Academic Program for Elementary
The elementary school program at Nur-Ul-Islam Academy is comprised of classes from the first grade to the fifth grade.
This is an important phase in the children’s educational journey since it establishes the foundation for learning throughout their lives. At the Academy, there is a major focus on developing critical thinking skills. Our teachers utilize the Socratic method of teaching by asking questions and giving time for thoughtful responses. Our outcomes are not merely based on retention but rather on applications through analyzing, evaluating, and creating. This solid foundation would furnish our elementary students with a basis for lifelong learning.
The curriculum of the elementary program is comprised of the following courses:
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Islamic Studies/Quran
- Arabic (Foreign Language)
- Physical Education
Through these courses our students are enlightened about the world in which they live, with an emphasis on cultural diversity in an ever-expanding global environment. Teachers work with students and parents to ensure that this partnership will result in a life-long commitment to education. We have implemented Harcourt textbooks for the four major courses (Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) because they are thematic in nature and are based on national standards. They facilitate integration between disciplines.
Engaging children early in reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary inspires them to become lifelong learners and literary beings.
The Journeys Reading program was introduced with each lesson focusing on reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. The goal of this program is to create a learning environment that supports students in building and developing strong reading habits, using strategies to figure out context clues, as well as discussing and analyzing reading passages, cooperatively.
Many of the lessons are integrated with science and social studies to enhance learning in these areas. The reading materials reflect diverse genres, including non-fiction, poetry, and realistic fiction, focus on science and social studies.
In the early grades, teachers incorporate various strategies to teach reading including small guided reading groups, sight words work and phonics instruction. In the upper elementary grades, groups are commonly guided to delve deeper into the reading material to improve comprehension. Daily reading is encouraged, and students are taught to read actively by utilizing a variety of strategies including questioning, previewing, predicting, forming conclusions, and making generalizations. Students are directed to complete book reports and keep reading logs.
The Accelerated Reading (AR) program is utilized through the library and students are strongly encouraged to utilize this program. All of the classes visit the library each week, with the librarian guiding them to select appropriate books. Students are tested each term using the STAR reading diagnostic. The results from these tests are used to develop individual lesson plans, which address the student’s needs. Students are also encouraged to develop their creativity and to express themselves through the annual Student Treasure writing program. Through this program students are able to write and publish their work. Students lay a foundation for self-critique and reflection through Journal Writing. Writing is integrated across the curriculum. The ultimate goal is for students to become capable readers and writers.
A monthly reading night was implemented in our school to boost the literacy program and parental involvement within our school society. Our plan is to create a passion and love to instill a lifelong dedication to reading. We incorporate different themes each month to make reading more alluring to our students. Students become excited and animated as they experience literature in an interactive manner.
The Harcourt Go Math series was recently introduced at the academy; it encourages students to develop a true conceptual and procedural understanding of mathematics. The program features visual representation and modeling strategies to solve problems, place value, computation fluency so that students may understand the “how and why.” Harcourt Math works hand in hand with standards that attempt to foster complete mastery in one concept while building on prior knowledge. Additionally, the focus is on teaching students that mathematical experience can be joyful and functional. This program is designed to keep students more engaged, enjoy math, and understand concepts that, in past years, had been troubling to them. The ultimate plan is to raise students’ achievements and to prepare them for at grade level and beyond.
Students receive daily preparation for standardized tests through daily SAT practice. This daily practice helps to improve the comprehension, problem solving and mental math skills of the students.
Students are challenged with the Math Superstar, which provides the extra support that self-motivated students need in mathematics. It also helps in building problem solving skills. The overall goal is to help students develop both a conceptual as well as a procedural understanding of mathematics, while making it enjoyable and effective.
Nur-ul-Islam Academy offers the Florida State Standards based instructions solutions through “Science Fusion Series” which bring science to life in our classrooms with interactive technology and real-world case studies. The instructions help teachers spark students’ natural interest in science and create life-long critical thinkers.
In addition, the school science curriculum is based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)” in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teaching the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, the Science Fusion Series integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. It allows students to develop important skills that they can use to further their education.
The Science curriculum for our lower elementary students explores the “full inquiry,” involves asking a simple question, completing an investigation, answering the question, and presenting the results to others by conducting evidence based projects by involving our students in “Project Based Learning (PBL)” approach.
The Science curriculum for our upper elementary school facilitates experiments by exploring “Community Based Learning (CBL)” real world issues. Students get involve in recreational activities to engage in learning through play. Community-based learning helps students build a sense of connection to their communities. At the same time, it challenges them to develop a range of intellectual and academic skills in order to understand and take action on the issues they encounter in everyday life. Using topics in the field of biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, technology, and environmental science, students learn to become scientists in the way they think and act.
The Social Studies program teaches students about human interactions with the biological, physical, and social world. A solid understanding of citizenship and communities in the lower grades transforms to government and history in the upper grades. The initial focus is on family, school, neighborhood, and their immediate ever-changing world. Later emphasis is on history, geography, economics, citizenship, and the humanities. The curriculum allows for students to learn about local, national, and world history, while drawing parallels to common themes within the social sciences. Also, activities include presentations, current events discussions, geographical inquiry, research, and note taking.
Teachers also emphasize the Islamic perspective of social interaction of people and the mutual respect that is required of everyone to ensure the progress of society at large.
The curriculum allows for easy integration and cross-curricular planning for all the subjects. Topics covered in the social studies curriculum can be reinforced with concepts in mathematics, language arts, and science. Hands on projects and are used to emphasize the lesson topic and give the students the opportunity to explore social studies outside the classroom. The curriculum also integrates geography and map skills. The annual theme drives the social studies curriculum, which serves as a basis for both the integration of content areas and discovery of the many and varied ways in which humans interact with the community, the nation, and the world.
The academy hosts an annual Culture Day, which is a celebration of diverse cultures and themes from across the world. It is integrated across the academic curriculum with projects, presentations, research, and reports. They incorporate the architectural structures, historical aspects, cultural attires, and authentic cuisine within their designated countries. Teachers, parents, and students work diligently together to orchestrate this major event, which is enjoyed by the entire community.
Nur-Ul- Islam Academy offers students a great selection of specialized classes during and after regular school hours.
Computers are offered twice a week in the computer lab. In this information age technological changes are rapid and continuous. Computer literacy is a pre-requisite for any career choice a student may make. In support of this belief, Nur ul Islam Academy has designed a computer education program beginning from Pre-K through the 12th grade. These classes teach the basic skills needed to further improve the students’ working knowledge of today’s technology. These basic skills include:
- Introductory knowledge, skills and understanding of basic concepts related to technology required from Kindergarten through High School.
- An understanding of basic technology terms such as software, document, file, folder, application software, K (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), directory, operating system, DVD, hard disk, monitor, inkjet, printer, laser printer, VHS, digital video, digital audio, scanner, camcorders, networking, etc.
- Common input and output devices.
- Use technology productivity tools such as word processing, desktop, publishing, graphics software, presentation software, and databases.
- Understanding that laws control the delivery and use of media to protect the rights of authors and the rights of media owners.
As a result, academic and professional institutions must upgrade their hardware software on an annual base. The Academy recognizes the importance of teachers and professionals remaining current in their knowledge of technology, thus the Academy encourages professional growth through workshops, hands on activities and on line courses.
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Arabic and Islamic Studies are allotted four sessions per week for each subject in elementary school. A textbook series Easy Steps to Arabic by Dr. Abdul Raheem is introduced in elementary school. This series focuses on spoken language, grammar, and vocabulary. Teachers also use various multimedia resources to reinforce information taught. Instructors attend regular workshops to enhance their skills. They are also introduced to new technology and curriculum, which have been introduced into the classroom. CD’s and songs are used to reach students who are auditory and visual learners. Each student has his/her own books in both Arabic and Islamic studies. In addition, the Academy has increased the resources for these subjects in the school’s library.
Students are expected to memorize the 30th chapter of the Holy Quran by the end of the elementary school program.
The mission of the Physical Education program is to motivate to make healthy choices and to participate in a variety of active pursuits for a lifetime. Thus sportsmanship, leadership, fitness concepts, and healthy student attitudes towards physical activity are woven together into fitness activities, competitive sports, and psychomotor skill development. Our P.E. program is standards based, deliberately sequenced, accessible to all students and focused on lifetime skills and physical fitness. Assessments are made for students in the five areas of health-related fitness; aerobic capacity, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition. Through this assessment, students become self-aware of their personal fitness in comparison to the “healthy fitness zone” for their age and gender.
The physical education instructor works along with the assistant coach and the homeroom teachers to provide multiple learning opportunities for all students. The lower elementary students attend PE classes three periods per week and the upper elementary students attend two classes per week. Students participate in a structured program and receive a grade for ability and participation. A physical education program has been developed that meets the Sunshine State Standards, teaches sports skills and health related fitness. Appropriate equipment has been purchased that will facilitate meeting the program requirements.
Elementary students participate in art classes once a week. Students create artwork using the principles and elements of art and design, and demonstrate an understanding of how subject matter, symbols and ideas are used to communicate meaning in art. Lessons are integrated into thematic units reflecting the broader goals of the elementary curriculum. Students familiarize themselves with periods of art and cultures throughout history. Each year, students’ works are displayed in an Art Exhibit for the whole school community to share and celebrate the arts.