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Lesson Plan

Comic Makeovers: Examining Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Media

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Comic Makeovers: Examining Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Media

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






Daily copies of newspaper comics for a two-week period, or access to comics online (see Websites section for examples)

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Comic Creator

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Writing & Publishing Prose

Comic Creator

The Comic Creator invites students to compose their own comic strips for a variety of contexts (prewriting, pre- and postreading activities, response to literature, and so on).


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  • If you have not discussed the use of gender-fair language with your students, it's useful to do so before they begin analyzing the cartoons and comic strips so that they are tuned in to the ways that language use can communicate bias and stereotypes. The Purdue OWL's handout on Non-Sexist Language is a good place to start. The ReadWriteThink lesson Avoiding Sexist Language by Using Gender-Fair Pronouns is another useful resource.

  • Preview available comics and choose a selection that is appropriate for your classroom. When you explain the comic makeover project to your class, you will need to explain how students will access the comics—will they go to online comics sites? will you provide them printouts? will they check the daily newspaper?

  • (Optional) If you're using online comics, you may want to print the comics that your students are examining so that you can cut away and discard bordering material on the pages (such as advertisements, some of which may be inappropriate for your class). Prior to the first class meeting, you may want to have students brainstorm a list of comics that they are interested in so that you can print selections that they will enjoy working with for this project.

  • Make copies of the Comic Strip Planning Sheet, Comic Makeover Project assignment, and, if desired, the Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.

  • Test the Comic Creator student interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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