Goldilocks and the Three Bears Approach to Evaluating Information

I. Deceiving Yourself - Did Goldilocks rationalize that it was okay to go into the 3 Bears' House?

Deceiving Yourself: "Wearing Rose Colored Glasses"
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They are "wearing rose colored glasses" is an idiom that means that people see and believe things to be a lot better than they really are. They are deceiving themselves.

In Karen Day's novel Tall Tales one of the sisters says, "Dad isn't going to stop drinking. And we'll never, ever leave him. I've been telling the biggest tall tale of my life to myself." That sister has finally realized that she had only been looking through rose colored glasses.
Deceiving Yourself: Believing What You WANT to Believe
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People sometimes choose to believe what they want to believe. In Neal Shusterman's book, Everlost, Nick is concerned that he won't remember his family's faces. His friend tells him what she knows he wants to hear and he believes her.

"I'm starting to forget things, too," Nick admitted. "I don't want to forget their faces."

"You won't," she said--and although there was no evidence to back it up, Nick chose to believe that, too.
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"Pa says when someone sweet-talks you like this, you got to be real careful with the next words that come out of their mouth. He says the sweet-talking is like a rattling-snakes's rattles, it's like you're getting a warning that you're 'bout to get bit."
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In the picture book, Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Sam tells the tigers just what they want to hear. When Sam offers his shoes to one tiger, the tiger says that 2 shoes won't help him since he has 4 feet. Sam tells the tiger that the shoes are "ear-shoes".
Deceiving Yourself: Always Negative
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Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We say negative, mean things to ourselves.

In The Noah Confessions by Barbara Hall, the character says to herself, "I'm never going to do anything like a normal person except impersonate one for a little bit longer."

II. Using or Believing Incomplete Information

- Do you think Goldilocks would have gone into this house if she knew that bears lived there?

- Would she have been able to relax enough to fall asleep (?!!!) if she had known bears were coming back?

- It seems like she had too little information.


  • Vice President Joe Biden said that President Obama had "misread" the economy. President Obama responds the he "had incomplete information." Click on the video below. After the short ad, slide the marker to 1:58 to begin. We ALL need complete information in order to understand, to make choices, or to make decisions. Think about how necessary it is for the president of the United States to have reliable and complete information. What disasters can happen when the president doesn't have complete information? (OR reliable information?)

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy





Using or Believing Incomplete Information: Jumping to Conclusions/Making Assumptions

Chevy Happy Graduate Commercial


This could also go in the section: Deceiving Yourself: Believing What You WANT to Believe above.

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In Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen (author of the Sammy Keyes books), the Runaway is homeless except for a cardboard box. Someone breaks into it, and this is her reaction. . .
“You thought that breaking into a cardboard box wouldn’t be the same thing as breaking into someone’s home, didn’t you! You thought tearing through someone’s bags of stuff wouldn’t be the same as tearing through someone's kitchen or closet, didn’t you? You probably live in some cushy little house and sleep in some cushy little bed and have someone put a warm meal in front of your spoiled little face every night!”
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In the picture book, Tops& Bottoms adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens, the lazy bear is repeatedly tricked by the rabbit who tells the bear something that could mean two different things. The bear assumes that the rabbit means one thing. The rabbit intentionally misleads the bear.
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In the picture book, Chicken Little by Sally Hobson and in other versions of the Chicken Little story, an acorn falls on Chicken Little's head and he jumps to the conclusion that the sky is following. (He doesn't stop to consider all the possible things that an acorn following on his head could mean.) He has to tell the "news" to the king and everyone he sees on the way.

Using or Believing Incomplete Information: Biased


Using or Believing Incomplete Information: Out-of-Context


Using or Believing Incomplete Information: Stereotyping
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When we generalize and say that all of any group does this or that, we are stereotyping.

In Heads or Tails by Jack Gantos, Jack (the character) is trapped by a vicious dog in an abandoned house,
"If he eats, I thought, he isn't rabid. I knew that sick animals never ate."

Jack makes a life or death decision based upon the generalization that all sick animals never eat.
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In When I Crossed NO-BOB by Margaret McMullan, Addy hears this conversation.

Mr. Frank laughs and says how once upon a time, he imagined Yankee soldiers as cruel monsters blowing fire and smoke.

"And then you saw one up close," his pa says.

They both nod and they are quiet.

III. Bothering with Unnecessary Information

- What was Goldilocks there for? Did she have a purpose?

- If so, she was distracted by the porridge, and chairs, and the bed. She found out too much information.

- Bothering with unnecessary information can prevent you from accomplishing your purpose.


Bothering with Unnecessary Information: Irrelevant


Bothering with Unnecessary Information: Red Herring



Bothering with Unnecessary Information: Distraction



IV. Using or Believing Inaccurate Information

- Why did Goldilocks go to the cottage? Did someone tell her a lie? Did they tell her something that wasn't true anymore? Did they exaggerate?


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Exaggeration


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Lie or Trick

"A lie can get half way around the world before truth gets its boots on." Mark Twain

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1) In the picture book, The Secret Room by Uri Shulevitz, an old man obeys the king by following the literal directions rather than the intended directions that were given to him by the king.
2) The chief counselor is envious of the king's treasurer and lies to the king. The counselor tells the king that the treasurer has stolen gold
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In the picture book, Lapin Plays Possum: Trickster Tails from the Louisiana Bayou adapted by Sharon Doucet, Lapin lies to and tricks Bouki.


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Opinion


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Mistake


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Out-of-Date


Using or Believing Inaccurate Information: Lazy, Unconfirmed
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In My Perfect Life by Dyan Sheldon,
Carla hesitated. “Well . . . I’m not saying I know anything for sure . . .
It’s just – you know . . .”

When Carla Santini says she doesn’t know anything for sure, it really means that she doesn’t know anything at all.

V. Depending Upon Underdeveloped Observation Skills

- Goldilocks' observation skills weren't great. There were so many clues she missed.

- A bears' house probably smells like bears. She didn't notice.

- A bears' house probably has bear hair here and there. She didn't notice.

- These bears may have had pictures of their family on the walls or table. She didn't notice.

- Goldilocks seemed to be oblivious to the important information that she was in a bears' house!


Depending Upon Underdeveloped Observation Skills: What You or Someone Else Saw
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Rosie the chicken in Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins is oblivious to the fox's effort to catch her. (It is similar to a Jack tale.)
Depending Upon Underdeveloped Observation Skills: What You or Someone Else Heard