Grade: 8 Content Area/Class Title


Body of the Lesson (_70_minutes- spans 2 class periods)



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Body of the Lesson (_70_minutes- spans 2 class periods):


  • Teacher begins giving a brief overview of the Monroe Doctrine by stating that the doctrine was our first attempt at being a “world police.” The doctrine essentially told European monarchies to “stay out of our yard, and we will stay out of yours.”

  • Teacher briefly elaborates on skeleton PowerPoint to provide a global and local context for the Monroe Doctrine (Spain was trying to reclaim its Latin American colonies, and America was in the “Era of Good Feelings.”) Students do not have to take notes- they will be reading this information again in order to create their political cartoon.

  • Teacher stops and emphasizes the Western and Eastern hemispheres. “Our Yard” meant the Western Hemisphere, which is North and South America (point to map for visual).

  • Teacher briefly covers the international reactions to the Monroe Doctrine, to give students an idea of the opinions that existed at the time and have been passed down through history by different nations.

  • Teacher passes out political cartoon instruction sheet and reviews it with students. Teacher shows model of political cartoons on the board, and emphasizes that political cartoons exaggerate events and people in ways that show the artist’s point of view. Volunteers from the class will take turns reading the instructions.

  • Teacher takes questions from class, and then counts off students 1-7, and gives students one minute to meet with their groups in different sections of the room. Each group is given 4-5 copies of the secondary source to analyze.

  • Student groups spend 5 minutes reading the source together, and determining what the main idea is, how the source shows bias for or against the doctrine, and how different countries are portrayed (America, European nations, Latin American nations). Teacher walks around to clarify misconceptions, make creative suggestions for drawing, and to help focus attention to key sentences. Once students can show the teacher that they understand the author’s perspective and opinion of the Monroe Doctrine, they may send one group member up to grab a poster and colored pencils.

  • Student groups spend the rest of class drawing their political cartoon. The cartoon needs to be completed by the end of class period. Teacher continues to walk around and provide support.

  • With 2 minutes left, Students put names on their poster, keep the reading and instructions, and turn in poster and markers to the front of class. Students put their desks back in order.

*DAY 2*


  • Students walk into class, and immediately sit in their groups. Teacher runs brief refresher on the Monroe Doctrine’s context, and shows students examples of political cartoons to reinforce the use of exaggeration and symbols. Students retrieve their cartoon from the front of class, and spend the first 10 minutes of class finishing their cartoon.

  • After students finish their cartoon, they will tape their poster to one of 7 pre-designated locations around the class. Each student will take one copy of the “Analyzing Art” worksheet from the front of the class after taping up their worksheet. Teacher will model how to fill out the worksheet; students must start by analyzing their own cartoon, and then analyze one other cartoon. Students should be walking around the class and having a discussion with their classmates to analyze each political cartoon to look for perspective. Teacher should walk around and listen to discussions and check the worksheets to clarify any misconceptions.


Closure (__10__minutes): Describe how you will lead the students to summarize the lesson and restate the learning objective.

  • After students have looked at all 7 political cartoons, they will pick a statement (provided by teacher on last slide of PowerPoint) about the Monroe Doctrine, and create a formal argument for or against the statement, using the political cartoons and analyses as evidence to back up their claim. Students will need to write their own responses, but can talk about the assignment with a partner. Teacher should walk around to check for understanding, and provide scaffolding in the form of sentence starters if necessary.

  • *Time permitting*- the teacher pulls students back from final question for a class discussion. Some questions will include: who were portrayed as “good guys” or “bad guys?” How does perspective influence how a historical event is told? Do you feel like you have a better understanding of the Monroe Doctrine now that you have viewed it from multiple points of view? Teacher should elicit and build on student responses by pointing back to the text, making connections between the political cartoons that the class drew, and making explicit the role of perspective in political cartoons. What do these perspectives on the Monroe Doctrine tell us about the “Era of Good Feelings”?



Incorporating Academic Language





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