Thursday, September 20, 2018

Check out APA's Introductory Psychology Initiative (IPI)!  Building on the momentum of recent events, such as the APA's Summit on High School Psychology Education, this group is taking an in-depth look into the Introductory Psychology course at all levels of education. The working groups are divided into 4 main areas:  Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment, Teacher training, Course models and design, and Students success.  Here's the future of Introductory Psychology!

Kristin Whitlock

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


UTAH-Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools Fall Conference

Westminster College, Salt Lake City UTAH
Friday, Sept 21 2018
7:30 am - 3:30 pm


Dr. Rob McEntarffer, Lincoln Public Schools
What's Psych got to do with it? Using what we teach

Dr. Suzy Cox, Utah Valley University
The changing landscape of adolescence

Annette Nielsen, Woods Cross High School
Psychological Science: Adding Labs to Psychology

Dr. Jessica Habashi & Angela Anderson, Utah State University
Sensory System Demonstrations for Lab and Lecture

Participant Idea Share: Emily Checketts, Roy High School

Breakout sessions
• Sports Psychology: Jillian Carver, Sky View High School

• Introductory Psychology: Dr. Rob McEntarffer, Lincoln Public Schools

• AP Psychology: Erik Bayles, Pleasant Grove High School ; Tiffany Bliss, Olympus High  School; Julie Gowans, Payson High School

COST: $50 (due by Sept 14; after that date $60); includes continental breakfast, lunch, materials, certificate


Hope to see you there!
Kristin Whitlock

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Teaching Psychology: Where Can I Find Help?

The great folks at the APA/TOPSS have created a wonderful list of online resources for psychology teachers called, "Teaching Psychology: Where Can I Find Help?" Highlights include information for regular psych, IB Psych, and AP Psychology; professional development; course development; PLNs; much more.

Check out the resources at the link above. Incredibly helpful for any teacher, not just teachers new to the profession or subject area.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, August 10, 2018

New APA Resources--The Canvas Course

AMAZING NEW RESOURCE--Thank you to Brad Wray and the Tech Strand at the Psychology Summit!!!!

TOPSS High School Psychology Course Template available in Canvas – From the technology and online learning strand. A giant thanks to Brad Wray in particular for creating and filming the linked video on the site, and for all his work editing and uploading the course. Feel free to watch the video and download the course – feedback is welcome!

“This teaching resource for high school psychology teachers includes many content specific, peer-reviewed resources, videos and formative assessments organized by the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula. The entire course template is shareable and customizable and can be used in on-line or in-person psychology classes.”

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New to Teaching Psych? Some Key Resources--2018 Edition

Welcome new psychology teacher! Congratulate yourself on finding/stumbling on/being forced to teach the best class in high school! There is an abundance of materials out there so you don't have to reinvent the wheel your first year (although you should feel free to after that). Here are some of the best resources.

The following is a combination post with material from Chuck Schallhorn and Steve Jones.

1) TOPSS stands for Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools and is part of the American Psychological Association. 

Join TOPSS and you become an affiliate member of the APA at a fraction of the cost that other professionals pay, only $50 per year. *NEW*

In 2011 teachers on the TOPSS board created a manual for new high school psychology teachers. This was written by high school psychology teachers who have "been there" with few resources and little help among your building colleagues.

Be sure to check this out! TOPSS has lesson plans for every unit of the high school psych course and is in the process of revising older units so that the lesson plans remain vital and useful. They're created by high school teachers and are edited by psych professors. There's also a quarterly newsletter, the Psychology Teachers Network, and an annual workshop for high school teachers at Clark University. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the APA and TOPSS have created the National Standards for High School Psychology.

The first version of standards was created in 2005 and the newest version of the standards was released in 2011. Following the Psychology Summit of 2017, a new steering committee has been tasked with creating new and updated standards in the upcoming years.

Full disclosure, Steve is a former chair of TOPSS and Chuck is currently a member-at-large.

2) The College Board

Even if you don't teach AP Psychology this is a great resource -- and if you do, it's terrific! Here are some pages to start with.:

3) Twitter

You will be amazed at all the valuable resources that are at your fingertips via Twitter. Many high school psychology teachers (like myself) consider my colleagues on Twitter to be an extremely valuable part of their personal learning community (PLN), and often share ideas and resources with each other.

In the past couple of years the hashtag #psychat has become a great way to share information as well. Other teachers are also using Twitter as a way to interact with their students online in many ways, such as commenting on news articles, sharing new sites and even homework reminders.

You can also follow Steve on Twitter at @highschoolpsych or Chuck at @MtnHousePsych.

4) Teaching psychology activity books.

These were compiled by Ludy Benjamin et. al. and have a wide variety of activities for intro psych courses. Some are hits and some are misses (in my opinion) so you might want to buy one and see what you think. 

5) Forty Studies that Changed Psychology

An excellent overview that will be invaluable to you if you're just getting started, and is often used by many AP Psych teachers during the year or as a summer assignment.

6) The publisher of your textbook. 

Find out what book you'll be using, then contact the publisher and get in touch with the high school representative for psychology. They are usually very helpful and can give you an idea of what might be available for you for free. A great tip from Michael Donner on the AP Psych list is to contact a publisher of another psychology textbook and see if you can get an exam copy of that book (or even find a used copy online). A second book can be very helpful for helping you come up with alternate examples or explanations for your students. Chuck has more than 15 alternate introductory texts--there are even activities one can do with multiple textbooks.

7) The National Council for the Social Studies Psychology Community. 

This group is part of NCSS and helps psychology teachers in many ways, including annual presentations at the NCSS conference, newsletters and more. They are available on Twitter at

You can e-mail chair Daria Schaffeld at daria.schaffeld AT to get a copy of the latest newsletter and to find out more. Also, consider attending the annual NCSS Conference to hear great presentations.

8) Your fellow teachers!

Though there are still listservs (which I have purposely omitted), there is the facebook AP Psych teacher group. While there are some excellent resources shared, some of the ideas shared are not connected to standards or other reliable sources and lack pedagogical quality. The google drive there is filled with ideas, so if you have time and interest, do check it out.

 9) A Blog Plug: this Teaching High School Psychology blog 

The blog was created by Steve Jones, Kent Lorek, and Chuck Schallhorn with Chuck being the primary contributor at the moment. Other contributors include Rob McEntarffer, Nancy Diehl, and Kristin Whitlock. It's a site for us to share with our fellow teachers the things that we like, find interesting, have questions about, etc. Follow us via e-mail so you are notified every time we post something new, in your RSS reader or just bookmark us and visit when you can.

When planning a new unit, check out the blog at and do a unit search for videos and assignments that we have. You can do this by checking out the list of units in the left-hand column of the blog.

There are hundreds of ideas and resources we have posted throughout the years. One final bit of advice: Psychology is a science. It doesn't matter what your background is as long as you're willing to embrace the scientific perspective and run with it. Have fun and enjoy teaching psychology!

We have a THSP Psychology folder on Google docs that has many resources for each unit. These activities have been vetted and are appropriate and quality lessons

**test out this link and make sure you can get inside each folder. Contact Chuck if there are any issues with the link.

10) Brain Games
The video series from National Geographic is outstanding for psychology and neuroscience demonstrations. In fact, it has overtaken many of our in-class demos both in terms of quality and quantity. You can purchase the DVDs online at or stream a couple seasons on Netflix. For content guides for all five seasons, click here.

11) Chuck Schallhorn has a YouTube Channel 
This can help out with some of the more complex ideas for the students at:

12) Chuck and 
It costs money, but if you are desperate, this should help out. You can also search YouTube for teachers who have put their lessons online. They are of varying quality

13) APA Division 2-The Society for the Teaching of Psychology

They have an amazing set of resources on their OTRP website. 

14) Joe Swope (longtime psych teacher who is currently on the TOPSS board) has an amazing site you can sign up for at There are many quality resources here including his videos on psychology.

17) Crash Course Psychology videos

The main playlist is available here--great for quick reviews, overviews, background information, or even as student homework--they are densely packed with information.

If there are any resources we missed, please leave them in the comments. posted by Chuck Schallhorn in 2018.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Research Response Opportunity

Hi All,

I received this information from Courtney Walsh. This is a request to fill out a survey for psychological research. This blog is only passing along the information, we do not have any connection to the research. Please direct questions to the folks below.

Due to APA's support of immigrant student populations, I am reaching out to request your help in reaching a nationally representative sample. I am an experienced psychology and sociology high school teacher currently wrapping up my master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University.

My thesis research is exploring high school teachers’ understanding of and professional development surrounding this atypical student population. In the current social environment, an exploratory survey gauging teachers’ awareness of how immigration policy affects undocumented adolescent students' school and daily life is extremely relevant and important.

I am requesting that you encourage your members to participate by disseminating the details below. Thank you for your consideration of this project.

Courtney Walsh
Master’s Student,
Kent State University


Research details: To participate there is an online survey (Secondary School Teachers’ Understanding of the Impact of Immigration Policy on High School Students) that should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. It can easily be completed on a phone, tablet, or computer.

Here is the link to the survey: 

Participation is anonymous and voluntary and you may withdraw from the study at any time.

Upon completion of the survey, you have the option to enter your email address in separate survey for the chance to win one of the following: $50 Amazon gift card (1 available), $25 Amazon gift card (4 available).

If are you under 18 years of age, or not a certified high school educator, please do not respond to the survey.

Questions? Contact the Principal Investigator (my advisor), Maureen Blankemeyer, at or 330.672.9397.

You may also contact Kent State University’s Institutional Review Board at 330.672.2704.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Personal Journey from Creating Evil to Now Inspiring Heroism: A Webinar with Phil Zimbardo

Our friend Nancy Diehl (former TOPSS officer and all-around great person/psychologist) just shared this--looks like a great opportunity for teachers, so check it out and join the webinar!

Register today!

Webinar with Dr. Zimbardo. Just confirmed... ANYONE CAN PARTICIPATE! 

For teachers $10- for APA TOPSS members $5. 

 Join Division 52 President Merry Bullock and Stanford Professor Phil Zimbardo in a conversation on Zimbardo’s trajectory from trying to understand situational aspects of evil to trying to promote everyday heroism.

Hosted by: APA Division 52 and APA Office of International Affairs June 8th, 2018 3:00 PM EDT / 12:00PM PDT

CE credit is available 

For more information and to register:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, June 4, 2018

2018 TOPSS Committee Call for Nominations

2018 TOPSS Committee Call for Nominations 

If you would like to become more involved with the APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS), and are interested in gaining leadership experience and positively impacting the teaching of high school psychology, we encourage you to consider serving on the TOPSS Committee.

TOPSS is especially interested in encouraging individuals in all locations and from diverse backgrounds (including diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age and religion) to consider running for TOPSS office. In 2018, the following elected positions will be filled: Chair-elect and Member-at-large. Both are three-year positions.

The TOPSS Committee meets at least once a year in Washington, DC. The APA covers travel and accommodation expenses. Please consider nominating a colleague who you feel would make a positive impact. Self-nominations are also welcomed.

Each term of office begins in January and continues for the succeeding 12 months. For details, please visit

 Nominations are due July 1, 2018.

Author note--I am in my second year in serving on the TOPSS board. There is at least one meeting in Washington, D.C. each year, with a second one sometimes occurring. We have conference calls monthly with each member having a particular focus and projects to be a point person on. One year later, we are still working on the amazing ideas and programs that the Psychology Summit created. Our newest project is deciding what to do with the one million dollars David G. Myers gave to the foundation for TOPSS to use. We are in an incredible time to be working within TOPSS and the teaching of psychology. I highly recommend giving it a shot.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, May 18, 2018

Request for Feedback on APA’s National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula

Request for Feedback on APA’s National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula 

The National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula Working Group invites feedback on the National Standards (APA, 2011) to inform the next revision of the policy document.

 All high school psychology teachers are invited to complete a short survey available online here by July 1, 2018.

The Working Group will review all submitted feedback this fall as it begins to revise the psychology standards. The current National Standards, which expire in August 2021, define learning benchmarks for the high school psychology course.

The standards are available online at Questions can be sent to

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

APA Annual Conference--HS Teacher Opportunities

Hi Everyone,

If you can, check out the offerings for the APA's annual convention. This year it is in San Francisco in August. If you are already out here, join us. Among other offerings, you can see me interview the great Paul Ekman. I still cannot believe that one. So check this out and register!

The following is excerpted from a letter by past-Chair of TOPSS, Kristin Whitlock, sent out to TOPSS members. Wonderful opportunities for teachers of high school psych!

Dear Colleague, I am writing to encourage you to attend the annual American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, being held August 9-12, 2018, in San Francisco, CA. APA is a great opportunity to learn firsthand about current findings in psychological science, network with other high school psychology teachers, and meet noted psychologists.

Full Day Pre-Convention Workshop for Psychology Teachers 

On Wednesday, August 8, the APA Education Directorate is hosting a full day workshop for psychology teachers on metacognition, hard to teach topics in introductory psychology, and improving student well-being. The cost of this workshop is $40 to attend for TOPSS members; breakfast, lunch, and materials will be provided. Presenters are Elizabeth Yost Hammer, PhD, and Elliott Hammer, PhD, both of Xavier University of Louisiana, and Annette Jordan Nielsen of Woods Cross High School (Utah). For details and to register, please visit the workshop website. The application deadline is July 1. The workshop will be held at the San Francisco State University downtown campus. Space is limited, so we hope you will register soon.

 TOPSS Invited Speakers and Reception 

We are pleased to announce the TOPSS invited speakers at Convention. These sessions will all be held in the Moscone Convention Center:

  • Elliot Hammer, PhD, Xavier University of Louisiana; Leveling the Field: Fostering Identification with School in all our Students; Friday, August 10, 3:00 – 3:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 206
  • Paul Ekman, PhD, University of California, San Francisco; Lee Gurel Lecture: A Conversation with Dr. Paul Ekman; Saturday, August 11, 2:00 – 2:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 215 
  • Linda Woolf, PhD, Webster University; Randal M. Ernst Lecture: Politics, Sex, Religion, and Rights: Controversial Topics in the Classroom; Saturday, August 11, 3:00 – 3:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 151 

There will also be a reception for high school psychology teachers on Friday, August 10, from 5:00-6:30 PM, at The Irish Bank, 10 Mark Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108. We hope you can join us for complimentary drinks and appetizers.

The APA Convention is an outstanding opportunity to learn about psychology and network with teachers and psychologists. You can choose from hundreds of sessions on psychology, including numerous plenary addresses on cutting edge research in the field at APA.

You can read about additional convention sessions for educators through the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website. You can read a high school teacher perspective on why the APA Convention is the “greatest professional development opportunity available” here.

If you are not the only psychology teacher at your school we hope you will share this information with your fellow psychology teachers. For more details and to register for convention, visit the APA Convention website. You can also register on-site. We hope to see you in August!


Kristin H. Whitlock, MEd Davis High School,
Kaysville, UT
Past Chair, TOPSS
Chair, TOPSS 2017 Convention Programming

Office of Precollege and Undergraduate Education
The American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 202-572-3013

posted by Chuck Schallhorn