Multicultural Lesson on Kwanzaa

My daughter’s teacher asked me to come in and teach the class about how our family celebrates Kwanzaa–since the school is recognizing lots of different holidays this month. So I thought I’d share this elementary-aged lesson.

My lesson prep was from Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

I crafted the list of seven days of Kwanzaa for all the families (see list below).

I gave an overview of the seven days (while lighting the candles) to the entire class. But the fun was really in the small groups with in-depth activities.  My daughter and I selected “Cooperative Economics” and “Creativity” as the two days to study.

For “Cooperative Economics” the students and I made family banks. I had purchased “recipe boxes” from the $1 section at an arts & crafts store. And had made labels that said “Family Bank”. Each child picked which bank they wanted. Then each student got to count out 50 cents to start saving in their bank (from a variety of coins: pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters). Students then drew ideas of a family gift they could purchase next year with the coins they will save in 2011.

For the day of creativity we worked with the music teacher and performed a dance. Some students were really into this (while others were more comfortable being the audience).

The next day I got lots of positive feedback from students and parents about how much they enjoyed learning about this relatively new holiday. Part of the key to success was including the bulleted list of Kwanzaa days in the banks so students could discuss with their parents.

Seven Days of Kwanzaa

  • 12/26 Unity: Spend time with family and talk.
  • 12/27 Self-Determination: Learn traditions that help us define ourselves.
  • 12/28 Collective Work and Responsibility: Do a family chore together.
  • 12/29 Cooperative Economics: After saving coins for an entire year with your family, on this day you buy a family gift for everyone to share.
  • 12/30 Purpose: Reflect on how to fill the days and years ahead.
  • 12/31 Creativity: Make up dances to perform for friends. Or sculpt mounds of clay, recite a favorite rhyme, or plant seedlings on the windowsill and nurture them to sprout.
  • 1/1 Faith: Believe that good will always happen.

 

What multicultural lessons do you teach in your class?

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