Habari Gani (What Is the News?)

Grades: 
K, 1, 2

Through the integration of the arts, the learners will develop an understanding of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 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.
  • relate each principle to something familiar or apply to his or her own life.
  • demonstrate understanding of each principle through dance, art, drama or chant.
Materials 
  • CD/tape player and music from Lesson One: What Is Kwanzaa?
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Magazine pages and envelopes (tear up a magazine page and put it in an envelope—make one per student)
  • Kinara made in Lesson One
  • Yellow construction paper or yellow crayons
  • Materials for Unity dolls (see Kwanzaa Fun by Linda Robertson) OR red and green construction paper, scissors and glue or tape to make a unity chain
  • Index cards in sets of three with the letters spelling “Ujima” printed on them for Day Three: u – ji – ma—enough for the whole class
  • Five bean bags or other small nonbreakable items
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Students talk with their families about the principles learned from the first three days of Kwanzaa. (See Attachment One: 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

Kid’s Domain. Kwanzaa Clip art http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/kwanzaa/ January 7, 2004 [no longer available] 

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 the words “Habari Gani” and “Umoja” on the board. Say to the students, “Habari Gani (hah – BAR – ee GAH – nee).” Tell the students that Habari Gani is a Swahili term meaning “What is the news?” It is used 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 Bibliographical References.) 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 the degree that people come together for the common good. Have students use their own words to describe and give examples of this principle (unity) in their own lives (at school, home and in the community). Make a chart based on this discussion. Write the headings “School,” “Home,” “(Name of your town)” on a chart. Under each heading write the 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 the town, 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 create unity dolls as described in Kwanzaa Fun. Or, they 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. 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 class 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 create free movement as they chant the new vocabulary words learned (Kwanzaa, mishumaa, kinara and umoja).

  8. Day Two:

    Anticipatory Set:

    Write the word “Kujichagulia” on the board. Tell the students that today’s principle is 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 Bibliographical References.) 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 my son (dog, niece, etc.) tore it 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 effort—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 why they didn’t give up. Ask the students to discuss why self-determination is good for the community (recall that common good is one of the core democratic values).

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

  14. At the end of Day Two, play African drum/chant music and allow students to create free movement as they chant the vocabulary words learned (Kwanzaa, mishumaa, kinara, umoja and kujichagulia).

  15. Day Three:

    Anticipatory Set:

    Gather the students in a circle on the floor. As they listen to some African drum/chant music, teach them the rhythm of “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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 Bibliographical References.) Ask the students to tell what Ujima means (working together).

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. At the end of Day Three, play African drum/chant music and allow students to create free movement as they chant the vocabulary words learned (Kwanzaa, mishumaa, kinara, umoja, kujichagulia and ujima).

Assessment 

Students will fill in the information that was learned on the “What We Learned” chart (See Attachment Two: What We Learned of Lesson One: What Is Kwanzaa?) 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.