Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Disect a Toon

Debbie Hartley


This lesson is an engaging way to introduce students to the literary elements of setting, plot, and character development.


The student recognizes complex elements of plot, including setting, character development, conflicts, and resolutions.


1. TV with cable access
2. marker board and markers


Before the students arrive, write a brief definition of setting, plot, and characterization on the board. Leave room on the boardto add information and examples the students come up with for each definition. Also, make sure there is an appropriate cartoon being shown at the time you need it or tape one yourself.


1. Discuss the definitions of setting, plot, and characterization with the class, adding information and examples they submit (see Preparation).

2. Next, instruct the students to take out a piece of notebook paper and fold it into fours.

3. Instruct them to label the four sections as follows: setting, plot, character 1, character 2

4. Explain that they are going to be watching cartoons today, but they are going to have to dissect them. As they watch, they are to write down the setting and the plot of the cartoon, and the characteristics of 2 of the characters.

5. Next, view the cartoon.

6. Allow time during commercials for brief discussion to make sure they are on the right track.

7. After the cartoon concludes, discuss with the class and compile results on the board for comparison.

8. Collect student papers to use as formative assessment (see Assessment).


The papers they complete will serve as a formative assessment.


This lesson leads nicely into doing the same kind of activity with a short literary selection, gradually moving into more complex writings, and eventually into original pieces authored by the students. Students could also become more culturally aware if multicultural writings are used.
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