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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

Kwanzaa Classroom Activities

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings holidays to life with comics and storyboards.

Make holidays come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map
  • Poster
  • Character Map

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings holidays to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on Kwanzaa Classroom Activities
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings holidays to life with comics and storyboards.

Featured Props

Kwanzaa Classroom Activities

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Apple
    Apple
  • Book
    Book
  • Candlestick
    Candlestick
  • Corn
    Corn
  • Flag
    Flag
  • Grapes
    Grapes
  • Present
    Present
  • Pumpkin
    Pumpkin
  • Skyline
    Skyline
  • Table
    Table
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

Kwanzaa Classroom Activities

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Share the history of Kwanzaa:

  • Dr. Maulana Karenga, a Black Studies professor, created Kwanzaa in 1966 in an attempt to bring African-Americans together after the Watts riots in Los Angeles.

  • “Kwanzaa” from “matunda ya kwanza” means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili. While Swahili is spoken throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, Kwanzaa is mostly celebrated by African Americans. Kwanzaa celebrates African and African American culture and history. It combines aspects of Ashanti and Zulu harvest celebrations.

Opening Discussion

Share Kwanzaa traditions:

  • Kwanzaa lasts for seven days from December 26th to New Year’s Day.
  • Celebrations often include singing, dancing, African drums, storytelling, poetry, and a large traditional feast on New Year’s Eve.
  • During Kwanzaa, a candleholder containing seven candles called a kinara is used. There are three red candles on the left, three green candles on the right, and a black candle in the middle. On the first night of Kwanzaa, the black candle is lit. The remaining 6 nights, families alternate between green and red, lighting one each night.
  • Kwanzaa has seven principles, called Nguzo Saba in Swahili. These are values of African culture meant to foster and reinforce community among African-Americans. Each candle on the kinara represents one of the seven principles of Kwannzaa:
    • Umoja means unity: Unity of family, community, nation, and race.
    • Kujichagulia means self-determination: Responsibility for your own behavior and accomplishments.
    • Ujima means collective responsibility: Working together to help individuals and the community.
    • Ujamaa means cooperative economics: Working together to foster local businesses and wealth.
    • Nia means purpose: Remembering and restoring African cultures and customs.
    • Kuumba means creativity: Using creativity and imagination to improve your life and your community.
    • Imani means faith: Faith in people, families, leaders, teachers, and the virtue of the African struggle.
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Comic Strip or Storyboard
    Kwanzaa History

    Complete after opening discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic Strip or Storyboard
    Kwanzaa Traditions

    COmplete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Kwanzaa Principles

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Mind Map (Extension / Modification)

    Use a MInd Map to create seven new Kwanzaa traditions, one for each Kwanzaa principle or value.

  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Poster to advertise a Kwanzaa celebration at school.

  • Extension / Modification
    Character Map (Extension / Modification)

    Research Dr. Maulana Karenga and create a Character Map to illustrate his traits and achievements.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • Why do you think Dr. Maulana Karenga created the Kwanzaa traditions and principles the way that he did?
  • Why do you think Dr. Maulana Karenga wanted African-Americans to celebrate African heritage?
  • You are in charge of inventing seven new Kwanzaa activities to help people practice each of the seven Kwanzaa principles:
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce unity?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce self-determination?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce collective responsibility?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce cooperative economics?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce purpose (remembering and restoring African cultures)?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce creativity?
    • What activity or tradition will reinforce faith?
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Pixton Activity: Kwanzaa Classroom Activities 1 Kwanzaa History

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard

Intro

Share the history of Kwanzaa:

  • Dr. Maulana Karenga, a Black Studies professor, created Kwanzaa in 1966 in an attempt to bring African-Americans together after the Watts riots in Los Angeles.

  • “Kwanzaa” from “matunda ya kwanza” means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili. While Swahili is spoken throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, Kwanzaa is mostly celebrated by African Americans. Kwanzaa celebrates African and African American culture and history. It combines aspects of Ashanti and Zulu harvest celebrations.

Instructions

Create a Comic Strip or Storyboard to illustrate the history of Kwanzaa:

  • Write an appropriate description or dialogue for each panel.
  • Include appropriate illustrations for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Example Comic Strip

Kwanzaa History by Student

Here's the link to share this comic:

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Kwanzaa Classroom Activities 2 Kwanzaa Traditions

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard

Intro

Share Kwanzaa traditions:

  • Kwanzaa lasts for seven days from December 26th to New Year’s Day.
  • Celebrations often include singing, dancing, African drums, storytelling, poetry, and a large traditional feast on New Year’s Eve.
  • During Kwanzaa, a candleholder containing seven candles called a kinara is used. There are three red candles on the left, three green candles on the right, and a black candle in the middle. On the first night of Kwanzaa, the black candle is lit. The remaining 6 nights, families alternate between green and red, lighting one each night.

Instructions

Create a Comic Strip or Storyboard to illustrate Kwanzaa Traditions:

  • Write an appropriate description or dialogue for each panel.
  • Include appropriate illustrations for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Example Comic Strip

Kwanzaa Traditions by Student

Here's the link to share this comic:

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Kwanzaa Classroom Activities 3 Kwanzaa Principles

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

Kwanzaa has seven principles, called Nguzo Saba in Swahili. These are values of African culture meant to foster and reinforce community among African-Americans. Each candle on the kinara represents one of the seven principles of Kwannzaa:

  • Umoja means unity: Unity of family, community, nation and race.
  • Kujichagulia means self-determination: Responsibility for your own behavior and accomplishments.
  • Ujima means collective responsibility: Working together to help individuals and the community.
  • Ujamaa means cooperative economics: Working together to foster local businesses and wealth.
  • Nia means purpose: Remembering and restoring African cultures and customs.
  • Kuumba means creativity: Using creativity and imagination to improve your life and your community.
  • Imani means faith: Faith in people, families, leaders, teachers and the virtue of the African struggle.

Instructions

Create a Mind Map or Storyboard to illustrate the 7 principles of Kwanzaa:

  • Write an appropriate description for each panel.
  • Include appropriate illustrations for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

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