Tag Archive for Synthesis

Weekend Pop Culture: Thanksgiving


It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Regardless of what anyone says, nothing tops Thanksgiving.  Nothing.  In light of the holiday this coming week it seemed appropriate to pull some Thanksgiving related materials for you to use in class.  We’ll even throw in some Black Friday material too.

Thanksgiving Political Cartoons

We posted on image analysis during the month of September.  Treat political cartoons similarly.  The National Archives has a ready to use cartoon analysis form. Here are some general ideas for political cartoons:

  • Give students choice.  It’s hard to guarantee similar knowledge base from all students so offer a range of topics.
  • Have students consider political cartoons in the following categories:
    • Format: Describe the background/foreground and speak to simplicity/complexity.
    • Point of view: Character appearance? Nice/kind or ugly/grotesque?
    • Text: How do labels/speech (balloons/captions) convey ideas?
    • Purpose: Serious message or Entertainment?

Some Thanksgiving Cartoon Resources:

“The GOP run amok” by John Cole

The Thanksgiving Deficit Duel” by Daryl Cagle

“Occupy Plymouth Rock” by Rick McKee

The Cagle Post Thanksgiving 2011 by varied cartoonists


The Week and The Cagle Post are both great resources for political cartoons for any “occasion.”  You may even choose to have students construct a precis paragraph over a cartoon or series of cartoons to synthesize viewing, discussion and writing.

Check back tomorrow for articles, blog posts and infographics!

Radiolab: “Words” the Videos

Every now and again I feel compelled by some kind of video or piece of music.  Compelled and perhaps doomed to listen or watch on repeat.  I then make other people put them on repeat, too.  This is probably some kind of sickness [thanks, Dad] but I’d like to see it as critical thinking, a way to process the information until I feel comfortable.

When you work with video in the classroom, especially short video, sometimes you need to put it on “repeat” for students to understand.  It takes 2 times through sometimes, once for viewing and once for responding, to make meaning out of something that moves so quickly.

Yesterday’s post focused on how to use Radiolab’s episode “Words” for Socratic Seminar discussion.  But we don’t stop with the episode itself.  Oh, no.  It also includes the video entitled “Words” (go figure) by Everynone that was made to compliment it.

Original “Words”

Have students watch the film once just to “blow their minds.” Read more