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Kwanzaa Window Book

Display the 7 principles of Kwanzaa in a one-of-a-kind accordion window book.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to find out about the celebration of Kwanzaa in African American communities. Invite guests to share family rituals and the history of Kwanzaa. Define and discuss the seven principles of Kwanzaa: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work & responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith).
    2. Challenge students to identify the significance of these and other symbols of Kwanzaa: mkeka (woven mat), kinara (candle holder), mshumaa (7 candles), muhindi (ear of corn), kikcombe cha umoja (cup of unity), zawadi (gifts), and karamu (feast). Discuss each of these as a whole class activity.
    3. Ask students to create an accordian book representing their learning about Kwanzaa. Students begin by folding a large white paper in half so the shorter edges meet. Fold in half again, joining shorter edges. Fold in half once more, joining shorter edges. Open folded paper to reveal eight rectangular sections.
    4. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut into the long lengthwise fold from one edge into the paper until reaching the third intersection of folds. Leave the final two rectangles connected.
    5. Cut diamond, oval, or square windows into each of the unconnected rectangles, making each window smaller as you get closer to the connected rectangles. Leave connected rectangles whole.
    6. Accordion-fold pages in from the outside so the unconnected rectangles are in the back.
    7. Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils or Color Sticks to design each window frame with the name of a principle. The first frame can be designed with the name of Kwanzaa and its meaning. Encourage students to include small symbol drawings on each page. Shade finished pages by holding colored pencils so the tip is on its side.
    8. Provide a time during the school day for students to share their Kwanzaa Window Books with small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

    LA: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington; Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis

    Organize a time when students can share their window books with younger students. Class members prepare and practice their presentations, including some of their research in the presentation. After reading to younger students, they post learning about the Kwanzaa holiday to a class blog.

    Prepare a classroom display that includes a variety of winter holiday celebration practices. Post students work in the classroom. Compare and contrast the practices of the variety of holiday practices.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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