A Guide to Kwanzaa in the Classroom

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.

Overall 

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. 

A computer

Paper

Resources:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kwanzaa-1602416

Videos:

 

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.

 

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