Kwanzaa - Lesson plan

Preliminary information

Time: 60 minutes??

Level: intermediate

To give intensive reading practice
To examine an aspect of the Christmas celebrations
To give pracice with working out meaning of lexis from context
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will be interested in the content of the text.
That the language in the text will not be difficult - there might be some lexis but this won't hinder general comprehension.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging - tell the stds that you will be looking at some of it during the lesson

The text


Stage 1 - Intro to the theme
10 mins tch<>stds
1. Elicit from the stds the different events that are celebrated at this time of year around the world. Get them to tell everyone what they know about them.
2. Put ' Kwanzaa' on the board & elicit what celebration it is.

Stage 2 - Reading
10 mins tch<>stds
1. Set up the extensive, quick reading - the stds have 30 seconds to get as much as they can from the article - discuss how they might do this - skimming....
2. Task - 30 seconds - stick to your time limit.
3. Stds compare answers.
4. General feedback - stds tell you what they have.
5. Set more intensive task - see below - dictate or write the questions on the board.
6. Task - individual
7. Stds compare answers.
7. General feedback

1. How long does Kwanzaa last?
2. Why do you think it began?
3. What is the celebration based on?
3. Whose idea was it?
4. What is the celebration a 'reaffirmation' of?

Stage 3 - Vocabulary focus
10 mins tch<>stds
1. Ask the stds to work out a brief definition for all of the words in bold in the text.
2. Task - go round & monitor.
3. Stds compare answers - you might have dictionaries on hand for the stds to confirm their guesses.
4. General feedback.

Stage 4 - Response to the text - speaking
5-10 mins tch<>stds
1. General class discussion - why did African-Americans feel a need for Kwanzaa? Know of any other non-religious celebrations at this time of year?

Stage 5 - Follow up ideas
- there is another short text about the food at Kanzaa celebrations. This could be used as a running dictation for example.
- stds could think up another type of celebration for a group of people.
- roleplays - eg. traditional African-American family, parents wanting to celebrate Kwanzaa & rebellious children who don't = conflict...

A non-religious holiday, Kwanzaa celebrates African-American heritage, pride, community, family, and culture. The seven-day festival commences the day after Christmas and culminates on New Year's Day.

Inspired by the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and based on ancient African celebrations, Kwanzaa has become increasingly popular over the last decade. More than 20 million people celebrate in the United States, Canada, England, the Carribean and Africa.

Kwanzaa's ancient roots lie in African first-fruit harvest celebrations, from which it takes its name. The word Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits."

Those roots are the foundation on which the modern holiday was built. Maulana Karenga, an African-American scholar and activist, conceived Kwanzaa in 1966 following the Watts riot. Currently, Karenga is chairman of the Department of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach.

Karenga says Kwanzaa is organized around five fundamental activities common to other African first-fruit celebrations:

* the ingathering of family, friends, and community;

* reverence for the creator and creation (including thanksgiving and recommitment to respect the environment and heal the world);

* commemoration of the past (honoring ancestors, learning lessons and emulating achievements of African history);

* recommitment to the highest cultural ideals of the African community (for example, truth, justice, respect for people and nature, care for the vulnerable, and respect for elders); and

* celebration of the "Good of Life" (for example, life, struggle, achievement, family, community, and culture).


The Food of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an important time of the year for friends and family to pass on generations of good food and recipes that pay tribute to African-American heritage.

Kwanzaa celebrants spend their seven-day festivities preparing for the final feast, or "karumu," on December 31. This culminating spread of good food and fun includes African-inspired cuisine and ceremony.

The karumu room or venue might be decorated in the colors of black unity, red, black, and green. And the holiday table originally outlined by creator Maulana Karenga should include seven symbolic items:

* a straw placemat (mkeka),

* a holder for seven candles (kinara),

* the candles (mishumaa),

* a variety of fruit (mazao),

* an ear of corn for each child in the home (vibunzi),

* a unity cup (kikombe cha umoja),

* and modest gifts (zawadi).

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