Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Social Justice is a series of 14 lessons. Each lesson focuses on a contemporary social justice issue. These lessons are multidisciplinary and geared toward middle and high school students.
Students enjoy editorial cartoons. Visual, engaging and often funny, they’re great learning tools. However, editorial cartoons can be challenging because they often require a lot of prior knowledge. These lessons provide strategies for using what students already know to analyze cartoons that may seem difficult to interpret.
In addition, these lessons will expand students’ knowledge of social justice issues. They can be used to supplement another lesson or readings, or they can stand alone.
The lessons begin with a basic strategy for interpreting editorial cartoons. Each lesson helps build students’ background knowledge about a particular social justice issue. In addition, each lesson addresses at least one common English language arts skill. The objectives in every lesson combine these disciplines to challenge students and promote critical thinking skills. Here are some of the issues and skills addressed in the lessons:
- How are editorial cartoons different from other kinds of art and media?
- Why do artists create editorial cartoons?
- How can images and text work together to deliver a message?
- How do I interpret an editorial cartoon?
- What are the important elements that many artists use in editorial cartoons?
Editorial Cartoon Lessons
This introductory lesson will help students learn strategies for analyzing editorial cartoons.
This lesson will help students understand how a cartoon uses irony.
This lesson will help students understand how images can come together to make a statement in an editorial cartoon.
This lesson will help students analyze the visual composition of an editorial cartoon and understand how a cartoon uses satire.
This lesson will help students see how artists can reveal their opinions about society and culture through a cartoon.
This lesson will help students understand how a cartoon uses idioms and puns.
This lesson will help students explore how editorial cartoons often use familiar adages or idioms in new ways to make a point about something.
This lesson will help students understand how a cartoon uses irony and caricature to make a political statement by examining a cartoon in its historical context.
This lesson will help students understand the importance of context in decoding an editorial cartoon and how a cartoon uses satire.
This lesson will help students understand how artists uses images to represent an idea.
This lesson will help students understand how a cartoon uses words and images to make a political statement.
This lesson will help students understand how artists use titles to bring context to editorial cartoons.
This lesson will help students understand the use of dialogue in editorial cartoons and question why one group might blindly hate another group.
This lesson will help students understand various strategies used in editorial cartoons to create an editorial cartoon that focuses on a social justice issue.
Standard 1. Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts
Standard 3. Knows a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts
Standard 11. Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society
Standard 14. Understands issues concerning the disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life
Standard 25. Understands issues regarding personal, political, and economic rights
Standard 2. Understands the historical perspective
History: United States
Standard 17. Understands massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity
Standard 29. Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties
Standard 31. Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States
Standard 5. Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
Standard 9. Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
Life Skills: Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group
Standard 4. Displays effective interpersonal communication skills