IMG_1674Our regular followers will notice that we do not have a separate book post this week. The reason for this is that we have been wanting to do a unit on Islam for a long time but had difficulty coming up with a meaningful approach for our students. At our last school book fair, we came across the book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns a Muslim book of colors by Hena Khan. It is a beautiful book that was perfect for our unit. We contacted Ms. Khan and she graciously gave us permission to use the book in any way we chose—-how cool is that!

We hope you enjoy seeing some of the things we learned about the Muslim faith AND please consider adding Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns to your own library collection.





The first sentence of each of our color boxes is a paraphrase of Ms. Khan’s poetry, and the reason behind the contents choices.

IMG_1407Silver is a glowing fanoos (lantern). We made our lantern by putting some battery operated lights and silver garland in a clear shoebox.

Our students love looking at lights and so this box was both pretty and fascinating for our students—-and for some of the adults also 🙂

This addresses the science access point recognizing sources of light.






IMG_1440Red is the color of the rug that is kneeled upon to pray to Mecca each day. We filled our first box with an assortment of  yarn, wool, and chenille strands—–the kinds of materials that might be used to make rugs. Pompoms were also included to compare/contrast component: the pompoms are soft like the yarn strands but round rather than long and thin.

Our students really loved all the differing textures in this box! They love pulling the yarn apart, shaking it around, and……seeing how far it would stretch!

The science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color—-in this case red—-is addressed in this activity.

The math access point identify 3 dimensional objects (sphere) is also addressed.




IMG_1278Gold is the color of dome of the mosque. For this box we put in a mixture of hard gold beads and soft gold garland. Our students love shiny things that they can shake and move so this box was a definite favorite! It was also fun seeing which textures different students preferred, for most of them the beads were a clear favorite 🙂

Exploring the materials using vision and touch addressed the science access point explore, observe, and recognize common objects in the natural world. Applying a push or pull to move an object can be addressed 🙂

The math access point recognize length of real objects, such as long or short is also addressed.






IMG_1258White is the color of a round, flat kufi hat. The illustration in Ms. Khan’s book shows a group of men drinking tea so we used tea leaves as a base for this box. While we have used our tea leaves for other themes, it has been fairly infrequently so it is still a novel substance for our students. They were definitely intrigued by it’s texture and aroma. We also added 3 round, white foam core circles to represent the kufi hats.

We discussed where hats were worn and asked students to touch their heads addressing the science access point recognize external body parts.

The math access points identify 2 dimensional objects and solve problems involving joining or separating sets of objects to 3 are also addressed in this activity.




IMG_1185Purple is the color of Eid (an Islamic holiday) gifts. We put a variety of purple paper shred and ribbons in this box along with 3 small purple toys. Our students had a lot of fun discovering the hidden treasures and some of the toys had moving parts—–perfect for practicing fine motor skills!

Identifying objects by one observable property is the science access point again addressed in this activity.







IMG_1267IMG_1237Yellow is the color of the box filled with zakat for those in need. Our box was filled with yellow rice and 3 plastic coins for our students to find. There was also a picture of 2 children in traditional muslim attire hidden underneath the rice. The students really enjoyed discovering the items in this box—-especially the coins!

The social studies access points recognize differences in clothing from other cultures and recognize coins as money are addressed here.





IMG_1244Orange is the color of henna used to draw designs on hands. Orange oobleck became our henna this week. We made it a little thin ——-perfect for dripping designs on to hands!

The science access points track objects in motion and recognizing external body parts are addressed here.







IMG_1276IMG_1500Brown is the color of sweet dates eaten at Ramadan. While we wanted to reference the scent of dates in our lotion and water play it was a little challenging since dates are not an item found readily in our area or a scent found on bath product shelves. We went through our collection and the consensus was that our plumeria scent was the closest to the scent of dates! So while not perfect, the point is to give our students an olfactory component to help them remember the information they learned—-so it still works.

Our students used the date/plumeria scented water to rinse the “henna” off of their hands—-addressing the science access point recognize one way people use water.

We used our sense of smell to explore the lotion and the science access point recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli and well as the science access point recognize external body parts as it was applied to hands, necks, and arms.




IMG_1300On Tuesday we made our own orange henna hands! We started by tracing each students hands on white paper. Then our students were asked to identify the color orange using our communication symbols.

This addresses the science access point identify an object by one observable property, such as color.






IMG_1311IMG_1331Next we used a variety of orange markers to decorate the hands. The bright orange color really contrasted nicely with the white paper—–addressing the science access point recognize a change in an object.

Adults cut out the paper hands as our students cutting skills are still at the emergent level. The students then glued their henna hands down onto blue rectangular paper.

Spatial relations, hand strengthening,  and eye hand coordination are addressed with this activity.



The math access points recognize 2 dimensional shapes and recognize a movement that reflects a spatial relationship, such as up and down are also addressed.

IMG_1381                                                                  TADA—-look at our henna hands! They are fabulous!!!!



IMG_1606IMG_1596On Thursday for our art project we made fanoos! We started with folded rectangles of gilded wallpaper. This paper was perfect for our project and best of all—–free 🙂 Discussing the shape of the paper addresses the math access point recognize 2 dimensional shapes.

As the students chose which paper they wanted for their lantern they are communicating their preferences—–a language access point!

We used our adaptive tabletop scissors to cut slits in the paper—–counting as we snipped, of course!

As the slits are cut into the paper it is changed, addressing the science access point recognize a change in an object.



We really wanted to get the affect of a twinkling lantern so we put some battery operated lights in a clear plastic cup. Once our fanoos were put together (using double stick tape) we slipped them over the cup.

IMG_1677                                                                       Pretty darn magical—–if we do say so ourselves 🙂




IMG_1541To reinforce all the new words we have been learning, we played Bingo!  Everyone got a different Bingo sheet with pictures from Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

One of our students acted as the “caller” and was put in charge of pushing the All-Turn-It switch to determine which picture to find. We reviewed the Muslim vocabulary words that were associated with each picture, such as “zakat,” “Eid,” and “kufi.”

Responding to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly is a language access point.





IMG_1527Our students did a great job of finding the same picture on their board.  They also did well with asking for help (either by vocalization or using their Pixon boards) if they could not find the picture.

Picking up the tokens and placing them on a picture reinforces lots of fine motor skills including pincer grasp and eye hand coordination. It also addresses the math access point match one object to a designated space to show one-to-one correspondence.

Seek assistance to clarify the meaning of pictures, symbols, or words in classroom activities is a language access point.




IMG_1553And of course, the best part of Bingo is when you can yell “BINGO!”  You could tell our students have played this game before because no prompting was needed 🙂

This was so much fun and needless to say, we played quite a few more rounds before our time was up.

Using language and nonverbal expression for specific purposes is a language access point.

We had a great time this week despite the polar blast that left icy roads and classes cancelled. We really enjoyed Ms.  Khan’s book and again thank her so much for allowing us to use it.

Please join us again next week at Group by Group——-the Winter Olympics are coming to our school!

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