Tag Archives: Sunni Brown

Thinking from different angles. Facing challenges. (TBT Remix)

Thinking from different angles. Facing challenges. Making thinking more visible.

The modern world demands that we all think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally; that we think from a different angle, with a different set of muscles, with a different set of expectations; that we think with neither fear nor favor, with neither blind optimism nor sour skepticism. (Levitt and Dubner)

This means that facing challenges, both problems and opportunities, is vital to personal success. This is the arena in which we can grow, excel, create, and expand. Without these challenges, we wither. Because of this importance, it is equally vital that we examine the way in which we meet the challenges by questioning our path from the outset. (Lichtman)

So, if we really believe that good communication is core to intelligent strategy, to seamless teamwork, to the pursuit of excellence, we must take seriously the limitation of being literally blinded to larger realities. We don’t know what we don’t know until we ask others to add their perspectives and until we start drawing it out for everyone to see. (Brown)

The costs of changing nothing are stagnation and resignation to the status quo. But the benefits of changing your reality— and sharing that positive reality with others— are the kinds of successes, discoveries, and breakthroughs that can transform not only your own life but the world. (Achor)

What if we examine the way we meet challenges, think from different angles,  share perspectives, and share successes? How might we change our part of the world?


Thinking from different angles. Facing challenges. was originally published on December 22, 2014.


Achor, Shawn (2013-09-10). Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change (p. 232). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner, Stephen J. (2014-05-12). Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain (p. 8). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Lichtman, Grant (2010-05-25). The Falconer (Kindle Locations 1330-1332). iUniverse. Kindle Edition.

Silos Suck: How to Doodle Everyone Onto the Same Page.” Sunni Brown. Sunni Brown, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 22 Dec. 2014.

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word

Reading nonfiction. Close reading of nonfiction.

How do we annotate the text, look for patterns, and ask questions to engage deeply when reading?

Tracking content using imagery, color, word pictures and typography can change the way you understand information and also dramatically increase your level of knowledge and retention. (Brown, n. pag.)

How do we engage with and make meaning and connections from text? How might we notice and note the big ideas from a text to capture what speaks to us?

How do we show and share what we are thinking? What if we use the Sentence-Phrase-Word visible thinking routine as we read this summer?

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…the power and promise of this routine lies in the discussion of why a particular word, a single phrase, and a sentence stood out for each individual in the group as the catalyst for rich discussion. It is in these discussions that learners must justify their choices and explain what it was that spoke to them in each of their choices. (Ritchhart, 207 pag.)

What might we learn when we discuss what speaks to us?


Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014. Print.

Brown, Sunni. “VISUAL NOTE-TAKING 101 / PERSONAL INFODOODLING™.” Visual Thinking/Literacy/Gaming/Facilitation for a Smarter World. Sunni Brown, n.d. Web. 12 May 2015.

How to Do a Close Reading.” Harvard College Writing Center. Harvard Writing Project, n.d. Web. 12 May 2015.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

Doodling: concentrating, sifting, generating, focusing

I have been experimenting with doodling, a.k.a. sketch noting, seriously since August, 2015.  You can see my growth, setbacks, and learning on my Pinterest page MyLearning Journey for #ShowYourWork Doodles and Sketch notes.

A doodler is connecting neurological pathways with previously disconnected pathways. A doodler is concentrating intently, sifting though information, conscious, and otherwise, and – much more often than we realize – generating massive insights. (Brown, 11 pag.)

How might we practice, experience, and engage in a different way of connecting with information? What if we exercise our own creativity to create visuals of what we are learning?

TKanold-MathatPLC-Pasadena_JGough[1]

Sketch notes from Tim Kanold's April 29 session in Pasadena, CA.  See Seven Stages of Team Collaboration worksheet for support of 7 stages doodle.

Rather than diverting our attention away from a topic (what our culture believe is happening when people doodle), doodling can serve as an anchoring task – a task that can occur simultaneously with another task – and act as a preemptive measure to keep us from losing focus on [a] topic. (Brown, 18 pag.)

It seems counterintuitive, but I can attest to my own improvement in focus, attention, and engagement.

People using even rudimentary visual langue to understand or express something are stirring the neurological pathways of the mind to see a topic in a new light. (Brown, 71 pag.)

Yes, it takes practice.  Yes, it is difficult at first.

Isn’t that true of most learning?

Experiment. Learn by doing.

Be brave; #ShowYourWork.

And… have fun!


Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: PORTFOLIO/Penguin, 2014. Print.

Gough, Jill. “MyLearning Journey for #ShowYourWork Doodles and Sketch Notes.” Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Summer Reading 2015 – Choices and VTR

How do we learn and grow when we are apart? We workshop, plan, play, rest, and read to name just a few of our actions and strategies.

We make a commitment to read and learn every summer.  Below is the Summer Reading flyer announcing the choices for this summer.

 We will use the Visible Thinking Routine Sentence-Phrase-Word to notice and note important, thought-provoking ideas. This routine aims to illuminate what the reader finds important and worthwhile.

Sentence-Phrase-Word helps learners to engage with and make meaning from text with a particular focus on capturing the essence of the text or “what speaks to you.” It fosters enhanced discussion while drawing attention to the power of language. (Ritchhart, 207 pag.)

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However, the power and promise of this routine lies in the discussion of why a particular word, a single phrase, and a sentence stood out for each individual in the group as the catalyst for rich discussion . It is in these discussions that learners must justify their choices and explain what it was that spoke to them in each of their choices. (Ritchhart, 208 pag.)

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We have the opportunity to model how to incorporate reading strategies into all classrooms.  Think about teaching young learners to read a section of their book and jot down a sentence, phrase, and word that has meaning to them.  Great formative assessment as the lesson begins!

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When we share what resonates with us, we offer others our perspective.  What if we engage in conversation to learn and share from multiple points of view?

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Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Boushey, Gail, and Joan Moser. The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2014. Print.

Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014. Print.

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Ritchhart, Ron; Church, Mark; Morrison, Karin (2011-03-25). Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. Wiley. Kindle Edition.

#TEDTalkTuesday: Making ideas clear by visualizing them

Tom Wujec: 3 ways the brain creates meaning

We make meaning by seeing, by an act of visual interrogation. The lessons for us are three-fold. First, use images to clarify what we’re trying to communicate. Secondly make those images interactive so that we engage much more fully. And the third is to augment memory by creating a visual persistence. These are techniques that can be used to be — that can be applied in a wide range of problem solving.

So the act of collectively and collaboratively building the image transforms the collaboration.

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

There are four ways that learners intake information so that they can make decisions. They are visual, auditory, reading and writing and kinesthetic. Now in order for us to really chew on information and do something with it, we have to engage at least two of those modalities, or we have to engage one of those modalities coupled with an emotional experience. The incredible contribution of the doodle is that it engages all four learning modalities simultaneously with the possibility of an emotional experience. 

Steve Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Connect disconnected pathways with multiple representations

A doodler is connecting neurological pathways with perviously disconnected pathways.  A doodler is concentrating intently, sifting through information, conscious and otherwise, and – much more often than we realize – generating massive insights.  (Brown, 11 pag.)

How might we test this? What if we engage with our curriculum to experience connecting disconnected pathways, to generate insights, to make thinking visible?

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It is the relationship between the teacher, the student, and the content – not the qualities of any one of them by themselves – that determines the nature of instructional practice, and each corner of the instructional core has its own particular role and resources to bring to the instructional process. (City and Elmore, 22 pag.)

What if we make a small shift in our role and resources to bring multiple representations to our practice?

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.11.21 PM …, it is the change in the knowledge and skill that the teachers bring to the practice, the type of content to which students gain access, and the role that students play in their own learning that determine what students will know and be able to do. (City and Elmore, 24 pag.)

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These learners need doodling in order to focus more acutely on what’s being said, and they demonstrate better recall when they’re allowed to doodle than when they’re not.  (Brown, 21 pag.)

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Just make a mark and see where it takes you. (Reynolds, n. pag.)


Brown, Sunni. The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014. Print.

City, Elizabeth A. Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2009. Print.

Reynolds, Peter. The Dot. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2003. Print.

Thinking from different angles. Facing challenges.

Thinking from different angles. Facing challenges. Making thinking more visible.

The modern world demands that we all think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally; that we think from a different angle, with a different set of muscles, with a different set of expectations; that we think with neither fear nor favor, with neither blind optimism nor sour skepticism. (Levitt and Dubner)

This means that facing challenges, both problems and opportunities, is vital to personal success. This is the arena in which we can grow, excel, create, and expand. Without these challenges, we wither. Because of this importance, it is equally vital that we examine the way in which we meet the challenges by questioning our path from the outset. (Lichtman)

So, if we really believe that good communication is core to intelligent strategy, to seamless teamwork, to the pursuit of excellence, we must take seriously the limitation of being literally blinded to larger realities. We don’t know what we don’t know until we ask others to add their perspectives and until we start drawing it out for everyone to see. (Brown)

The costs of changing nothing are stagnation and resignation to the status quo. But the benefits of changing your reality— and sharing that positive reality with others— are the kinds of successes, discoveries, and breakthroughs that can transform not only your own life but the world. (Achor)

How might we change our part of the world?


Achor, Shawn (2013-09-10). Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change (p. 232). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Levitt, Steven D.; Dubner, Stephen J. (2014-05-12). Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain (p. 8). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Lichtman, Grant (2010-05-25). The Falconer (Kindle Locations 1330-1332). iUniverse. Kindle Edition.

Silos Suck: How to Doodle Everyone Onto the Same Page.” Sunni Brown. Sunni Brown, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 22 Dec. 2014.