political cartoon analysis
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Political Cartoon Analysis Sheet
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Flickr user aleriy osipov, Creative Commons
- English & Literature
- Grades 9-12
- Comics & Animation
Drawing Political Cartoons How do political cartoons convey messages about current events?
In this 9-12 lesson, students will analyze cartoon drawings to create an original political cartoon based on current events. Students will apply both factual knowledge and interpretive skills to determine the values, conflicts, and important issues reflected in political cartoons.
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- Analyze visual and language clues to determine the meaning of contemporary and historical political cartoons.
- Research and gather information to plan a visual story.
- Create a political cartoon based on a current event.
National Core Arts Standards National Core Arts Standards
VA:Cr1.2.Ia Shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present-day life using a contemporary practice of art or design.
VA:Cr3.1.Ia Apply relevant criteria from traditional and contemporary cultural contexts to examine, reflect on, and plan revisions for works of art and design in progress.
VA:Re.7.1.Ia Hypothesize ways in which art influences perception and understanding of human experiences.
VA:Re.7.2.Ia Analyze how one’s understanding of the world is affected by experiencing visual imagery.
VA:Cn11.1.Ia Describe how knowledge of culture, traditions, and history may influence personal responses to art.
MA:Re7.1.Ia Analyze the qualities of and relationships between the components, style, and preferences communicated by media artworks and artists.
MA:Re7.1.Ib Analyze how a variety of media artworks manage audience experience and create intention through multimodal perception.
MA:Cn11.1.Ia Demonstrate and explain how media artworks and ideas relate to various contexts, purposes, and values, such as social trends, power, equality, and personal/cultural identity.
Common Core State Standards Common Core State Standards
ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
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- Rubric: Drawing Political Cartoons
- Vocabulary: Drawing Political Cartoons
- Political Cartoon Analysis
- PBS News Hour
- The Cartoon
- Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoon Trends
- The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
- The Week Cartoons
- Politico Cartoons
Teachers share articles or a list of media resources that are appropriate for their class in order to read current events. Teachers will need to find a variety of political cartoons, preferably displaying opposing sides of an issue. Carefully review each cartoon prior to sharing them with students. Optional articles to discuss include: How Women Broke Into the Male-Dominated World of Cartoons and Illustrations , What is a Cartoonist? , and Cartoonists - left, right, and center - have their say on Texas freeze and power outage .
Students should have familiarity with current events and strategies for analyzing and interpreting events.
Modify handouts, text, and utilize assistive technologies as needed. Allow extra time for task completion.
- Display a variety of cartoons about a current event that the students are familiar with as an introduction. Be sure that the cartoons represent opposing positions about the same topic. Explain to the students that political cartoons are biased because they represent the artist’s point of view, as does an editorial. They are intended to be controversial and characterized in nature. Their meaning is conveyed by both visual and verbal clues.
- Read the following quote to the class: “A cartoonist is a writer and artist, philosopher, and punster, cynic and community conscience. He seldom tells a joke and often tells the truth, which is funnier. In addition, the cartoonist is more than an asocial critic who tries to amuse, infuriate, or educate. He is also, unconsciously, a reporter and historian. Cartoons of the past leave records of their times that reveal how people lived, what they thought, how they dressed and acted, what their amusements and prejudices were, and what the issues of the day were.” (Ruff and Nelson, p. 75.)
- Tell students that they are going to analyze political cartoons and create one of their own based on a current event. Have students create a variety of political cartoons displaying contrasting viewpoints. Share the following websites with students: Daryl Cagel's Political Cartoon Trends , The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists , The Week Cartoons , GoComics , and Politico Cartoons .
- Distribute and review the resource, Vocabulary: Drawing Political Cartoons . Discuss with students some of the elements present in the cartoons: caption, caricature, symbolism, the proportional size of objects and people, and personification . Help students identify the personalities in the cartoons you have displayed and ask them what issue or event they think the cartoon is about. Ask the students what details they used to make an inference.
- Divide students into small groups. Distribute a political cartoon to each group and ask them to identify the elements and context of the cartoon. Students can utilize the following, Read, Write, Think resource to assist with the research and planning of their drawing: Political Cartoon Analysis . Teachers should encourage the class to brainstorm ideas to evoke different responses. Divergent answers should be accepted. Interpretation must be open-ended.
- Have each group summarize their political cartoon analysis. The rest of the class should have an opportunity to weigh in about whether or not they agree with the group’s analysis of the cartoon.
- Introduce print and web new resources with students to identify political topics. PBS News Hour , Newsela , NPR are examples of media organizations that share current events.
- Have students create their own political cartoon depicting their opinion about a current issue. Review the Criteria for Success: Political Cartoons resource with students and discuss examples of each criterion. Allow time for students to create their political cartoon.
- Have students share their political cartoon with the class, briefly describing the issue involved and key elements used during the cartoon-making process.
- Assess the students’ knowledge of drawing political cartoons with the Rubric: Drawing Political Cartoons .
- Have students read The Cartoon by Herb Block , one cartoonist’s take on the role played by political cartoons. Ask students: Why would Lucy, the character from Peanuts, have made a good cartoonist according to Block? What does Block mean when he says that the political cartoon is a means for “puncturing pomposity?” How do political cartoonists help “the good guys?” How do political cartoonists’ relationships with their newspapers differ? What does Block say about the “fairness” of political cartoons? What different opinions about this are held?
- Analyze the differences between cartoons and comics. Have students explore contemporary webcomics: Huda Fahmy , Alec With Pen , Aditi Mali , Brown Paperbag Comics , and Christine Rai .
July 22, 2021
Lesson creating comic strips.
In this 3-5 lesson, students will examine comic strips as a form of fiction and nonfiction communication. Students will create original comic strips to convey mathematical concepts.
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Lesson Cartooning Political and Social Issues
In this 6-8 lesson, students will examine political cartoons and discuss freedom of speech. They will gather and organize information about a current or past issue that makes a political or social statement and analyze the different sides. Students will plan, design, and illustrate a political cartoon that presents a position on a political or social issue.
- Social Studies & Civics
Lesson Multimedia Hero Analysis
In this 9-12 lesson, students will analyze the positive character traits of heroes as depicted in music, art, and literature. They will gain an understanding of how cultures and societies have produced folk, military, religious, political, and artistic heroes. Students will create original multimedia representations of heroes.
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In this 6-8 lesson, students will examine the influence of advertising from past and present-day products. Students apply design principles to illustrate a product with background and foreground. This is the first lesson designed to accompany the media awareness unit.
Lesson Media Awareness II: Key Concepts in Advertising
In this 6-8 lesson, students will continue the exploration of advertising and media awareness. Students will examine the purpose, target audience, and value of advertisements. Students will then create original, hand-drawn advertisements. This is the second lesson designed to accompany the media awareness unit.
Lesson Media Awareness III: Crossing the Finish Line
In this 6-8 lesson, students will develop and market a new children’s product. They will apply advertising design strategies to market their product. This is the third lesson designed to accompany the media awareness unit.
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