structured approach to teach Islam as a way of life. Students will, inshaAllah, have a grasp of the following:

Faith & Worship: Articles of Faith, Five Pillars and Worship of Allah (SWT).

Salaat: Goal is to make sure children know how to perform the salaat before they get to an age when it becomes mandatory. Children in the 4th grade and higher are expected to know how to perform Salaat.

Teaching of the Quran: Basic Teachings of Islam as mentioned in the Quran; Islamic morals and manners in light of the Quran and the Hadith.

Recitation/Reading Quran: The objective of the school is to facilitate students in the reading of the Quran. Children in the 4th grade and higher are expected to be able to read Quran.

Memorization of Surahs & Duas: Memorize 15-20 surahs and duas related to salaat and everyday affairs.

Introduction to Hadith: Introduction to the science of Hadith and some important Ahadith.

Introductory Fiqh: Introduction to basic fiqh.

Introduction to the Prophets: Stories of the Prophets for smaller children.

Seerah: Life history and Shama’il of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught at various levels.

Introduction to Islamic History: Brief overview of the Islamic history (khulafa-Rashidun, Umayyad & Abbasid periods, Muslims in Spain, Ottoman Period, Crusades, Islam in Africa & Islam in America)

Islamic contributions to civilization taught at the middle school level

For higher grades there is more emphasis on teaching the meaning of the Quran (as opposed to recitation) and general Islamic history (in addition to the Seerah of the Prophet – SAW). Advanced subjects that include fiqh, science of hadith, and Islamic akhlaq and adab are introduced at the middle school level. Though the advanced classes use the same structured approach as the rest of school they tend to be more discussion oriented and deal with current events and topics of general interest to the older students.

 

 

Co-Curricular Programs and Activities

The extra-curricular programs play the most vital role in the proper growth and development of a child. Educators point out that informal education is even more important for a child than the formal education received within the four walls of a classroom. The major goal of NAA is the total development of an Islamic personality.

These activities, therefore, exert a crucial role in achieving our target. We prefer to refer to them as co-curricular programs rather than the extra-curricular.

The following new programs are a part of the daily school routine in order to enhance the students’ Islamic character:

  1. Taleemus Salat: because salat is the best behavior modification and development technique from an Islamic point of view, a five minute presentation is made M-Th by the principal before Salatul Zuhr to focus on the essence of Salat.
  2. Taleem al-Ikhlaq: in order to stress the importance of Islamic etiquette and manners and to inculcate Islamic moral and behavior, this program is offered as an alternate to Taleemus Salat.
  3. Two boys from each class take turns to recite a dua with English translation after the salat each day.
  4. A dismissal assembly program is being held for all students at 2:55pm.
  5. Two girls from each class take turns and recite a dua and Sura tul Asr with English translation at the dismissal assembly.
  6. Ayah/Hadith/Dua of the Week is posted, discussed in the assembly and memorized by all students.
  7. Dua for eating and drinking is posted for students to refer to.
  8. Dua is posted outside each bathroom.
  9. Etiquettes for the proper use of the bathroom are also posted outside each bathroom and discussed in the assembly program.

10. Each classroom has posted discipline rules that will be frequently referred to.

11. Each classroom will post Basic Character Traits.

The above routines are in addition to already existing valuable practices of the Morning Assembly program that includes physical exercise, recitation of al-Fatiha, supplication, explanation of the Ayah of  the  Week, instructions by the principal and nasheeds. In addition, after each lunch and snack break, children offer the relevant dua together.

Committees are established for each subject-matter and will organize the following functions and programs related to their field:

Mathematics: Math Bowl

Science: Science Fair

Social Studies: International Day and Geography Bee

Islamic Studies: Story-telling and Inter-Islamic School Quiz

Arabic/Quran: Qirat Competition, Arabic Calligraphy/Spelling Bee

English: Spelling Bee and Essay/Poetry competition

In addition to the above, the following activities will also be organized:

  1. 1.    Isra and Miraj program
  2. Iftar-gram: Teachers and students exchanging a simple gift for Iftar among themselves [Ramadan].
  3. Food for the Hungry: Food banks, homeless shelters [Ramadan].
  4. Three one-act plays during the fundraising dinner.
  5. Eid Celebrations: Eid Card Competition, Eid party with nasheeds and plays.
  6. 6.    Mock Hajj
  7. End of the Year Celebrations: plays, nasheeds awards.
  8. 8.    Recognition of other Islamic events

The following clubs have been established:

  1. Student Shura Council: To practice Islamic concept of democracy.
  2. Dawah Club: Middle school students to engage in inter-faith exchanges.
  3. Reading and Book Club: Senior elementary students will read to their juniors and middle schools students will read to them. Middle school students will also review a selected book per month.
  4. Ecology/4-H Club: to keep the physical environment of the school clean and healthy.
  5. Islamic Boys/Girls Scouts: to organize recreational and social service programs.