It’s usually the worst when they’re sitting in the front row. It’s flagrant, disrespectful, and as I was digging through some of my notebooks from high school I noticed the sheer number of times I had doodled in the margins of my notes, my AP literature notes.
As much as I hate to say this, doodling has and always will exist in the classroom. Much as Vi Hart wants to turn doodling into the Fibonacci number and math equations, I’d like to do the same for English. Except this time I’d like Google to do the doodling.
Google Doodles are tiny little texts that we often forget about on our “way” to somewhere else. In actuality, they are perfect for teaching students about point of view, audience and argument. Have students start with the “About” page for Google Doodles.
After they read, consider having them use the questions below for written response or class discussion.
- What is the significance of calling them “doodles” and not sketches?
- Why would people be interested in such a tiny text? What is the impact?
- What “aesthetics” are important to create a good doodle?
- What argument does Google make by turning someone or something into a doodle?
Then have students search the Google Doodle archives or choose from the doodles below. They can search by year and country. You may want to direct them to only write on doodles that have accompanying text that describes the creation process. It helps to give background/perspective that will help them look for greater importance as they write.
As they explore give them a number of doodles to write over. Consider using the questions below as a starting point. I’ve also included some of my favorite doodles overall and for the English classroom. All of these Doodles include an overview on the process, storyboarding and sometimes even video. Enjoy!
Possible Questions for Doodle Exploration
- What do the drafts of the doodle explain about the specific “process” of this doodle? Be specific.
- What argument does the creator make about their work?
- Which elements of the doodle are the most striking? Explain.
- What impact does this doodle have on the event or person? Be specific.
- What is most striking about the doodle?
Doodles for the English classroom
- Jules Verne 183rd Birthday Doodle
- Mark Twain’s 176th Birthday Doodle
- Richard Scarry’s 92nd Birthday Doodle
- Jorge Luis Borges 112th Birthday Doodle
- 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Inauguration
Favorite Doodles Overall
- Halloween 2011 Doodle
- Les Paul’s 96th Birthday Doodle
- Thanksgiving 2011 Doodle
- Google’s 13th Birthday Doodle
- Jim Henson’s 75th Anniversary
Extension: Consider having students create their own doodle for a unit of study or an author’s birthday. My suggestion? Edgar Allan Poe or Ernest Hemingway, of course.