Chapter 5- Willingham

In chapter five of “outsmart your brain” from Daniel T. Willingham I learned how to read a text right and how to remember things easier. I thought I already new how to read and remember Textes but Willingham showed that I was completely wrong. For example: I am using the highlighter method by highlighting the most important stuff do the text. Researches have tested students by letting them all read and highlight the same text. Every student highlighted something else, some more and some less. So it shows that highlighting stuff in a text is a horrible plan because you will most likely not highlight the real important stuff or other unimportant things. I learned how to read a textbook and that its good it have an strategy of reading a text. May inform yourself about things in the text. It’s important to read and understand every single sentences of a text to understand the whole thing. Think about your goal and what you expect and want to know after you read the text. By textbooks its also important to connect some part. Textbooks are not that organized like storybooks which makes them way harder to read. Storybooks follow the actions and the material in textbooks are hierarchically, so you need to connect sentences you read right now to sentences you read a few pages ago. It also can help you to take notes while reading a text or research some parts you may not completely get. For remembering a text completely you may write a summary in your own words. After reading through all your notes you can make sure you understood everything. One of the most important things are also to read slow and reread the text a few times to remember and understand everything. In the end I learned really much from Willingham and I will try to take his advices for my learning in the future.

Outsmart Your Brain Reflection- Chapter 5


In this chapter I found the most useful parts for me were the strategies I do not I do not perform and the mistakes I never knew were mistakes. For example, I learned that just highlighting and reading is a bad strategy to help comprehend a text. The reason for this is because if I am learning a new subject, which happens often, I am not aware of the most important parts of the text and could be highlighting the wrong things because I am unaware of the framework of the text therefore have little basis for reasoning.

I also learned a solution to this new problem of mine. To improve my comprehension and avoid just reading and highlighting I can use the SQ3R method. S stands for survey. Meaning go over the headings and skim the txt to get a basic understanding. The Q stands for question. This instructs you to ask questions based on your survey or the headings and general text. Then read the text with your goal to answer the questions and basic understanding of the topic. Recite each section and see if it relates to the questions posed. Review your notes by summarizing the questions you chose. Doing all of this will help with my reading comprehension and further my learning.

Reading Strategies

One of the most interesting things I learned in the book Out Smart Your Brain by Daniel T. Willingham in chapter 5, is the facts that many students read with out understanding the context of what they are reading. Willingham said that many students think that if they understand what each individual sentence is saying, they will understand the whole book. He then gave an example paragraph with a sentence that contradicts what was being stated and said that many students miss that mistake when rating the clearness of the paragraph. I have discovered I do that too when I am reading something that I find dull and boring.

A reading strategy he gave to try and help this issue is called SQ3R. This strategy outlines a technique that try’s to maximize the amount of knowledge you retain. Although this technique may work to retain knowledge and help you understand the concepts more, it is very time consuming and has many steps involved. Even if it does help you understand the reading, I can not see my self using this strategy in a general setting. The only occasion I would think about using this strategy is if there is a very long and complex text that I am having difficulty understanding and a lack of understanding will cause bigger problems. The reason I would only use this strategy if I had too, is because it takes a lot of effort, time, and would demotivate me to read the book.  I did however learn a new strategy from reading this book, that if needed, I can implement to help me understand written texts more efficiently.

Outsmart Your Brain…

What I learned in Outsmart Your Brain by Daniel Willingham’s, chapter 5, is that they are many ways for us individuals to read a book the right way. It was a very interesting book to read, as well as extremely useful. It made me aware of my usual mistakes when it comes to reading comprehension and note taking.

Normally, I surprise myself being easily distracted when studying, but this book showed me other ways to ‘avoid’ this, and to be more focused while studying, surprisingly without it sounding tedious or boring. I like the strategies shown because it erases the habit of just reading, and it actually makes your brain pay attention to what it’s been said to keep going with it, in order to learn more. One of the tips that I already knew about is Tip 28: Take Notes as you Read. Usually when I read I forget all the information the next day. But since I stared applying this tip now I remember what I read and its more easy for me and I understand better the text.

What I learned about outsmart…

What I’ve learned about Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning is Hard and How You Can Make it Easy, by Danielle T. Willingham. Chapter 5. That it is really easy and effective to read text the correct way. I learned that I have been reading texts the wrong way because as I read I have to take notes to memorize and remember better. Another mistake that I have is that when I start reading without looking for subtitles, headings, quotes among others. To make the information easier I can search for definitions of words that I don’t know and highlight the most important paragraphs, but he says “how do you know that is the most important part” He explains how we can know and he gives us tips in how to improve. Thought the book I noticed various mistakes that I have to improve.

First, you need to read slowly to connect what you read a few minutes ago and what you are reading now. People usually summarize each chapter but he says we have to summarize each paragraph. This is for not leaving small details outside. I really enjoyed how easy it was to read this book and how it will help me improve future readings.

Outsmart your brain…

What I’ve learned from Outsmart Your Brain, by Daniel T. Willingham. Mostly, that I’ve been reading articles wrong. Willingham writes, and rewrites, and rewrites, that simply reading something and highlighting it the first time around is not a good plan to avoid taking notes, or to retain the information. Willingham brings up several reading strategies, but the one that I found the most practical was SQ3R. In a way, these two paragraphs are my attempt at the recite and review parts of it. I like to think that I already ask questions to myself questions when I read to learn, and when I read to read. In this case though, when I got to tip 27, I realized I hadn’t been thinking at all while reading the previous pages. My mind hadn’t been wandering, I just wasn’t thinking about the words on the page.

Another thing that I learned while reading the chapter, was that I tend to start skimming pages when I get bored of whatever I am reading. I also tend to not review my notes unless I need to answer a question quickly and without thinking too much about it. Honestly my study habits just kind of suck. I always knew that my study habits were… less than great, but reading this chapter has really put into perspective how bad they are. Working forward, I want to set more goals relating to study habits for myself.

What I learned

Outsmart Your Brain by Daniel T. Willingham, PhD. The book talks about easy and effective ways for an individual to read a book the “right way”.  

The soluction is to set a concrete task as you read. The best known is called SQ3R (p. 95)

Learning that are ways to concentrate better whilst reading is what I am writing about.

Survey: Skim the reading, looking at the headings, subheading, and figures. Get a rough idea of what it’s about. This is how you’ll determine, for example, that an article about the Human Genome Project is about its economic consequences, not the ethical implications of sequencing human DNA. (p. 95)

The mistake I was doing according to the book is reading straight away and not looking over the skim through pages looking for headings, subheading, and figures and to ask questions about them if there are questions to ask.

Read: Keeping in mind the rough idea of the article’s content you developed when you surveyed the reading, it’s time to actually read. And now you have a concrete take to be completed as you read: look for information that answers the questions you’ve posed. (p. 96)

Before you begin the book you want to ask questions that may be answered along the way or that you may ask after each section or chapter.

Recite: When you’ve finished each section, recite what you’ve learned as if you were describing it to someone else. Summarize it and decide if it answers any of your questions. (p. 96)

Instead of summerizing after each chapter, summerize after each paragraph to process the information better without most likely forgetting some minor details.

Review: Reviewing is meant to be an ongoing process in which you revisit the content, focusing especially on the questions posed and the answers you derived. (p. 96)

Constantly reviewing is better than reading and reading without stopping because important things can just fly over your head.

Another thing I learned is that speed reading is not a thing. I’m a slow reader which I was ashamed of untill i read

speed reading is not a thing. (p. 101)

Knowing that I can read slowly to understand material better makes me feel better about it.




Outsmart Your Brain


In this chapter, Daniel Willingham denies all I have done so far to read the books. Read, highlight the sentences that I think are important, and search the definitions of vocabulary words that I do not know. However, it does not assist us in comprehending deeply. How do we know the sentences we highlighted are the most important? How will we be able to use new vocabularies simply by writing their definitions? Throughout this chapter, I found a lot of things that I needed to improve to obtain reading strategies.

First, we need to connect what we are reading right now to what we read a few minutes ago, because sentences can take on quite different meanings depending on the surrounding context. That’s why highlighting does not work. People try to focus on only the highlighted sentences without the context. That means people might not comprehend correctly. They can interpret arbitrarily for themselves. To avoid this, we need to think about and set the goal of reading instead of highlighting. Acquire the basic knowledge and pose further questions about the topic. I think by doing these, we can pay more attention, gain interest, and make it easier to input the context, even if it is difficult to understand. And we should take a note on laptop to make it easy to look up information. It should include the summary and answer one of the questions that you posed. And you need to confirm if it can really help you refresh your memory later.

I learned a lot of strategies comprehending deeply and I am convinced of all of them. They all make sense to me, as I wrote above. However, there is one thing that I thought was wrong.” Teachers are ready to assign a textbook, even if it’s boring; it’s seen as a regrettable but unavoidable problem.”(p.90). Students might think the textbooks are  boring. But, the teachers are the only person who should not think it’s boring. I think the teachers have to believe it’s interesting. The teachers might think that we don’t know their enthusiasm. But we know. The teachers should love the topics and want to teach them to the students. This leads students to learn with better environment and enthusiasm.

English: Willingham, Ch. 5- What I learned

While reading this chapter, I must admit to doing some of the things Willingham advises against. One of these being Tip 26: Just Read and Highlight. In response to this, he recommends using the SQ3R method: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. I have never heard of this before, and typically stick to highlighting and reviewing, and messily attempt a quick study method. I believe that with this new technique, I have a cogent method that does not leave me scrambling to understand a certain text or reading.

Another method newly discovered is Tip 28: Take Notes As You Read. This specific tip entails writing notes during readings of texts, rather than reading the text as is. I find that I understand a topic better when I write it down or have something separate from the text to look back to, so I have confidence in this tip. Willingham provides a structure for your notes, which I believe will help. This is due to my tendency of having unfinished notes, and only going over the text itself.

Willingham’s “Outsmart Your Brain” Chapter 5 Reflection

In chapter 5 of Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain, we come to the realization of numerous habits we do when studying advanced texts. He outlines poor practices we do subconsciously, and ways we can improve the effects of those habits. As an example, Willingham speaks on how our brain interprets the more complex information that we read. He notes that our brain is unlikely to automatically connect ideas from different sections in a textbook, as we are new to the subject and our brain is not looking for any connections, but rather trying to consume all the information without analyzing it. Another point I found fascinating was when Willingham explains that our brain reads these assigned textbooks in the same way we read for amusement. The first time we read a text, we are able to point out simple errors- as we would in a novel- but fail to make an in-depth analysis of the topic. Tying onto that, on page 91 Willingham writes “if readers simply understand each sentence on its own, they figure they are doing what they’re supposed to do.”. I found that statement rather impactful as it hadn’t occurred to me before, but is certainly a habit I possess. And while talking on all of these poor reading habits we have, Willingham suggests strategies that can be used for improvement.

One point that is repeated frequently is the use of questions. Willingham notes that simply asking questions prior to reading a text can help you focus on the more “hidden” details of a text. He recommends using headings (and subheadings) to help guide you when creating these inquiries. He also emphasizes the use of having a set of tasks or goals before reading a text, these could be seperate from the questions, or be the questions themselves! Lastly, Willingham points out the use of notes, highlighting, and any other stratagy someone may use to help them interpret a text. He says that different strategies work for different individuals but most importantly, “using a strategy is better than not using one.” (p. 97).

This short chapter held lots of potential for someone like myself to further explore the world of detailed reading, especially when trying to improve their studying habits.

Nyah Sharratt – 01/30

Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain- Ch. 5

This charapter is titled “How to read difficult books”, and I honestly think this is something we all have asked ourselves, but never really felt the need to think more in debt about it. Which is why I found this incredibly helpful and interesting. It really does gives us real tips and advise. First, the author introduced us to the concept of reading a hard book, and talks about how it really is difficult and most importantly, why. I liked how he later explained what happens in our brain and how we can “outsmart it”. He went in debt about the common errors, what we usually do, what and how to change it.

I do have to say that even if i did found it very helpful, and i will consider it in my future readings, I already did some of the stuff he talks about. Like highlighting and taking notes, but he did made me rethink how I do it and what information should I prioritize.

At the end, the thing i definitely founded the most interesting was the reading techniques. I feel like applying them will change the reading experience for me.

IRJE # 6 – Pachinko

I have recently started a new book named “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee, a Korean-American author who publishes books regarding Korean history and the lifestyles in the 1900s during the Japanese occupation. At the beginning of the book, the author introduces the character Hoonie, who is the main character of the book. He was considered “healthy” during the times, although he had a crooked leg and a serious illness. soon enough, a matchmaker comes to the house to match Hoonie with a new bride.

The matchmaker brought it up first. So there was that unfortunate matter of his foot and broken lip, but Hoonie was clearly a good boy – educated and strong as a pair of oxen! She was blessed to have such a fine son, the matchmaker said. She deprecated her own children: neither of her boys was dedicated to books or commerce, but they were not terrible boys. Her daughter married too early and lived too far away from good marriages, the matchmaker supposed, but her sons were lazy. (p.6)

This quote characterizes Hoonie, the main character of the first chapter, very well, describing his outstanding personality regardless of his disabilities. The author has described Hoonie very well, which also gives detail of his characteristics to the readers.

Outsmart Your Brain – Daniel T. Willingham

By reading a part of the book “Outsmart Your Brain” By Daniel T. Willingham, I have learned a lot of things – How to read a “difficult” book, to be specific.  In the first two pages of the book, the author, Daniel, introduces the idea of reading a “hard” book and acknowledges the struggle and the level of effort that would have to be put in to accomplish such a thing. He then introduces the readers to a text, which is most likely a part of a “hard” book the author claims to be. He then asks if anyone notices a contradiction between the former and latter claims. Through this, I have learned that I have not been reading a text to its utmost detail for all this time, although I thought I did.  Reading this part of the book gave me the curiosity to continue reading.

As the book progresses and moves onto the next topic of how to read a “hard” book, The author now gives the readers tips on how to do so. He mentions the act of highlighting, which is widely practiced as a method of close reading. However, the author Daniel opposes this idea, claiming that it is inefficient and that there is no point in doing such. He claims that people reading for the first time; are most likely to highlight a text they believe to be predominant, even if it doesn’t have any relevance to the main topic it is discussing. He states that first-time readers are not to judge whether part of the text is relevant. He adds to the argument and suggests a new method, taking notes. When we listen to lectures and classes, we are bound to naturally think and assume its content to be not amusing, boring or difficult. It is the same for books. When we read a hard book, we tend to assume its content, even before reading the actual text; we tend to skim through the book, not knowing the hidden details and important information.  Daniel states that by taking notes, our brain can process more content simultaneously by organizing them and making them easier to understand.

Books are not always fun, especially if you are reading a book that you assume is hard. However, when you force yourself to read more, you tend to get into a habit of reading, and you get more content in a shorter time, which makes your reading skills more efficient. From personal experience, I have never really enjoyed reading, until I forced myself to read over and over again and explore more books at the bookshop. By doing this, I have found a book I enjoy reading – and I tend to read it – regardless of the duty of reading every day, for 15 minutes. This reminder has become a habit, and I find myself reading – for more than 15 minutes before I even realize the independent reading task. In my background of being raised bilingually, It has been such a struggle to master both languages, with pretty good fluency. My parent would speak in Korean on one day, and English on the other. I did the same with books. Korean on the first day, English on the second. By doing this, I was able to improve both my Korean and English skills, and I believe I can speak both languages fluently. However, I have a lot to learn, and this book has shown me how to read more confidently and efficiently.


Willingham Chapter 5 Reflection

When reading the chapter 5 of “Outsmart Your BrainBy Daniel T. Willingham, it taught me a a couple of things that I should do, but also not do. Things I was actually surprised by, and things that I have noticed already help me. I enjoyed how easy it was to follow along the book, and how it taught me how to efficiently do my work. I feel I have a better understanding and will comprehend texts better if doing the tips he has given.

The thing that surprised me the most was to not highlight you pages or certain parts of the text you are reading. He had mentioned not to do this because you do not know if you are highlighting the correct information. “How can you be sure you are highlighting the most important information” (pg. 93). This was mentioned by him, and after i read it, it made more sense to me. Even though I do mostly highlight key things that I notice, I might not be including the most important part of it, or I might be missing something. The second thing that was helpful, but I did already know, was taking notes. I already take notes depending on how knowledgable I am with the topic or book I am reading about, but it never hurts to have extra notes for later on if you get confused or forget what happened at a specific time in the text. And last is writing a summery after each sub heading. If you right a summery it will help you retain more and understand what is happening. Doing this in the future could really help me in tests to become more aware and efficient with my words to understand. Especially if you have many things to remember at once, writing a small summery on what it is, or what it is about could really help me. And writing something causes your brain to remember better and more efficiently than just reviewing over and over again but still mixing the information up.

Overall, I think I will be doing these tips in the future to help me understand large quantities of information better, and to learn more and more and grow not only my vocabulary, but also my knowledge.

Chapter 5 of Outsmart your brain by Willingham:

Chapter five of Willingham’s Outsmart your brain is titled How to read difficult books. Although he doesn’t give a straight up answer “this is how to read a difficult book”, he does give some useful tips and advice. He started the chapter off by stating how teachers are willing to give us textbooks that go very in depth in a subject even if it is boring or doesn’t always help us. Teachers may think it would help us, giving us a long, in-depth explanation, but as many people say; “Quality over quantity”. Willingham also explains how most readers are less likely to notice if two sentences contradict each other, rather they notice a word they don’t understand. This can be caused by not understanding what individual sentences have in common with each other; it’s one thing to understand what an individual sentence means, but if you can’t understand the big picture, that’s when it becomes a problem.

A tip or piece of advice Willingham gives us is to not highlight the “important stuff” while reading, but rather take notes, unless you are already familiar with the subject. By doing so, we can memorize faster and have a better understanding of the main idea. If we simply highlight what we deem important or significant, we will most likely miss something important, or not be highlighting the important information. He says by finding a reading tool that works for us will also help us read difficult books. For example; the KWL tool, thinking of something you KNOW, something you WANT to know/learn, and something you’ve learned. This tool works best for me because it helps me organize my thoughts well and can help me summarize what I know or what I’ve learned.

The last tip he gave us that I thought was important, was to make sure we create time every day for reading. Not just to read 15 minutes anytime of the day, but at a time when we have the right mindset to read and absorb information. Of course, there will be times where we will have other priorities, but we have to remember that there’s no such thing as speed reading; aka skimming for the “important stuff”. If you do miss your scheduled reading time, don’t just go to a website with a summary in the place of reading the text; instead find the time another day. Learning aids/summaries of texts will not make your understanding better because it won’t have all the information you need; it will be whatever that writer thought was important, not your thoughts.

PW: Sky

The sky is one of the most beautiful natural wonders that may exist. If not the most beautiful. All the colors it shows us every morning and every evening. All the funny figures in the clouds you can see on the sky. The beautiful light blue sky on warm days when the sun shines or the dark grey clouds on cold rainy days. Just one look in the sky can change your mood for the day. A beautiful sunset can make the evening perfect or a warm colored sunrise in the morning is everything you need for the day to be wonderful. The sky shows up in many beautiful colors. Theres the most common color light blue or gray over the day and black in the night. The most beautiful colors purple, red, orange and yellow in the morning by sunrise and in the evening by sunset, which we even get to see two times a day. Let’s not forget the night sky with all those stars you can see up there or the birds and bugs flying in the sky. I love the sky and I can’t stop looking at it. Every morning when I look out of the window and see the beauty of the sky I’m just feeling happy or in the evening when the sky is getting darker in all those colors and I know the day is over. I can’t stop taking photos of this natural wonder we get to see every day even tho no camera in the world will capture the true beauty as seeing it with your own eyes.

Outsmart your brain

Chapter 5 of Outsmart your brain by Daniel T. Willingham made me overthink constantly repeated think and questions and careful that I got trapped in my own thinking. It is very tiring to be reminded of all the same information all over again and again. But that’s how it works for me (usually). Even if it’s annoying to listen to it, it is stuck in my brain and after some days, I unconsciously do what they said and described. And that’s how I believe in this book.

There was not very much that I did not already know somehow. For example the highlighting. When I read my old highlighted texts and already know the whole topic, I saw myself highlighting weird and unimportant information. The thing I learned and will try to use is to make topic questions. I noticed that when a teacher said an important question at the beginning of a lesson, it became much easier to remember the topics with all the details.

What I never heard about before were strategies for reading. And there is a lot of them. I did not cache a lot from Tip 27 and needed to read it a few times, translate words I did not know, and summarize it slowly to myself. It is a skill I never really used because it is very time-consuming and my brain hurts just thinking about it.

Outsmart Your Brain (even a little at a time)

Reading Daniel T. Wellingham’s Outsmart Your Brain was rather an eye opening experience. The fifth chapter on what to do and what not to do when reading a difficult book, say a textbook,  is rather simple but hard to execute. To understand textbooks you must understand how they are structured, because unlike storybooks, textbooks are not structured in a chronological order, but a collection of ideas, linking one to another. Making minimal efforts to understand a book won’t get you very far, especially if it is a text with topics you are unfamiliar with.

This chapter emphasizes what you should and shouldn’t do whilst reading a text. One of the key takeaways I learned from this chapter was not to highlight, which is a habit I do as well. Find an important looking sentence? Highlight that! Find a new word I have never heard of? Highlight the term and definition! At the end, the entirety of the handout I was assigned to read is filled with different neon colours. On the surface, highlighting seems logical and effective, but it is explained that most times, the highlighted parts aren’t even the most important information. The only time you should be highlighting texts is when you are familiar with the text’s subject, which most times I am not.

Planning for Success: A Reflection for Chapter 5 of “Outsmart Your Brain”

After reading Chapter 5 of Outsmart Your Brain by Dr. Daniel T. Willingham, I learned about three strategies that I can use to successfully comprehend information from a reading material by looking over the reading before I read it, posing questions as reading goals, and by structuring my notes so I can stay on task as I read. The first strategy is to skim over the reading while taking notes of the reading’s learning aids (bolded words, main ideas, side bars, etc.), headings, and subheadings. Skimming over the reading material will help me understand what might be important in the reading by giving me some knowledge of what I’m about to read, and will also help me prepare for the other two strategies.

The second strategy is to make questions about the reading which I will answer in my notes as I read. One helpful tip I learned from Dr. Willingham is to make questions from the subheadings and headings of the reading. For example, if one of the headings is “The Effect of Global Warming on Emperor Penguins,” a question I could ask is “What is the effect of global warming on emperor penguins?” Now, after completing the first and second strategies, I know the basic topics of the reading material and I have questions to answer as I read, which serves as a reading goal. Finally, the third and final strategy is to take notes while I read. This involves splitting my notes into clear sections based on the reading’s headings and subheadings, writing down the questions I created in their corresponding sections, and writing down a summary after each subheading. The summaries may include the section’s main idea, its connection to the main section of the reading, and how the section answers at least one of my reading questions. Dr. Willingham also recommends for students to write down any new vocabulary words they have learned in their notes and to recite what they have learned out loud after completing the reading.

Dr. Willingham’s preferred reading strategies are known as the acronym SQ3R. The ‘S’ stands for ‘survey’ (skim the reading), the ‘Q’ stands for ‘question’ (pose questions), and the three ‘R’s stand for ‘read’, ‘recite’, and ‘review’ (take your notes as you read, recite out loud what you remember from the reading, and review your notes later). I plan to use the SQ3R strategy in the near and far future because it will train my brain to efficiently comprehend reading materials regarding a topic that I have little background knowledge on.

Book Reflection – Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain

After reading “Outsmart your Brain” Chapter 5, I learned many things about reading and understanding difficult textbooks. I learned that textbook writers often organize the main ideas differently so the reader can affiliate them, making it challenging and boring for some. Meanwhile, most of the storybooks are written in a way that you can find and connect the ideas page by page, making it easy to understand. One of the most shocking things that I learned from this book is that highlighting is not the best option unless you know the topic well because, as the author says, “how can you be sure you are highlighting the most important information” (p. 93) it may be important for you but not for everyone. And this makes sense because everyone has different main ideas every time we have to highlight something in class on a textbook. A solution for this is taking notes while you are reading. 

I learned that taking notes while reading can help you memorize faster. By taking notes while reading, you are processing the necessary information and adapting it to your understanding, making it easy to learn and study later. Adding headings and subheadings with a small summary and about three statements may help organize your notes more, and adding questions to your notes may help. Asking a question such as “why…?” and answering them at the end can help to know if you took the notes needed. And lastly, read your notes after you finish reading to take refresh after all that new information. 

The book also mentions the other three methods to take good notes, “SQ3R, KWL, and SOAR” each of these methods can help me organize my notes better and get a better presentation and make them understandable. “KWL” will help me to ask the right questions and to look for the correct information. Meanwhile, “SQ3R” and “SOAR” will allow me to organize my notes.

Willingham – Outsmart your Brain

Over the course of Willingham’s  Outsmart your Brain, he teaches us many diverse techniques to help the audience on how they can do better when reading a book, studying for an exam, etc. I will now go over the two most important things I took from the text.

The first being how to study for an exam. Exams are a huge part of school, so naturally, essentially gaining a “cheat code” sounds exciting to me. One of the ways to prepare for an exam is to essentially practice, take a pre test, then practice again. This helps the student, as they are simulating the real thing. After a study session, you take a homemade test the following day. This can be done by simply answering questions on the content you have been studying. After self assessing yourself, you get the chance to analyze your mistakes, then study them after, until everything is right. This can be repeated if necessary. Overall, this is defiantly a good way to study, and I will be using this method in preparation for future tests.

The other important technique I found was how to use a study guide. This again, goes back to studying for exams. If a study guide is made, what good is it for if you have no idea how to properly use it? Well, one of Willingham’s ways is to separate the topics you have learned about. If you keep reading your notes or flashcards over and over again in the same format, it isn’t doing to much, as come test day, the order will be completely revamped, and you may forget. Additionally, the topics would all be in order, and mixing those up can challenge yourself, and get you more prepared. Building off of that, answering the questions aloud can really help your understanding. as Willingham says, it is proven that when speaking aloud, your answers will be more developed. So when that big final comes round, you will be 100% ready.

There are many other useful texts displayed in Willingham’s novel, but I found these two to be the most important and I can see myself using these to improve my marks in the future

Daniel T. Willingham Book Reflection

When I read chapter 5 of Outsmart Your Brain by Daniel T. Willingham, I learned many new thing that will definitely help me in the future with my comprehension of texts and different strategies that will help me work efficiently. I enjoyed how easy his book was for me to read and understand, he made sense in what he was trying to tell us, and he made it very easy for us to learn new tips and tricks to help us in the future. He also told us what we shouldn’t do when reading, which is very helpful for me as I am not a confident reader.

The three biggest thing I learned from him are 1: reading and highlighting doesn’t work (unless it’s a topic that you already know very well). This surprised me when I read it because I usually always highlight the important information in texts and I thought that it helped me. His response after telling us this was that “how can you be sure you are highlighting the most important information” (p. 93) that’s when I realized unless its plainly written out as this is the most important information you never actually know if you are highlighting and remembering the correct information. 2: Taking notes with reading will help you stay focused and on task, it will also help you in remembering what happened in the text. This could be done on a laptop or on paper (Willingham suggested to use a laptop since it’s convenience with searching on the internet for words you aren’t familiar with) This is useful to me because I get distracted very easily when reading a book (especially if it’s a school related book) and if I start taking notes while I read this might help me focus and actually understand what I am reading. Lastly 3: After each subheading right a summary to remind you about the chapter. This seems very useful to me if you have a test coming up and you need to read part of a text. Writing a summery makes it so that you can retain the text better in your memory and that understand it better. You should write the summery about these three things, “an important qualification of the summery, a comment on how this section relates to the main section and, an implication of the summary for something else the author concluded.” (p. 99)

There was also many other things that I learned like how you shouldn’t plunge into texts without preparation, how to use SQ3R and many other techniques, that speed reading doesn’t work, how strategies with reading is a thing and how its important, and many more useful things that I will use in the future when reading a text, either to study, or just for fun.

Willingham chapter 5

In chapter 5 of willingham we are presented with some real world cases in which for example a textbook that seems hard to read. Once we read a bit more the chapter we realize that sometimes the solution is easier than we think. This also connects with some situations that we have all faced like when weread a book. This cahpter also adresses the familiar situation of being in a class and not knowing what to write in your notes. The book helps you identify the different mistakes that we make when it comes to reading and writing.

This chapter additionalluy makes us reflect on what we do while reading such as just highlighting the important parts. When we do this we dont really take in the information and on the long run we just forget what we read and use this technique throughout school life. We should also have in mind specific questions when we read like who are the characters and how they affect the plot.

Willingham Reflection

Since English is not my first language, I had difficulty reading. It was hard to summarize, and I often forgot the contents of the text while reading. But I didn’t know exactly what to try, so I just mechanically highlighted some sentences Therefore, the advice given in the book is useful.
According to the book, it helps to understand the purpose of reading before just doing it. I used this method to read “The Brave New World.” I wrote down the questions in my notebook while reading the book, and filled in the answers to the questions by reading the following parts. As I repeated this process, I found that my notes were more organized. So far, all I’ve written has been a copy of what seems important. As advised in the book, the main content was easily seen as I read the article while checking the purpose.
In the book, it is said that it is not wrong to take time to read slowly rather than speed reading. Until now, it has become a habit to speed read books in my first language, so I have repeated the same behavior when I read English. I thought improving my English skills was the first priority, so I tried to make it seem like I was reading in my first language when I read English. But as advised in the book, taking the time to read was much more appropriate for me now. As I read the text slowly and organized it into notes, the contents were not mixed. Also, it helped me improve my English skills by searching for words I didn’t know in each sentence.

Film Review: “All Quiet on the Western Front” (2022)

From Keith Law:

All Quiet on the Western Front took home nine nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best international Feature (as Germany’s submission). It is, as you might know, adapted from Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel of World War I. It’s big, and epic, and certainly lets you know where everyone involves stands on the subject of war. (They think it’s bad.) It’s also a film that doesn’t have any good reason to exist.

You can read the entire review here.

Daniel T. Willingham, PhD, is not afraid to be boring

The section Allocate Significant Time to Reading, from Chapter 5 How to Read Difficult Books states, “It’s difficult to read texts on complex topics written by authors who are not afraid to bore their audience” (p. 101). Three pages into this chapter, I quickly realized D. T. Willingham is no scaredy cat. I read the words on the page, amazed Willingham could stretch a relatively simple idea like “give yourself enough time to do your reading” into four pages of text. This is not a controversial stance that requires an elaborate argument. Yet Willingham dissects this concept (if you would call the statement Allocate Significant Time to Reading a concept. Isn’t that just a logical thing we all implicitly agree on?) until you feel your eyes begin to bleed.

However, I cannot only complain about this book. I realize that as we head off to university in a couple of years, Willingham’s revelations (okay, that was a little sarcastic) might benefit us. The most significant tip for me was, before you start reading, think about what you are going to learn. To get a hint of this, flip through the pages to get a sense of what the chapter is about. Make an outline with possible headings for your reading notes. Other learning points included; try to stay awake as you read dry material, place post-it’s on pages ahead of your reading to serve as little reminders that your mind alive, do not just highlight information that seems important, but keep notes as you read, and do not rely on end of chapter summaries and boldface text to give you the essential information. (This essential information can all be found in the boldface text and “in a sentence” summaries at the end of each reading strategy tip). 

I look forward to attaining enlightenment reading Chapter 6, How to Study for Exams. I wonder if Willingham will suggest revolutionary techniques such as; gain a deep understanding of concepts, rather than just surface memorization; create complete study notes; and overall, Allocate Significant Time to Studying to avoid last-minute cramming. Ground breaking!

Personal Writing #4

Wednesday, Jan 18th the whole school had a ski trip to mt. Washington. I was extremely excited because I had not been skiing for 10 years and wanted to try it out again I honestly thought it would be easy and to my surprise, I was very wrong because I sucked at it and could barley stand up without falling. for the first 3 hours, I was failing every 10 to 20 seconds and was so fed up with the ski trip and wanted to quit and eat lunch until Dylan and I got lost and didn’t know our way back to the lodge so we had to ask some random people near the ski lift if they knew where the lodge was and they told us that we were a pretty far distance away and that we would have to go back up the ski lift and ski back down the mountain to get tp the lodge obviously I wasn’t too excited because that was like an hour more of fear for me but we only had 30 minutes so when we got to the top of the mountain I had to try not to fall or else we wouldn’t be able to eat lunch because we had a specific time limit that we had to eat lunch in which was 12:00 to 12:30. So we raced s fast as we could down the mountain and aculay made it down decently quick but we were still a little late for lunch but it was okay in the end and it honestly made me better at skiing because I didn’t have a choice but to get better or else I would have been stuck on that mountain for a lot longer than I would have wanted.

Personal writing#4 Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, in full Vincent Willem van Gogh, (born March 30, 1853, Zundert, Netherlands—died July 29, 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, France), Dutch painter, generally considered the greatest after Rembrandt van Rijn, and one of the greatest of the Post-Impressionists. Van Gogh, the eldest of six children of a Protestant pastor, was born and raised in a small house. His artistic career was extremely short, lasting only the 10 years from 1880 to 1890. During the first four years of this period, while acquiring technical proficiency, he confined himself almost entirely to drawings and watercolors in a village in the Brabant region of the southern Netherlands. In 1883 the urge to be “alone with nature” and with peasants which took him to Drenthe, an isolated part of the northern Netherlands frequented by Mauve and other Dutch artists, where he spent three months before returning home, which was then at Nuenen, another village in the Brabant.

Personal Writing #4: Revenge of the Purple-Clad Warrior Monkey

Midnight at the Whining Wharf, the purple-clad warrior monkey silently waits. Lurking in the shadow cast by a large crimson shipping container festooned with the company logo of his target . . . Wilson DeVon. As he waits, the purple-clad warrior monkey reflects on the week prior.


“Mr. DeVon, a comment please!”, shouts the paparazzi.

“People are horrified to learn the fire that destroyed the Amazon rainforest was started by your company. And all to free up land to build another mansion for your personal use! A comment, please!”

“Wilson, how does it feel?”, whispers one rather hairy looking man clad in a big purple sun hat.

“How does what feel?”, responds Wilson.

“To be the person who almost caused the extinction of the Rainbow-Clad Monkey?”

“No comment”

“Mr. DeVon will take no more questions and is leaving the building”, interrupts Wilson’s chief bodyguard.

Wilson is briskly escorted out and straight into a waiting limousine. Little does he know, this was only his first of several encounters with the purple-clad warrior monkey.

Wednesday, the second encounter…

Wilson DeVon is at his summer home, in a warm bubbly bath. The enormous tub faces the waterfront. Suddenly, a massive gull does a flyby drop on the gigantic wall to wall window. Foamy white liquid uric acid slowly dribbles down the gleaming glass and onto the perfectly manicured lawn. 

“BLOODY HELL!!! Someone go shoot that foul creature! And clean the putrid window!”

In 3 minutes, a loud gunshot signals the end of a life. To the horror of the house staff, the feathery remains of the dead mangled gull splayed out on Wilson’s welcome mat. 

Later that afternoon, when Willson interrogated his staff, the gardener admitted to seeing a hairy looking man in a purple baseball cap lurking around the grounds. The gardener said when he inquired as to who he was, the man gruffly brushed him off saying, “I’m the new security guard an’ I’m doing my first patrol so gettouta my face”.

Friday, the third encounter…

Wilson is out for a stroll, walking his two standard poodles. A hairy man in purple cashmere and a purple toque crosses the street towards him. Beelining straight for Wilson, he yawns, showing strangely pointed teeth. The man in purple bumps into Willson, startling him.

“Hey, I’m walking here!”

The man replies in a joking manner, “Oh sorry, I didn’t see you there small fry, heh”. He drops his voice,“Better watch your back, I’m coming for ya’”.


Back at the Whining Wharf, the purple-clad monkey warrior checks his watch. Wilson was scheduled to show at exactly 1 o’clock am. There was a sketchy deal to buy blood diamonds, and Wilson was the buyer. The purple-clad warrior monkey checks his watch again, half an hour to go. He decides to have a quick nap. As he drifts off to sleep he festers on why he hates Wilson. The Amazon rainforest was home to the Rainbow-Clad Monkeys. They had existed since the beginning of time. They had taught humans language, how to cook food, and how to build shelter. The Rainbow Monkeys got their immortality from the trees in the rainforest, so when Wilson burned it down, the monkeys all died. Except for purple. His tree was surrounded by a stream, thus he was spared. It was now the purple-clad monkey warrior mission to avenge the death of all Rainbow Monkeys and kill Wilson.

PW #4 – Ski trip

last Wednesday, January 18th, the school offered a one-day trip to mount Washington for a ski trip; I was genuinely excited about this trip because it was my first time seeing actual snow and also my first time skiing. We left school at four in the morning to take a three-hour ride to get there and have around seven hours of skiing. We could already see the snow on the trees when there was half an hour left to get there. I felt it in a movie, looking at all the gorgeous landscapes; I thought I was dreaming it was too perfect to be accurate. We arrived, and we got our skies right away. Because it was my first time skiing, I took a lesson right when we arrived, and it was tricky for me. Still, I started to get the hang of it, but after half an hour of the lesson, I got exhausted, so I took a break in the cabin and ate some snacks because we didn’t eat breakfast it was too early for that after that the day just went on and the hours went flying. We came back to the school around four in the evening, and almost everyone was sleeping on the way around. We arrive at the campus around seven o’clock. We ate some pizza for dinner, and I went straight to bed. The next day I got cramps all over my legs. This was one of my favourite trips, and I can wait to go skiing again.

Personal Writing #4: Quote Analysis

To improve my analysis skills, I though it could be a good idea to try and analyze a random quote to the best of my ability.

“It’s not a merit to tolerate, but rather a crime to be intolerant.” ―Percy Bysshe Shelley

First Impressions: It is clear upon reading this quote that the writer disliked intolerant behavior, either towards race, religion or other beliefs.

Paraphrasing: When he says that “It’s not a merit to tolerate someone”, he takes of the credit off the people who might seem to brag about their tolerant behavior. Finally, by completing the sentence with “but rather a crime to be intolerant”, he says that being tolerant is a requirement, not an achievement.

Purpose: I assume that the purpose of this quote is to tell people that being tolerant should not be seen as helping a person, but simply as a persons duty.

Literacy Techniques: I was not able to see any specific literacy techniques displayed in the quote. This is likely due to that fact that I have a limited knowledge of the vast amount of literacy techniques that exist.

Observations: Though I could not identify any literacy techniques, I did take note of one particular thing in the quote. The fact that tolerate and intolerant are present in the same sentence. For some reason, this struck a cord inside of me. This also pulled my attention to the presence of merit and crime in the same sentence. I don’t know what to think about this specifically, but it is something I will take note of.

IRJE #5: To Kill a Mockingbird

In “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Jem” is dared by “Dill” to touch the door of the Radley house. Jem, having never run away from a dare before, tried to smooth talk his way out of this one. He does that by using the fact he has a little sister. This immediately tells Scout that Jem is actually afraid.

“Jem wanted Dill to know once and for all that he wasn’t scared of anything: “It’s just that I can’t think of a way to make him come out without him gettin’ us.” Besides, Jem had his little sister to think of.

When he said that, I knew he was afraid.” (p. 17)

Instead of simply declining the dare, Jem kept trying to talk his way out of it, even using his little sister as an excuse. This tells us a lot about Jem’s character. He isn’t the type of person who likes to show weakness, likely wanting to be seen as a “tough guy”. He absolutely does not want Dill to know that he is afraid of the Radley house, and its inhabitants. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that “Scout”, the narrator, can tell he is afraid. This implies that Scout has some level of understanding of his behavior, and is likely not tricked by “tough guy” act Jem seems to put on.

PW #4 – Nostalgia, and the 2000s

Sometimes I would find myself looking at a computer screen wondering how we have come to this point in history, where I can know the reason behind my sore throat just by looking it up on google. Well, I was around the late 2000s era to remember the initial excitement we had with technology. At first, my parents would usually hop on to MSN messenger to say hi to friends and family, which at the time seemed out-of-the-world. The whole point of the internet being somewhat complex to comprehend added to the excitement of using it, I felt like I was getting work done. Everyday after kindergarten, I would boot up my mom’s old Windows XP laptop which were filled with all these fancy animations and 3D text. Sound quality was a big issue for most people, but I always loved hearing the compressed sound playing from adobe flash player whenever I went to My experience with computers made me invested in technology, and is what got me into researching these kinds of topics on a daily basis.

But in the present day… (2016-2023)

Computer design has become very dull thanks to modern design trends. Whenever I would load up a messaging program, I would find myself staring at a black background with a bunch of text written on top of it rather than the old UI computers had where it had a lot of eye catching details such as 3D text or some nice design that would come preloaded in the background. Computer design has grown to be really flat, taking a more minimalistic approach rather than the old eye catching design computers had back in the days. 3D styled buttons became plain rectangles, Fancy notification sounds became very dull (mostly just filled with the same sound) and logging on to a messaging service doesn’t have the same experience it did back then. I will always miss the good old days for giving me the fantastic experience I had, but here I am, falling asleep in front of my monitor, with nothing to do.

PW #4

A lot would have been different if I had stayed in Korea without moving to Canada. Especially, there must have been a big change in life at school. My friends are all 11th graders now because the semester starts in March in Korea. I went to a Catholic school with strict school rules, and all the students took classes hard. Because of that, I spent a lot of time following the class every day. Other students around me went to the academy until at least 10. School ended at 5, so I often went to the academy right away without going back home. If I stayed there, I would have had a hard time as I would be in grade 11.
However, I had more fun in my spare time after class in Korea. I lived near downtown, and I was free to play after the semester. The food was to my taste, and there was no problem in communication. When I first came to Canada, I was very bored because I had little study to do and no place to go. It is also fun to hang out with friends I made in Canada, but I don’t think I would have had time to be bored if I stayed in Korea. I would have studied to death during the exam period, and after the grades came out, you would have repeatedly played.
I often imagine what it would have been like if I still stayed in Korea, but I don’t regret this choice.


Personal Writing #4

Skiing trips are always really fun. This particular ski trip was just as great as the last. My friends and I went up to Mt. Washington in a van and although it was really early and got rather stuffy in the van it was a rather enjoyable ride up. Once we got there we waited for the other students to arrive. I went with my cousins to get their ski rentals and then, we made sure Finn and Diego got to their snow kids lesson. Eli and I made our way to the top of the ski lift and did some runs with Ben and Belle. Mid day we met back up with Finn and Diego, had lunch, and then took them both on a green run. It was Finns first time skiing, when he finished his lesson we took him on a green and ran in to a couple problems but overall the ski trip was amazing! On our drive back we watched Rush Hour.

Personal Writing #4

Last week in the park, there was a poor unfortunate soul who was being followed by a police car. This boy was no angel, but that did not matter. After being caught smoking by a police officer, he ended up with a ticket for being in a smoke-free area. In the first place, his mother was always nagging him about going to the park and not smoking, but he could not because of his friends, and then secondly, it was not a smoking area. The boy walked into the park, and he sat on the bench for a few minutes.

On a Mission- Personal Writing #4

Yesterday, I went to Munro’s. With the wooden floor creaking, and my hair wet from the rain outside, I had a half-an-hour to peruse until my sister would find me. I was looking for a certain book that was recently released by one of my favourite authors. Somehow, I seemed to have looked through every section, and I couldn’t find it. Usually I take at least an hour at the bookstore, so I forced myself to not to get too distracted. The fiction tends to be on the left hand side of the store, so that’s where I spend most of my time.

Weaving through the aisles, I scanned each one thoroughly but quickly. My day was quite stressful, so I enjoyed having a moment alone, with a certain goal in mind. I managed to look through each aisle, even ones not of the same genre of the book I was looking for. In one of these, I found a different book I was interested in. Nevertheless, I grabbed it and continued my search. One might be wondering, why didn’t I just ask a staff member for some help finding it? I couldn’t do so because one of the only staff that wasn’t at the increasingly busy cash register, was helping out another customer.
Alas, I finally found the book. It turned out to be on one of the shelves at the entrance of the store. “New hardcovers”. My sister arrived in the nick of time, and she laughed at my dullness once I told her what happened. My total came up to around seventy dollars; outrageous for only two hardcover books. My gift card and store points came to my rescue that day.

Personal Writing

My winter break days

During the winter break, the main thing I focused on was basketball and fitness, every day I woke up at 6 am and got ready to go to the gym, it usually would take around 1 hour and a half in the gym. After the gym I would walk back home and get ready to eat breakfast, after breakfast I would study for 2 hours then hit the basketball courts, at the basketball gym I would focus on my ball handling for 30 minutes, my finishing for 45 minutes and end off by doing shooting drills. after I’m done with my shooting drills I would hope to play some pick up which is basically where a bunch of random people is placed on two teams for 3 on 3 or 4 or 4s, during this time the main focus for me was to use the skill work that I have been practicing in a game moment by doing this it would ensure that in a real game, I would be able to take those same moves and shots and make them. After I was finished id come home and get lunch, following lunch would be another study session for an hour just catching up on work and doing my 15 minutes of reading. By that time it would be around 3:30 and I would get ready for another session at the basketball court, id go over and take 50 free throws, do some footwork drills and run lines until about 4:30. once the sun went down head home to get dinner, This would be my routine almost every day during the break.

Train to Nowhere: 4

The perplexity of the tunnel makes Victoria feel isolated, despite having a few of her friends tag along. As her group look behind then, the light at the entrance grows smaller and smaller, she warily scans her group. Freya and Clair hold each other tight, while Kevin stands in between the twins, Jacob and Andrew. None of them are chatty, unlike how they always are at school. Even Robin and Doug, the dynamic duo, stare into nothingness. The lovebirds Mya and Tristan trail behind but still… Silence.

“Does anyone have a flashlight?” she asks the group. Jacob ruffles through his bag to find one, but in bright pink.

“Hey, isn’t that your favorite colour?” Andrew teases in an attempt to lighten up the mood. The joke is only met with soft chuckles from Kevin. 3 bright beams search the environment of the tunnel. Rustic bricks with hints of mold, spider webs, and purple slime.

“I have never seen that in my entire life!” Clair is fascinated by the obscure colour and scent of the slime on the wall. She whips out her walkie talkie to report to the other groups about the discovery, but it only responds with static. “Huh, I guess we’re cut off..”

As the group persevere deeper into the tunnel, the walls slowly close in, forcing them to huddle closer. Isn’t it odd that trains are supposed to pass in this tunnel but it can barely fit a group of teens in here? Victoria thought to herself. More slime up ahead, the flashlight beams reflects off the substance. The purple is more vivid than before, and the smell kicks the teens’ noses.

“Watch your head,” the unknown voice speaks again.

“SHOW YOURSELF ALREADY COWARD,” Doug screams, his voice reflecting off the brick wall. The ground shakes,

“AN EARTHQUAKE? NOW?” Robin shouts, his voice echoes.

“SHUT UP BOY!” the voice yells and a tentacle appear out of nowhere. It thrashed furiously, knocking Doug into the wall. Another tentacle appears, both now grabbing Robin. He chokes on the reeking smell of clam,

“I can’t…. bre—”

The tentacles catch Tristan by surprise when they grab Mya and flung her into the air. He screams vulgar words and burst into tears begging for her life. It was the most noise he had made that day.

“GUN! GUN!” Doug yells as Jacob and Freya draw their handguns, equipped in their trusty backpack and aim at the tentacles. They shoot mercilessly at the beast, finally releasing Robin and Mya from their misery. Kevin runs to check on Robin whilst Tristan embraces his girlfriend. ”We should really start thinking like a team, huh.” Kevin asks Robin who violently sobs on Kevins knee. Victoria stands over them with guilt on her face. Freya spots a dim light at the end of the tunnel. The group exits the tunnel only to find an identical train station that they left before. No signs of the other groups, no footprint. Only a few abandoned trailers that Victoria couldn’t recall seeing at the drop off,

“Let’s rest here for the night,” she says.

When I Ever Was Jeongmin (Pw #5)

Sometimes when I think about my life, I think that I am very unlucky. Most of the things that I wanted to happen never does, and all of the unfortunate events tend to happen on a daily basis. Most of the time I would get sick at the wrong times, such as the first day of school or before a long trip back home. I would get the worst grades and reports for the tests I studied the most, and I would get the best for the ones I didn’t even care about. I would get the worst headaches before the final exams, and I would be in my best mood on a useless weekend.

I don’t know why luck exists; other people look like they are having the best moment of their lives when my life has never been positive, and Other people look like they don’t have any problems in their lives when mine is full of them 24/7. I tend to compare myself with other people around me. When I talk to them and try to understand how their lives were, I always fail to do so. I am always jealous of how some people can stay happy and excited for most of their lives, if not the entirety of it.

My last memory of freedom was when I was a small child; when I didn’t have all the drama to deal with and the responsibility to take care of. I didn’t have a lot of homework and tasks to do like I do now, and I didn’t have to create multiple versions of myself to keep myself functioning. I always wish I could go back to when I was a baby so that I won’t make the same mistakes I made today. I wish I could be doing all of the things I wanted so that I won’t be dwelling around them.

I am very thankful to the people around me. From my family who provides me with a good environment and care – to my friends who provide me with joy in life when living in a foreign place that I have never lived in before. Being away from home and culture is not an easy thing to do, and so is skipping a grade and being younger than everyone else. However, these people help me get through these without any problems and if it weren’t for them, I would have been struggling with unanswered questions and curiosity about life.

I wish a very happy new year to everyone!

PW #4. Winter break back home

In the winter break I went back to my home place. I was very exited to go but also nervous because I had to take flight by my own. The luck was not in my favor the first two days. I los my flight from Victoria to Vancouver. So I had to buy another flight. When I got to Vancouver I had to change terminals because I had a connection flight. It was really stressful since I had only 30 minutes to change terminals and there was no taxis. I got into the fight and when I arrived to San Diego my bag didn’t arrive, but my parents surprised me by picking me up at the airport. It was really nice to see them since I had like 5 months that I didn’t saw them. When I got back home I hanged out with my friends and they stayed for a sleepover. The next day we went for tacos and ,y car got crashed and a bird popped my head. For obvious reasons I was really stressed but that night my friends through me a surprise Welcome party, so I got to see all my friends and it was really fun. Since it was holiday season I got to spent almost every day with my family and friends. I had a great time back home. I missed it so much. I almost dint want to come back to Canada.

PW: Why summer is my favorite season.

I do really enjoy winter and fall. I like the holidays and warm drinks, I love fall colors and winter clothes and christmas is of course one of my favorite holidays. But I can’t help but miss summer every single day. It has always been my favorite season since I was younger and I think it always will be for so many reasons. First of all, going to the beach is definitely one of my favorite things in the world If not my favorite one. I love beach houses, the sky, summer clothes, the music, coconut water, going in the sea and just everything about it. All my favorite memories are from summer. Summer trips with my family or summers where we just stayed at my town. I can spend entire days with my friends, staying up late without having to worry. I love the weather and late nights. The sunsets and sunrises are beautiful. The snacks are amazing, mango and watermelon are definitely my favorite fruits. I feel like no matter what I change and grow so much every summer and i can’t wait for this one.


PW: Winter

Winter is the coldest season in the year. Winter is usually three months a year November, December and January. People start freezing and the days are getting shorter. No one wants to go outside because of the bad weather. The nights are getting longer and scarier. Half of the day its dark, when you leave the house and when you come back. You have no motivation to stand up for the day or even go outside in the cold. Your hands, lips and skin are getting dry and you have to wear many and thick clothes so you don’t freeze. But there’s not only bad things about the winter. I love winter its my favorite season of the year, I think about the snow and the white trees outside. I like wearing huge sweaters and scarfs to keep myself warm and comfortable in these cold days. I love when you get home and can cuddle in the blankets with a warm cacao or hot tea. I love how you can watch the snow outside while being warm at home and I especially love the sports you can do in winter. Skiing, snowboarding or ice skating on a frozen lake are one of my favorite things to do in the winter. And of course the holidays in December. Your celebrating Christmas with your family and new years where you can maybe start a whole new era in your life or set new goals. These are all the things why I love winter and why its my favorite season in the year.  

Unfamiliar yet very inviting – part one of my poem about my South African journey:

It all started with a long journey to an unfamiliar place,

Yet it felt like home.

Although its seemed sketchy, I had a smiling face,

because I didn’t feel alone.

Hot and sunny,

Beautiful and bright,

The mall was busy,

But not too tight.

Good night’s sleep is needed to recover,

After all that drifting,

I get under cover,

And I start to dream.

Food was amazing,

My mouth was watering,

Biltong, droewors,

Lots of candy.

A red bus is what we used to see,

The beautiful Cape town city.

Lots of flowers, lots of trees,

Many new faces on magazines.

Monkeys climbed,

Even on me!

But they weren’t scary,

They didn’t even bite.

Meeting people…

I never knew existed,

But they felt like family,

Almost like sisters.

Going to school,

I embraced my inner “Matie”,

Only to learn,

So did many in my family.

That first week ,

All new and exciting,


Yet very inviting.

Personal Writing #4

Wallows is an alternative/indie rock band who released their first single “Pleaser” in 2017, and continue releasing music and going on tour to this day. The band is made up of 3 people: Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston. They are easily one of my all-time favorite artists as I really enjoy their music and the groups bond. Most of their songs follow the same, upbeat style. For me, listening to their songs never fails to boost my mood. The bond between the three of them is so strong and makes me genuinely happy watching interviews or music videos where their true personalities are showing. But their music videos connect both these aspects into one uplifting video. They use many visual tricks done by using interesting angles and editing. There is always an excess of colour in the videos, adding to the already upbeat music. My personal favorite music video that they’ve released is “I Don’t Want to Talk”. The video perfectly sums up the groups’ bond and the energy that is in each of their other music videos. If you haven’t heard of this band I highly recommend to search them up on YouTube, Spotify or whatever other music streaming platform you use.

Nyah Sharratt 01/18

PW#4 If there were only one language in the world

During the winter break, I realized how easy it was for me to speak in Japanese. I was a little homesick during the break because I couldn’t go back to Japan. I have friends here, and I also hung out with them, but I still missed my friends in Japan. So I called them every single night.  Of course, they speak Japanese. I have spoken Japanese since I was born. Japanese grammar and English grammar are so different. For example, if you say I go to the school today, we say today I the school to go. The word “go” in Japanese is “iku”. How can they be so different? How much I resented those who created the languages. We don’t need that many languages. If there was only one language in the world, we wouldn’t have to learn another one. It’s easier for everyone to communicate with whoever we want. But I still need to study English because of its existence.

English homework

I’m sitting in the cafeteria, working on my school homework. It’s cozy here, full of plants and extraordinary coffee. The couches are upholstered in dark purple and dark green colors. The sun is shining through the big windows in which I can see people passing by and some walking into the train station. The coffee started to get cold and vibrated once. That felt like an earthquake, I joked to myself. I probably accidentally kicked the table. I’m trying to figure out what to write in my English homework – it’s a personal writing assignment. I have always liked this type of homework but today, I don’t know, I don’t have any inspiration lately. I’m sitting here for an hour and a half,  waiting for something interesting to happen, while my surroundings have completely changed around me. I checked my phone overall about fifteen times. Not even there, on my phone, is happening anything that I would consider as interesting. Today is a peaceful day. How unfortunate for me. I’m thinking to pack my things and call it a day for now.  While I’m leaving, I see police sirens rushing around the cafeteria stopping before the train station. Well, this is interesting. I hurry to get there and see what is happening before they close the whole place because of…I don’t know what yet. When I’m getting closer and closer, I can hear people panicking and talking hysterically. What happened? My curiosity is now unstoppable. I need to know now. I go inside the station and listen to the police talking between themselves. “…it is a catastrophic situation.” says the first policeman. “It truly is, 26 dead people and many more injured,” answers the second one. What? How? “Do they know how it happened? Have you asked the witnesses?” asks the first one. “Yes, half of them think something broke and exploded, but the second half believes it was sabotage from one of the passengers,” declares the second policeman. So I did not kick the coffee table, it was the explosion.” John, what do you mean?” asks the confused policeman and John is looking a little uncomfortable about what he’s going to say. “Well, many of the passengers who were in the same wagon as the explosion happened to believe they saw a suspicious-looking guy with a black briefcase. And there is also one more thing Adam,” answers the policeman called John carefully. “John, god, just tell me the whole thing so we can go home.” sights policeman Adam. “I don’t think we are going home today any near time. You see, It happened that in the same wagon was also, ehem, a newly elected president of the Czech Republic,” says john in a whisper but I still could hear him very well. WHAT? From my country? What was he doing here? What did he do? I stay here for a little more, no one around is paying much attention to me. There are lots of injured people who are the most importatnt now. When I realize there will be no more information, I walk home. The instant moment i open the main doors of our house and see my parents, I tell them everything that happened. They are as shocked as me, perhaps even more. I walk up the stairs to my room, inspiration by the events, and start to write “Anna is sitting in the cafeteria, working on her school homework. It’s cozy there, full of plants and extraordinary coffee. The couches are upholstered in dark purple and …”

PW #4 Seeing my Family

Seeing my family after 4 months was awesome, I felt so many new emotions. I didn’t thought that leaving my family would be an impact for me and something that big. I remember I arrive at the airport at night and I was really tired, I walk to the exit after graving my bags, the exit doors open and I first saw my dad. I remember I run to him, I gave him a hug and I started crying. Then I saw my sister and little brothers and run to them, hug them all and started crying again. At last I saw my mom and gave her a huge hug. It felt really nice seeing them all again, as if all my problems and thoughts just disappear. I tried to spend all the time I could with my family, we went to eat, to the movies, we chill all together at the house, and many thing. I think this second time coming back to Canada was harder and more depressing after seeing my family, I think I could have done more things with them and I wish for more time. I’m happy because Im going to see them again in March. Meanwhile I’m having a great time here with my friends.