Skip to main content
5.0 (1 Review)

Analyzing Photographs and Developing the Cartoon: Connecting Concepts and "The Things They Carried"


Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Pinterest
Share On LinkedIn
Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Activity, Article, Handout
Standards Alignment

About This Lesson

This lesson is actually the next phase in scaffolding from my lesson on close reading and annotating the opening of Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher". We ask students to read and annotate and respond to a prompt based on a specific reading all of the time. With this lesson, I'm after pushing the critical thinking and transference of these skills: Can students "read" a photograph, a non-print text? Can they annotate the photograph? Can they decipher a major concept or central theme / idea the photographer meant to capture? Can students take this same concept or theme and develop their own product (a cartoon or visual) without simply reproducing the photograph? Can they transfer an idea to a unique and personal product of their own?

So that's quite a heavy lift for students, but extremely useful and individually creative by lesson's end. The first task is to read a photograph, in this case a photograph from the Vietnam era that is the context for our novel, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. For this, we use the OPTIC method where a small group of students choose a photograph and complete the OPTIC handout. They finalize a theme(s) or concept(s) the photographer meant to communicate. They individually take that concept and craft their own cartoons to present to the class.

*Note: I find it helpful in the midst of this lesson to look at samples of cartoon panels as a class, looking at how professionals produce their visual stories. Using the SCAMS method here helps read cartoons, and guides students in creating their own. 



OPTIC Handout (Modified).docx

Handout, Worksheet
February 13, 2020
17.34 KB

Coming Home.jpg

February 10, 2020
280.09 KB

SCAMS Cartoon.docx

Handout, Worksheet
February 13, 2020
155.77 KB

Social Commentary Cartoon.docx

February 13, 2020
112.35 KB

Killing Joke Panels.jpg

February 10, 2020
159.1 KB

OPTIC Rubric.docx

February 13, 2020
131.22 KB

SCAMS Rubric.docx

February 13, 2020
123.33 KB

Non-Print Student A.pdf

February 13, 2020
617.02 KB


Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
1 Reviews
I like this lesson. I like the visual literacy aspect. The samples are also helpful.
October 25, 2018