It’s not hard to find lesson plans on political cartoons on the internet. However, many of them seem more about the lesson plan part than the cartoon part. I understand the need for lesson plans, especially for teachers in classrooms. But for me, part of the appeal of homeschooling is to be able to grab a book, video, or cartoon and just start discussing it. I may not know much more about it than my kid but we’ll figure it out together.
So I picked out the following websites that I thought would be use to homeschoolers. Well, except one. I’m not sure how useful Understanding the World of Political Cartoons will be to most homeschoolers but I have to admit, I only skimmed the 60 plus pages.
My general requirements for inclusion that there had to be more cartoon than lesson planny stuff. Some of the sites have no lesson plans, just information about the cartoon. Some are more of the traditional lesson plan format but I felt the pages of objectives and such don’t outnumber the cartoons. This was really based on my impression, it’s not like I counted the pages so don’t hold me to it.
This site is sponsored by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonist and has over 200 one page lessons you can download as PDFs. These include two cartoons, talking points, “between the lines”, and additional resources. The website has a cartoon analysis worksheet for those who are looking for something more structured. It also has links to other resources for political cartoons.
Harpers Weekly has long been known for its political cartoons. This website has various “features” including Abraham Lincoln Cartoons, Cartoonist Nast vs. Candidate Greeley and The Presidential Elections 1860-1912.
What I like about this site is that it’s not wrapped up in lesson plan format. There’s just something about seeing the objectives, standards, and vocabulary lists that makes my eyes glaze over. Some of the cartoons don’t have any accompanying information. Most provide an overview and the context for the cartoons.
This website has current editorial cartoons along with detailed comments by the artist explaining his or her perspective. It can take a long time for cartoons to load on secondary pages.
Understanding the World of Political Cartoons is a sixty page curriculum guide created by the World Affairs Council of Seattle. It contains teaching ideas, web-based activities and resources (some that are listed here) and connections to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This isn’t a set of lesson plans but more along the lines of how you can use political cartoons in your classroom. I’m not sure how much use this will be to homeschoolers.
The Presidency and the Supreme Court from the Franklin Roosevelt Library. Extensive use of political cartoons along with other primary material.
Dr. Seuss Went to War contains political cartoons by Theodor Seuss Geisel created during World War II. You can select cartoons by year, place, issues, or battle. These are cartoons only, no commentary or description is provided. You can get a lesson plan from the National WWII Museum.
Political Cartoons from the War of 1812 by the McHenry National Monument is a downloadable lesson plan in PDF format for grades 4 to 8.
Political Peanuts – Cartoons Inspired by President Carter is a 33 page PDF that is a stand alone unit of The President’s Travels curriculum. It includes a background on political cartoons along with a resource guide for analyzing cartoons from the Library of Congress, PBS Newshour, and other sources.
The United States in Afghanistan: Analyzing Political Cartoons is a collection of six cartoons in PDF format with basic worksheet style questions.
Herblock’s History Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium is an online exhibit by the Library of Congress. Includes short description and context of each cartoon.