Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow, illustrations by Ebony Glenn
Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
A simple and colourful flower card
I love this Mother’s Day Card craft! You just need lots of different coloured construction paper, glue, and some good kid scissors! If you need help, get your Dad or an older sibling to help you if you need help so that Mom doesn’t find out!
You have probably heard people talk about something you find on social media called bots. You may even have had an experience with bots liking, retweeting, or commenting on your social media posts. But what exactly are bots? Are they dangerous?
There was an event on TikTok a few months ago where many users suddenly had hundreds of likes and comments on every single video of theirs from other users with weird names who had no content of their own and who had Asian profile pictures. Kids got very scared and there were TikTok videos circulating that the people liking and commenting were kidnappers. It caused some pretty widespread hysteria. But what these were were not real people, they were automated computer programs called bots that been designed to like and comment on anybody who had posted videos that followed certain criteria. And they were not dangerous or threatening to TikTok users.
So the bots you find online are automated computer programs and the ones we find on social media are known as SOCIAL BOTS or CHAT BOTS. These simple automated computer programs look for certain keywords in posts and decide what to comment and/or if to like the post. To help explain what these automated computer programs do, let’s watch this excellent video on the topic.
So now that you know a lot more about bots, what clues could have helped TikTok users identify their new fans as bots instead of real users? Post your answers in the comments section of this post!
It is important to note that there are real dangers with bots, and that is their ability to sway public opinion in a certain direction. This can impact decisions made by governments, made by voters, and made by the general public like you. For example, seeing that certain TikTok users have more likes than others may persuade you to follow that person, even if all those likes came from bots.
The Atlantic Magazine writes that – ‘About a fifth of all tweets about the 2016 presidential election were published by bots, according to one estimate, as were about a third of all tweets about that year’s Brexit vote. An Oxford Internet Institute report from last year found evidence of bots being used to spread propaganda in 50 countries.’(Schneier, Bruce. Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It, The Atlantic. Jan 2020).
What this means is that bots are posting about politics and this has the power to influence other people’s opinions about issues that are really important, like who should be the next Prime Minister or whether people should legally have to wear masks in public. And when the government is looking to social media to find out public opinion on a certain issue, they may instead be finding the opinions of bots that alter the truth of the majority. Bots are also used to spread a lot misinformation, hate, and racist ideas.
So use your new bot-identifying skills and don’t fall for the opinions of bots! But if they give you a like, a retweet, or a comment, don’t get too worried about it either.
The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
Kindergarten – Draw a picture of your favourite animal and write down its name. If you aren’t sure how to spell it, ask a parent, teacher, or older sibling.
Grade 1 and 2 Mini Research Assignment – You will create a new Google Doc and paste a photo of your favourite animal in it. On the page you will include at least 3 facts you learn from Google about your favourite animal. If you aren’t used to using Google Docs, you can draw and write everything you learn on a piece of paper instead. If you’d like, you can share your finished Google Doc with Brigitte Ruel firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to take a moment to highlight an incredible program for our students that is available online. I have been both impressed and amazed by the work that The News Literacy Project is doing to help build critical thinking skills in students. The News Literacy Project is a non-profit and nonpartisan organization that is working to educate the public about how to separate fact from fiction in the news and how to assess news credibility. They have developed an incredibly comprehensive online program called Checkology for middle school and high school aged students that can be tailored for each classroom.
Checkology consists of about a half a dozen units per grade that cover the essentials of news and media literacy. These units are often presented by actual news anchors and heads of news or media organizations. Each unit includes lots of activities for students to test their newfound knowledge through the sorting of video, media, and other content into appropriate categories of information. It also helps them to understand what makes some content credible and other content not. And they do all of this while being simultaneously entertaining and engaging! The clips that they use as examples are timely and relevant and students will feel right at home with the content.
Checkology will become an integral piece of my library programming here at the OJCS. Media literacy is a key foundation of digital citizenship, and this incredible program can help our students get there.
To help us celebrate Earth Day, today we are reading ‘The Curious Garden‘ by Peter Brown.
Earth Day Activity Ideas
Recycle Bin Raid – find one item in your recycle bin and turn it into something new and amazing! Maybe that little milk carton can become a tiny bird feeder! Maybe that paper towel tube can become an art project giraffe! Use your imagination to transform a piece of trash into a treasure.
Local Garbage Pick-Up – go out with a parent and find somewhere in your neighbourhood that could use a garbage clean up. Remember to be safe and wear gloves and don’t touch anything sharp!
Be a Curious Gardener – if you can get your hands on some seedlings, do some gardening of your own. If you aren’t sure how to plant a seedling, get a parent or an older sibling to help. Gardening takes lots of practice, but over time you will get your green thumb.
Today we read the true story of Wangari Maathai. The book is called ‘Wangari’s Trees of Peace‘ and it is by Jeanette Winter.
These can be discussed as a class or your answers can be left on this page as a comment.
What parallels can you draw between Wangari and Greta Thunberg?
What were some of the many ways that Wangari’s Green Belt Movement had an impact?
How did the Green Belt Movement help to foster peace in Kenya?
Activity – Spread a Green Message on Your Socials!
If you have a school blog, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat account, use today as a day to post about an environmental topic that is important to you. For some inspiration check out some TikTok #earthday videos!