Using Google Doodles to revise dates

I read a great post from Svetlana Kandybovich yesterday on using Google games in the classroom. Her comments on Google matched my experience. I used to fight against technology and hated it when students always tapped away on their smart phones in class. After a while I realised that I was trying to stop the ocean waves with a sieve, so I embraced the technology at our disposal and started to make lessons around it.

I experimented with various Google platforms in the classroom, with mixed results. I’ve posted up a few things before about using Google Art Project and Google Trends, these serve a purpose for sure. I’d also recommend using other features on the Google Culture Institute (where you’ll find Art Project), as I imagine they’d be good for CLIL-based lessons.

Anyhow, just to follow up from Svetlana’s post, here’s a lesson based around Google Doodles. It’s designed for elementary/pre-intermediate learners, and from experience the last activity (designing your own Google Doodle) goes down well. Also, a rarity for my lessons, there’s actually a language focus! Ordinal numbers…

By the way, the ‘Google Doodle’ is the Google logo on their web page. They change the doodle now and again for significant dates, and the Doodles website stores all the old logos they’ve created, allowing you to search through them.

Here’s a full plan:   Google Doodles lesson plan                 Keep reading for a summary of activities

Here are the resources: Google Doodles resources

google doodles


Students arrange themselves in order of their age.

Give vocab to help them: ‘when were you born?’, ‘what year?’, ‘I’m older/younger than you’ etc

After activity, do some delayed correction on use of ordinal numbers. Or teach them if you haven’t already done so!

Teacher boards a few significant dates from their own life.

14th November 1970                       23rd December 1998                        etc

Explain to students that these are the answers, what are the questions?

Students guess: ‘When did you get married?’, ‘when was your son born?’ etc

Encourage students to write down their own significant dates, their partners can guess why they are important.

Introduce Google Doodle:

Bring up the Google Doodle website. Talk about what doodles are. Ask students if they remember any particular doodles. Bring up a recent Doodle on the screen, talk about what it represents, etc.

Using Google Doodle:

  • Give students the doodles handout. Have them guess the doodle and the date. They can check their answers using the doodles website.
  • Give students the research questions about famous UK dates. Again, they use ONLY Google Doodle to research the answers.
  • Do the ‘Guess the Doodle’ game mentioned by Svetlana in this post. It fits in perfectly.

Follow up:

Students think of either an important date to them, or an important date to their country. They design their own Google Doodle to represent the date. When they’ve finished the other students can guess what the Doodle represents.

Here’s mine:

Google doodles1

It represents 31st March 2015, when I first heard an owl in our garden 🙂

Categories: Lesson Ideas, other

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