By Noor Hani Salem
Green Eggs and Ham sounds familiar, but what happens when this popular book by Dr. Suess enters an Islamic School? Well, simply, it becomes â€œGreen Eggs and Jamâ€ as one creative kindergarten teacher, Sr. Amale Abdu, put it. Inside the kindergarten classroom at the International Islamic Academy in Detroit, MI sit little imaginative minds ready to take on just about any adventure handed to them. The month of March is known to be Reading Month across the nation, but this classroom stands out from the rest for the creativity and uniqueness of activities done.
At the beginning of the month the students were sent home with a packet and calendar with daily activities linked to reading. Whether it was taking a book to bed, reading in the kitchen, or dressing as your favorite character, students were beyond hyped for nightly cross outs. Every student was asked to do free writing of the easiest thing to do and draw a picture to go along with it. One student writes â€œthe easiest thing to do is reading because itâ€™s the easiestâ€.
One of the most unique activities done in the classroom was the Green Eggs and Jam day. After the teacher changed the famous â€œHamâ€ to â€œJamâ€ so it could be Halal, the extreme fun began. All the students joined in and made green eggs, along with a side of toast and jam. Students sat and enjoyed their green meal, while the teacher made a graph and took note of the likes and dislikes. It was a successful activity on the teacherâ€™s part, for students did truly take the main message of the book and went beyond their taste buds to try something new.
After reading The Magic Tree House the students had a day long program full of enjoyment. â€œFunday Mondayâ€ took place halfway through the month. It began with activities and centers for the students. After snacks and a movie students had reading time. Sr. Amale planned a scavenger hunt for the students around the entire school.
Rhyming words came into the picture too, after reading over a dozen of the Dr. Suess collection, including Hop on Pop. The students individually made a double sided flip book and found rhyming words and put it together. They also made rhyming books after reading Fox in Socks.
Around March 14th, after reading many rainbow related books and learning about them, every student was asked to complete a rainbow project at home and bring it in to the class to share. They were told to use various objects and simply get creative. They did truly take that statement to heart, and went above and beyond the imagination of a kindergartener. One student used crayons to create a rainbow, and another used pink flowers, red tissue paper, and orange leaves. Every rainbow was very unique and gorgeous in its own way. One student, Layan, even went above and beyond just making a rainbow poster project, she brought in a rainbow cake for her classmates.
Reading The Foot Book by Dr. Suess meant doing something that has to do with feet. Thatâ€™s exactly what these adventurous little students did. They painted their feet and created a class Foot Book. Every single page was designated to one student, with their painted foot along with a sentence or two explaining what their feet can do. Those few students who didnâ€™t like the idea of sticking their foot into paint were able to simply trace and draw their foot, and be a part of the class book too.
Throughout the entire month this kindergarten class room was visited by Mystery Readers. Parents were able to notify the teacher of a date and time they would be the mystery reader, without the students knowing who. Five clues of that parent were written down and they had to try to figure out who was coming in next. After reading the students a book many parents handed out goodies, some gave candy, others small toys, and some activity books and crayons. The excitement was clear on the faces of the children, and the love for reading was evidently growing immensely.
Parents were not the only ones coming in and reading to the students. The fourth grade classroom came in and sat one on one with the kindergarteners and a favorite book.
So it only takes the creativity of one teacher to get more than a dozen young minds creating beyond imagination. These kindergarteners were able to build on reading, writing, and activity skills without realizing it was learning. They bonded with the Dr. Suess collection and many other books. They accomplished a lot, all in one month for a few hours every day. They didnâ€™t simply â€œdrop everything and readâ€ or wear pajamas to school and bring a book. They went beyond that by miles. Now thatâ€™s what you call an adventure.