Monthly Archives: September 2012

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For Global Grade 3’s original post click below…

Global Grade 3

Hello Global Grade 3,

How can a dot teach a lesson? Our world is full of dots and for International Dot Day I shared an extended comment with some classes I visited. It was about dots. It was the post just before this one. Here’s the link…

International Dot Day

Now I see you also had a dotty time and thought to share a little about Peter Reynold's story, “The Dot”. On reading your post, I thought I’d share a dot you might know, a dot from me to you.

I viewed the Animoto of your dots and was amazed by the complex, colourful, patterned, pictured dots. I can see how creative you all are and I know you are going to make your mark. I feel lucky I’ll be able to see your marks being made in the posts on your blog.

Nick and Chris – Mistakes only need be mistakes if they stop you from trying. Whether we are right or wrong, all we do is part of our learning journey. We should see our experiences in life as opportunities, opportunities to do better, opportunities to make our next learning step and opportunities to show the world what we can achieve if we keep trying.

Christopher and Davis – Your words are true. We should never let ourselves believe we can’t. If we have hopes and dreams, things we wish to achieve in life, we should work towards achieving them. Whether we one day make it or not doesn’t matter so long as we can look back and say…

I always tried my hardest and never gave up.

Amro and Tre – Trusting ourselves is important in life no matter what our age. Self-doubt can be like a high brick wall blocking our path. We can choose to let us stop us or we can find our way over, under or around it.

Danny and Elijah – When I was seven, I said to my parents I wanted to be a teacher. While I had other dreams like being a steam train driver (yes, I’m old enough to remember when they pulled normal trains), the dream of being a teacher was always there. I didn’t give up as I completed school nor when I worked towards my science degree from university (college) or when attending teacher’s college. I knew had something to share. I knew I could make a difference. Even when a health problem stopped me being a full time teacher, I looked for ways to be involved. It was my will to keep trying which brought me to blogging and helped introduce me to all of you. I didn’t give up.

Jayden, Ella and Cemre – Your words are wise. We all have goals in our life. Some might never be achieved but, if we aren’t willing to try, we can say we tried to achieve.

I would rather try to achieve a goal than look back on my life and think, “I wonder what might have happened if…”

Zubayda, Chelsea and Rayann – “The only failure is not making a mark.” This very statement is a mark you have made. You don’t need to be an adult to make a mark, you only need be willing to try whether it’s solving a math problem in class or freeing the world from hunger.

Lauren – Your comment is very interesting as it points towards personal bests. Imagine someone who, when old enough, dreams of being an Olympian. They compete with others as they grow, sometimes winning and sometimes not. What they do have in their hearts is the will to keep trying. Whether they earn a medal or not, if they achieve their personal best they know they have made their mark.

AJ and Tyler – A squiggle becomes a shape. A shape becomes a design. A design becomes a pattern. The pattern becomes a picture. The picture causes a smile. The smile is shared with others. The world becomes a happier place. It all started with a squiggle and a wish to do more.

Dimitrios, Rebecca & Joyce – When I look back over my life as a teacher, I know I have made a mark in the lives of hundreds of students. In turn, they have come to make their marks on the lives of others. What we do to make a mark isn’t just a mark in our lives, our marks can help others make theirs.

Ben & Tommy – Two boys sitting in a third grade room in Canada are given the chance to add a comment to the class blog.  They use their opportunity to encourage others to make a mark, to never give up, to seek original marks rather than copy others. In sharing their advice, they make their own mark.

Now your questions…

Have I read any books that inspire me to persevere and work through challenges?

These days I am more likely to read about inspirational people online because of the way I now share. I have Twitter followers who are singers who inspire me as they work to achieve their dream of being a performer. I have Twitter followers who have their own charities, despite being sick themselves, who inspire me because of their work for others. I have Twitter followers who are teachers who always inspire me through their wise words and the work of their students they share. This includes Global Grade 3 whose posts always inspire me.

Do I have a favourite quote that I think of when I am facing a challenge?

I always liked a saying from Confucius that goes something like this…

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.”

It always makes me think to not consider how long or far we must travel. The most important thing in life is to make that first step. Step after step we make our journey through life.

When I am feeling frustrated and think I “can’t”, what do I do to move PAST these feelings to get back on the “horse” and TRY again?

We can all feel frustrated at times when we have tried and can’t. This can be a normal part of life. What makes us a stronger person is being willing to look for other ways. If I find I can’t, I look for other ways so I can. Here’s an example…

A teacher asked if I could record her working with two five year old children. She wanted to share with parents how children practise reading in class. She added a request. Is it possible to show the child’s face so parents could see the child sound words but also show the child following the words in the book?

Now there is a problem with this. Filming the face, the book in front of them is upside down to the camera. It took a moment’s thought for me to solve the problem. I used a second camera also at the front so it wouldn't show up on the DVD. I used my software to zoom in on the book, turn the recording upside down so the book was the correct way, then added the book to the bottom of the video watching the child’s face. Parents can see the faces but the bottom part of the screen shows the child following the words with the book the right way around.

It would have been easier to say it couldn't be done but I try never to think that way.

Here is my dot again. Will you share it with others?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Keep blogging.




To view Global Grade 3's original post, click below...

Global Grade 3

To see the Blog Dipping site where classes can have their blog shared...

Blog Dipping

I noticed you have found your way into Blog Dipping. It’s a wonderful way of sharing with many more people around the world. 🙂

Hello Global Grade 3,

It’s hard to believe two weeks of your school year is almost over but I can see you have already learned the joys of sharing through the discussion of your treasures, passions, interests and hobbies with one another. Learning more about others, what we have in common and what may be different, helps us build friendships.

You started me wondering what I might have shared had I been in your class.

Treasures – Would I have chosen a model train I have and was given when ten? Perhaps it might be my rock collection gathered from different countries, or maybe my books or movie library.

I thought a little harder and decided what I treasure most are the memories I’ve accumulated throughout my life. From my earliest memory when I was two, I’ve stored my memories of lives now gone, of fun with friends, of experiences in school and university, of children who have been in my classes, and of people I have met along the way and through blogging.

My greatest treasure is remembering I have, in some way, been a part of so many lives and, hopefully, have added a little to their happiness.

Interests & hobbies - Now this one is very hard. I have many interests but that is probably a good thing because it has allowed me to interact with people on a range of subjects. I suppose if I had to narrow it down to only a few things now taking up much of my time, my interests would be…

Photography, filming, making DVDs and CDs for schools and community groups

Blogging and blog commenting

Hiking in national parks

Passions - Blogging and blog commenting have become passions of mine. Now I have retired from full time teaching, blogging has allowed me to again feel a part of classes. It’s allowed me to feel, in some small way, I can still contribute to the learning journey of students.

Looking at your top characteristics in your class WORDLE

I read each word on your class Wordle. They speak of people destined to do great things in their lives.

I could see some show strength of mind (curious, smart, questioning, scientific, mathematical, inquisitive), others strength of character (kind, respectful, persevering, honest, trustworthy, hard worker), more still of caring for others (good friend, friendly, caring), and some of creativity (writer, creative, artistic).

Curious was the most prominent word in the Wordle. It is a very important characteristic for a learner to have. It’s what drives me when I see something new and interesting. I need to find out more.

Did you know your post has taught me something? I see the tilde (~) is used to connect words without leaving a hyphen (-) when using Wordle. I haven’t used Wordle but the tip did make me curious. Would the tilde do the same in some other programs?

Finally, I listened to all of your Voicethread comments. Your sentences again have shown me great things await as you continue your learning journey this new school year. With blogging permissions now signed, I hope to visit at times to see what is happening in a Grade 3 now going global.

What is my sentence?

It is one I have shared with others before and is based on my entry into a writing challenge asking people to write their autobiography in only six  words. My entry was…

Seeking ways to make a difference.

My sentence is…

I will continue to seek ways to make a positive difference in the lives of people I meet whether in person or through the use of the internet.


Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

 Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.


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Links to school blog's I visited for the annual International Dot Day (September 15) promoting creativity. Each shared their wonderful dot creations...

Phoenix School on Facebook

A teacher and class in New Zealand

Mrs. Yollis and Class

Class One, Norbridge

Mrs. Ranney and Class

Hello Phoenix School,

"What other materials have I seen used to create dots?" Your question had me thinking where dots exist in nature and the things we do. I'll share a few things...

Firstly, I decided to create a dot design to join in the fun of International Dot Day even if I was a little late to take part on the day. Here is a video clip I made of what resulted.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

Many of you have probably tried folding a piece of paper, cutting out little sections then opening it out to see the pattern. This is how the basic pattern was created. I then scanned the pattern and started working in Photoshop. I copied and pasted the pattern to create a 9 dot design, then 81 dot, next 729 and finally 6,561 dots. To make the video clip, I loaded the patterns in reverse order so the many dots slowly became one.

Have you heard of an art style called pointillism?

Pointillism is an art form where artists use small spots of distinct colours. International Dot Day made me think about this style. Here is a Wikipedia link with information on pointillism...


With pointillism in mind, I again turned to Photoshop. This time I used a photo I had taken of an animal in a local animal sanctuary named, Potoroo Palace. To view this video clip, it's best viewed in full screen. The video shows you where to click to go to full screen.

Can you guess the animal in the photo? At first the dots are large but they become smaller and the animal is easier to see...

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

As I mentioned, I started with a photo I had taken. It was loaded into Photoshop. One filter available in Filters under Pixillate is named Pointillise (I use the Australian English spelling in this text). With the photo loaded, I selected this filter then set the size of the dots. I created five dot forms in all. The first you see had 100 pixel size, then next 50 then 25 the 12 and finally 5 pixel size. The last image you see is the original photo.

Did you know the computer screen you are looking at uses small dots?

If you were to use a strong magnifying glass to look at the computer screen, you would see small dots. As in pointillism, small dots of different colours placed close together combine to make the colour look different, e.g red with blue makes purple. Mixing different colour dots in lighter and darker shades can make them appear as a huge number of different colours. This is also true of photos we take using a digital camera. Below is  video showing what happens when you zoom in on the first dot creation in your class slideshow, Anya's beautiful creation...

Artwork creator: Anya of Phoenix School

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

How was this done?

With a screen capture of Anya's artwork, I was able to load her creation into Photoshop. I adjusted the view zoom. With each step, I performed another screen capture of what resulted. As you can see, by the final zoom, only one pixel appears and it is only one colour.

Did you know our eyes, in a way, see only dots of light?

When light travels into our eyes, the lens in our eye focuses the light on the retina at the back of the eye. In our eye we have two types of light sensitive cells, the rods and cones. If stimulated by light, each cell sends a message the brain. The brain is able to piece together the information coming in so we believe we are seeing something. That's pretty amazing dot work. Here is link with some information on the eye...

How the Eye Works

Was there dot painting before pointillism?

I am sure dot painting has appeared in a number of cultures throughout history but its appearance in different Aboriginal cultures within Australia interests me. They used, and are using, traditional designs in their artwork. Here is a link to one collection...

Papunya Collection

The Aboriginal people used earth colours in their traditional art, although modern forms use modern paints with many more colours. This is a style of painting I have used with classes over the years. One of our best works was painted on a piece of board measuring about 3' x 2' (90cm x 60cm). I prepared the board by at first giving it a coat of dark red. Many of my class took turns helping me add 100s of small dots until the pattern was complete. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo or the final product. I left it with a school about 15 years ago.

To finish off this post, I have an unusual way of creating a dot pattern. Take a large number of people dressed in assorted colours. Show them where to stand and how to move. Film them from above and you have living dot art. Here is a link to a 1990 British Airways ad using this technique...

This video clip is not mine. It appears on You Tube only.

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To view the original Miriam Lord Community School blog post...

Is it important to use time wisely?

N.B. I have never studied philosophy and am not an expert in the field of thought. Below are just some ideas from my wandering mind.

Hello Miriam Lord Community School,

What an interesting philosophical question, “Is it important to use time wisely?

Before looking at the overall question, let’s look at the parts within…

Important – meaning: of significance or consequence – Judgement of importance can depend on who is judging the importance. If we use our "feelings" to judge we are making a subjective judgement, i.e. a judgement made by one person often influenced by emotion.

Time – Time is a creation of humanity dating well back in our history. I won’t unwisely use time here. I recently created a post about time for another class. Here’s the link…

Learning About Time

Wisely – wise: having the power of discerning and judging as to what is true or right. – Wisdom is something we can develop through learning and experience although there are those in our world who seem to grow into adults without the ability to make wise choices. As in "important", there can be subjectivity here although, more importantly, wisdom mostly includes objective judgement. Objective judgements are made when we way up the information or need in order to decide the best choice. It isn’t an emotional a choice like a subjective one.

(Word definitions are taken from "The Concise Macquarie Dictionary")

Now for the overall question…

“Is it important to use time wisely?”


Seems a simple answer yet, we must remember, we make choices based on our subjective and objective judgements. When we are young, we don't have the experiences to make objective judgements a strong part of our choices so we rely more on subjective judgements.

…but this game is important.

I like this TV programme.

…but my friends want to play.

As we grow, we experience more of life. We start to see the “bigger picture”. Our judgements start to become more objective.

I love this game but the assignment is due soon and must be done. The game can wait.

I like this TV programme but there is a documentary on at the same time that will help me with one of my subjects.

My friends want to play but I know I should be helping my parents pack for our move.

If a teacher were to say you weren’t using your time wisely, they mean they see the bigger picture and see the importance of other tasks in achieving goals. You might see the smaller picture but, in time, you will grow in experience and understand the advice given by others.

Is it wasting time to spend 10 minutes lying on your back and looking up at the sky?

No, this time out is like meditation. It can allow us to organise our thoughts or help us to relax for a task ahead.

Yes, if we have an appointment in five minutes then we are wasting time.

Is watching TV wasted time?

No, this can be a time of relaxation after a hard day of tasks or you might be watching an important programme relating to your work.

Yes, when you know you must be preparing a project due  the next day.

Is playing with friends a waste of time?

No, playing with friends helps us build links with those who will support us when in need. Being with friends is important in our social growth. Humans are social creatures.

Yes, if we know we should have been home earlier and our parents might be worried.

Philosophical questions are not so much a matter of getting the “correct” answer. The questions are designed to make us think.

From your school blog "Remember: Good philosophers PEE – make their POINT, EXPLAIN and give an EXAMPLE."

Here’s another philosophical question relating to your question….

“Can two people come up with different answers yet both be correct?”

My answer again, yes or no. Can you think why?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.



For 4T's original post...

Hello 4T,

Time is an interesting topic. It seems so simple at first but why are there 24 hours in a day? Why not 200 hours or 10 hours? Why are there 60 minutes in an hour? Why not 100 minutes?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The time is 48 minutes past 7. That is 07:48.

What do I know about time?

I had often wondered why we had 24 hours in a day. From what I have been able to find out, one explanation comes from the Ancient Egyptians giving us the 24 hour day.

We count in what is called base 10 using the digits 0 to 9 (10 digits). The Ancient Egyptians counted in base 12. They divided the day into 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.

Here is a link about the 24 hour day…


Another suggestion is the times came from the Ancient Babylonians. Unlike the Egyptians, they counted in base 60. 6, 12, 60 and 360 were important for them. They had 12 signs of the zodiac in the sky, divided the day into 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, had 60 minutes in an hour and divided circles into 360 parts. Here is a link to the answer…


I think I prefer the Babylonian explanation better as it covers extra important numbers. Even though we now use base 10 numbers, we have kept the old divisions of the day for thousands of years.

With all of the above, where do we get a.m. and p.m.?

a.m. comes from the Latin “ante meridiem” meaning before midday

p.m. comes from the Latin “post meridiem” meaning after midday


In my diary, I like to use 24 hour time. 2:30 can be in the morning or afternoon unless we add a.m. or p.m.. 24 hour time makes it easier for me…

02:30 or 0230 – is 2:30 a.m.

14:30 or 1430 – is 2:30 p.m.


When is the best time of the day?

For me, the best time of day isn’t any set time. It’s when I’m doing something I enjoy whether commenting on blogs, writing stories, hiking in a national park, going to the cinema, listening to music as I work, making DVDs or speaking to friends.

What is my favourite time?

00:00 (that’s midnight) because I have usually logged off the computer for the night or 06:00 when I normally wake in the morning to see what has been happening in the world.

Keep blogging, everyone. I enjoyed your time post.


Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia


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I just had another thought to add to this post... If we did have 10 hours in a day, 5 for the day and 5 for the night, 100 minutes in an hour and 100 seconds in a minute what difference would we see in the amount of minutes and seconds in a day?

24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds

24 hours = 24 x 60 minutes = 1,440 minutes = 1,440 x 60 seconds = 86,400 seconds in a day

1 day has 24 hours or 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds

10 hours, 100 minutes, 100 seconds

10 hours = 10 x 100 minutes = 1,000 minutes = 1,000 x 100 seconds = 100,000 seconds in a day

1 day has 10 hours or 1000 minutes or 100,000 seconds

This means there would be 440 less minutes in the 10 hour day but 13,600 seconds more. It's easier to work out the numbers for a 10 hour day. Our modern time might have been very different if the Babylonians and Egyptians had base 10 numbers like us.

Which do you think is better, the 24 hour or 10 hour day?



To see Mr Aiston and class's original post, click below...

Stories Around the Campfire

Hello Mr Aiston and class,

Stories of Vikings sailing long distances for trade and raid would be interesting. Their belief in Valhalla and Odin alone would capture our imaginations. Thor was always a favourite character of mine.

For children in Australia, stories of Vikings might also be shared but, as a scout, spooky stories designed to scare everyone were very popular. With the rich Aboriginal cultures in Australia, a class campfire might also add stories from various Aboriginal language groups. Did you know there were many Aboriginal language groups/dialects in Australia, each with their own culture and heritage? The sad part is many dialects and stories have already been lost. Here is a link to a map of Aboriginal language groups...

Indigenous Language Map

The traditional owners of the land in my area are the Yuin people. The map allows you to magnify parts using your mouse. Here's a discovery task...

Can you find the Yuin people's area?

(hint: It's coloured yellow and is on the bottom right area of mainland Australia.)

One of my favourite stories from the Aboriginal Dreaming speaks of the Rainbow Serpent. The Rainbow Serpent is a creation story explaining how the mountains, valleys, animals and plants came into being. If you would like to hear one of the Dreaming stories about the Rainbow Serpent, here is an excellent You Tube clip with which to watch and listen (in full screen mode would be good)…

This video clip is not mine. It appears on You Tube.

Here is a photo I have taken of a rainbow lorikeet. Could it be one of the brothers?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

There are so many stories from around our great world, so many we have already lost to the past. We could spend a lifetime trying to discover them all.

It makes me wonder, what stories will you add to human history? I think everyone has stories to tell. I'm sure you've already written some in class. Every new story we create can add to all those coming before.


Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia



To see 4KM and 4KJ's original post...

Spring Is Here and Happy Father's Day

What do I enjoy about spring?

Perhaps one of my favourite activities in Spring, or really any time of year, is hiking in a national park or nature reserve. Spring adds the added pleasure of a burst of colour from flowers and life from the animals growing more active. Spring is the time I like to have a camera in hand. Here are two photo collages made from some of the photos I've taken.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

You can click on a picture to enlarge it.

The Seasons in Australia

For most Australians, the seasons start at the beginning of certain months of the year.

Autumn - March 1st
Winter - June 1st
Spring - September 1st
Summer December 1st

But not all countries judge the start of seasons by a date on the calendar. Many countries, and many cultures in history, judged seasons to start with an equinox or solstice. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres have seasons opposite to each other. When we in Australia have Winter, the north has Summer.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.


A solstice is the time of year with the greatest difference between length of night and day. The Summer Solstice has the longest day and the Winter Solstice the shortest day. For the Southern Hemisphere, the date of the solstices for 2012 are...

Winter Solstice - 21 June

Summer Solstice - 21 December


An equinox is the time of year when the length of day and night are the same. There are two each year. For the Southern Hemisphere, the date of the equinoxes for 2012 are...

Autumn Equinox - 20 March

Spring Equinox - 23 September


Has Spring Sprung in Australia?

As most Australians take the beginning of Spring at the first day in September, Spring has sprung in Australia but I prefer to believe Spring only truly begins this year on 23 September when day and night are once again the same length.

What do you think?

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Here are links to other extended comments I have made under the topic of seasons...

Winter Solstice

for Royce on Seasons