Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Strange Case of Missing Posts

Hi All. Chuck here.

For reasons we cannot ascertain, the posts that Amy Ramponi had created have disappeared. We consulted Google, but we had already tried the steps they told us about. Sadly, Google blogger does not have an activity log, so that option is out. We tried examining drafts, account settings, and more. Nothing. It is as if they never occurred. But we know they did.

Please have patience as we use the internet way-back machine to gather the content of the posts and repost them.

Thanks for your patience and continued support.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Facebook AP Psych and HS Psych Teacher Groups

There has been lots of beginning of year activity on a relatively new Advanced Placement Psychology Teacher Group.  There have been some amazing resources shared on there that I/we will be sharing on the THSP blog soon.  For now, here is the link to the group. Click the link to join--but be sure you are a teacher.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Testing Effect (or "Retrieval Practice")

I met Annie Murphy Paul (@anniemurphypaul) on Twitter, and she sent me this fascinating article about what Cognitive researchers are calling the "Testing Effect" (in the article, some researchers talk about renaming it "Retrieval Practice")

Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning

It's a good read: summarizes several studies that show how we can (and should) "treat tests as occasions for learning" rather than simply grading/evaluation tools. It's based on a fairly simple and intuitive idea: frequent, small "tests" of understanding (e.g. interrupting readings or a lecture with a multiple short questions that all students have to answer and think about) increase the chances that learners will be able to retrieve the information later. The article includes several practical classroom examples.

This could be a GREAT discussion during the Cognition unit (especially if you talk about Cognition early in the course and discuss effective studying methods).

A few quotes from the article that summarize the findings:
  • "Every time a student calls up knowledge from memory, that memory changes. Its mental representation becomes stronger, more stable and more accessible."
  • "Our minds are sensitive to the likelihood that we'll need knowledge at a future time, and if we retrieve a piece of information now, there's a good chance we'll need it again,”
  • “The process of retrieving a memory alters that memory in anticipation of demands we may encounter in the future.”
As a former psychology teacher and current assessment specialist, I'm fascinated by the possibilities: can we figure out efficient and effective ways to help students "quiz" themselves while studying? While listening to a lecture? While reading their text? How should these findings influence students as they study for your tests, and/or the AP or IB test? Hmm. Any of you have thoughts or techniques to share?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

APAC psychology presentations

Unlike most of you, my school year begins tomorrow, and so my chance to do an amazing play-by-play post about the AP Annual Conference last month in Austin has vanished, just like those carefree days of summer. Alas.
Maria Vita and Virginia Welle
So I'm simply going to tell you that it was Amazing, Awe-inspiring, and Affirming to be in one place with such great colleagues. I know that these conferences are expensive and travel is challenging, but it's a terrific way to get top-notch professional development. Start bugging your principals now about how you can get funds to attend next year's conference in Anaheim or the 2017 conference in DC.

Charlie Blair-Broeker and Randy Ernst
Here are links to the presentations shared by psychology teachers. I do not yet have a link to Kimberly Patterson's presentation, but will add it when I do. (NOTE: each of these is a visual accompaniment to a PRESENTATION - so some/many of the slides may not make sense on their own. Please contact the presenters directly if you have questions!)

Participants doing an activity, with Kimberly Patterson (far right)


--posted by Steve

Friday, July 31, 2015

Crash Course Video Details

Aaron Portenga from Michigan is awesome possum! He put together a minute-by-minute description of the Psychology Crash Course video series on YouTube.

You can find a viewable link here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DpuBXKsAaOlq-AJI3_CJuLp6IeosXxoCUzxhkk4KuNo/edit?pli=1

The file is view only, so copy/paste into a Word Document or save to your own Google Drive.

Each episode includes links to the respective videos. Seriously, Aaron is awesome!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The new school year is almost upon us and a former student and now teacher posted a request for icebreakers on facebook. I found immediately found this link from APA Division 2.

I did a post last August called, "First Day Activities," but it was far from complete.

Which icebreakers do you use? Do you have them written up? If so, email me a copy/link to your file so I can add them to our Teaching High School Psych (THSP) Google Drive. Use: thspblog AT gmail.com



posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Psychology and Clickbait

This week I saw an article from History Today called, "25 Times History Made Perfect Clickbait."

For those not familiar with the term, it is a technique used to create curiosity in the reader of a headline and "encourage" them to click on the link to a page that has many ads, at least one of which you will accidently click on making the page owner richer.

Along those lines, I thought of a couple myself, but tend not to be that creative, so please add your own suggestions for clickbait headlines in the comments below!

  • What Secrets About Prison Life Does Zimbardo Reveal?
  • Do You Have the Right Mindset to Be Successful?
  • Authorities Opened the Door, Found Genie. You Won't Believe What Else?
  • Monkeys Were in For a Nasty Surprise with Harlow!
  • Which Scary Psychologist Created Sex in Advertising?

So get creative and add as many as you'd like in the comments.

Here is a screenshot from the article.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Psychology Memes

--an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.

  • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

I posted about an app that makes memes back in 2014 at this link: http://teachinghighschoolpsychology.blogspot.com/2014/05/meme-factory-post.html

Since then, I have found more than a few psychology memes online. Some are accurate, some are not. You can use accurate ones for lesson starters or inaccurate ones as a way to check for understanding. You could have students create their own. So many possibilities.

Here are some fun ones.  Enjoy!

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New for AP/Regular Psychology Teachers--Resources Galore

The following is a combination post with new material from Chuck and reminders from Steve

Updated resources for teachers new to high school psychologyWelcome 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 to start with:

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. (Full disclosure: I'm currently chair of the TOPSS Board.)

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.
a) The AP Psych home pageb) The course description (aka the Acorn Book, in PDF; updated Fall 2013)
c) The AP Psych teachers guide -- written by THSP's own Kristin Whitlock, this thing is a beauty and a GREAT place to get started if you're new to the course (also in PDF)
d) Old AP Psych exam questionse) AP Psych store - you may want to buy the 2004 and 2007 released exam multiple choice questions at some point
f) *NEW* If you are an AP Psych teacher, be sure to join the online AP Psychology Community.

3) *NEW* 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, and often share ideas and resources with each other. In the past couple of years #psychat has become a great way to share information as well - see this post for more information.
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. In 2015-2016, the group will be tweeting the First Wednesday of each month at 8PM EST, 7PM CST, 5PM PST
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. Here are several to try.
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.
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. You can e-mail chair Daria Schaffeld at daria.schaffeld AT d214.org 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! If you know others in your district or region who teach psych, contact them and ask for help. Most psychology teachers are still the only ones in their school, so getting in touch with folks who are nearby and are willing to share can be immensely helpful. Or join an e-mail list for psychology teachers such as Psych-News, TIPS or PsychTeacher (see a full list here) and make connections all over the world!
9) A final rec and plug: this Teaching High School Psychology blog which is run by Kent Korek, Chuck Schallhorn, Rob McEntarffer, Nancy Diehl, Kristin Whitlock, and Steve Jones. 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. You can also follow me (Steve) on Twitter at @highschoolpsych.
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 Amazon.com or stream a couple seasons on Netflix. For content guides for all five seasons, click here.

11) Chuck Schallhorn has a YouTube Channel that can help out with some of the more complex ideas for the students at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOG05VwbujNwGUX5UA0zcXQ
12) Chuck also has an entire online AP course in video format @ https://www.educator.com/psychology/ap-psychology/schallhorn/  It costs money, but if you are desperate, this should help out

13) 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 lessonshttps://drive.google.com/open?id=0B28t_LsPkwHefnRSTU5aWVFQVHo3MVBSZEEzTHczTXpPT09EMzVOLXhsdVBVRmdNTmRNUms**test out this link and make sure you can get inside each folder. Contact Chuck if there are any issues with the link.

14) When planning a new unit, check out this blog at http://teachinghighschoolpsychology.blogspot.com/ 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!

15) APA Division 2-The Society for the Teaching of Psychology. They have an amazing set of resources on their OTRP website.

16) Check a later post in which Rob will take a look at the videos of Joseph Swope.

17) Check a later post in which Chuck adds Crash Course Psychology video guides.

If there are any resources we missed, please leave them in the comments.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn and Steve Jones

Monday, July 20, 2015

APA/Clark University High School Psychology Teacher Workshop, part 1

Maria Vita and I get to work with a fantastic group of teachers here at Clark University!

The APA Clark University High School Psychology teacher workshop is becoming one of the "great traditions" in high school psychology. Way back in 2005, Dr. Lee Gurel decided to donate to the American Psychological Fund and establish a continuing endowment so that high school psychology teachers could gather during the summer to study at Clark. (you can find more context and background here)

Watch this space for updates on the 2015 Clark experience - a good time will be had by all, and some good psychology learnin' is about to commence!

posted by Rob McEntarffer