Interpreting a political cartoon of Stalin

This lesson revolves around a cartoon annotation and inference activity leading to a detailed and authoritative caption. It concludes the unit of work on Stalin’s purges and is used as a form of diagnostic assessment. As all the words are in German is it unlikely that students will be able to read them so they will have try really hard with their inference skills.

Learning objectives

  • students develop inferential skills by wrestling with a German cartoon where the clues are all visual
  • they have to contextualise the cartoon in terms of what was known to be happening in Russia at the time
  • more able students reflect on what can be inferred about German attitudes to Russia at the time. i.e. 1937

Starter

Students are shown the cartoon they are going to interpret. To start with they have to wrestle with the image and look for as many internal clues as they can. It will be worth giving them one copy of slide 2 between each pair. They don’t need to write on this, simply point things out to each other. All students should be able to find some visual image even if they can’t interpret it in any depth.

Step

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