Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How high is your Google Doodle IQ? Tantalizing free ways to engage students, parents and teachers with the daily Google Doodle - Grades 4-12

by Dr. Rose Reissman 

First, a quick “Google Doodle I Q” quiz:
-          In what way did Google Doodle distinguish itself in January 2010 when it honored Isaac Newton?
-          When the game Pac-Man was celebrated, how was its doodle different from the other doodles that had gone before it?
-          Who was Susan La Flesche Picotte and why is her 152nd birthday being commemorated as a Google Doodle?
-          What did Google Doodle give artists Andy Warhol and Leonardo da Vinci?
-          What’s a doodler do for Google?
-          On John Lennon’s 70th birthday, how might someone who wanted to hear “Imagine” have celebrated thanks to Google Doodle?
-          If you wanted to virtually play with a Rubrik’s cube on its 40th anniversary, how could you get in on the fun?
Teachers:  Do you know the answers to the above mini Google Doodle IQ test?  Even more to the point, do you know how to access quickly, and for free identify the correct answers to the questions above?

Yes, you would research the Google Doodle archive. And for many of the doodles there, note hyperlinks for research plus also watch animations or play with interactive games virtually

Fine, that’s fun and maybe, if on a given day you check out the Google Homepage and there is a relevant event or person or cultural artifact or other digital process being celebrated, you can use it as a motivating beginning student research “do now” or as a culminating scavenger hunt activity, or have students focus on the question “how did the Google doodle anticipate what we are studying?” creating a strong connection to your content.

These doodles can be tapped to serve as the focus of student as well as for a variety of activities that engage students in relevant thinking exercises.

For grades 3-5, students can research the links that are included with some Google Doodles, celebrating these and detailing the ways in which the letters of the Google Logo may have been altered to reflect the themes of the holiday that the doodles often celebrate. 

In cases where the current logo does not include a link to an interactive or attached video or game to play students, based on their research, can suggest how following year Google Doodles might include an appropriate music or video component or interactive game or puzzle.  They can actually email these to the Google Doodlers- those engineers, illustrators, artists who design Google Doodles who include Jenny Hom and Dennis Hwang.  These research suggestions can be sent to the Google Doodlers as persuasive arguments which authenticates a required form of writing.  

Many Google holiday Anniversary date doodles recur each year, so after students go through the archives to view samples for say, International Woman’s Day or Martin Luther King Day or Earth Day or US Independence Day, they can be challenged to combine their holiday research and their arts or public domain use of graphic images to develop a Google Doodle inspired image for the coming year’s anniversary or celebration that reflects their take on a new design.  In addition to being submitted to a Google 4 Doodle student competition, students can acknowledge the Google Doodles and use their adaptation of this format on their own school website.

Students in grades 3-5 and those in grades 6 and beyond who are infusing STEM Engineering Design Principles into their studies, can be challenged by an assortment of teacher selected Google subject-related archive samples (say, for Science and invention Google doodles celebrating Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, Albert Einstein, Jules Verne, or H.G. Wells) to develop a digital game or animated flipbook for these historical figures or in case of the science fiction authors,  they can include key characters or even the titles of these works. 

The final  products of such a research and design STEM activity can not only be included in the makerfaire expos at the end of STEM units in either upper elementary or middle school, but also be submitted to the student contest Google4Doodle. 

 What is most rewarding and real to the commercial world of marketing and audience acceptance of a digital or commercial product is that winning submissions for this contest go onto the Doodle 4 Google website where the public vote for the winner. The winning Google Doodle is hosted on the Google website for 24 hours. How pertinent to PARCC standards is having actual student work mirror real world digital and print products for actual audiences.

 Given increasing diversity of global holidays, anniversaries, cultural events and overarching global concerns (such as peace, pollution, and terrorism), many adult and young users of Google may question the relevance or appropriateness of a particular day’s subject.  Of course,  as with any recurring daily posting, these questions or controversies have no unanimous correct answer, but grades 6 and beyond students can weigh in on them and provide arguments with supporting details for why or why they are not relevant and whether Google should remove the Doodle.  Interestingly, on September 13, 2007, Google removed the doodle for Roald Dahl because the anniversary of his birth was also Rosh Hashanah and he had been criticized for being Anti-Israel.  Google was critiqued for not having a Google Doodle on Memorial Day as well.  Students can debated and argue for or against whether these public criticisms were or are valid.  As students study a particular subject or consider figures, events and pop culture artifacts recognized in their native cultures or terms from diverse cultures that have not been featured in Google Doodles, they can develop designs, arguments and bodies of supportive research which can go on their own  school sites and be shared with Google 4Doodle.

Parents and students can share talk and play and research Google Doodle hyperlinks.  Many doodles resonate in terms of adult family experiences in ways that can enhance their role as partners in their childrenseducation.  Parents can offer, and with their children, suggest other doodles for recurring holidays or additional regional or global subjects for Google Doodles.  Parents can draw on these experiences to collaborate with students in arguments and designs for even more culturally integrative doodles.  The artistic design and interactive qualities of Google doodles make them accessible to ESL families and a broad spectrum of learners.

Google Doodles are aptly identified as fun but are also actually rigorous learning opportunities that, like their print counterparts, may seem initially superficial, but actually provide infinite learning, inquiry, and design and engagement opportunities. 
Relevant Links

-          Google Doodles (You Tube)

-          Doodle 4 Google 2017
Nine years in, the U.S. Doodle 4 Google Contest draws thousands of creative submissions from talented young artists across the

-          Doodle 4 Google Winner (and finalists 2016-17 Doodle 4 Google Contest)

-          Google Doodles Archive

-          140th Anniversary of Wimbledon Doodle

-          How to create a digital flipbook (A to Z)

-          Make a Game - Make your own Games Online for Free - Sploder

NOTE: There are many other flipbook and game maker resources available online waiting for you to Google them.

Dr. Rose Reissman is the founder of the Writing Institute, now replicated in 145 schools including the Manchester Charter Middle School in Pittsburgh. She is a featured author in New York State Union Teachers Educators Voice 2016 and was filmed discussing ESL student leadership literary strategies developed at Ditmas IS 62, a Brooklyn public intermediate school.

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