Sunday, November 13, 2016

- The truth of the matter

Retrospective (12/5)

Patch #318 Don't follow the herd

Original Post

Back in the day when I was an elementary school librarian, one of my favorite lessons was about the Tree Octopus ...

I made worksheets with questions like "What is the habitat of the tree octopus?" and "What is their means of locomotion?"

I linked to this website on my SmartBoard
and pointed out how hard it was to read compared to books written for the students' age level.

Always there were one or two students who would raise their hands while saying, "But Mrs. Ackert ..." Knowing my students, I would gently reassure them, "Not yet ... I'll call on you later, I promise."

The final part of the worksheet was "How do you know this website is correct?" To which students would say "if it's on the internet it has to be true" or "check the encyclopedia." So I would hand a print encyclopedia to someone and ask them to look it up. While they flipped pages, I'd turn to one of my hand-raisers and ask, "You had something to say earlier?" At which point they would blurt out words to the effect of "Mrs. Ackert, there can't be any such thing as a tree octopus!"

I don't know how many kids "got" that lesson, but I'm hoping there are a few more skeptical information consumers in the world by virtue of my efforts. Judging from this article:
"We the People" need all the skepticism we can muster!


In response to Dana's comment, here's what I was seeing on Facebook and what I did about it ...


Angie said...


jude said...


Mo Crow said...

discerning while being open to new understandings

Stephanie Jo said...

Thank you, Liz.

Dana said...

I read that article too and was shocked. I'm only the most peripheral participant in Facebook and had no idea how pervasive it is. The idea that so much right-wing hysteria originates in places like Macedonia (???) to make money for teenagers is deeply discouraging. I like your lesson...I hope your students tucked it away with their sense of skepticism.

Liz Ackert said...

Thanks to all for coming by. I'm still grappling with how to counter the nonsense on social media (short of sticking my head in the sand). Sadly, I'm equally disturbed by the violence and degraded views of behavior that have long been a part of the television, video game, publishing, and movie-making machines. Sometimes it seems hopeless. Then I come here to find a gentle forum for peace, love, and respect.