Editorial Cartoons

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Language Arts, Writing, Writing Process, Art, Techniques

Grade 5- 8


The students will use editorial cartoons to give messages or share with an audience particular points of view on an issue.


  1. Select an editorial cartoon from a newspaper or magazine. Tell the students that editorial cartoons usually focus on political or societal issues and are usually only one frame in length. Instruct the students to read the cartoon carefully.
  2. Discuss with the students the cartoonist's topic, audience, and purpose. Ask students, "What does the cartoonist want the reader to do or think after reading this cartoon?"
  3. Divide students into pairs. Have them generate a list of questions they have about the cartoon. After 5-10 minutes, write some of the students' questions on the board. Discuss the students' questions. Make sure to clarify the humor, sarcasm, or irony in the cartoon. Make sure that students understand the political or societal issue that is the topic of the cartoon. Discuss the caption beneath the cartoon.
  4. Ask the students, "When is an editorial cartoon a good method for giving a message to the audience?" and "When is an essay a better method?" Possible response: An editorial cartoon is a good method for poking fun at a highly sensitive issue.
  5. Find more examples of editorial cartoons and continue to discuss humor, sarcasm, and irony. Make a chart with each of these words as a heading and record examples from cartoons in each of the categories.
Portfolio Piece: Instruct students to select a topic. Have them create an essay and a cartoon about the topic. Finally, have them write a reflection about how different forms are appropriate for different purposes.
Publishing: Create a bulletin board to display students' cartoons.
Technology Connection: Have students scan their editorial cartoons and post them on the school's Web site.
Home-School Connection: Instruct students to look through newspapers at home and find examples of editorial cartoons that use humor, sarcasm, or irony.
Assessment: Use the "Rubric for an Editorial Cartoon" on page 88 to evaluate the students' editorial cartoons.


  • Creating a Cartoon activity sheet
  • Rubric for an Editorial Cartoon
  • pencils
  • drawing materials

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