To identify the ways in which words are used in political cartoons
To examine the w ay visual elements in a cartoon determine the meaning of words and enhance their impact
To explain the concept of stereotyping
To identify stereotypes
Political cartoons converted in transparencies
Two class periods
Use the ideas listed to conduct a class discussion about the role of symbols and words in political cartoons.
-Symbols are the building blocks of political cartoons. Just about anything can be a symbol. To be more precise: A symbol is any drawing, object, or design that stands or represents something else—for another object, a group of people, an attitude, or an abstract idea. Some symbols are famous. The Uncle Sam figure stands for the United States, while the elephant and donkey that represent the major political parties.
-Symbols are used as abbreviations. They make it possible to pack a lot of meaning into a cartoon.
-Words used in a political cartoon are dependent on visual elements for their meanings.
-Political cartoons distort images to make an impact.
-A stereotype in a cartoon is often a way of identifying a person or group. Stereotypes can be insulting and biased. Stereotypes are useful, but sometimes misleading.
For each point, select political cartoons from newspapers, books, or magazines to stress each point above. Convert them into transparencies to facilitate class focus on discussions.
Ask each student to choose an issue involving teenagers and illustrate the issue via a political cartoon. Ask students to explain their cartoons on a one-to-one basis. Teacher selects several and make transparencies out of them for class a lead in to class discussion on day two of lesson.
Show student illustrated cartoons. Allow cla ss to point out different aspects of the cartoon before illustrator explains his/her cartoon.
Ask each student to write on notebook paper examples of stereotypes and where are they used. Debrief in all class discussion.
Explain to students that it is our natural tendency to fear those things we do not understand. When we are confronted with people who are different than we are, whether that difference is body shape, culture, ethnic, religion, skin tone, gender, dress, or language, we rely on our “learned” responses. We use our pre-assumptions to dictate our behavior. Our response often portrays mistrust. To eliminate this reaction, individuals must not stereotype or prejudge those or that which we do not know.
Place a numbered sheet of paper on each students forehead in such a way that they have no idea what number (1-10) is on the sheet. They are to hold the number on their forehead and mingle in the room. Tell the students not to look at their sheet. They are not to sit down. They are to greet each member of the class and treat them according to their sheet. Highest numbers are most important while lowest numbers are not. Each student is to determine from the way they are treated what his/her number is. After five minutes of mingling, ask students to line up according to what they think their number is from highest to lowest. No help is to be given to anyone.
Have everyone look at their numbers and see if they were correct. Use the following questions to debrief the activity:
-Ask the highest people how they felt. Act shocked that they are not treated as high numbers.
-Ask the lowest how they knew they were low. How did it feel?
-Is anyone here lower than any other as human beings?
-What makes us feel lower or superior?
As a concluding activity, ask each student to respond in their portfolio to the phrase “Stereotype—It Is”. Teacher critiques each for grammar and structure.