# Math is Fun

Mathematics is a subject which most students love to hate – and certain teachers even hate to teach, because of the overt negative vibes. On the other hand, there are some students who are a joy to teach, simply because they are so skilled with numbers.

Following are some activities which teachers can use for inculcating math skills at elementary level classrooms.

Gaity, a kindergarten teacher, uses an activity involving six puppets: five monkeys and one alligator. She gives small laminated drawings attached to pop sticks to the children and asks them to sing the following song: “Teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me. Along came Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be, and snapped that monkey right out of the tree.” She has the children sing the song a number of times, until they have memorized it. Then, she selects six students: five to hold the monkey puppets and one for the alligator. In unison, the class sings the song, taking a monkey away each time. While they are singing, the teacher writes the subtraction problems on the board to go with each verse of the song, e.g., 5-1=, 4-1=, 3-1=, 2-1=… Then, the children solve each problem using the puppets. The alligator is supposed to serve as the subtraction sign.

Another activity is called ‘flying a saucer’. Before the class begins, the teacher writes a math fact on each of a number of paper plates. In the playground, the children line up with a paper plate in hand, and when cued, they throw the paper plate as far as they can. Then they scramble to pick up the plates, before the whistle blows, after which they line up again. One by one, ask the students to read out and answer the question written on his or her plate/s. The child that gives the right answer remains in the line and whoever does not has to sit. Any sitting student can ‘buy’ his or her way back into the game by answering a problem that someone doesn’t know in the next round.

Ghazala, also a kindergarten teacher, plays ‘winning the cheeto’ with her students. She writes the numbers she is working with on cards made out of construction paper. These cards are then taped to the floor forming a square. In addition, she also puts small pieces of paper with numbers on them in a box. For starters, she lets each student stand on a number and then, while the teacher sings, they walk around stepping on the numbers as they go. Once the song stops, they have to stop at the number they are on, and the teacher then draws out one of the pieces of paper from the box and calls out the number written on it. Whoever is standing on the number is the winner. This activity can be used to teach colours, shapes and alphabets.

For the activity called ‘number patterns,’ students learn to identify the number pattern on the board and write the missing numbers, e.g., 18, 15, 12, -, -, -. Make sure you explain the concept well and ask them prompting questions like whether the missing number is larger or smaller. To check if they have understood the concept, ask them to create their own number patterns and see if their partner can identify them.

For the activity ‘Cheerio and counting,’ ask the children to tell you their age, using their fingers. Give the child a number card with his or her age on it and ask them to put the correct amount of Cheerios on it. Talk about each number. After that, give them a piece of yarn and have them make a necklace, using the Cheerios as beads, while counting them as they go along.

‘How many balloons left’ is an activity that can be used as an introduction to a lesson on subtraction. Take three balloons, show them to the students, and have them count them out loud. Without warning, pop a balloon. Your students are bound to enjoy this. Then ask the children: “How many balloons are left?” Ask the children to convert what they just saw into a subtraction number sentence and write it out on the board for them.

Naila, a grade one teacher, uses the activity ‘going on a shape hunt,’ in which she gives the children a writing pad and pencil and asks them to explore the playground looking for objects with circular, triangular or square shapes. The children are to sketch the objects they find in their writing pads. Back in class, she asks the children to draw one of the objects, label it as a circle, triangle or square and colour it. Afterwards, students can share their works of art with others and discuss their findings.

All in all, one can definitely surmise that teaching mathematics does not have to be a boring activity at all, either for the teacher or for the students. Both can have fun in their math class – all you need is a little creativity to take the lesson further than the textbook/workbook and homework exercises.

# Dealing with Hyperactive Children

Mrs. Salma Ali was extremely perturbed and a little confused as well. She simply couldn’t understand why it was that whenever she went to pick up her four-year-old son from his Montessori, he was fast asleep. And on the days when he wasn’t asleep, he seemed quite drowsy. After engaging in some futile inquiries with his teachers, she decided to investigate further. The result was horrifying. Apparently, her son was so hyper that he just would not let the teacher conduct the class properly. Hence, the teacher made him take some sleep-inducing medicine. This would put the child to sleep, and the class would be conducted peacefully. Mrs. Salma Ali immediately removed her son from that particular school.

This, unfortunately, is the state of affairs nowadays, where most of the people are all too willing to remove the problem instead of solving it. When it comes to hyperactive children, most of the parents and teachers look towards short-term solutions. Such ‘solutions’, unfortunately, will never make the hyperactive child any more educated. On the contrary, such children remain ignorant and are held back in the lower classes, simply because they are not up to standard. Dealing with hyperactive children on an academic level involves, first and foremost, the acceptance that this particular student is hyperactive and, hence, should be treated differently than the rest. The teacher will have to recognize the signs and symptoms characteristic to a hyperactive child and then deal with him/her accordingly.
So what are those signs and symptoms? A few common ones are as follows:

On the move

There are many students, who will sit still for at least a certain period of time before they start to get restless. The hyper ones will rarely sit still. They squirm in their chair if they are not allowed to move. They like to move around, jump about and fidget with things.

Attention deficit

It’s true that there are many students, whose attention span barely lasts an entire class period. However, you cannot make a hyperactive child listen to you for even two minutes. His/her eyes will be constantly darting around, even as you speak. These children are unable to give their full attention to anything and have a very short attention span.

High energy level

The teacher may get tired running after a hyperactive student, but that student will never get even remotely lethargic. Hyperactive students quickly move about from one thing or another, and never seem to run out of energy. Once the teacher has established that the child is hyperactive and will disrupt the classes, he/she can take some or all of the following measures to ensure that the child is dealt with in an effective manner, and most importantly, in a manner which will be mutually beneficial to both the teacher and the student. The teacher will have a peaceful class, and the student will learn something at the end of the day. Some of the more effective measures are as follows:

Be firm and exercise self-control

There is nothing more ‘fulfilling’ for a hyperactive student than to see an elder, whether it’s a parent or teacher, lose self-control and vent out all anger at the student. He/she will simply feel accomplished and will probably get worse. At all times, don’t let your temper bring out the worst in you. Keep calm and composed, even if you are seething inside (yes, these children can be highly irritating but there’s no reason, why they should know it is working).

Channel the energy

If the child is hyperactive and, hence, full of energy, you as a teacher can learn, how to channel that energy into more constructive activities. Instead of consistently telling the child to sit still, you can get him/her to do tasks which involve moving about. Ask them to pin something up on the notice board, fetch the chalk, clean the black board and distribute the exercise books. If they don’t succeed in finishing that task, don’t get impatient. If they drop the books, for instance, help them gather it up and encourage them to get on with the task.

Sense of belonging

Ignoring hyperactive children can be extremely counter productive as they are usually calling out for attention. On the other hand, if you scold them, you will be playing into their hands – what they want from you is a reaction. Therefore, instead of whiling away your energy in screaming, shouting or scolding, you can make them feel more involved in the classroom through various means. Asking them to do easy yet engaging tasks around the class will make them feel more involved and, hopefully, keep them a little busy for a while.

Do away with lectures

Create a classroom atmosphere, which involves hyperactive students doing something rather than listening to you. Listening to a monotone voice gets unbearable, even for the average students. You can ask all your students to stand up and stretch; act out the poems they are reciting; act out the stories they are reading. The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination.

If your school does not have a strict timetable, and you are allowed to set your own schedule, then make one which is conducive for the students. Don’t put mathematics and English consecutively. Separate them with art or a recess. Similarly, the attention of students is the most lax in the period before the recess, so you might like to have a lighter lesson scheduled. Keep your schedules flexible, so you can alter them according to the response and attentiveness of your students.

The above were just some of the possibilities, which can be exercised to keep the hyperactive student in control and direct his/her energy to more constructive activities. The truth is that every child is different. What works for one might not work for another. Therefore, if there are two or more hyperactive children in one class, it might become a teacher’s worst trial. However, these children can be dealt with – it only requires some time, effort and skill. At the end of the day, if a teacher is really willing to work with these children and ensure that they graduate after having learnt something, he/she can definitely do wonders with his/her students.

# Making the Write Impression

This time my column is devoted to strategies for effective writing and discovering potential writers within our classrooms. Teachers continue to wonder: “How do I prepare my students for assignments and perceive them as writers?” We can achieve great things, if we convince students from the beginning that writing is worthwhile. It is also advisable to teach students that vocabulary and reading habits can help them express themselves better.

First of all, an assignment should be given on the writer’s own life, rather than on “What I did during Summer Vacation”. When students have finished writing, their attitudes will become clear to you, and, thus, you will have a clue what to teach.

If the writings turn out to be very powerful, the best work of the year should be put in a sturdy folder, with the titled cover and illustrations, as if it were a real published book. Students will have a fantastic experience, adding an “About the Author” page and trying to make their book more interesting for people to read it. To add importance to their work, the book will have a table of contents (including the title of each piece of writing and the corresponding page number). Tell the students that there should be at least three illustrations made on the computer or drawn on a piece of paper.
Writing Stories in the Classroom

Explain to students that you are doing an activity to teach the beginning, the middle and the ending of a story. Ask one student to write the beginning of a story and then pass it on to another student to write the middle part. The story is passed over again, and a third student writes the conclusion. The story should be passed around the class, so that each student would have the opportunity to write a beginning, a middle and an ending. Those, who are not writing, are asked to illustrate the part they have completed. When the story is finished, it is given back to the first student, who started it. He or she then reads it to the others.
Developing a Character
Using The Hundred Acre Wood (in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”) is a good way to learn about characterization. Several characters are very similar to us. The students are asked to choose a Pooh character that is the most similar to them, compare and contrast the character with themselves. Thus, they will learn a lot about characterization and themselves.
Power Writing

This activity takes only six minutes and involves students in a creative brainstorming. Words ‘duck’ and ‘apple’ are written on the board. Students are asked to choose one of the words and at a given signal write as much as they can about the topic selected. When one minute is over, the students are asked to count the words they have written. Write the numbers on the board. The second round starts, when the students select another word (‘umbrella’ or ‘beautiful’). Then, they repeat the process for one minute.

In the third round, the students choose another word (‘sock’ or ‘blue’) and do the same thing as before. In each round, the students choose a word, write down their own thoughts, then count the words after a minute of writing and record the results. It will become totally obvious from the chart of the three rounds that the activity promotes quantitative thinking and writing. Practising quantity is an important part of a comprehensive writing program, because students learn to write mostly by writing.
Encouraging Students to Learn about Grandparents

Ask your students to approach a grandparent or any other elder family member. The students can as well call them up and say that they would like to learn more about their grandparents’ lives. In order to help the students, you may suggest some questions, such as “What was your school like?” or “What did you like to eat as a kid?” Then, they can move on to such more general themes as “Why did you become a judge?” or “What was your wedding like?” While the grandparents are talking, the children should take notes. The written story then should be a general outline of what has been said: and whatever details they think are interesting, important or funny should be included. Students should decide which part of the story they want to tell. They then should make a rough draft that would include a beginning, middle and ending of the story.
Developing a Story
Several desks are arranged in a circle (four to seven students can participate in the activity). The students should get a sheet of paper and put their name on the back. Tell them to write down a story on any topic. Use a timer and at the end of a short period (about one minute or less, using your own judgement depending on your students) time is stopped. Papers are passed to the right rapidly, time is started again, and the students continue the story started by the first student. Go on, until the first student gets his or her paper back. There will be lots of giggles and excitement, as students try to read and write fast. Ask students to read the finished paper aloud. You can replace writing with drawing a picture, when working with younger students.
Writing a Journal Entry Every Day
Just as there are different teachers and users of language, the daily journal writing can also take many forms. Teachers may use journal writing to reach specific goals. Journals can either be left uncorrected or checked occasionally for polishing the skills of students. Some teachers prompt students to start writing. There also are some teachers, who leave the direction and flow of journals up to students. “Once students have built extreme confidence in their writing skills, they are not afraid of taking up any writing challenge that they might come across,” says Asma, a high school teacher. “Every time, when students enter the classroom, for the first five minutes they work on their journals,” says Asna, a primary school teacher, “this helps the class calm down.”

# Working with Shy Students

Class sessions have resumed. You walk into the halls looking for the right room. Your stomach turns; your throat feels tight: “Is this the right room? The number is right, but is it the right room?” You are still wondering: “Is this the right class?” In your body every nerve is on alert. The teacher walks in – yes, you are in the right class, whew!

But now the teacher will check the roster – the agony starts again because you actually have to say something. Your face feels hot and you are sweating. You fidget and can barely focus on what the teacher is saying. When will this agony end? Then other issues arise: how about that fear of what others may say, if you finally get the nerve to speak up? What if your answer is wrong?

If you have never suffered from this, then as a parent, teacher and/or student you may have witnessed it and can consider yourself lucky for not experiencing it first hand.

Rehana, a teacher, says: “There are a variety of students in the classroom. There are not only the positive and cheerful ones but also the negative and quiet students in the class. We should not call on students who are shy, as we may hurt their feelings by doing so. We should call on students, after we understand their character well. I still think so. It is of great consequence to call on students, because they get better practice by speaking in front of other students. I think the only thing that we can do for shy students is to accustom them to their surroundings and try to know them well. As a result of this, they will try to speak up themselves.”

Evans (1987) recorded the language of children during ‘sharing time’ sessions in nursery school, where individual students take turns in telling the teacher and classmates about things they have done or seen. Shy students introduced less topics and spoke less words about each topic. Their main length of utterance was shorter. Their contributions were simpler and tied to objects that they had brought with them. Shy children volunteered less information. They were more likely to offer no response or only minimal answers to a teacher’s questions. This tended to elicit further questions from the teacher and resulted in a stilted conversation.

Guidelines for parents and teachers to combat a child’s shyness

If you’re the parent of a shy child, you’ve probably already encountered adults, who see shyness as a character flaw or a problem waiting to be fixed. But, please, understand – shyness is not a character flaw.

1. Sometimes people talk about shy children in front of them, as if they were somehow invisible. Such words as ‘withdrawn,’ ‘introverted’ or ‘inhibited’ can hurt the youngster. People probably assume kids don’t understand. Note that children are experts at reading tone of voice and facial expression.
2. Some researchers claim that shy children are more visually perceptive than outgoing children. And as they are taking in more, seeing new things can seem overwhelming at first. Eventually, they may even join in. Watching can assist a child who is shy to understand new situations.
3. You can help a shy child in learning so that he can handle novel events, if he is willing to do it gradually. If kids are pushed to join in, when they feel uncomfortable, then the situation usually backfires. Urging your son or daughter to go play in a group should be done gradually by accompanying him/her into the group. That is helping him/her getting involved with a group and then stepping back a bit. He/she might play for a while and then return to you, but the experience would have made the situation more familiar and thus more inviting.
4. Establish a classroom environment that supports all students. Never make fun of students. Don’t put students on the spot and keep them there, while every person watches them squirm. Get to know the students and have individual conferences with them.
5. Make students write papers in which they discuss their strengths and weaknesses as communicators. Do not ask them to read these out loud or share them with peers.
6. Assist students to set a goal for improving themselves as communicators. Goals should be small and realistic. Talk to students privately, for example: “Rashid, why don’t you try to ask or answer one question in class tomorrow?” Teach Rashid how to prepare for participating in class – for example, have homework done, make notes of questions while doing homework, etc.
7. Change the social environment. Assign the student to sit next to or work in groups with children who are outgoing. This will give the student a safe and inviting opportunity to break out of his/her shell.
8. Check in daily. Engage the student in a private talk. Once he’s established a relationship with you, he will be more inclined to become actively involved in class.
9. Put students in groups and record their thoughts.
10. Attempt to make the groups small enough, so that the quiet students have to contribute. Have the students change responsibilities within the group throughout the semester (recorder, moderator, speaker, etc.), so that everyone practices a variety of skills.
11. Students may talk more, when their thoughts become a text for the class (when they are recorded and put in context by the teacher or others). When notes are kept on the board, students tend to take notes as well. This training privileges student contributions, indicating that they are valuable.
12. Assign special activities, such as encouraging the student to move around the room and interact with others, collect papers or hand out class materials. Such activities will increase their social confidence and make them feel special.
13. What do we have in common? Students should be paired up and given the job of finding out, what they have in common. When working with younger children, it’s a good idea to give them some ground rules (e.g., only positive comments are allowed) as well as potential topic areas to explore (e.g., favorite food, hobbies, places they’ve been, etc.). Creative responses aside, this training is particularly useful because it challenges children (shy and non-shy alike) to see what they have in common and is the precursor to more adult versions of small talk.

Shyness is certainly not a personality flaw and can be overcome by effort and encouragement. Effort is a must on part of the person and encouragement is a necessity on part of people around him.

# Syria

Modern Syria is situated in Asia along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The Syrian political body is represented by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president is the head of state and is directly elected every seven years. Syria gained full independence on April 17, 1946 ceding from French Colonialism Rule.

Damascus

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It has occupied a position of importance in the fields of science, culture, politics, art, commerce and industry from the earliest times.

Early references to the city, such as those in the Ebla tablets, confirm that ‘Dameski’ (i.e., Damascus) during the third millennium B.C. was a city of huge economic influence. Ancient Pharaonic scripts refer to it as ‘Dameska’. It benefited great prominence during the second millennium B.C. as the centre of an Aramic kingdom under the name of Dar-misiq (the irrigated house).

Damascus became the capital of the first Arab state at the time of the Umayyads in 661 A.D. This marked the start of its golden epoch, and for a whole century, it was the centre of the youthful Islamic Empire. The Empire reached its peak of expansion throughout this period and came to stretch from the shores of the Atlantic and the Pyrennese in the west, to the river Indus and China in the east.

Following the decline and fall of the Umayyads, Damascus went through a period of neglect and decline. However, when independence was achieved in 1946, the city began to regain its importance as a significant cultural and political centre of the Arab world.

Lattakia

Lattakia is Syria’s main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest of Aleppo). It has kept its importance since ancient times. Lattakia was one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C. He named it after his mother, Laudetia.
Not a lot of ancient remains have survived in Lattakia, but there are four columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.), in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called Khan Al-Dukhan, which is now a museum.

Lattakia is the sea-gate to Syria. It is well-provided with accommodation and is well-placed as a base, from which to explore the coastal regions of the country.

Bosra

Bosra was the earliest city in the Syrian Arab Republic to become Muslim and has some of the oldest minarets in the history of Islam. As a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Makkah, Bosra was a prosperous city until the 17th century. By then, the region was becoming insecure and the pilgrims began to take a less dangerous route further west. The Mosque of Umar in the center of the town (called Jami-al Arouss, ‘the bridal mosque’, by the Bosriots) used to be a pagan temple and now stands as the only mosque surviving from the early-Islamic period that has preserved its original facades.

Shopping

Syrian handicrafts symbolize a tradition of skilled workmanship and folk art that dates back many thousands of years. The most common Syrian craft items include hand-woven silk brocades, embroidered table cloth, rugs, carpets, mosaics, brass and copper, leather, gold and silver jewelry made by hand of local designs, inlaid furniture with mother of pearls, all these items can be found in our old souks and bazaars in Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo and almost all over Syria.

Syrian Food

Many traditional Syrian dishes are effortless preparations based on grains, vegetables and fruits. Often, the same ingredients are used over and over, in unusual ways, in each dish. Yogurt, cheese, cucumber, aubergines, chick peas, nuts, tomatoes, burghul and sesame (seeds, paste and oil) are harmoniously blended into numerous assorted medleys. Pita bread is served for dipping with all meals.

A typical Syrian meal starts with Mezze – this can be an elaborate spread of forty or fifty Hors D’oeuvres or just a salad and a bowl of nuts. But it is always a social occasion, when friends and family meet to enjoy appetizers and conversation before lunch and dinner.

After meals, there is usually a hot drink of Arabic coffee or Shai (tea) along with fruits, Booza (ice cream) and a dessert. Syrian pastries are delicious – usually they are honey soaked pastries with nuts, raisins or cheese.

Sports and Recreation

Mixing with people and eating are the main forms of relaxation, especially in rural areas. Syrians adore talking. Men like going out to coffeehouses to talk, drink tea or Turkish coffee and smoke a “hubble-bubble” or water pipe. On Thursday night, the beginning of the weekend in Syria, young men meet on the streets to talk or drive around in their cars.

Throughout the good weather, some Syrians drive to mountain resorts for the day. Others take pleasure in leisurely walks. Syrians usually go for walks in groups, wearing their finest clothes. On mild evenings, parks in the city are full.

Soccer is the main sport in Syria. The country has national soccer and basketball teams. Men attend the games, which are shown also on television for a few hours a week. Recently, women have been allowed to take part in some sports, and today more women are playing sports and taking part in competitions.

Fact File

Once the center of the Islamic Empire, Syria covers an area that has seen invasions and occupations over the ages, from Romans and Mongols to Crusaders and Turks. However, such battles and scrambles over territory have translated into a catalogue of staggering cities full of stunning monuments, from the entire city of Damascus to the country’s many mosques. The events have also failed to impair the character of the Syrian people who – surprisingly to some – exude friendliness and warmth and are justly proud of their land. It is a home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Alawite Shias and Druze, as well as the Arab Sunnis, who make up a majority of the Muslim population.

(Contributed by Affaf Jamal)

# Travel Qatar

Explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favorite sport. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone.

Doha

Just like other cities in the Persian Gulf Region, Doha is an intriguing mixture of old and new. You’ll find fine modern architecture next to the traditional Arabic Soukhs (Bazaars) and more than 260 mosques, with the multiple-domed Grande Mosque being the largest. The traditional Dhow harbor is a favored attraction.

Historically, Doha was founded as Al Bida in 1850. The Al Wajbah fort is in the southwestern part of the city and was built by Al Rayyan in 1882. This fort witnessed the famous battle, in which the people of Qatar, led by Sheikh Qassim, beat the Ottomans in 1893. The Al Kout fort was built in 1917 by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al Thani and lies in the center of the city. In 1949, the city began exporting oil. The House of Government opened in 1969 and is considered to be one of the nation’s most prominent landmarks. In 1971, it became the capital of an independent Qatar.

Education City

Education City is a major educational and cultural development in Qatar, housing some of the world’s finest academic institutions on a 7-million square-meters site. It positions Doha as a key centre for the advancement of the people of Qatar and other Gulf states. Scheduled for completion in 2008, Education City is already flourishing and providing world-class educational facilities from kindergarten through junior and secondary levels, to internationally recognized graduate and post-graduate studies and research programs.

Education City will include world-class facilities for business, community development, science, information technology, Islamic studies, media and communications, sports, as well as a 350-bed teaching hospital.

Media

The launch of Al-Jazeera TV in 1997 raised the profile of Qatari television. The station is outspoken on issues traditionally deemed as sensitive in the Arab world. Al-Jazeera, already popular in the Arab world, became known worldwide after becoming the only channel allowed to operate from Afghanistan. It plans to launch an English-language network, Al Jazeera International. Qatar formally lifted censorship of the media in 1995, and since then the press has been essentially free from government interference.

Sightseeing

National Museum

The National Museum consists of ten buildings, which contain one of the Gulf’s largest collections of ecological, ethnographic, and archaeological material. Five rooms are dedicated to the display of traditional Bedouin lifestyle with examples of costumes, arts and crafts, utensils, and tools. The museum’s main collection explores the country’s physical geography, geology, and architectural finds.

The marine section contains an underground aquarium, which houses a wide variety of fish, coral, and shells. This section also tells the story of Qatar’s traditional boat-building methods, as well as pearl-diving and fishing industry, which were an important part of the country’s economy before the discovery of oil.

Cruises and Water Sports

Sailing is a wonderful pastime and several private companies offer dinghies and windsurfers for rent, as well as sailing lessons for both novice and experienced sailors. A sunset cruise on a traditional dhow in Doha Bay provides a stunning view of Doha at night, while luxury yachts can be rented for half- and full-day fishing trips. There are both jet-skiing and water-skiing rentals, as well as pedal boats, water cycle, and Kayak. And for the extremely adventurous: parasailing, surfing, or wind-surfing.

Golfing

For the enthusiastic golfer, a visit to the Doha Golf Club is an absolute must. This 18-hole, 7,181-yard, par 72 championship course was designed by Peter Harradine and has hosted major international golfing championships.

Desert Safari

A trip to the inland sea in the middle of the desert is a splendid way to spend the day. Experienced tour operators add to the adventure by expertly steering their four-wheel drive vehicles up and down 60-metre sand dunes. As you travel over the sand dunes, take in the view of the desert and listen closely to the sands shift, as you descend down the slopes.

Conclusively, Qatar has aggressive plans of progress and development in trade, tourism, education, and state of the art infrastructure. It is a highly recommended destination for holidays. When you plan your next vacation, check it out for yourself!

# Taking the Bully by the Horns

A bully is someone, who uses his strength to intimidate others.

There are many situations that parents dread, one of which is discovering that their child is/was the victim of bullying. Bullies can be not just other children but also a child’s supposed friends or even teachers.

What should you do as a parent of a bullied child?

The most important step a parent can take is to reassure the child that it is not his fault. Teach your child to be proud of any differences in himself that he may be conscious of. Clarify that many of the world’s successful people did not get where they are by being the same as everyone else.

A natural parent’s initial reaction is that of anger and wants to confront the bully, or to approach the parents of the bully. This could create more problems for your child and yourself. If the bully is aggravated, it may fuel his or her intent for further harming your child. If the bully comes from a violent home, you too could find yourself on the receiving end of some unwanted harassment. Let the school take the responsibility of contacting the parent(s) of the bully.

Assess the seriousness of the situation. Sometimes, a harmless tiff can be blown out of proportion. Before you know it, the children are friends again, when you and the other parents are still at war.

Inform your child’s school, but first ask your child, whether she would prefer to speak to a tutor or the principal. If necessary, ask the school to protect your anonymity. Sometimes, the best way to expose a bully is for the teachers to catch him or her red-handed.

Find out what the school’s current bullying policy is and how the school intends to monitor the situation.

Teach your child strategies for dealing with the bullying. Tell your child to stay in a group when at all possible, and to let you know exactly, where he is going and with whom. Enroll him in a self-defense class, not as a method of harming the bully, but as a means of defending himself. If the bullying is verbal, tell your child to confront the bully by saying: “Please don’t call me that again. It’s cruel and hurtful.”

Encourage your child to feel comfortable talking to you, a teacher, or a counselor and to report every incident of bullying confidently.

Ask your child to keep a dated diary of events to share with you. On your own side, make your own record of incidents, including any mood swings or emotional and physical effects that you notice in your child, as they may be attributed to bullying.

How can schools take ownership?

Schools that are committed to implementing comprehensive bullying prevention programs should take the following steps:

• Establish a committee for developing the school’s bullying policy and coordinating bullying prevention activities.
• Establish a clear policy prohibiting bullying and then communicate that policy to students, staff, and parents.
• Provide close and adequate supervision of areas, where bullying is likely to occur, such as: outside the classroom, in the hallway, at the bus stop, on the playground, in the cafeteria, and bathrooms.
• School personnel need training on recognizing the signs of bullying, knowing what to do, when incidents happen, and learning, how to prevent bullying.
• School-wide anti-bullying activities help remind students about school policy regarding bullying and the importance of supporting their classmates. In addition, they help generate energy for the program.
• Integrate bullying lessons and activities into the classroom curriculum. This might include conducting a lesson about bullying, asking students to read a book about bullying, which can be followed up with a classroom discussion, or having a classroom meeting focused on the issue of bullying.
• Empower bystanders to support the victims of bullying. Although school staff members often are unaware that bullying is taking place, typically, other students are not only aware of it but are present, when the incidents occur. Bystanders to bullying can play a crucial role in helping to address the problem.
• Involve parents in the program. Parents need to be informed about the school’s policies regarding bullying, and they need to be encouraged to reinforce that policy with their children. Schools also might survey parents to elicit their views and knowledge about bullying in school. Parents also need to be informed, if their child has bullied, or has been bullied by another child.
• Pay special attention to students, who are at risk. Students are more likely to be bullied, if they’re isolated from their classmates, in special education programs, have a physical characteristic that makes them stand out from their peers, or are new to the school.
• Take reports of bullying seriously and act quickly. Encourage staff to respond to all reports of bullying that come to their attention. An incident that might appear minor to a teacher can loom large in the life of a student.

# Travel Morocco

Morocco is one of Africa’s most popular travel destinations. No matter how well-seasoned a traveler you are, you’ll find plenty to see and do. Fine Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches, desert excursions, wondrous imperial cities, Islamic landmarks, Roman antiquities, resort facilities, mountain villages, oases, and towering sand dunes are just some of the wonders you can expect to find in Morocco.

Casablanca

Tourists coming to Casablanca expect to find a romantic town, as depicted in the classic film of the same name. The biggest must-see of Casablanca is the new Hassan II Mosque. Place Mohammed V, also known as Place des Nations Unies, this square in the centre of Casablanca is one of the nicest examples of French colonial architecture.

Casablanca was founded by the Portuguese as Casa Branca. It was never a very important town, until the French came to Morocco in the beginning of the 20th century. They started to develop the axis Rabat (their capital) – Casablanca – at a high speed, which gave Casablanca its position as the economic powerhouse of Morocco.

Built next to a site of the tragic earthquake of 1961 that killed 15,000, it exhibits a totally different city culture and architecture from the rest of the country. So it is no wonder that especially for tourists the streets have been made wide and straight, houses are low and hotels have been constructed between the city and the beach. For many visitors, it is a functional, open, and beautiful change from the more typical cities.

The fish market of Agadir has been turned into the surprise tourist attraction. Agadir is truly an important fish city, serving both African and European markets.

Marrakesh

We are bewitched by the spell of the place and its people, folk artists to their very souls, who have only one aim in view – to make a stay in their city as entrancing an experience as possible. With its world-famous square, Jamaâ El Fna, the beacon city of the Almoravids was founded in about 1070.

The first Almohad sovereign, Abdelmoumen, began the construction of the Koutoubia mosque. The Badi Palace has long been regarded as a wonder of the Muslim world.

Other marvels to be found in the Red City are the Dar Si Said museum, containing much quintessential Moroccan art and displaying a glittering array of gold and marble ornaments.

Novelties of Morocco

Camel trekking

You can discover the Waddi and the Desert on the back of a dromedary (the faster one- humped brother of the two humped camel), while spending the evenings camped out under the ‘hotel of 1000 stars.’ The sunrise is a mystical experience. You can rent a helicopter from Marrakesh or spend your days following the ancient trade routes on the back of a camel.

Carpet shopping

Buying a Moroccan carpet can be a pleasurable shopping experience. Offer the seller a little less than what you’re willing to pay as your opening counteroffer to his first price. Once you enter into negotiations, you can walk away at any time, but if you agree on a price, then you’ll have to buy (walking away after accepting a price is against the rules).

Jewellery

The art of making silver jewellery is a very ancient Moroccan tradition. The silver jewellery comes in many shapes and sizes, such as Berber Bedouin bracelets, earrings, anklets, and necklaces. Among the most popular are heavy solid silver bracelets with deeply-etched designs, which originate from the tradition of carpet making, where the extra weight of the bangle would help accelerate the hand holding the shuttle over the loom.

Leather

Leather ware has been a highly prized trade item since the 16th century. Thousands of different types of leather are available, found stretched out on the straw to dry in the sun. Leather is used to make handbags, travel bags, and satchels to mention but a few of the uses. These will be styled by the leather workers with gold-leafed designs and other colors to produce Arabic and geometric designs.

Metal framed lamps are traditionally covered with leather before being hand painted to produce an original lighting effect for your house.

Olive oil from Djemaa El Fna

Morocco has an ideal climate for the olive tree. Surrounding the walled city of Marrakesh, the olive trees give shade to the sun baked ground. Marrakesh and the Djemaa El Fna Place is where you should buy your olives. Olives are ready to be served with every meal, either as an appetizer or with your main course.

The Imlil orange stand

Oranges are one of the natural products in Morocco. Irrigation is always a problem in the arid environment to swell the fruit. As you drive through the production areas in the valleys surrounding Marrakesh, check out the length of the sprinklers.

Wood carving in Essaouria

Wood carving is a product that you will come across throughout Morocco. But on the Atlantic coast, the Moroccan town of Essaouria is the centre of craftsmen, shaping everything from tissue paper holders to elegant tables and desks. Here the craftsmanship is on another level – the beautiful mix of the sweet smelling dark brown oil, which is used to protect the carving, and the fine workmanship will give you a present that you must take back home.

# Travel Indonesia

Indonesia, a large group of islands in South East Asia, is a unique country. Islam is the dominant religion with the greatest number of adherents. The high number of Muslims makes Indonesia the most populous Muslim majority nation in the world. Indonesians are known to be very courteous people and often cited as gentle and god fearing. As the world experiences targeted militancy, Indonesia has not been spared. Nevertheless, it remains a favourite and economical tourist destination today for a myriad of reasons.

Places of Interest

Surabaya

A booming city of over three million, Surabaya offers many good hotels, shopping centers, and entertainment places. Its well-stocked zoological garden includes several species of Indonesian fauna such as orangutan, komodo dragon, and a collection of nocturnal animals. Mpu Tantular Museum offers archeological art and cultural items from prehistoric times until the country’s independence.

Trowulan – Pandaan – Tretes

The surroundings of the Trowulan village is believed to be the site of the ancient capital of Majapahit. Archeological excavations in the area have recovered many terracotta ornaments, statues, pottery, and stone carvings, which are displayed at the Trowulan Museum. Up to 10 km from Chandra Wilwatika is Tretes, one of the most beautiful mountain resorts of East Java.

Malang

90 km south of Surabaya is Malang, one of the most attractive towns in Java. A strong sense of civic pride is sensed from the well-maintained and painted becaks, the neat main-square, buildings, and streets. The cool climate is one reason why it is highly desirable among the East Javanese.

Founded in 1941 for the study of plants growing under relatively dry conditions, the Purwodadi gardens lie about 30 km northeast of the Malang, just off the Surabaya-Malang main road on the lowest slopes of Mt. Arjuno at an altitude of 300 metres .

Mount Bromo

One of the most exciting experiences is watching the sunrise from the crest of the Bromo volcano, a three-hour drive from Surabaya, followed by a pony ride from the village of Ngadisari over a sea of sand to the foot of a volcano.

Sadengan is a famous wild life reserve and feeding ground smaller in size than that of Baluran. It is in possession of 700 wild buffaloes and a variety of other wild life, all of which can be seen from the viewing tower.

Meru Betiri Reserve

After a rough 30 km ride, which crosses half a dozen rivers through dense jungle and rubber plantation, you finally arrive here on the southeastern tip of the province, where the last of the Javanese tigers had sought refuge. A hundred and fifty years ago, Javanese tiger inhabited most of Java and was even considered a nuisance in some populated areas. But through the 1800s and early 1900s it was hunted mercilessly and its habitat destroyed by plantation builders. The government and the World Wildlife Fund have mounted a determined effort to save the tiger and its environment.

Food

Rice is the basis of almost all Indonesian dishes and is usually served with fish, chicken, or vegetables. Two common dishes, Nasi Goreng and Mie Goring, can be found everywhere and are an easy introduction to the Indonesian diet. Every town has at least one market, providing the traveller with an incredible range of fruits, vegetables, and snacks. Warungs, or food stalls, offer the tastiest and cheapest food.  If you choose to eat from Warungs, check to see if locals are eating there. Indonesians drink hot coffee and tea, but bottled soft drinks are readily available. Most dishes are eaten using hands.

Clothing

On many formal national occasions, men in the early 1990s wore Batik shirts with no ties that were not tucked into their trousers. They wore black felt caps or Peci, once associated with Muslims or Malays. Women wore Sarongs on formal occasions, along with the Kebaya, a long-sleeved blouse. On these occasions, women often tied their hair into a bun.

In addition, they might have carried a Selendang, a long stretch of cloth draped over the shoulder, which on less formal occasions was used to carry babies or objects.

Masjid Istiqlal in Jakarta

Among the many Masajid this one is special. A 45 meter diameter central spherical dome covers the main prayer hall. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The mosque also provides facilities for social and cultural activities, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, Bazaars, and programs for women, youth, and children.

Sports

Boat racing and kite flying are very popular on most of the islands. Stone jumping is a sport in Nias. Young men, who play this game, sometimes jump over a wall with a sword in their hand. A favourite sport is Sepak Takraw. Two teams try to keep a rattan ball in the air with their feet. Badminton and tennis are popular throughout Indonesia. Indonesians are long-standing winners of the Thomas Cup men’s division and the women’s championship for badminton. Soccer is another popular sport. The Indonesian government encourages ‘sport for all.’

# Travel Nigeria

Nigeria is an interesting unexplored paradise. A country with vibrant diverse cultures, exciting festivals, rich history, equatorial forests, clean un-spoilt beaches, exotic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, towering rocks, rolling hills, ancient caves and hospitable people.

Food

Although fast food is growing in popularity in Nigeria, most of the people prefer eating at home. Below are some of the most popular Nigerian dishes:

Obe Ata (pepper soup): this is a thick sauce made by boiling ground tomatoes, ground pepper, meat or fish, meat or fish broth (depending on whether you are using meat or fish), onions, vegetable oil or palm oil and other spices.

Obe Egusi (plain): made by grinding melon seeds and then cooking them with meat and spices. It usually ends up being yellowish-orange in colour.

Amala: dish made from yams. First, the yams are ground and dried to form a powder. This powder is then put into boiling water, and stirred / beaten, until it has a thick smooth form. The cooked product is dark brown in colour.

Shopping

Markets are the most interesting places to shop. Special purchases include Adire (patterned, indigo-dyed cloth), batiks and pottery from the Southwest, leatherwork and Kaduna cotton from the North, and carvings from the East. Designs vary greatly, many towns having their own distinctive style.

Economy

Nigeria is well connected by a wide network of all-season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation.

Nigeria’s economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all comers: individuals, corporate organizations, and government agencies that invest in almost full range of economic activities. Since 1995, the government introduced some bold economic measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy. This they did by: halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; reducing the debt burden; stabilizing the exchange rate of the Naira; and correcting the balance of payments disequilibria.

Festivals

New Yam Festival

New Yam Festival is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the Igbos. The individual Ibo communities each have a day for this August occasion. Invitation to the new yam festival is usually open to everyone. What this means is that there is abundant food not just for the harvesters but also for friends and well-wishers.

Arugungu Fishing Festival

This is a leading tourist attraction in the area. The festival originated in August 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu made a historic visit. Since then, it’s become a celebrated yearly event, held between February and March.

Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish is harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish. Furthermore, there’s canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and, of course, swimming. The festival marks the end of the growing season and the harvest.

Tourist Attractions

Yankari National Park

This can be reached by road from Jos airport through Bauchi state route. There are species of large mammals, such as elephants, hippopotami, lions, and about 153 known species of birds, fish, reptiles, and monkeys. It is also rich in ethno-historical and archaeological attractions.

Kainji Lake National Park

It can be reached through Lokoja, from Lagos through Ibadan, Ilorin, and Jebba. The park is full of diverse wildlife. Available in the park are chalets, restaurants, conference halls, and a waterbus for lake cruising.

Gashaka Gumte National Park

This park is regarded as the most scenic of all the parks in the country. It is full of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, etc. It comprises two sectors, each rich in its own unique flora and fauna species. The park contains some historic sites, one of which is the old German Fort at the Gashaka hill.

Farin Ruwa Water Falls

The Farin Ruwa Falls is one of the most spectacular natural features in Nigeria. The force of its gushing water is so torrential that from afar it could be mistaken for white smoke, which earns it the name.

Silicon Hill

This very important mineral deposit is found near the Nkpologu campus of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). The hill, which is more than 300 metres above sea level and almost half a kilometre long, has silica an important raw material for the manufacture of glass.

The surrounding environment is very captivating with hills, valleys, and plains so beautifully wrapped up that one cannot ignore the breath taking views and awe inspiring blend.

The Mambilla Plateau

This is a plateau of about 1,830 metres above the sea level. It has temperate climate within the tropical region. It has an undulating landscape free of insects. One can find here temperate crops, such as the avogad’s pear, strawberries, and coffee. The popular Mambilla Tourist Centre is located at Gembu in the high land.

Wase Rock

Located in the outskirts of Wase town about 216 kilometres south-east of Jos. Available records indicate that this beautiful massive dome shaped rocky inselberg is one out of only five in the world. It is one of the very few breeding places for white pelican birds in Africa. The remarkable rock, which rises abruptly to 350 metres above the plain of Wase town is a centre of attraction for curious geographers, geologists, mountaineers, and bird watchers.

The wonders of Allah’s (swt) creations are visible aplenty in Nigeria. If one simply wishes to witness serene untouched beauty of nature and the wild life, Nigeria comes highly recommended as a promising destination.

Islam in Nigeria

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

The spread of Islam in Nigeria dates back to the eleventh century. Islam was for quite some time the religion of the court and commerce, and was spread peacefully by Muslim clerics and traders. Later, a Muslim revival took place in western Africa, in which Fulani cattle-driving people, who had adopted Islam, played a central role. The Fulani scholar Uthman dan Fodio launched a Jihad in 1804 that lasted for six years, aiming to revive and purify Islam. It united the Hausa states under Shariah law. In 1812, the Hausa dynasties became part of the Caliphate of Sokoto. The Sokoto Caliphate ended with partition in 1903 when the British incorporated it into the colony of Nigeria and the Sultan’s power was transferred to the High Commissioner. However, many aspects of the caliphate structure, including the Islamic legal system, were retained and brought forward into the colonial period. Presently, Muslims constitute 50% of the population, whereas Christianity and other indigenous beliefs constitute 40% and 10% respectively.

The erstwhile Bengali Babu (sir) is always delighted to engage in philosophical discourse upon the most esoteric subjects. In spite of pressure from so many directions, the people of Bengal have retained a very nice sense of humor. This has probably been their only salvation. They seem to enjoy life in-spite of the chaos and troubles they face.

Dhaka

Dhaka was founded during the 10th century. It served as the Mogul capital of Bengal from 1608 to 1704 and was a trading center for British, French, and Dutch interests before coming under British rule in 1765. In 1905, it was again named the capital of Bengal, and in 1956, it became the capital of East Pakistan. The Romanized spelling of the Bengali name was changed from Dacca to Dhaka in 1982.

Dhaka is divided into the old city and the new city, and many residential and industrial communities. It is located in one of the world’s leading rice and jute growing regions. Its industries include textiles (jute, muslin, cotton) and food processing, especially rice milling. A variety of other consumer goods are also manufactured here. Boasting a happy blend of old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life.

Chittagong

Chittagong was described by the Chinese traveler poet Huen Tsang (7th century) as “a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water,” and given the title of “Porto Grande” by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers. Even today it remains true to both descriptions. Chittagong, the second largest city of Bangladesh and a busy international seaport, is an ideal vacation spot. Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches, and its fine cool climate always attract holiday-makers. The city’s many industries, powered by a hydroelectric plant up the river, use the products of the area – jute, cotton, rice, tea, petroleum (from offshore installations), and bamboo.

Khulna

Khulna, one of the country’s industrial cities with its nearly 2 million people, stands on the Rupsa River. Some of the biggest jute mills in the country are located here. Khulna is connected to Dhaka by road, boat and air via Jessore. Accommodation and eating facilities are available.

Popular Products

Pink Pearl: Pink pearls are the best buy in Dhaka. These natural products are unparallel in luster. The rich and exuberant cultural heritage of Bangladesh is depicted vividly in its traditional jewellery.

Pearl jewellery is all hand-made by artisans, belonging to a traditional class of craftsmen, who have practiced this fine art for generations.

Gold & Silver: A wide range of gold and silver ornaments, silver filigree works, etc., are considered by many travelers to be unparalleled.

Ornaments in Bangladesh have been used from pre-historic times and for a variety of reasons. In addition to their aesthetic charm, jewellery has been the traditional form of savings, prized because it can be easily converted into money.

Brass & Copperware: Among the best buys here are brass and copperware trays, wall decorations, vases, etc., all hand-made with fine engravings and filigree work. Products made from hides and skins of animals and reptiles, intricate woodcarvings, cane and bamboo products, conch shell, bangles, embroidered quilts, Jamdani and silk fabrics can also be bought. These are available in the DIT market and a number of exclusive shops on New Elephant Road in Dhaka.

Museums
National Museum

In 1993, this museum was established and was called Dhaka Museum. In 1983, it was shifted to a new building and was renamed National Museum. It has 40 galleries and is a four storied building. It has four departments:

1.      Natural History,

2.      History and Classical Art,

3.      Ethnography and Decorative Art, and

4.      Contemporary Art and World Civilization.

Folk Art Museum

The Folk Art Museum was established in 1975 to fulfill the dream of celebrated painter Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin. There is a rich collection of different materials and forms of aesthetic and utilitarian values. All of this reflects the sentiments, impulses, temperament, moods, idiosyncrasies, and expertise of artists and artisans. It is a national museum depicting the art heritage of Bangladesh, exhibiting objects of exceptional design and skill.

Ethnological Museum

In the national progress, the Ethnological Museum stands as a milestone. There are ample facilities available for ethnological research. It is one of the best-specialized museums in South East Asia.
Archaeological Museums
Every place of archaeological importance houses a small archeological museum, i.e., at Lalbagh Fort, Mahasthangarh, Paharpur, and Mainamati.
Tribal Museum

The only Tribal Cultural Museum in the Hill Tracts region was established at Rangamati town in 1978, and is run by the Tribal Cultural Institute. It preserves valuable objects and articles of different tribes depicting their socio economic, cultural and historical tradition. These include typical tribal attire; ornaments; arms and ammunitions; coins; statues made of wood, bronze and other metals; ivory products; handicrafts; paintings on tribal life etc.

Food

Bangladeshi cooking is a culinary art form. A taste tantalizing blend of wonderful and fragrant spices that will keep you coming back for more. Many non-Bangladeshis have probably eaten Bangladeshi food without knowing. For example, over 80 percent of the “Indian” restaurants in the U.K. serve Bangladeshi food. If you loved it, it was probably Bangladeshi. Bengali cooking is also known for it’s wide array of sweets made from milk: Rasho-gollah, Kalo-jam, Shandesh, Mishti doi, Shemai, Chamcham … the names go on and on.

Relations with Pakistan

In February 2006, Bangladesh Premier Khaleda Zia visited Pakistan. Four MoUs (memoranda of understanding) were signed and discussion was held to finalise the FTA (free trade agreement) aimed at enhancing bilateral trade. The MoUs pertained to agricultural research, tourism, import, export, setting up of a standardized and quality control authority in Pakistan and a standard testing institution in Bangladesh.

Pakistan wants to benefit from Bangladesh’s experiences in macro-finance, social sector and population welfare whereas it can extend support to Bangladesh in IT and some other sectors.

Fact file

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

Nearly 83 percent of the population of Bangladesh claimed Islam as its religion in the 1980s, giving the country one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the world. Muslims constitute 88 percent of the population of Bangladesh, most of them are Sunnis, but there is a small Shi’a community. The remainder of the population follow Hinduism (11%), Buddhism and Christianity. There are also small populations of Sikhs, Bahá’ís, animists and Ahmadis.

Religion has always been a strong part of identity. A survey in late 2003 confirmed that religion is the first choice by a citizen for self-identification; atheism is extremely rare. In spite of the general personal commitment to Islam by the Muslims of Bangladesh, observance of Islamic rituals and tenets varies according to social position, locale, and personal considerations.

Islam has made the peace loving people a brave and philanthropic community. Before Islam, the people of this region were chained in the caste system of Hinduism. The longing for a peaceful life with social justice has been the driving force of Bangladesh`s journey towards a true welfare society.

# Discipline – Noise Control

Discipline is a common challenge for teachers both new and old. Structure and fairness combined with clear goals and lesson planning in a caring, non-threatening environment are the keys to effective and successful teaching. Teaching is not an easy profession, even if you are the most experienced teacher. Through each situation there is a lesson to be learned. Here are some suggestions and ideas for disciplining students and controlling the noise level in classrooms.

Quiet Lights

When the class gets too noisy, switch off all the classroom lights and fans. When the children realize that the room has suddenly turned dark, you have their attention. They will see you at the switch with your finger on your lips gesturing them to be quiet and understand that they need to stop making noise and focus on the task at hand. Don’t do it too often or it won’t be as effective.

Cooperative Coloured Circles

When working with cooperative groups, you can keep the noise level under control by using colored circles. If a group is on a task and use quiet voices, give them a green circle. If they need to be reminded about the noise level, give them a yellow circle. If a group is way off from the task, give them a red circle and step in to give them assistance. This is a great way to model appropriate behavior, when you are just beginning to establish group rules. It also saves time, because it does not interrupt the entire class, when one group is off track.

Appropriate ‘Talking Times’

Students love to have time to talk. In order to keep them from doing it during instruction, you can apply the ‘My Time’ strategy. During ‘My Time,’ students must pay attention. They neither can talk nor disturb others, who are paying attention. At the end of class, ‘Their Time’ is the last five minutes, when they can talk amongst themselves.

Awesome Noise Control

Write the word ‘awesome’ on the board. When there is noise in the class, erase a letter starting backwards. If the class makes it to break time with the word intact, they sit where they like. If not, they are assigned seats. If they lose the entire word by the end of the day, they are deprived of their lunch break. If the entire word was intact at the end of the day, they are rewarded with 15 extra rewards for the next day. With each next day you will notice an improvement.

Waiting Cards

You can use numbered cards to organize students, who need her individual attention. Laminate the cards made for your classroom and place them in order in a basket. When you are busy talking to someone, a student can come up, take a card, and go back to the seats instead of waiting in line. When you are finished with one student, you can call on the next number and conference with that student.

Safekeeping Box

Sometimes children bring things from home to play with, which, of course, distracts them. You can resolve this problem by creating a safekeeping box. Take a medium-sized box with a lid, decorate it, and put a label on the box that says ‘Items in safekeeping, to be returned later.’ When you see children playing with something that is distracting them, ask them to put it in the safekeeping box and let them know that they can retrieve their item at the end of the day. This validates their personal treasures and assures their return. Additionally, it cuts down on distractions in the classroom, as the students quickly learn to avoid having things put into the box.

Quote the Student

When trying to convince a student to change his or her behavior, you will benefit from framing a persuasive message that quotes the student. You can say: “Danish, you said something the other day that I can’t get out of my mind,” or “Something you said made me start thinking.” You’ll find that many students, who appear to be non-listeners, will be intrigued, when you use this personalized technique. As a result, they will not be able to resist listening and responding to what you have to say.

General Discipline Tips

(1)   Over-correction

There are two types of over-correction procedures that you may be familiar with. During restitution training, a student is required to improve. For example, if Erum writes on the wall, she is required to clean the whole wall, instead of just the space she wrote on. The other type of positive practice involves the student practicing the correct response repeatedly. If Sana turns in an assignment that is too sloppy to read, she must not only redo that task but do better.

(2)   Questioning Behavior

When a student has a discipline problem, just ask him / her to answer the four questions on the discipline questionnaire:

1. What did I do wrong?
2. Why wasn’t my action acceptable?
3. What should I have been doing instead?
4. What will I do in the future?

Then, mail the form home to the child’s parents. This system forces students to own up to their actions.

(3)   Behavior Notebook

Keep track of irresponsible student conduct by assembling a 3-ring notebook and dedicating a page per student at the beginning of the school year. On the first day of school, show the students their blank pages and challenge them to keep them blank the whole year. Here’s how it works. When a student breaks one of the rules set for the class – (of course, make these known at the onset of the school year), – that student must go to the behavior notebook and write a brief explanation. If you agree with the assessment, sign and date it. Send it home with the report card at the end of the marking period. If a student has a blank page all year, send home the original blank page with a heartwarming note of praise for good behavior all year long.

# Travel Egypt

Many people associate ancient Egypt with slaves building the great pyramids, although today we believe that the pyramids probably were not built primarily by slave labor. Egypt is described as ‘the gift of the Nile,’ to which travelers are drawn by the pyramids, sphinx, ancient Luxor, and the Nile River. The Pharaohs, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Turks, and the British have all ruled Egypt. Modern Egypt is a blend of these legacies.

Food

To eat ‘real,’ you have to eat ‘street.’ Egypt is a culinary adventure. ‘Eating street,’ as we define it, does not confine itself to stand-up meals from cart vendors – it is more of an everyday cuisine of an everyday person. These everyday Egyptians eat well.

Elegant restaurants offer delicious oriental selections, such as Kofta (ground meatballs), Kebab (grilled meat), Mulukhia (green soup), Tahina (Tahini) salad, Hamam Mahshi (stuffed pigeon), Baba Ghannoug (Tahini and eggplant) and mixed green salad, stuffed grape leaves, Foul and Falafel (cooked and fried beans).

Shopping

Egypt can rightfully be termed as shopper’s paradise with its exquisite carpets, typical Egyptian historical reproductions and artifacts, papyrus wall hangings, dates and dry fruits, spices and prayer beads, colourful fabrics and clothes, as well as fabulous jewellery.
Although the cities have their own Bazars, the most famous among them is the Khan-el-Khalili in Cairo. The place has a long tradition of connoisseurship in collectibles and there is always the possibility of finding a real gem. Bargaining is the best way to get your way through the market.

At the more sophisticated shopping malls, you can shop in the comfort of an air conditioner and pick up wall hangings and the famous Egyptian rugs and carpets.

Cairo

Cairo is a city that often mixes the many cultures of the world with the many ages of the world.

The Great Sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a woman’s head that devoured by-passers unable to answer her riddle. Three times a night in three different languages, the Sphinx plays the role of storyteller, narrating the history of the ancient Egypt.

The most famous site in Egypt is the Giza Plateau, which has the largest pyramids. Many believe it was the ancient burial chamber of the pharaoh and his queen, while others suggest it had astronomical functions.

The National Geographic Society Museum is located in the El Shura Council. The museum has different chambers labeled as Cairo Hall, Africa Hall, Suez Canal Hall, Egyptian Ethnography, and a General Hall about Egypt.

The Wadi Digla is made up of limestone rocks, which indicate that this area was once covered by the ocean. A very good place for camping, scouts trips, and bikers, who need rugged roads to ride along.

Alexandria

Alexandria, the second largest city and the main port of Egypt, was built by a Greek architect Dinocrates (332-331 BC) on the site of an old village, Rhakotis, following the orders of Alexander the Great. It was the site of the Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as the Great Library.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria (also called Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sunrays during the day.

The Great Library, established by Ptolemy I (305-285 BC), was the most important centre of learning in the ancient times. The beautiful new building, with its distinctive granite wall covered by the letters of alphabets from around the world, today is a recognizable landmark of the new Alexandria.

The fort was built in the 1480’s by the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan Qaitbay on the spot of Alexandria’s ancient Lighthouse. It was said that Qaitbay spent more than a hundred thousand Dinars on the work of this citadel.

Luxor

Built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor is one of Egypt’s prime tourist destinations. In a town, where tourism accounts for 85 percent of the economy, it is hardly surprising that you cannot move without being importuned to step inside a shop, rent a caleche, or have your shoes shined. Hassled and overcharged at every turn, some tourists react with fury and come to detest Luxor. Keep your cool and sense of humour – it is possible to find genuine warmth here. Once you get to know a few characters and begin to understand the score, Luxor becomes a funky soap opera with a cast of thousands.

Nile River Cruise

Tips for choosing a Nile River Cruise:

1. Make sure you know exactly, where the cruise will stop, the time you should plan spending in the cruise, and what you will see in that area.
2. Find out, what the accommodations on the boat will be like – what are the amenities, the size of your cabin, and what star level of hotel does it compare to?
3. Will your guide travel with you? Will you have a private guide or be part of a group?
4. Are there discounts for bringing multiple travelers? Or a supplement for a single traveler? If you are traveling alone, will you have a private cabin?

Masajid in Egypt

While most of the tourist Masjids are to be found in Islamic Cairo, the oldest of them all, the Amr Ibn El-As Mosque, is located in Coptic (Christian, or Old Cairo). Al-Azhar Mosque, one of the most influential Masjids in Islam, is the location of the World’s oldest University. Some Masjids in Egypt, particularly in Cairo, are actually complexes that include a number of other structures, which may or may not be attached to the Masjid.

You can walk into the desert by yourself, climb an unnamed hill, and watch the sun lazily dropping into the horizon reflecting on Allah’s (swt) beauty in creation. There is much to be relished in this historic country that shaped some of the very pivotal years of Islam.

Fact File

Contributed by Affaf Jamal

Egypt for the Muslims, Jews and Christians holds a significant mark in history as a land where Prophets came and rose.

Prophet Yacoob (as) had twelve sons, his favorite being Yusuf (as). Yusuf (as) was sold as a slave in Egypt. When famine came to the land, Yusuf (as), who became the Pharaoh’s minister, invited his family, to come to Egypt. Their family grew and became a large tribe known as the Banu Israel. Ramses II became king four hundred years later. He made the Banu Israel his slaves. It was from this very tribe that another great Prophet arose, Moosa (as) who would defeat the great Pharaoh and add to the treasure of Egyptian history.

# Conflict Resolution in Schools

Conflict is a natural, vital part of life. Teaching our youth, how to manage conflict in a productive way, can help to reduce incidents of violent behavior. Conflict Resolution Education is a beneficial component of a comprehensive violence prevention and intervention program used in schools.

Experts identify four school-based conflict resolution strategies which can be employed in other settings also. These are commonly known as:

(1) Peer Mediation Approach

This strategy enables specially trained student mediators to work with their peers in resolving conflicts. It has been reported that this approach to conflict resolution reduced playground fighting to the extent that peer mediators found themselves out of job.

(2) Process Curriculum Approach

Teachers implement the Process Curriculum Approach by devoting a specific time – a daily lesson – to the principles and processes of conflict resolution. This helps disputants envision scenarios and generate options for achieving results.

(3) Peaceable Classroom Approach

This is an integration of conflict resolution in the curriculum and daily management of the classroom. Instructional methods of cooperative learning and academic controversy are used, thus decreasing the need of teacher to address the problems directly.

(4) Peaceable School Approach

The Peaceable School Approach incorporates the above three approaches for creating schools, where conflict resolution is adopted by every member of the school community. These schools promote a climate that challenges all its members to believe and act on the understanding that a diverse, non-violent society is a realistic goal.

Constructive Criticism and Conflict

Here are some constructive feedback techniques which volunteers and supervisors can use for avoiding anger and conflict.

(a) Use positive language. Such questions as “did you ever try to do it, like this?” are much better as compared to, “You never seem to get this right.”
(b) Constructive feedback comes without strings. The supervisors should present feedback in an unthreatening manner designed to help. This allows the student to ask questions, take risks with the new things, and not to fear retribution or rejection.
(c) Be specific. Even if the student has several areas needing improvement, stick with one at a time.
(d) Set the tone for change. It may be outlining new training, assigning a mentor, monitoring by volunteer or supervisor, and giving an award, when the change is fully implemented.

The 5 Win/Win Steps

1. Cool down – those involved in the conflict are asked to collect their thoughts calmly.

2. I feel… – one person explains their side of the story, using the “I feel” message.

3. You feel… – the listener paraphrases what was said.

4. Brainstorm – those involved suggest ideas to solve the problem.

5. Shake hands – this is the ending step, signaling that all is done and things are okay.

Note: Steps #2 and #3 are done twice.

Literature

Literature is a natural vehicle for teaching. Stories dealing with conflict management can be used as tools for observing and reinforcing conflict management concepts and skills. While reading the stories, the teacher may do the following:

1. Stop reading at the point of conflict and ask: “What is the conflict? How do you think it will be resolved?”

2. After completing the story, ask: “How was the conflict resolved? Was it an effective, win-win resolution? Would you have done differently?”

The Garbage Can

The teacher explains that the classroom is a positive place for learning. Furthermore, she understands that the students are often carrying to school a lot of problems, which she refers to as garbage: they may have gotten up late, missed the bus or had an argument. This garbage is distracting and might interfere with learning in class. Therefore, students are encouraged to deposit all negative thoughts and feelings into an imaginary garbage can outside the classroom.

Taking a Look at Conflict Behavior

Students are asked to analyze a situation of conflict they were recently involved in by answering the following questions:

• What happened?
• How did you feel?
• What did you do?
• Did this resolve the conflict?
• If not, what could you have done to solve it?
• What will you do next time?

Conflict Web Subject

This activity invites students to consider the big picture of the conflict.

1. In the center of a paper, the word ‘conflict’ is written and circled.

2. Students suggest associations and memories the word ‘conflict’ evokes. A line is drawn from the main circle, and each suggestion is written down.

3. The web continues to grow, as long as interest remains high.

This is followed by a discussion about the elements all conflicts seem to have in common, and the actions that make the conflict worse or cool it down.

Options for Conflict Resolution

Active Listening – have one-to-one meetings with each of the conflicting parties. Do not offer or promise resolution; rather, assure each side of a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential forum for talking.

Shuttle/Liaison – seek to help each side to articulate their grievances and needs in a way that the other side can recognize and understand. This helps both to step back and calmly analyze what is happening, as well as find constructive ways of expressing their concerns.

Encounter/Facilitate – serve as a facilitator and bring the parties together to facilitate the process.

Seek Support – call someone unrelated to the conflict to assist you and/or the parties in working through their conflict.

‘I feel’ Messages

These messages allow the students to voice their feelings.

 Building an ‘I feel’ Message I feel ______ (explain, how it made you feel) When ______(tell the person exactly, what they did) I want ______(say, what you want from them) Examples: “I feel mad, when you don’t listen to me.” “I feel sad, when you call me names.”

Adopting such strategies for conflict management will enable our kids to deal with conflict, empathize with their peers, and, eventually, work towards creating an environment of mutual understanding all around them, Insha’Allah.

# How to Think BIG!

Everyday everywhere young people take on new jobs. Each wishing to enjoy the success associated with reaching the top. Yet, they believe that climbing such heights is impossible, not realizing that there are steps that can lead them to the goal. But a small number of these youth have substantial belief in reaching the top and the steps that they need to take.

How to develop the power of belief?

1. Islam teaches a believer to be optimistic. To think success rather than failure even at times when we are faced with difficult situations. In other words, a believer should think, “I will win, Insha’Allah” and not, “I will probably lose.” Pessimism leads the mind to think in the way of failure. Remember that pessimism is a gift from Satan or Iblees, whose name denotes hopelessness.
2. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful believers are just ordinary people who have developed belief in Allah and the abilities He has given to them. Allah states: “Verily, We have created man in the best form.” (At-Tin 95:4)
3. Allah wants to elevate the status of humankind and ensure its accomplishment and therefore He sent His Prophets and books. So, by thinking big according to the teachings of Allah (swt) and his Prophet (sa) the size of your success will be determined by the size of your belief. Think of little goals and expect little achievements. But think of big goals and you will win big. Big ideas and big plans are often easier. It is well to respect your leader and learn from him/her. But don’t just resolve to be like him or her, rather believe you can surpass and go beyond. .

Building confidence through your memory bank

1. Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Everyone encounters plenty of unpleasant situations but successful people do not give it a second thought, whereas unsuccessful people brood over them so be among the successful and specialize in putting positive thoughts into your memory bank.
2. A real smile melts away the opposition of others, and instantly too. So, smile Big. Harness the power of smiling. Remember Allah’s Messenger (sa) had a smiling face.
3. With a positive, optimistic and cooperative attitude, a person with an IQ of 100 will succeed and earn more money and respect, than a negative, pessimistic, uncooperative individual with an IQ of 120. 60% dreaming and the rest do the trick. The biggest resolution would be the ‘Attitude’ – Think and dream creatively. Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything. Success at home, work, in community or just anything. For this, the basic truth is ‘Believe in yourself and the things that you can do – Believe in yourself and the world is Yours’.

Practice positive imagery

Each day spend some time in positive visualization of your goals and new life changes. Use your imagination for only through use does it sharpen. You can travel on the back of any thought you have in mind. Simply catch your thoughts, relax, tilt your eyes up just about twenty degrees and there you are.

Begin incorporating the following points in your attitude

1. Overcome the fear of failure: When fear controls your actions, it takes charge. The only way you can overcome fear is to face it and attack it with full vengeance with one blow.
2. Let your confidence soar: You must have the “I can do this” attitude if anything BIG happens to come your way. Confidence is more evident in a person’s actions, thoughts and emotional calm during stormy times.
3. Don’t let small and negative people get in the way of your BIG ideas.

Tips for Better Thinking

1. Suspend judgment when hearing something new.
2. Explain things to others using their thinking patterns rather than yours.
3. Remember that arguing is one of the least effective ways of changing someone’s mind. You don’t always have to fight to win.
4. Use the language of leaders and people will be more inclined to treat you as one.
5. Remember that your sense of humour is your stress barometer; when it seems like there’s nothing to laugh about that means you are overstressed.
6. Constantly remind yourself that self-worth is not something you have to prove, or a conclusion you arrive at, it’s an assumption you start from.
7. Spend more time reading than you spend watching television.
8. Constantly monitor your self-talk; prefer positive language.
9. Shun toxic people and those who push negative thinking; remember that you can fire anybody from your life.
10. Practice positive “censorship;” you can choose to concentrate your attention on positive messages.
11. Stay out of other people’s dramas; don’t become part of the victimology triangle.
12. Always be learning; try to discover something new every day.
13. Don’t kill ideas when you first hear them.Use the “P.I.N.” formula (Positive first, then Interesting, then Negative aspects).
14. Don’t mistake a haphazard “brain-dump” for a conversation; explain your ideas clearly; use a discursive strategy to escort others to your truth.
15. Always be ready to smile in the next second, and let it show on your face.
16. In Thinking Big: The Keys to Personal Power and Maximum Performance, world-famous success expert Brian Tracy will take you beyond the limits of everyday thought, where you will tap into the vast resources of your mind and unlock unlimited potential.

By thinking big, you’ll become so confident, determined, and persistent that you can achieve any goal – nothing or no one will be able to slow you down or alter your course, Insha’Allah!

Success is an inside job. It’s a state of mind. It begins with you and is soon reflected in the world around you. By thinking big, you become a bigger person. By dreaming big dreams, you become a leader. By making plans to accomplish your goals, you take control of your life. And by practicing the ideas taught in Thinking Big, you can and will become unstoppable, by Allah’s Grace.

Here is an exercise to measure your true size.

1. Determine your five chief assets.
2. Invite some friends who will give you an honest opinion.
3. Next under each asset, write the names of three persons you know who have achieved large success, but who do not have the asset to as great a degree as you.

Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.

# Travel Uzbekistan

Imagine a city as old as Paris with just as attractive sites. Imagine a place where the locals are gracious, hospitable and kind. It gets even better. It’s a place where a dollar gets you a taxi ride to anywhere in town. Plus shopping is cheap, and food is delicious. Give up? Uzbekistan. It’s located in vast Central Asia, with some of the world’s finest Islamic architecture and exotic bazars, and has the virtue of being a traveller’s dream.

Food:

This is the most popular topic among people so I figured I would attend to it first. The Uzbeks eat on a square shaped wooden or metal piece of furniture called topjon. Bread called non is served and eaten with every meal. Generally, the Uzbeks prefer mutton to other kinds of meat. But Kazi-a special sausage made of horsemeat, fat, and special spices-made according to well-preserved ancient recipes is a delicacy served during special occasions. Fruits and vegetables grow in abundance in Uzabekistan, so naturally they are widely used in cooking all year round.

Once there, try the meat and vegetable soup called Shorpa, or the Uzbek noodle soup called Laghmon. The most traditional Uzbek main dish is the Plov that is suitable for daily meals as well as celebrations. There are variations of this dish, but usually it is made with chunks of mutton, shredded yellow and orange carrot for colour and taste, and rice all of which are cooked in a cast iron pot. The meat is usually eaten with the fingers.

Dumplings are also very popular. Manty are steamed dumplings stuffed with chopped onions and lamb or mutton. Chuchvara is another dumpling stuffed with minced meat, onion and spices served with sour cream or yogurt. You might also like Samsa-pastry stuffed with meat, onion, and a variety of vegetables-fresh from a clay oven. Or how about skewered chunks of mutton barbecued over charcoal known as Shashlyk over a bed of raw sliced onions.

Tea is consumed with every meal. And Chai-khanas (teahouses) full of old men chatting the afternoon away over a pot of tea are everywhere in Uzbekistan. Usually tea is served with samsa, bread, halva, and a variety of fried foods. Samarkand and Tashkent have a variety of places to eat, ranging from small local establishments around bazars, to fancy international joint venture restaurants. Take your pick.

Mosques

If you are in Bukhara seize the opportunity to visit its mosques. Kalyan Mosque with its intricately decorated portals is located in the heart of the city. It is the largest mosque in Central Asia, able to accommodate around 10,000 worshippers. It is towered over by the Kalyan Minaret with its bands of decorative brickwork that was said to have impressed Genghis Khan. Magoki-Attori Mosque constructed in the ninth or tenth century is the most ancient architectural masterpiece in Bukhara It was rebuilt in the twelfth century, but only the southern façade and portals remain to this day. An earthquake in 1860 caused the double dome to fall and the mosque destroyed, but it was rebuilt in the twentieth century. It remains one of the most sacred places in Bukhara because its architecture summons up spiritual longing for the Afterlife. Balyand Mosque is for those of you who prefer a small district mosque. It is located in a quiet residential neighborhood southwest of the old city.

If you are in Tashkent you can visit the Teleshayakh Mosque-an interesting ensemble erected in a place called Khast Imam. The ensemble comprises the Barak-Khana Madrassa of the sixteenth century, the Teleshayakh Mosque, a rich religious library, the 16th century Kaffal-Shashi mausoleum built on the grave of Abubekr Mukhmmad Kaffal-Shashi, and the Imam Al-Bukhari Institute.

The minarets of the Juma Mosque dominate the city of Khiva’s skyline, appearing like lighthouses from afar. The mosque has 218 amazingly ornate carved wooden columns.

Cities for Sight Seeing

Bukhara

The city of Bukhara, once a renowned Islamic center of learning, is now an inhabited museum with 140 impressive architectural monuments dating back to the Middle Ages. Today, 2,300 years later, ensembles like the Poi-Kalon, Kos Madras, Ismail Samani Mausoleum and the Kalian Minaret are still favorite tourist attractions. .

Or you may take a break from sightseeing by hanging out at the Laub-i-Hauz. It has a teahouse where you can get refreshments or a hearty meal. Or if you are a shopper, you may want to visit the three remaining dome-covered bazars called toks.

Samarkand

Poets and historians of the past called it the “Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries. The pearl of the Eastern Moslem World.” Its memorial and research complex has become a holy site because of the theologian Imam Ismail Al-Bukhari who has been revered among Muslims for many years.

On the southeast slope of Afrosiab is the burial vault Shahi Zinda, the famous ancient architectural ensemble of Samarkand. The keepers of Shahi Zinda are sure to tell you of the ancient legend of Kussam ibn-Abbas who once lived there. After finishing a sermon one day he removed his own head, tucked it under his armpits and hid in a narrow opening of a cave where he is still thought to live today, hence giving it its name “A Living King.”

Tashkent

Tashkent has always been an important international transport junction. Unfortunately, the destruction caused by the revolution of 1917 and the massive earthquake of 1966 has left us with only a few architectural monuments.

For museum lovers, Tashkent houses many museums of Uzbek and pre-Uzbek culture such as The State Art Museum that houses a collection of paintings, ceramics and Bukharian royal robes; and The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts with its exhibits of embroidered wall hangings and antique jewelry.

Khiva

Fairy-tale like city Khiva has managed to retain its exotic and oriental image. The old part of the city called Ichon-Qala is where all the architectural monuments are located.

No doubt there is a lot to see and do in Uzbekistan so I do not want to give away all the surprises in store for you there. So, I’ll just leave the rest for you to experience. Happy and safe travelling Insha’Allah.