can be an effective way to engage students with a controversial issue
such as the Colorado Pledge law. Rocky Mountain News cartoonist Ed
Stein has addressed the Pledge issue recently in his comic
strip, "Denver Square." Mr. Stein has been the editorial cartoonist
for the Rocky Mountain News since 1978 and has granted CELD permission
to reprint several of his Denver Square Cartoons for this webpage.
students work in pairs or triads to analyze the cartoons, focusing particularly
on the perspectives of the four family members depicted in the cartoons:
What are the perspectives of the grandfather, mother, father, and son?
Ask students to summarize each person’s view on the issue in a
phrase or sentence. Discuss with students how a daily comic strips whose
characters’ attitudes and views are well-known to its readers
provides the artist with an opportunity to convey ideas on both sides
of an issue with relatively few words.
ask students to select one of the cartoons and create a fifth frame,
in which a new character enters the picture. The frames students create
should represent the perspective of the new character (and inject new
humor, if possible). Characters who might enter the frame could include:
• A school superintendent
• A social studies teacher
• A state legislator who sponsored the bill
• A state legislator who voted against the bill
The students themselves
each cartoon in a location around the room and have students display
their frames with the appropriate cartoon. Allow time for students to
examine each others’ work. Which do students think do an especially
good job of conveying the new character’s perspective? Which are
Square Cartoons by Ed Stein. Used with permission.