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Students Co-Teach Introduction to Islam with Freshmen

Why do you think it is so important as a global citizen to understand the basic values of different religions? What are the benefits of having religious awareness? What could happen if you don’t?

This quarter, students in Mrs. Cassarino's ninth-grade class are exploring the differences -- and more often, the similarities -- between world religions. After units on Christianity and Judaism, this week students are receiving an introduction to Islam. With discussions of each religion, Mrs. Cassarino hopes to build in students a greater ability to answer the three questions above.

And she's not doing it alone.

For the seventh year in a row, Mrs. Cassarino invited Muslim students to co-teach Intro to Islam with her. 

Over the course of the period, students learned a new word of the week (minaret) and listened to a clip of the Azan (the Muslim call to prayer). Mrs. Cassarino also explained to freshmen the five pillars of Islam, drawing links between the similarities other religions may share, while student panelists discussed what it's like to fast during Ramadan from sunrise to sunset... Sometimes during school finals week.

At the end of the period, students answered questions from the ninth graders, addressing cultural choices for those who decide to dress for modesty, stereotypes, prayer rituals, and how easy it is to find which direction to face when looking toward Mecca. (Answer: You use your cellphone.)

Student panelists with Mrs. Cassarino