Category Archives: Behaviour

End of term handouts


SubhanAllah, another term at Al Barakah is coming to an end and unlike the first term, this one has flown by. But time usually goes fast when you’re having so much fun.

To remind the girls to review their Arabic grammar over the holidays, I went out and bought a few goodies for the girls to celebrate how well they have done this term masha Allah! For example, my year 10s were able to translate the first few sentences of the story of Habil and Qabil in Arabic using previous knowledge of vocabulary and Arabic grammar they have learnt so far. That is a huge achievement and I was blown away in class with how well they translated the text!

So here is a peak at the goodies 🙂


 The above is for my little year 8s. I’ve just added a little tag to each present – lolly pop dips. If you want to print this class for your class, here is the PDF Dip tag.

Here are the presents for my year 10s and 9s. Crisps with their own tag. If you want to print your own tag, here is the PDF Chip tag.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome!




After a break of three weeks, I’m ready to start posting on the site again. I’ve been busy designing the third part to the Qur’anic Arabic books for Al Barakah school. As we near the end of our second term, motivation is something that begins to wane as the students (and sometimes teachers) get into holiday mode.  I came across a lovely motivational reminder for students that someone had created for their maths class, so I thought why not create one along similar lines for my Arabic students.

what can i do motivation-page-001

 Once I hand it out, I will of course talk through each point and discuss with the girls. The point referring to “techniques” refers to for example our lesson spent on figuring out their preferred and more useful learning techniques to memorise Arabic vocabulary. Each student discovered whether they were visual, auditory or a  kinaesthetic learner. So this point will encourage them to keep using the techniques that they have discovered works best for them.

Please feel free to download and share for yourself, children and classes. Jzk.


Sticker Chart


Here is the pdf for a sticker chart we use for the Early years. You can laminate the sheet so the sheet doesn’t get crumpled and torn up. Every time the kids reached one of the red gift boxes – they get to choose a present.

sticker chart-page-001



Aromatherapy and the Muslim Classroom



Aromatherapy (the science of using essential oils and fragrances as mood   enhancers and to promote physical wellbeing) seems like a western fad but Islamic history is rich with references of musk, frankincense, bukhoor and other beautiful scents.

In a Hadith, the Prophet is reported to have said:

“Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa ‘i).

While researching for this post, I came across an excellent article by Brother Abdur Rahman who explained the hadith in a more allegorical manner. When this hadith is read on a deeper level, the mention of perfume can  be read as the Prophet’s love of the perfume of beautiful character. That is quiet profound!

As Islam spread across Arabia and into Persia, Rose water became a favourite in the Muslim world where it was used to perfume mosques, clean clothes and was added to food items. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) the Islamic philosopher, devoted an entire book on the use of roses and recorded over 800 medical plants and essentials oils. He was the first to perfect the distilling of oils from plants and herbs, used today in concentrated forms of aromatherapy oils.

On my trip to Oman some while back, I noticed how widespread the use of bukhoor (fragrance) was. The building where all the Arabic language students were housed, always had bukhoor burning and it created such a beautiful atmosphere. In Salalah, I visited a souq (market) where an entire section was lined with shop after shop selling bukhoor.


Bukhoor Stall in Salalah, Oman


Bukhoor burner painting shop in Salalah, Oman

Today, we wouldn’t dream of setting up our business next to a competitor but Islamic architecture and city planning was based on the deep belief that Allah was the provider and would look after all who sought from Him. Alhamdolillah! In my own life, I have fond memories of coming back home from school on Fridays to a bukhoor-ed up home. So…it was about time I helped the girls to create good memories of learning Arabic.

In keeping with my goal of creating a fun, intellectually stimulating and respectful atmosphere in my classroom, I have used aromatherapy. In my first year at Oxford, we had to learn almost 40 new keywords each week and had a test every Tuesday to review new grammar concepts. I tried to start each class with a ten minute test so that the girls would be forced to review the material I was teaching them each week. What I forgot was that they weren’t doing a degree in Arabic! LOL So I cut down on the tests. Last lesson, I gave them an end of term assessment (only 70 exam sheets to mark!) and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring back the aromatherapy I was using.

Getting started with a calm classroom

There’s a lot of research supporting the use of essentials oils to regulate mood. As the girls entered the class which would begin with the short test, there was always nervous energy in the room. To calm them down, I created a spray mist using lavender essential oil (bought from Boots) about 12 drops and more if needed and I would spray the room before they entered.


When I did it in my last Arabic class, the room smelt so nice and I noticed that the girls were very calm and definitely less rowdy. I’ve made it my habit now to use the lavender spray and to remind them to say “Bismillah” before they begin. I am conscious that some kids can be allergic to essential oils or that they can trigger negative emotions and memories, but so far alhamdolillah nobody has complained!

Here’s a short video explaining how to make the spray and one for making your own reed diffusers.

If you are interested in using aromatherapy to help your Arabic/Islamic Studies/Qur’an studies students, here is some more info:

  1. Invest in good quality essential oils. Although essential oils are on the pricey side – try not to use commercial room sprays as they can trigger allergic reactions and generally do not promote wellbeing.
  2. Plan how you will use your essential oils: room spray? Reed diffusers? Commercial diffuser?
  3. Choose your essential oils based on which mood you’d like to enhance:

    Lavender: The most common and easy to find EO. Use to relax and calm the students. Too much will put the student’s to sleep! J

    Lemon (and other citrus oils such as grapefruit): Use to create a cheerful, inspiring atmosphere. For whenever you want to energise the students. Especially good for dark and cold winter months.

    Peppermint: Use when teaching new concepts and you want students sharp and alert.

  4. Say Bismillah and get started. Remember to adjust to your classroom needs. Some smells can trigger negative emotions in people – so always check in with students about how they’re feeling and if they agree to this practise. Never go over board – especially with Lavender! And most importantly enjoy the experience.

I will continue to use aromatherapy over the next two coming terms and I can’t wait to try the different essential oils available in the market.

Suggested reading:

Research (pdf file) on Aromatherapy in the classroom: a large scale pilot project

A comprehensive article outlining the History of Aromatherapy

An excellent article on Aromatherapy in the Ancient Azerbaijani Medicine

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!


My classroom poster


I found this poster on Pinterest and adapted it to suit my classroom needs. It is super easy to make…and you can go crazy with the fonts. My teaching assistant is in charge of sticking this on our classroom door and a quick glance every now and then at it while I’m teaching helps me to stay focused on the kinds of feelings and good adab I need to instill in the girls. Obviously, the girls will do as you do and not as you say.


If you make one of your own, send it to me and I can show case it on this blog insha Allah!


Welcome back note


Insha Allah, the first lesson will begin with ice breakers, handing out textbooks, getting their personal and parent’s email ads and going through the welcome pack each student will receive. The pack will contain a page giving the overview of the syllabus, a layout of my expectations, how the surah will be taught, the mark scheme and the assessment chart. I have also adapted the note Apple gives to its employees on their first day of work to fit into my Qur’anic Arabic classes.

The student will get out of my classes what they put in and I will always be challenging them and helping them in their weaker areas. The students should feel growth both in their Arabic language skills and in their personalities, and I hope that my classroom setting will facilitate this insha Allah.


So here is the note I made- Apple style (feel free to edit the word doc to fit it into your subject/classroom)

Qur’anic Arabic apple note pdf

Qur’anic Arabic apple note word

Student self-reflection


I saw this form for student self reflection and thought I need to make a few tweaks so it would be relevant for my Arabic class. So here is the student self reflection pdf. I think I will get the students to fill it out in the middle of the term and possibly also at the end insha Allah.


student self reflection-page-001