Teaching about winter holidays like Kwanzaa and Hanukkah can exciting exposure for students. Discovering new possibilities and delving into new cultures is key for student success for the real-world. I was excited when I decided to teach my students about Kwanzaa since I had never celebrated the holiday on my own. I was blown away by what I learned and loved incorporating this beautiful holiday into my classroom. However, the lesson didn’t come without challenges. There are very few resources for teaching Kwanzaa and I became frustrated in my quest for resources. Below are some combined resources I used–some free others not–that will help you elevate your classroom.
What you’ll need:
A Kinara- we used a makeshift one out of playdough because I didn’t see any that were reasonably priced on Amazon. Another resource to make a kinara would be here.
Day 1: Umoja- Unity
Unity meaning everyone coming together for one common goal; togetherness
On this day, traditionally everyone drinks from the same cup. However, because I don’t want germs to spread around, I had everyone pour some juice into the cup and I drank the liquid, to symbolize unity.
Day 2: Kujichagulia- Self-Determination
To be responsible for yourself and your actions; making good choices that benefit the group.
On Day 2, we listened to drum music and I taught students how I braid my hair. Then we had a discussion on good choices and bad choices.
Day 3: Ujima- Collective work and responsibility
To help the community towards one common goal.
On this day, we worked together to clean the room to restore it to it’s former beauty.
Day 4: Ujamaa- Collective Economics
To build and support the vision of the group and educate the youth on economics.
On Day 4, I talked to students about saving money and the power that money has in our world today.
Day 5: Nia-Purpose
To set goals in order to obtain greatness.
On this day, students talked about what goals they had and what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Day 6: Kuumba- Creativity
Using creativity to imagine a better world.
On day 6, we painted with the traditional colors red, black, and green. Students also decorated Mkeke mats to display around the room.
Day 7: Imani- Faith
Believing in a better world
On the last day of Kwanzaa, we had a feast. We ate and talked together about being kind and brave. We also read a book about Martin Luther King Jr.