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Principles of Kwanzaa Plaque

Celebrate traditional African values-including family, community, and self-improvement. Display the nguzo saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to find out how the relatively new holiday of Kwanzaa began. How does it draw on cultural traditions and values from African countries? What are the seven principles of Kwanzaa (nguzo saba), and what does each one mean? Mazao, meaning fruits and vegetables, represents the fruit of all work. Students combine these ideas to create a Kwanzaa plaque.
    2. Students use Crayola® Colored Pencils to draw a rectangle on posterboard in preparation for making the base for plaques. Cut out the plaque with Crayola Scissors. Color the background with Crayola Washable Markers. Air dry.
    3. In the center of the plaque, students write the nguzo saba using Crayola Fine Tip Markers.
    4. On white paper, students draw colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut them out. Overlap them around the edges of the plaque in a visually pleasing manner. Attach with Crayola School Glue. If so desired, add a chenille stick or yarn hanger. Air dry.
    5. Students compare and contrast Kwanzaa to the winter holiday their families celebrate. Ask students to contemplate why there are differences in traditions. Display plaques as a reminder about why this 7-day holiday is celebrated.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Give examples and describe the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    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.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate; Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis; Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto

    As a whole class, create a Kwanzaa harvest banner using roll paper. Students collaborate to illustrate each of the seven principles of the holiday.

    During the celebration of Kwanzaa, corn represent the number of children in a family. Challenge students to create a necklace with an ear of corn for each child in the family. Research the name of each child in your family in Swahili. Write each child's name in your home language as well as in Swahili.

    Invite an adult that celebrates Kwanzaa to meet with the class. Prior to the visit, students compose questions for the expert. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.

    Compare and contrast the celebration of Kwanzaa with other cultural holidays celebrated at the same time of year such as Christmas or Hanukah. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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