Some Links for GLIT6758 62

Writing, Creativity and the Brain

Mount Saint Vincent University

Summer, 2011

Janet McNaughton, Instructor

Additional information may be added as the course progresses.

Journalist Allana Mitchell's 2009 research on the emerging link between neuro science and learning was the spark that ignited this course. She travelled to England, France, Australia in 2009 as part of her Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, and the resulting research was published in The Toronto Star. The resulting articles appeared in October of 2009 under the title "Brainstorm"
If you go to the first article, "Part One: Brains, The Secret to a Better School," you will find links to all the other articles on that page.

Writing Links


We will spend time talking about grammar, but it's confusing. If you find you need extra help, one of the best resources is Mignon Fogarty's Grammar Girl Podcasts. You can go in and search for vexing items such "semicolon" or "sentence fragment" and listen to (or read) a quick little essay full of practical advice. Some teachers use these podcasts to help their students too.

Creative writing activities

National Geographic Wallpapers--free, high resolution photos of interesting subjects. All the Haiku Cue photos came from this site. They are organized by topic.

A complete list of onomatopoeic words, alphabetically organized.

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English on line. In addition to the regular uses, this is a great place to find words for nonsense vocabulary.

Using the Arts in Your Classroom

Here's a link to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council web page. Click on the Grants link for information about programs you can access for your school.

Science and Learning

Physical Exercise and Academic Achievement 

"Students' Physical Fitness Associated With Academic Achievement" Science Daily (Mar. 4, 2010)

"Physically Fit Kids Do Better In School," Science Daily (Jan. 30, 2009)


“A Systematic Review of School-Based Interventions to Prevent Bullying,” Rachel C. Vreeman, MD and Aaron E. Carroll, MD, MS, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2007. This article is free and may be downloaded as a PDF.

Sports and Head Trauma

"Youngsters’ body checks tied to hockey injuries," by Elizabeth Cooney, The Boston Globe, June 14, 2010.

 The Twenty-First Annal Report of  the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research provides an overview of injuries in all college sports in the USA.

Sleep and Academic Achievement

Here's the video clip from the PBS Frontline special "Inside the Teenage Brain,"  "From ZZZZ's to A's."

Executive Function and Self Control

Here's a wonderful overview of the whole question of executive function and self control in children. "Don’t! The secret of self-control," by Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker, May 18, 2009.

Piquero, A.R., Jennings, W.G., Farrington, D.P. “Self-control interventions for children under age 10 for improving self-control,”  This link will take you to an introductory page, with a link to download the entire study in PDF. This is a meta-study which looks at 34 carefully conducted and reviewed programs to improve self control involving thousands of children over four decades in Europe and North America.

Teen Development

Here's the main page for the 2002 PBS Frontline documentary "Inside the Teenage Brain," with links to the program and other features.

Here's the main page for the 2010 CBC Nature of Things documentary, "The Downside of High," with links to the program and related pages.


"Why Play Matters," a video clip featuring Jane Goodall,  originally part of the PBS documentary "Promise of Play." 

Stuart Brown talks about play, from the TED website.

 A BBC radio program featuring Stuart Brown: "Seriously Fun."

The Brain and Music

In this clip "Inside Oliver Sack's Brain," from the PBS Nova documentary "Music Minds," Dr. Oliver Sacks helps to explore how the brain reacts emotionally to music. Here's a link to the "Music Minds" website, with a link to the entire program on line.
Here's a link to the entire program The Musical Brain which aired on BRAVO this spring. The program features Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music. Find out what's going on inside Sting's brain as he composes.

Mirror Neurons

Here's a short video clip related to the PBS series, The Human Spark, in which actor Alan Alda interviews neurologist Marco Iacoboni about Mirror Neurons