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Weave a decorative placemat to demonstrate the Kwanzaa principle of "umoja," or unity, among people. Celebrate this modern holiday by reaching out to others.
The name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili word meaning "the first fruits of the harvest." Invite students working in small groups to learn how black families celebrate their African heritage during Kwanzaa. Then students create a multicultural mat showing umoja, or unity, among people. Umoja is one of the seven Kwanzaa principles. What are the other six? Organize a variety of text and electronic resources for students to view during this research.
When research is complete, students groups organize research into presentations for classmates.
Once all groups have presented, ask students to cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Distribute Crayola® Washable Kid's Paint and 3 sheets of paper to each child. Students paint one sheet of paper red, one black, and one green. Air dry flat.
Students fold the black paper in half lengthwise. With Crayola Scissors, have them cut strips about the width of their thumbs across the paper, cutting from the fold to near the edge of the paper. Remind students not cut all the way through. This is the base for weaving the mat.
Students cut strips of red and green paper about as wide as their thumbs. Weave them through the black paper, alternating green and red. Glue the ends of the strips under the black paper with a Crayola Glue Stick.
On another piece of white paper, students use Crayola Colored Pencils to trace hands several times. Cut out the hands. Color each with a different shade of Crayola Multicultural Markers. Glue the hands to the Umoja Mat's edges. Air dry flat.
Have students take their mats home and explain the significance of the colors and the hands to family members. Encourage them to compare and contrast Kwanzaa with holiday celebrations that their families observe.
This powerful diorama pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate his historic civil rights speech on the step
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