Doodle or Google

This week, I started reading a new book, Innovate Inside The Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL and The Innovator’s Mindset, which combines the works of George Couros and Katie Novak. In the book, Couros describes the 8 characteristics of The Innovator’s Mindset: empathetic, problem finders-solvers, risk-takers, networked, observant, creators, resilient, reflection. Then, Novak gives Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies to help teachers bring those characteristics into their classroom and lessons.

While the book is full of strategies to help us create meaningful, relevant and authentic learning opportunities, a few of the strategies have really made me stop and think. This morning, I was reading the chapter “Networked” and Novak shared the strategy, “Google or Doodle.” As Novak explains this idea, she describes the steps:

“When teaching, set a timer for three minutes and encourage students to ‘Doodle or Google.’ Essentially, this allows them time to brainwrite, write questions, look up information if they need background knowledge, or take visual notes.”

Innovate Inside the Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL and the Innovator’s Mindset

As I read about this strategy,  I automatically flashed back to all the times when I had my students Think-Pair-Share and how there were always one or two students who were not quite ready to share. I could see what looked like thinking going on, I knew they were strategically paired with a partner or group who would create a productive conversation, yet when the time came to actually talk, the activity would sometimes fall apart. How much more prepared would these students have been to explain their learning if I had provided them with the option to “Doodle or Google” before they were expected to share their thoughts with a partner? I am not saying that this strategy should be done all day and in every lesson; instead, it is a strategic way to help students internalize their learning and help them be more prepared to share out their thoughts, especially when they have access to resources beyond the walls of the classroom that can help them better understand the topic being discussed.

I again think of this strategy when there are times when students simply need a break from hearing a lecture, I know I have felt this at times during lengthy PDs or conferences. Doodle or Google would be a great way to keep everyone connected to the learning while giving them time to either create something that synthesizes their learning or time to get information about the topic from a different perspective by googling and doing on the spot research!

The idea of giving students the opportunity to prepare themselves and learn while respecting their voice and choice is all embodied in this one strategy. Learners have the chance to access materials not explicitly being prescribed by the teacher, they have the choice of either researching further using Google or of creating a doodle that explains what they understand and they are able to share, or voice, their product or learning with each other. I love strategies like this one that help our learners expand their knowledge beyond what our classroom or school environment can provide!

Further Your Learning:


Website: Because I Said I Would

As I have connected with staff members, especially the staff members who are holding tryouts for theater and sports, a common thought was: “How will I get everyone to follow through on their commitment?” I was reminded about something that was shared at the end of last year…a website that made a brief appearance in one of our weekly update emails but I have yet to follow up on with our teachers. This website is called Because I Said I Would and it works to help “bridge the gap between intention and action.”

The premise is simple – this is a social movement meant to better our relationships and communities.  The quote below summarizes exactly what the Because I Said I Would movement is meant to do:

With a focus on core values like honesty, accountability and compassion, our aim is to help build stronger citizens through sharing stories of promises made and kept. We wrap the themes around students in schools by sending letters home with parents and providing resources like promise walls, coaches kits, and promise planners.

Because I Said I Would:

On the website, you will also see examples of different promise stories, some of which you may even choose to share with your students, character education lesson plans and a link to start your own chapter. Some of the stories that were shared made me tear up, other stories simply made me feel inspired to make a promise and be sure that I follow through on it. I have screen captured two of the promises that made me realize how effective and effortless this activity can be…

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 6.54.59 PM
The image above reminded me of a promise that I made just a few hours before writing to have lunch with someone and because I said I would, I will! 
Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 7.07.30 PM.png
This image made me pause because there is a 7-year-old out there just excited to share her promises with the world

I wonder how starting this conversation in a trust circle would impact our school community. I am not saying that a majority of us do not already do what we say we will, I am saying that it is nice to be reminded of the power that our word and our commitment has on our community and our relationships. I am looking forward to keeping my promise cards in mind and asking myself…How I help others be more impeccable with their words and how will I help “bridge the gap between intention and action?”

Communication Styles

Among the challenges in education is recognizing the individual needs of each learner. One of the most basic needs that we should understand, especially when we are using technology so much throughout the day, is how each individual most effectively communicates. Recognizing and respecting this can be crucial when we are working with our teams as well. I make a point of not only recognizing but also respecting this because  the primary task is to understand what method is the best form of communication and then the secondary task is to follow through and respect the needs of your audience.

When we are thinking about the different styles of communication, we can categorize them in many different ways. Based on what I have seen from our students and our staff, the most relevant categorizations for styles of communication are:

  • Verbal: face to face interactions where listening is required and body language reflects emotion
  • Digital: any communication done with technology, provides time to reflect on information and articulate a response
  • Written: can be a combination of digital and face to face

So, with a classroom full of students and school full of educators, how do we work to respect everyone’s preferred style of communication and why is this important?

Why to Respect Communication Style

Communication Styles

I love this image because it shows all of the various forms of communication in one room. We see students on computers and devices – this is what I notice first probably because that is something I am passionate about. However, there is more going on. Each student is demonstrating their preferred style of communication in this image. We have one kid who is on his phone, others who are working on MacBook devices, and one kid who is so disinterested in his device that he has turned it upside and is probably looking around the room for someone to talk to face to face. It is the subtle recognition of communication styles that can help to build the foundation of a positive classroom community. When we communicate in effective ways, our needs and objectives are heard and more likely to be met.

How to Respect Communication Styles

With most things, people are empowered when their voice and choice is heard and respected. The same can go for communication styles. The first need is to recognize how the audience will most effectively communicate with you. From there, it is simply giving the opportunity to respond in ways that are conducive to their voice and choice. We can do this by removing limitations on the way that learners can respond to questions and on how they can complete their work.


Allow these communicators to record a conversation they are having with other verbal students. They can still be held accountable by turning in the audio recording, but their conversations are purposeful because they are meeting the objective of the task while their voice and choice are both being respected.

If you are giving instructions, these are the learners who need to be able to hear your every word. If there are disruptions, that could hinder their overall understanding.



Allow these learners to meet your objective by giving them the option to create a product that demonstrates their learning. This could be a keynote presentation, an infographic, an email, even a social media post.

These are the communicators who are most likely to be on their devices constantly – walking and texting or sending messages to their peers via social media. By respecting their passionate use of technology, we can support them as they learn how to develop these skills and become respectful digital communicators.

IMG_0040 6


Those who prefer their communication to be done in the written form are more likely to be reflective people. This means that they typically like to read something and think about it. The written communication allows them to think at their own pace. They may even feel rushed when needing to respond to someone face to face. Allow these learners to meet your objective by encouraging them to be the recorder in your literature circles, help out someone who is absent by taking notes for them, and give them opportunities and time to write down their thoughts and reflections.

The written communicators can also be digital communicators in the sense that they may prefer to use their device to complete their notes or write to others. You can respect their voice and choice during your lessons by allowing them time to make notes and by giving them time to reflect throughout the lesson.

IMG_0360 2

Voice and choice are concepts that we should be consistently thinking about as we plan and teach lessons. When we think about it in terms of communication, we start to recognize that we can guide our students to communicate in ways that are most effective for them. This may even help with classroom conflict because the harm often occurs when one person does not feel listened to or respected. Therefore, by encouraging our classroom community to recognize and respect how others prefer to communicate, we can set them up for success.

This is also relevant within our grade level teams. For example, I know that I always need an email follow-up because I am a blend of digital and written communication. I am more likely to do a task well if I have the opportunity to go back and reread what the expectations are in an email or on a OneNote. When we recognize and respect these needs within our own teams, we are more likely to be productive and effective.

I encourage you all to think about how you prefer to communicate and to discuss with your teams and students to see how their communication styles  differ. We may find other communication styles too!

VAPA Week 14 Announcements

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through ●



  • Shout out to the 5th grade team for keeping all staff and every student in mind by ensuring that students pick up after themselves after snack break. They always leave their area clean so that others don’t have to pick up after them, thank you!!
  • Thank you to Ms. Willis, Ms. Quesada, Mr. Cristian and Ms. Carrasco for having a growth mindset and encouraging everyone to have a growth mindset by providing everyone with a very informative Professional Development opportunity on Thursday. We are glad to see the lines of communication opening up between SPED and Gen Ed! If you have further questions please follow up with the teachers or Delia!
  • Shout out to all the grade levels and departments that dressed up for Halloween!! Your commitment and follow through was evident and the students and parents loved seeing everyone dressed up! Thank you for participating 🙂
  • Shout out to the Middle School football team and their coaches (Coach Chris, Coach Johnson, & Coach Brad) for committing and following through as they played their hearts out in the championship game against Rancho del Rey Middle School. We are so proud of them and thank them for representing our school so well!
  • Shout out to Mrs. Rivaldi and Mrs. Walker for presenting at a STEAM Conference on Saturday!
  • Strengths Focus –This week we are highlighting two strengths
  • Shout-out to all Falcons that have COMMUNICATION & COMPETITION as one of their top 5 strengths!
  • COMMUNICATION – easy to talk to, presence, energizing & entertaining, charismatic, storyteller: Shea Macleod, Mark Fraser, Anthony Quintanar, Lisa Clookie, Kate Greer, Lori Martinez, Paula Blanco, Joe Guglielmo, Carolina DeLaRocha, Karla Salas, Sarah Motsinger
  • COMPETITION – keeps going, driven, motivated, pushes self: Chelsea Stewart, Natalie Hildt, Melissa Tellez, LeSean Johnson


  • Donors Choose/Feaster Blog: Mrs. Walker is available to help anyone who is interested in funding a project for your classroom find the resources or set up a Donors Choose. Those interested in funding flexible seating, rugs, couches, bean bag chairs, etc. can email her and she will follow up with you to set up an account!
  • Please remember to follow @FeasterCharter on Twitter and our blog at
  • 6th Grade Dance: Sixth grade is hosting Fall Dance on Thursday, November 9,  fundraise for camp. Students in 4th to 8th are all invited! Tickets are sold in room 701 before or after school for $2, or may be purchased at the door for $3. Please send home flyers on Monday. Students need their parent signatures to be able to purchase tickets. Please ask any sixth-grade teacher if you have any questions.
  • School Polo Shirts: If you would like to purchase a Feaster Polo Shirt please email the form to Marcela. Polo Shirts are $20 (2XL add $1.50, 3XL add $2.50)
  • Longevity Awards: Congratulations to the following staff who will be recognized for their service at an awards ceremony on Tuesday evening:

Karla Cortez (10 Years)

Roel Mislan (10 Years)

Carmen Santillian Ramirez (10 Years)

Natalie Scott (10 Years)

Melissa Tellez (10 Years)

Cecilia Aguirre (15 Years)

Josh Thorburn (15 Years)

Francisco Velasco (15 Years)

Cecilia Garcia (15 Years)

Week at a Glance

2nd Grade After-School Duty

Q2 Character Strengths: Curiosity & Self-Control (School Work)






1st Grade Mindlabs (Afternoon)

  • 7th Grade to Qualcomm
  • 3:00 Lead Meeting
  • Longevity Awards 5:00pm Muraoka
  • PD: Work on SST/IEP Documentation
  • 6th Grade Dance 1:30
  • 3rd Grade Mindlabs (afternoon)

* Happy Veterans Day NO SHCOOL

Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • Feaster presents to Chula Vista School Board 6:00pm (District Office)