Habari Gani (What Is the News?)

Grades: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Learners develop an understanding of the seven principles of Kwanzaa through artistic applications. Students are challenged to apply the principles to their everyday lives in a way that enhances the communities to which they belong.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods
Objectives 

The learner will:

  • identify the first three principles of Kwanzaa.
  • connect each principle to his or her own life.
  • demonstrate understanding of each principle through the arts.
Materials 
  • African music from lesson one
  • Chart paper and markers
  • prepare one for each group of two students: a magazine page torn up like a puzzle and placed in an envelope
  • Kinara made in lesson one
  • Yellow construction paper or yellow crayons for candle flames
  • green, red, and black strips to make a paper chain -- 1-3 for each student
  • Index cards - three cards per group (of three students) with the letters u, ji and ma printed on them
  • Five bean bags or other small nonbreakable items
Home Connection 

Students talk with their families about the principles learned from the first three days of Kwanzaa. (See handout: Kwanzaa Principles.)

Bibliography 

Ford, Juwanda. K is for Kwanzaa. Cartwheel Books, 1997. ISBN: 0590922009

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. Celebrating Kwanzaa. Holiday House, 1994. ISBN: 0823411303

Jay, Stephen. “Africa: Drum, Chant, and Instrumental Music.” Elektra Records 9720732

Johnson, Dolores. The Children’s Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrate the Holiday. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997. ISBN: 0689815565

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Seven Candles of Kwanzaa. Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. ISBN: 0803712928

Robertson, Linda. Kwanzaa Fun. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003. ISBN: 0753456850

Various Artists. “All the Best from Africa: 20 Tribal Songs.” Madacy Records. ASIN: B000000K45

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write on the board and say“Habari Gani” (hah – BAR – ee GAH – nee). Tell the students that Habari Gani is a Swahili term meaning “What is the news?” It is spoken when greeting others during Kwanzaa. The appropriate response is to say the name of the principle for that day. Each day of Kwanzaa centers around a principle. Over the next seven lessons, we will learn about these principles. Today’s principle is Umoja (oo-MOW - jah). Tell the students that you will say Habari Gani again and you want them to respond by saying “Umoja.”

  2. Tell students that they may “light” the first green candle of the kinara. (Cut out a yellow flame from construction paper and glue it on the top of the first green candle. Or color the flame of the first candle. This is the candle representing Umoja.

  3. Read aloud to students about Umoja in one or more of the books about Kwanzaa, such as Kwanzaa Fun or Seven Candles of Kwanzaa (see Bibliography). Ask the students to tell what Umoja means (unity). Tell the students that unity is a Kwanzaa principle because one of the goals of Kwanzaa is to unite the African-American community. On the first day of Kwanzaa, African Americans are reminded of the importance of unity within the community.

  4. Define community as people coming together for the good of the group. Have students use their own words to describe and give examples of the principle of unity in their own lives (at school, home, in groups they belong to, and in the community).

    Record this discussion on a chart. Write headings to represent different communities on a chart. Under each heading write the brainstormed events, practices, values, shared interests, rules, etc. that demonstrate unity within the community. For example: At home, we eat together. At school, we listen to each other. In soccer, we follow the same rules. Lead the students to recognize that in all types of communities, unity holds people together and makes the group stronger.

  5. Students make a unity chain. To make the chain, each student (and teacher) writes his or her name on a green or red strip of paper. On other green or red strips, they may write their talents and things they do for the good of others (I share, I'm a good reader, I welcome people). Using glue or tape, the students work together to link the strips into a long chain which can be displayed in the classroom or around the door. Use black links intermittently to represent other members of the community, such as the art teacher, principal, parents and so on.

  6. Optional: The students may decide on one aspect of unity that they want to work on improving in their classroom (sharing, teamwork, making sure everyone has someone to play with on the playground). Display their goal on a Kwanzaa bulletin board.

  7. At the end of Day One, play African drum/chant music and allow students to move freely as they chant the new vocabulary words learned (Kwanzaa, mishumaa, kinara and umoja).

  8. Session Two

    Write and say today's principle: Kujichgulia (koo-jee-chah-GOO-lee-ah). Tell the students that you will say Habari Gani (What is the news?) and you want them to respond by saying “Kujichagulia.”

  9. Tell students that they may “light” the second green candle of the kinara. This is the candle representing Kujichagulia.

  10. Read aloud to students about Kujichagulia in one or more of the books about Kwanzaa, such as Kwanzaa Fun or Seven Candles of Kwanzaa (see Bibliography). Ask the students to tell what Kujichagulia means (self-determination, or doing what it takes to get the job done—perseverance).

  11. Tell the students that you have a problem and you need their help. "I have a picture from a magazine that was perfect for today’s lesson, but it is torn up." Pass out the envelopes and give the students five minutes to attempt to piece the pictures together. (Write down some of their comments as you walk around and praise their efforts—listen for words such as “This is impossible” and “I can do it.”)

  12. After the five minutes, talk about the principle for the day. Share some of the comments you heard and discuss what helped them keep going when they wanted to give up. Ask the students to discuss why self-determination, or perseverance, is good for the community.

  13. Optional: have each student write a personal goal related to self-determination.

  14. Session Three

    Gather the students in a circle on the floor. As they listen to some African drum/chant music, teach them a rhythm for the word concentration. Concentration: hit your lap with both hands, clap your hands, snap on right hand, then snap on left hand. As they gain confidence with this, you may have them chant one of the vocabulary words of Kwanzaa.

  15. Tell students that they may “light” the third green candle of the kinara. This is the candle representing Ujima. Tell the students that you will say Habari Gani (What is the news?) and you want them to respond by saying “Ujima.” Do not write ujima anywhere that they can see it until after the spelling exercise below.

  16. Read aloud to students about Ujima in one or more of the books about Kwanzaa, such as Kwanzaa Fun or Seven Candles of Kwanzaa (see Bibliography). Ask the students to tell what Ujima means (working together).

  17. Divide the class into groups of three. Tell the students that you want them to work together to spell the word ujima. Pass out the sets of index cards—three cards per group with the letters u, ji and ma printed on them. Listen to them as they attempt to figure it out. Listen for words of encouragement and problem solving. The students should hold their cards up in order when you give the cue.

  18. Talk about the principle for the day. Repeat some of the comments you heard as they were working and discuss what helped them solve the problem. Ask the students to discuss why working together is good for the community.

  19. Give the students an opportunity to work together as they play a bean-bag passing game. Tell students to stand in a circle. (You may need to move desks or play somewhere larger than the classroom.) Tell the students that the beanbag should travel from person to person without touching the floor. Start with one beanbag. When they have a rhythm, gradually add more beanbags up to five.

  20. Discuss what they did to make the game successful. Point out that they had to communicate either with words, sounds, nods or nudges in order to work together. Discuss how communication is an important part of working together.

Assessment 

Students fill in the information that was learned on the “What We Learned” chart (See handout from lesson one: What We Learned) They may use pictures, symbols or temporary spelling to complete their individual charts. Add to the class chart started in Lesson One.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify ways that trust is important in all communities.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.10 Give an example of an action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
      3. Benchmark E.7 Describe why the classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community governed by fundamental democratic principles.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.