Multimedia: Videos for Teaching about Islam

We’re on a bit of kick looking for resources for teaching about Islam, maybe because we feel relatively ignorant ourselves. One of us lived in Senegal, West Africa for a few months and became fascinated by the pause in the flow of daily university life as large crowds of students stopped and gathered for afternoon prayer.

(Let’s also pause here for a note: we welcome constructive criticism and guest writers who have deeper knowledge of Islam and the resources available for teaching students about it).

Here are two videos about Islam, appropriate for high school students. The first covers main tenets and some history of the religion and the second addresses common present-day stereotypes of American Muslims. The latter is particularly relevant given the uptick in anti-Muslim incidents during and after the presidential campaign, as reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

From PBS Learning, here’s John Green in a 13 minute video entitled Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar. In the video, Green “teaches you the history of Islam, including the revelation of the Qu’ran to Muhammad, the five pillars of Islam, how the Islamic empire got its start, the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and more.”

Also from PBS Learning and Unity Productions Foundation, here’s another video, of 11 minutes in length: Muslim Americans, Fact vs. Fiction.  The video “provides poll-based answers to the most frequent questions Americans ask about their Muslim neighbors [and]… debunks stereotypes and separates many of the prevailing fictions about Islam and American Muslims.”

Both videos are informative and thought-provoking, even for adults.

* smallstones is grateful to the PBS Education “Teacher’s Lounge” blog post by Rachel Otty, Teaching Islam: Deconstructing Myths and Clarifying Truths, for introducing us to these videos.


♣ The Resource ♣

PBS Learning Media. (2012). Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar – Crash Course World History. Retrieved from

PBS Learning Media. (2015). American Muslims: Fact vs. Fiction. Unity Productions Foundation. Retrieved from

Islamic Religious Practices Guide

A Resource for Schools

Here’s a school resource about the basics of Muslims’ religious practices: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.

It’s a brief informational bulletin developed by the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties organization (read about CAIR here).

The bulletin is meant purpose is to increase administrators’ and teachers’ awareness of Muslim students’ basic religious tenets and practices. You can download it here, too.

The brief guide collects a lot of basic but useful information in one place. It addresses personal modesty (esp. head coverings for adolescent girls); gender relations, with particular reference to sports and P.E. activities; major holidays; and the rules of fasting and prayer. It ends with a bulleted summary of key issues and basic principles for respecting student practices.

If you want to learn more about teaching students about Islam, the Teaching Tolerance website provides a list of online platforms. Among them is the Islamic Network Group (ING), which provides curricula about Islam for middle school and high school students.