Saturday, September 7, 2013

House of God's Children-Project Examples

House of God's Children
Madrasat az-Zahra (School of Flower)
My dream:
An alternative system proposition to modern schooling

----First draft----

For the overview of the House-Madrasah and for some basic principles, as well as the provided links for
-The facility
-Activity examples
-A typical day
-Project examples

for Activity boards:
Project 1 for younger kids
Step 1: In the art room cut out from various materials and in various designs (as the children please) names of languages commonly spoken around the world (such as French, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, English, etc)
Step 2: In the library use a map of the world's continents drawn by the older kids (~7-10 yrs old) to stick the language tags in the appropriate locations (which parts of the world are Francophone? etc..)

Lengthy Project #2 for older kids
When I say lengthy, I really mean lengthy. Studying the millions of years of the history of our Earth can take many years to complete. This is a project that can be used to encompass many natural and social sciences and other disciplines in an interwoven manner.
The geology of the earth's continents in their stages mapped on large sheets with dates (how many million or thousand years ago) and creative drawings (or statues) of the animals and vegetation dominating the earth at that time.
This is a good way to tackle geology, animal and plant taxonomy, art and map making all at once. You can try different projection drawings of the earth to 2-D or you can even try making 3-D scale models. Children should not be restricted in their expressions of ideas but supported and guided instead.
As the dates approach the last few 100K years, also address migration paths of early humans and this is a good time to tackle anthropology and the hunter gatherer lifestyles.
When the last 10K years with the boom of agriculture around the world and the beginning of the more heavily recorded history is studied, draw stages of the earth with increasing frequency of years, including the tribal, political and historical changes and major cities as well as continuing to map with appropriate frequencies any major changes in the fauna or animal species.
In this discussion the changes of migration of languages over millennia (linguistics) and the history of sciences and disciplines can also be included. The discussion of vernacular architecture as well as ancient lifestyles and family types within this project should be merged with folklore and literature readings.
When studying history of sciences and disciplines, if anyone seems particularly interested in a certain field, greek logic, usul tafseer (methodology of exegesis), alchemy, etc, they should be encouraged and guided to delve into the field more.
Children should be guided to divide amongst each other, based on passion, interest and ability, who wants to research which aspect of each historical or geological age. Thus, the map of the earth in a certain moment in time will be an opportunity for them to discover whether they're more curious about the animals who lived around the globe then, or the kinds of houses and families people built, or the kinds of clothes they wore or the sports they did, etc. Most importantly, it will bring about a spirit of sharing and collaboration, instead of comparing and competing. At the end, they will all share what they have learned with each other and thus build a series of wall size maps in conjunction as a group.

Project#2 is pregnant to an innumerable variety of shorter sub-project topics the kids should be guided into coming up themselves.
for ex: History of education in the Ottoman Empire (history)
Where did the dinosaurs live? (biology)
Why do continents move? (geology)
What brings about major climatic changes? (geography)
The shamanistic practices of Mongols (history of religion)
How was silk first made? (history of technologies)
The invention and evolution of money and currency (economics)
While the teacher should actively help the children to come up with project ideas by touching upon various topics and exciting the curiosity of the young minds, they should also help them conduct the project. The teacher should guide the students in the correct direction of finding authentic appropriate resources while also teaching them how to find and assess resources. They should let the students investigate these resources themselves or in groups, again with mild supervision. Artistic presentation of collage boards, storyboards, etc of the students' choice (but again with ideas offered by teachers to broaden the options) should be encouraged over dry papers. At the same time, occasional academic papers are good for those inclined to an academic path.
The research with its completion should be presented by its preparer(s)  to the rest of the students, so information flow can be established, students actively participate in the act of teaching and they can develop proper public speech and presentation skills. They should be encouraged to use any space in/outdoors and include any act or demonstration alongside.
Thus, even a musical (complete with authentic outfits designed and prepared by students themselves during stitching class) about the drastic changes of the Ice Age can be conceived. Offering them more options is again to encourage the nourishment of their creativity and individual freedom of thinking&dreaming&imagining, while at the same time learning useful menial skills.
The teacher isn't just a sermon giver but an overseer of projects, an advisor who suggests varied options.
True education should be about allowing the children to bloom like flowers, not be enclosed inside boxes built by and for the greedy capitalist monsters.

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