Lesson Plan

Propaganda Techniques in Editorial Cartoons

Objectives

In this lesson, students examine persuasion in editorial cartoons. Students will:

  • identify traits of a political cartoon.
  • read and analyze cartoons to infer author’s purpose.
  • identify and evaluate effectiveness of persuasion, vocabulary, and literary devices used to make a case.

Essential Questions

  • How does interaction with text provoke thinking and response?

Vocabulary

  • Irony: The use of a word or phrase to mean the exact opposite of its literal or usual meaning; incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected result.
  • Propaganda Techniques and Persuasive Tactics (logical fallacies): Propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics are used to influence people to believe, buy, or do something. Students should be able to identify and comprehend the propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics listed below.

1.         Name-calling is an attack on a person instead of an issue.

2.         A bandwagon appeal tries to persuade the reader to do, think, or buy something because it is popular or because “everyone” is doing it.

3.         A red herring is an attempt to distract the reader with details not relevant to the argument.

4.         An emotional appeal tries to persuade the reader by using words that appeal to the reader’s emotions instead of to logic or reason.

5.         A testimonial attempts to persuade the reader by using a famous person to endorse a product or idea (for instance, the celebrity endorsement).

6.         Repetition attempts to persuade the reader by repeating a message over and over again.

7.         A sweeping generalization (stereotyping) makes an oversimplified statement about a group based on limited information.

8.         A circular argument states a conclusion as part of the proof of the argument.

9.         An appeal to numbers, facts, or statistics attempts to persuade the reader by showing how many people think something is true.

  • Satire: A literary tone used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness.

Duration

60–120 minutes /1–2 class periods

Prerequisite Skills

Prerequisite Skills haven't been entered into the lesson plan.

Materials

  • “Common Political Cartoon Symbols”

http://arch.k12.ar.us/apush/files/Assignments/Political%20Cartoon%20symbols.pdf

This resource offers a list of 19 common symbols.

  • “The Sneetches” (2-minute clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh1qWZWNGGE

This clip can be shown in class. As an alternative, read aloud from the following:

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1961.

This site provides the cartoon used for the application exercise in the lesson. Other sources of political cartoons include the following:

o   “Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons.” Mandeville Special Collections Library, 2000. http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/

This collection uses simple, classic Seuss drawing style, so the message is easy to infer.

o   “The Political Dr. Seuss.” Independent Lens. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/politicaldrseuss/gallery.html

This site offers a commentary on the situation portrayed in each cartoon. You may wish to use this site for students with less political history awareness. Graphics are clear and of adequate size for analysis.

Related Unit and Lesson Plans

Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • “Common Political Cartoon Symbols”

http://arch.k12.ar.us/apush/files/Assignments/Political%20Cartoon%20symbols.pdf

This resource offers a list of 19 common symbols.

  • “The Sneetches” (2-minute clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh1qWZWNGGE

This clip can be shown in class. As an alternative, read aloud from the following:

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1961.

This site provides the cartoon used for the application exercise in the lesson. Other sources of political cartoons include the following:

o   “Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons.” Mandeville Special Collections Library, 2000. http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/

This collection uses simple, classic Seuss drawing style, so the message is easy to infer.

o   “The Political Dr. Seuss.” Independent Lens. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/politicaldrseuss/gallery.html

This site offers a commentary on the situation portrayed in each cartoon. You may wish to use this site for students with less political history awareness. Graphics are clear and of adequate size for analysis.

Formative Assessment

  • View
    • To assess students’ grasp of the concepts, call on students during the discussion times and circulate to lend assistance while students complete study guide questions. Offer reteaching or examples as needed and provide additional resources for more individual practice.

Suggested Instructional Supports

  • View
    Scaffolding, Active Engagement, Modeling, Explicit Instruction
    W: Examine how propaganda and persuasion may influence thoughts and actions.
    H: Engage students by using a familiar children’s story, The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, and ask them to discuss how it may be an allegory for a serious topic.
    E: Provide instructional vocabulary and definitions to build a foundation for political cartoon analysis.
    R: Encourage reflection of the new concepts through independent exploration and analysis of cartoons by having students build a portfolio.
    E: Provide independent practice by requiring students to write concisely to express understanding of persuasive techniques used in the cartoon and how it expresses the artist’s intent.
    T: Tailor instruction by providing preselected cartoons based on reader and cultural knowledge differences, offering prescribed questions to aid analysis for students who are less adept with abstract analysis, and using flexible grouping for analysis practice.
    O: Organize learning experiences through critical thinking, guided instruction, independent research, and revision of analysis.

     

Instructional Procedures

  • View

    Focus Question: How can cartoons and art be influential?

    Show a video segment from Sneetches by Dr. Seuss or read an excerpt from the book. Ask: “What seems to be a problem in this story?” (discrimination, prejudice) (Students might suggest the irony that the outcasts did not have the stars vs. the Jews being forced to wear stars.) “Why does the author use humor to deal with a serious topic?” (to entertain readers while engaging them in thought-provoking ideas)

    Say, “Besides writing stories for children, Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore Geisel, drew political cartoons during the WWII era. Seuss used a cartoon-like approach to express an opinion.”

    Part 1

    Read through the Editorial Cartoon Devices handout with the class (L-L-8-1_Editorial Cartoon Devices and KEY.doc). Discuss which terms relate to traits of cartoons and which are techniques used to express an idea in text. As a class, answer the questions to analyze a Dr. Seuss political cartoon from WWII.

    For additional awareness for well-known symbols used in literature and cartoons, refer students to “Common Political Cartoon Symbols.” Have students work in pairs to quiz each other on definitions dealing with writing political cartoons. Have students list a recent topic of concern, express their opinion about it, and identify one symbol that relates to the topic.

    Part 2

    Say, “Selected assignments from this unit will be used as part of the unit end Performance Assessment. You will keep your assignments in a portfolio, which you will turn in at the end of the unit.” Provide copies of the instructions for building a portfolio (L-L-8_Building a Portfolio.doc). Discuss the instructions and answer any questions. NOTE: If the lessons are taught over an extended period of time, you may wish to collect the portfolios at the end of each lesson.

    Provide magazines, brochures, and newspapers that may be cut apart. Note: Libraries frequently have old magazines that can be used for this purpose.

    Say: “Locate two or three political cartoons for your own collection. For each cartoon, analyze the message and techniques used to present the message. Write an analysis of the techniques used in the cartoon that express the artist’s position. This collection will be part of your unit assessment portfolio.”

    Provide time for finding cartoons and completing the analysis. Guide students who may need additional assistance. Have students add the work to their portfolios.

    Extension:

    • Have students who are ready to go beyond the standard use the Web sites listed under Related Resources to search for political murals or cartoons. Students should use concise language to describe the mural/cartoon; identify symbols; and discuss text, colors/mood, and the artist’s message or position. Some background research may be needed to understand the political/social events that inspired the mural/cartoon.
    • Have students who need additional opportunities for learning first review the literary devices to determine if confusion about the device is interfering with cartoon analysis. Have students examine modern cartoons and analyze them with your assistance through a multiple-choice format. Discuss the rationale for why the wrong answers are incorrect.

Related Instructional Videos

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Instructional videos haven't been assigned to the lesson plan.
DRAFT 06/14/2011
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