Lesson Plans

Illustrating Our Community: Analyzing and Crafting Illustrated News Stories

Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Veronica Garcia, Gabriela Lopez, Gloria Romero, Tracy Gallardo and Roberto Hernandez. Illustration by Molly Oleson. Undated.

This unit was created by Ena Dallas, an Art and Theater teacher at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, CA, as part of the fall 2020 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Arts, Journalism, and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five 50–60-minute class periods, with the expectation that students will complete homework outside of class.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


Students will be able to...

  • Analyze how illustrations contribute to the meaning of news stories, and create their own illustrations to communicate important moments in news stories.
  • Collaborate to create meaningful news coverage focused on social justice issues.
  • Integrate journalism, visual arts, and academic content into an integrated media arts product that retains thematic integrity and stylistic continuity.

Unit Overview:

In this unit, students will learn about the importance of “underreported” news stories, how illustrations can enhance journalistic coverage, and how they can use journalism and art skills to amplify underreported social justice issues in their school and community. Students will explore and create art and journalism through the following sequence:

  1. Students analyze the style and content of illustrated news stories about life in San Francisco's Mission District during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Students use illustration to interpret and share important moments from news stories about justice issues that matter to them.
  3. Students research, write, illustrate, and edit stories about underreported issues in their communities.

Resources for Facilitating this Unit:

Click here for a PDF outlining lesson plans for this unit, including warm-ups, resources, discussion questions, and activities.

Performance Task:

Students will identify and underreported story about a social justice issue in their community, and will work in teams to research, write, illustrate, and edit their story. For schools with an active student newspaper, students should work with the newspaper to publish their illustrated stories. For schools without an active student newspaper, students are encouraged to publish their stories by creating a digital zine, posting them on the school’s website, or finding another way to share them with their school, community, and the world. Teachers can email education@pulitzercenter.org to arrange for publication of their students' stories on the Pulitzer Center website.

Educator Notes: 

National Core Arts Standards:

Media Arts/Responding #MA:Re8.1
Process Component: Interpret

Anchor Standard: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: Interpretation and appreciation require consideration of the intent, form, and context of the media and artwork.

Media Arts/Creating #MA:Cr3.1
Process Component: Construct

Anchor Standard: Refine and complete artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: The forming, integration, and refinement of aesthetic components, principles, and processes creates purpose, meaning, and artistic quality in media artworks.

Media Arts/Producing #MA:Pr6.1
Process Component: Present

Anchor Standard: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Enduring Understanding: Media artists purposefully present, share, and distribute media artworks for various contexts.

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