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Proverbial Picture Pages

Subjects: Language Arts: Literature
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

This lesson uses African proverbs to inspire creative thinking and creative writing.



  • learn the meaning of the word proverb,
  • learn about the wisdom of African proverbs,
  • use African proverbs as inspiration for creative expression.


Africa, proverb, Black History, quote, creative writing

Materials Needed

  • African Proverbs list
  • construction paper
  • markers or crayons
  • computers with Internet access (optional)
  • print or online resources for African symbols (optional)

Lesson Plan

Ask students whether they know the meaning of the word proverb. Tell students that a proverb is a short saying with a message that teaches a lesson. Tell students that the languages of Africa are rich in proverbs. Explain that African proverbs express the wisdom of the African people and are a key to understanding the African way of life.

Arrange students into pairs. Ask each pair to choose a proverb (see list below) and follow these directions to make a Proverbial Picture Page:

  • Pick a proverb from the list.
  • Write the proverb on the bottom half of a sheet of construction paper.
  • Write the proverb's meaning beneath the proverb.
  • On the top half of the construction paper, draw a picture to illustrate the proverb.
  • Decorate the page with African symbols found in print resources or at Web sites such as African Symbols and the University of Michigan's The Diaspora.
When students have completed their Proverbial Picture Page, set aside a time so they can share their work. Then post the Proverbial Pictures on a bulletin board. You might make the pictures part of a Black History Month exhibit.

Extension activity: Challenge students to write a proverb of their own that gives good advice. Then have them illustrate the proverb and tell what it means.

Additional Proverb Resources


After students have completed their Proverbial Picture Page, you can assess them using various criteria, including demonstrated understanding of the proverb, creativity in illustrating the proverb, neatness, etc.

Submitted By

Doris Metcalf, recently retired teacher of gifted students, Florence City Schools, Florence, Alabama


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