Beacon Lesson Plan Library


Millard Nixon


In this lesson students write an essay about the govermental issues that surrounded Andrew Jackson's presidency. They discuss how editorial cartoons are made and create an editorial cartoon of their own about a president.


The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.

The student understands the impact of significant people and ideas on the development of values and traditions in the United States prior to 1880


Materials needed:
- Internet access, 5 computers (excluding the teacher's)
- Scanner
- TV monitor (minimum 27-)
- T.V. converter box that connects TV monitor with computer
- Floppy disk containing a graphic presentation giving various examples of how cartoonists use symbols to relay messages to their viewers (available at the site listed in Weblinks)
- Textbook: AMERICA'S PAST AND PROMISE, (Houghton Mifflin: Evanson, Illinois, 1998) Pg. 376
- Blank floppies (15)


1. Make sure monitor, personal computer, converter box and 5 student computers are in good working order.

2. Copy and review the graphic presentation from the associated files in this lesson.

3. Preview and select cartoons from Internet for content (appropriateness) and availability.

4. Instruct students several days prior to assignment to bring textbook, AMERICA'S PAST AND PROMISE on designated day.

5. Obtain blank floppies for students at computer use areas


Gain attention by allowing students to
1. a. View the visual presentation located in the associated files that demonstrates the symbolic tools used by cartoonists to send messages to the viewer.
b. Determine the meaning of the social issues portrayed in the five cartoons provided in the demonstration. (The teacher may select the appropriate cartoons from the cache at

Set the objectives:
2. Students read Chpt. 16, Sect. 3 and write a one paragraph (minimum) description of the controversial manner in which Andrew Jackson ran the office of the President of the United States.

3. Students note the symbolic tools that the artist used on pg. 376 to point out some of the controversial methods for governing used by Jackson during his presidency.

Students practice:
4. Students determine the meaning of the social issues portrayed in at least five cartoons selected by the teacher from the cache at

5. a. Students create a hard copy of their own editorial cartoon reflecting an issue surrounding a modern President of the United States. (Themes must be appropriate.)
b. A minimum of three symbolic techniques must be used. Inform students that once their idea is sketched and gains teacher approval, they may employ someone else to actually draw the cartoon. (This enables those students with limited artistic ability to be successful in effectively completing the project.)
c. Scan cartoons on the floppy disk provided using appropriate software.
d. Students present their cartoons to the class.


1. Rubric grading of cartoon:
Teacher can assign up to
50 points - Completion of the cartoon
30 points - Uses a minimum of 3 symbolic images to portray meaning
20 points - Cartoon shows either -cause- or -effect.-

2.Rubric grading of essay:
Teacher can assign up to
65 points - Essay exhibits at least two of the controversies surrounding the Presidency of Andrew Jackson
20 points - Student demonstrates the use of an introductory sentence for his/her written paragraph
15 points - Grammar, punctuation, and spelling


Have students discuss an editorial cartoon from the local newspaper concerning a proposed or actual action of the President of the United States.

Web Links

Web supplement for Toontime
Professional Cartoonists Index

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