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What are editorial cartoons?

This is a lesson about the reasons for editorial cartoons, their parts and how to read and create them. Students will spend one day learning about the parts of an editorial cartoon and labeling and discussing cartoons. The next day students will design their own editorial cartoons.


  • Students will learn how editorial cartoons use symbolism to make a point.
  • Students will identify the parts of an editorial cartoon.
  • Students will create cartoons of their own.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Elements of editorial cartoons

Editorial page

Samples of editorial cartoons

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 15 minutes

Display a sample editorial page on the screen. Ask students where their eyes go first when they look at the page. Chances are, most students will say the editorial cartoon.

Use the slideshow to present characteristics and examples of editorial cartoons.

2. Group work — 15 minutes

Divide students into groups of 3-4. Distribute copies of a different editorial cartoon to each group (they will be included at the end of the presentation, too, so students can refer to them visually). Have each group label the parts of the cartoon, then prepare to explain it to the class.

3. Present — 20 minutes

Assign each group to present its findings and discuss whether they thought their cartoon was effective.

4. Closing

Tell students that next time they will be creating their own editorial cartoons so they have time to think about topics they want to comment on in cartoon form.

Day 2

1. Building background — 15 minutes

Briefly review the parts of the political cartoon. Walk through some guidelines in creating political cartoons.

2. Draw cartoons — 20 minutes

Give students time to draw cartoons. Remind them that for this assignment, they are not being graded on their artwork, but how well they know the parts of the editorial cartoons.

3. Share cartoons — 15 minutes

Have students get into small groups to share their cartoons, then choose the best ones to share with the class. When students are done sharing in the large group, have them turn in their cartoons.