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Handwriting With A Pen Positively Affects Your Brain

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Scientists are discovering that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in training the brain to learn “functional specialization”—that is, the capacity for optimal efficiency. In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of brain become co-activated during the learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.

There is a spill-over benefit for thinking skills used in reading and writing. To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. You have to pay attention and think about what and how you are doing it. You have to practice. Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.

1. Handwriting increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, similar to meditation. According to a study performed at the Indiana University, the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way. And high-tech magnetic resonance imaging has indeed shown that low-tech writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, much like meditation.

2. Handwriting sharpens the brain and helps us learn. Writing is good for keeping one’s gray matter sharp and may even influence how we think, as in “more positively,” studies show. Apparently sequential hand movements, like those used in handwriting, activate large regions of the brain responsible for thinking, language, healing and working memory.

3. Handwriting forces us to slow down and smell the ink. Another often-overlooked benefit of writing by hand is that it just plain forces us to slow down and enjoy the moment — a novelty in today’s world where immediacy reigns. Mindful writing rests the brain, potentially sparking creativity, according to neuroscientist Dr. Claudia Aguirre.

eINFO and March Break Open House

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Students are in the process of choosing their courses for the school year of 2017-2018. I recommend an online visit to eINFO for university entrance  requirements (courses and averages):

All universities have an Open House during the March Break.  I highly recommend these visits.  Here are some for area universities:

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Queen’s University:






U of Toronto:


University of Waterloo Grade 10 Family Night

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The University of Waterloo will be hosting an evening for Grade 10 students and their parenwaterloots on Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. This is a great opportunity for grade 10 students who are thinking about attending any of Ontario’s universities. Information covered will include finding a program that is a good fit, navigating the application process, and financing post-secondary education.

Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus

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Digital classroom tools like computers, tablets and smartphones offer exciting opportunities to deepen learning through creativity, collaboration and connection, but those very devices can also be distracting to students. Similarly, parents complain that when students are required to completedistractions homework assignments online, it’s a challenge for students to remain on task. The ubiquity of digital technology in all realms of life isn’t going away, but if students don’t learn how to concentrate and shut out distractions, research shows they’ll have a much harder time succeeding in almost every area.

“It’s about using the devices smartly but having the capacity to concentrate as you need to, when you want to.”

Full article:


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exam-prep-pictureDon’t leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute ‘cramming’, it is widely accepted that for most of us, this is not the best way to approach an exam. Set out a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with:

Study Checklist

  • Have you identified the exam specifics (format of questions, time allowed, content to be tested)
  • Have you organized your textbook notes and lecture notes (sequenced, stapled, in piles or folders)
  • Have you integrated / cross-referenced your textbook notes with your class notes
  • Have you tried to draw diagrams or mind maps to explain difficult concepts
  • Have you determined if there is content that you need more help understanding
  • Have you tried to explain the content from your notes in your own words and out loud if possible
  • Have you practised solving the problem-type questions
  • Have you found sample questions (from other textbooks or websites) that could be asked on the exam
  • Have you tried making flash cards or using mnemonics, acronyms, analogies, etc. to recall content
  • Have you tried to teach someone else the material that you are studying
  • Have you constructed a practice exam for the content that will be studied
  • Have you determined when is your best time of day to study
  • Have you determined a good location for successful studying
  • Have you tried to review your textbook and lecture notes regularly


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It’s not always easy to know when we’re in the presence of “genius.” In part, that’s because we barely agree on what it means. In Roman times, genius was not something you achieved but rather an animating spirit that adhered itself to people and places. In the 18th century, Romantics gave genius its modern meaning: Someone with special, almost divine abilities. Today, we’re quick to anoint a “marketing genius” or a “political genius,” oblivious to the fact that true genius requires no such modification. In truth, real geniuses transcend the confines of their particular domains. They inspire and awe. Which is precisely why we should use the word sparingly, lest it lose some of its magic. That’s not the only misconception.

Read the rest of Eric Weiner’s article: