Philosophy for the Young

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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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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.

To see the original post from Global Grade 3, click the link...

Global Grade 3

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Hello Global Grade 3,

We meet once again. 🙂

What is global citizenship?

I like the definition. We are all citizens of one world, our home, our Earth. As in all societies, our global society contains people who are good citizens. There are those who see their role as making our world a better place. There are those who seem more intent on serving only themselves and there are some who know only their own small piece of the world.

Global Grade 3 is a good name for your blog because you are amongst our global citizens who are trying to make the world a better place. Your steps may be small but we can never really know the long-term effect of the small things we do to improve our world.


Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect?

The Butterfly Effect comes from chaos theory, an area of study in mathematics.  Chaos theory looks at what can happen with very small changes at the beginning.

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


What does this have to do with global citizenship?

Let me explain.

The Butterfly Effect suggests that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the world might result in a tornado in another part of the world.

It doesn’t mean the butterfly caused a tornado but the flapping of its wings, although small in amount, might create tiny electrical charges in the atmosphere that might speed up, delay or even prevent a tornado.

What an interesting idea. Here’s how I think this relates indirectly to global citizenship.

You have set something in motion by helping Q’enqo. In respects to the world, this may seem only a small act but think of what this can mean for the future if we consider the Butterfly Effect and relate it to humans.

Today a library is active in Q’enco where once there was none. A child walks in and borrows a book you have helped make available. With help, the child learns to read. That child then teaches others who pass it on to more. Think of the amazing numbers this can lead to if each child taught by that one passes on their learning to only four others…

1 becomes 4.

4 becomes 16.

16 becomes 64.

Their learning is passed to other villages, each new learner passes on to four more. Look at the number sequence grow…

1, 4, 16, 64, 256, 1024, 4096, 16384, 65536, 262144, 1048576

From that one child teaching four whom each pass to four, in only 10 steps one million people might benefit. It may not be quite that simple but, as you can see, from a simple beginning, great things can grow.



Keep up the effort for positive global change.

@RossMannell     Teacher, NSW, Australia