Friday, September 23, 2016

Get Connected!

The number of TOPSS groups around the country is expanding! Many new groups are popping up or in the planning stages (Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, oh my!) These groups are filled with dedicated and involved educators who can help you as a new psychology teacher if you need it and can connect you to great organizations like TOPSS (Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools) and the NCSS Psychology Community. I first attended a TOPSS meeting in my area with a colleague, and I can confidently say that the meeting got me connected, got me involved, and changed my life. 

Some great upcoming opportunities: 

Jill Compher is looking to organize TTOP (Texas Teacher of Psychology) and has this message: 
Texas Teachers: Want to collaborate? I'm planning a Texas Regional Teaching Network for High School (TTOP) thanks in part to an APA grant and a pep talk from Mike Hamilton. The even will be held on a Saturday in the DFW area. Thanks for taking a few minutes to take my survey. (Found at this link.) Email questions to 

Another great opportunity to be connect if you are in the Northeast Wisconsin/Milwaukee/Chicago area is by attending the Excellence in Psychology Instruction Conference (EPIC) being held October 8th at UW-Green Bay. Details can be found here and for $30 you get: 







Image result for scott lilienfeld
The author, the myth, the legend....

---Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

St. Louis TOPSS Fall 2016 Workshop

FALL 2016 
STLTOPSS Workshop 
St. Louis Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools 

Partially funded by a generous grant from the APA High School Psychology Teacher Network Grant 

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Education Plus – (formerly Cooperating School Districts) 

1460 Craig Rd St Louis, MO 63146 McDonnel Room 

 Bring your Own: Side Dish or Dessert and Best Practices to Share!

I will send a sign-up genius link in October

Sandwiches and Mostaccioli from Psghetti’s 

Share your teaching techniques with your peers 

Develop collegial relationships with fellow psychology teachers. 

Guest Speaker- Anne Kraus 
Dissecting the AP Exam 
Sharing of Best Practices 
Book Club 
Vision for Spring 
Registration: Please email Jennifer Flores or Melody Barger if you would like to attend 

Jennifer Flores –  
Melody Barger – 

 posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, August 19, 2016

Indiana Psychology teachers and students READ ON

What do Dr. Drew Appleby, September 30th, Dr. David Myers, and Marian University (of Indiana) have in common?

Image result for drew applebyDr. David Myers is working to get hearing loops installed in public spaces throughout the United States (credit: Julie Von Ins)
      Dr. Appleby                                                      Dr. Myers

ISTOPS...the Indiana Students and Teachers of Psychology Conference!

For a small fee ($15 students/$30 professors/teachers) you can hear Dr. David Myers and Dr. Drew Abbleby who will both present keynotes, and various other high school and college professors will share ideas, present information, and demo great teaching in the field.

More information here ISTOPS Conference!

This conference is generously sponsored by STP, APA, and APS.

--- Posted by Amy Ramponi

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In the Kansas City area? If on!

If you are in the Kansas City, MO area....please consider filling out this short questionnaire. Jen Schlicht of Olathe South High School is gearing up to bring you a regional conference and she needs your help and input!

Image result for kansas city mo

Link can be found here.

---------Posted by Amy Ramponi

Guest Blog: iNeuron

August greetings, THSP blog readers! Some of you have started back to school, some of you are in staff development, and here in good 'ol Wisconsin, we've still got a few weeks of summer vacation left to soak up the dog days of summer! George, Aaron, and I just returned home from a visit to the Wisconsin Dells, where we did a duck tour and went swimming. I think we have the next Michael Phelps here, people! 

Another gratuitous George photo....sorry, I'll stop soon. 

But vacations and warm days is inevitable, school will start soon for all of us. With school starting, we must get back into thinking like teachers (many of us ALWAYS think like teachers, but you know what I mean....)

I was contacted in the past by Adam Gordon, President of Andamio Games, about their product: iNeuron. Adam's been a big fan and supporter of high school psychology teachers and local TOPSS groups for a few years, generous in supporting local conferences with monetary donations and also the best gel pens EVER. (Fun aside, I enjoy days where I arrive home after a long day of work to find Adam has sent a care package of these pens, randomly and without warning. *Hint *Hint)

Today's Guest Blog is by one of Andemio Games staff members on how she uses iNeuron to enhance student understanding on Neurobiology. Read on:

My name is Dr. Katrina Schleisman, and I’m a lifelong lover of psychology and Instructional Designer for Andamio Games. I’m really happy to announce that we have released a completely new version of the educational app iNeuron: I’ve spent the past two years working on iNeuron, developing new content and coordinating a research study to evaluate its efficacy as an educational tool in the classroom. I’ve worked with several hundred middle and high school students using the app, and it’s been a great experience. As a post-doctoral fellow in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota working with the champion of neuroscience education Professor Janet Dubinsky (, I was able to lend my expertise in the cognitive science of learning and the brain to develop content for iNeuron. The scaffolded lessons and circuit-building challenges in the app are a great way to introduce students to neuroscience in an engaging and interactive way. I presented an early version of the app at our local MNTOPPS conference last year and met some great high school psychology teachers. One of them chose to present iNeuron at the conference this year after we tried iNeuron in his psychology classes.

When using iNeuron in classrooms last year I found it was difficult to monitor what students were doing when they used the tablets. iPads are fun toys, and students used them to take selfies, play music, and do just about anything other than what they were supposed to be doing. Andamio wanted to address this challenge by developing a teacher dashboard tool, and we’re excited to announce that it’s released and ready to go. Prior to when class starts, you can use the dashboard to customize lesson plans for their students, changing what challenges appear on the screen and what challenges students have to complete before moving on to others. During class, you can push those lesson plans out to student devices and then monitor student progress in real time. You get notifications when students have left the app and when students are falling behind the rest of the class. After class, you can generate reports of student performance and understand of what concepts students found easy and what concepts students need more help with. Purchasing the teacher dashboard will unlock all iNeuron content for any student device that connects to it, permanently. You can learn more about the dashboard here:

Last but not least, the culmination of all our work was to conduct an evaluation study of iNeuron this past school year in collaboration with the University of Minnesota. Multiple types of high school science classes in the Twin Cities metro area were included in the study such as biology, psychology, and anatomy and physiology. During the 4-day study period students took a pre-test of neuroscience content knowledge on Day 1, used iNeuron in class on Days 2 and 3, and took a post-test of neuroscience content knowledge on Day 4. Classes were assigned to different experimental conditions to test different approaches to using iNeuron with students. Some classes were assigned to a control condition in which teachers taught regular neuroscience lessons in place of iNeuron on Days 2 and 3. The results showed that students in all conditions showed significant gains from pre- to post-test. These results indicate that iNeuron is an effective pedagogical tool for teaching neuroscience content and can be used in a variety of different approaches. The full results of our evaluation are currently being written up to submit for peer-reviewed publication and we look forward to sharing the details with you when they become available.

Bio: Dr. Katrina Schleisman is the lead Instructional Designer for Andamio Games. She took her first psychology course in high school and didn’t stop until she received her PhD 2014, majoring in psychology and minoring in education sciences. She recently completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the neuroscience department at the University of Minnesota. She’s a Minneapolis native and spends her free time playing music in a local band with her husband and gardening with her cat.

Image result for katrina schleisman
Dr. S sans gardening kitty  (I want a picture of that.)

Have a very, very happy and productive end of August! Enjoy the last few days if you haven't gone back yet! And if you have...Labor Day weekend is coming up fast! 

----Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Contest: WORST EXAMPLE of Psychological Science Writing

I wonder if this happens to the rest of you: you're glancing through your daily social media feed, or the newspaper, or your email, and to stumble upon a really awful article about psychology (or claims to be about psychology). It's usually a summary of research that is either horribly incomplete, or flat out wrong. Does that happen to you?

It happens to me. Often. My usual response is to tweet it out there with some expression of frustration ("Ugh" "Argh!!" "No!!!" etc.) but maybe it's time to collaborate and ramp up our responses.

If you find an article, blog post, etc. that makes some horrifying claim related to psychology, please either put it in the comments here or send me the link at I'll work on making some sort of "Hall of Shame." Might turn into a good activity for students? They could play "find the worst mistake?"

Here's my nomination for the Hall of Shame:

I think I counted ONE sentence that is probably completely correct (for the record: it's the first sentence). The rest of it... oh my. I'm not a bio-psychologist, but even I can spot the over generalizations, misrepresentations, and general goofiness in there. Whew. (thanks to @Neuro_Skeptic for finding the article - if you don't follow her/his twitter feed, you should!)

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, August 8, 2016

Noncomplementarity Behaviors

Did any of you listen to the episode of Invisibilia called "Flip the Script?" 

It's a fascinating story about a social psychology concept called "Noncomplimentary behavior" - deliberately NOT matching the tone/intent/intensity of messages aimed at us. Noncomplimentary behaviors may help defuse negative situations. As far as I know this idea isn't in intro. psych. textbooks yet, but high school students will find it fascinating, and it may be very relevant (and useful) in their lives. 

Related resources:

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Google Classroom, how do I love thee?

Happy, happy July friends! Apologies for my absence from the blogosphere - I'm living the "Developmental Psychology" chapter here at home with Baby George...who just STOPPED crying (pretty much) since his birth date in April. Good times. With less "Shhhh....shhhhh....please.....shhhh...." - there will be more time to think Psychology and get ready for the school year!
Gratuitous Baby George photo 

Anywhoo - the point of my post. Google Classroom. This classroom app available with Chrome is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Why do I love it so much? It has made my life so, so, so much easier.

How do I use it in my classroom?

1. Classroom management - I post every assignment (Unit FRQs), practice test (any teacher keen on retrieval practice!?), powerpoint, prezi, etc....that I use for easy access for my students. After the first few days of class, I NEVER hear, "I was gone yesterday...what did I miss?" They start knowing RIGHT OFF THE BAT that anything they miss is there for them. And then they stop asking that dreaded questions. Which. Is. Awesome.

2. Paperless Classroom - I have gone away from a lot of paper copies of things and have found that it is much easier for kids to grab things off classroom. Win-win.

3. IEP/504 Accommodations - I have found that a classroom management site like Google allows my students with IEP or 504 accommodations to be more self-sufficient and that it lessens my workload in this situation. Students can go right to the webpage and print off notes or follow along in class on a smartphone or Chromebook. This is huge for kids with note taking needs or for parents who want to help their students organize themselves or study.

4. Parent communication with what's going on in class - I allow parents to join my classroom and for some of them who want to assist their students - this keeps them in the loop. Parent emails have dramatically decreased. (Not that I don't want to hear from parentals.)

5. Students may submit homework or assignments on Classroom and you can grade them digitally. You (literally) never lose a paper. You also know who has their stuff in, and who's out. (Project Runway, anyone?)

6. When I want students to do something in class (a quick web-based activity, a quiz, or when I have them do stations activity days) - I can link up the webpages right to Google classroom. NO MORE will you have to hear "This website doesn't work." Ugh....every teacher's worst nightmare.

I'm sure there are many, many more uses for Google classroom. How do you use it?

----Posted by Amy Ramponi

Monday, July 4, 2016

Psychology Teacher Mapping Post--A Request for Information

OK, this idea has been around for a while now and it seems it has not gotten off the ground.

Let's give it a go here. This is a trial run. If you have problems, please email me at

I made a short Google Form that, when the questions are answered populates a Google map, with the information available for each person.

Link for Google Form--please go here and fill in your information:

When taken, the only data in the spreadsheet was mine, so that is why only one icon exists. I will post periodic updates in the future. The name of the high school is listed at the top of the information.

The Map can be found here:
Version 3

When you click an icon, this information pops up:

At the moment, we have not created any guidelines as to the relationship and expectations between mentors and mentees. The College Board has done a trial version of this for APUSH. No word on when it will reach psychology.

For now, if you are willing to mentor, look for people in your area who are in need. If you are in need, reach out.

Please do not just ask for materials, but rather, make this a working series of discussions to become better psych teachers.

Post Update: 7/5/2016 10:10 AM PST

Mapping the Psych Teachers Update:

--I changed the parameters and got rid of latitude and longitude and used zip code for location. Fewer errors, but still some exist.

--For some reason, google sheets does not accept a "0" at the beginning of a set of numbers, making the east coast zip codes only four digits - not totally sure how this is impacting the mapping

--I must update the map manually

--The map must be used to get an idea only--it seems it will not be perfect, but will get us a pretty good idea of who is around us

--All this data is in a spreadsheet that I can share with people willing/interested in organizing regional conferences

--The spreadsheet will have the accurate information even if the map does not reflect that

--I'm hoping this will spark some regional/state PLCs and connecting psychology teachers with one another

--at the moment of writing this post, we are at 340 teachers

-----as of 7/7/16 we are up to 448

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TOPSS Resource Manual for New Teachers of High School Psychology

The APA/TOPSS released a manual for new psychology teachers, and it looks like it's full of great resources! See the announcement below for details.

"New high school psychology teachers may have a number of questions about how to proceed with instruction in their first psychology teaching assignment. What is the best way to choose a textbook? How do teachers find substantive and effective activities? How can teachers find quality support resources? Questions like these are just a few that are repeatedly posted to listservs when new teachers are looking for help. The purpose of this document is to present new high school psychology teachers with some resources and helpful suggestions from teachers with many years of teaching experience. This resource begins with suggestions for preparing to teach psychology, textbook selection, course-pacing formats, and lesson planning - the underpinnings of an effective psychology class. The next set of topics address specific issues faced by high school psychology teachers and are designed to help new teachers be proactive when deciding how to run their class, make rules, and make daily ethical decisions. The authors believe that this resource will prove very useful to teachers new to the teaching of psychology. It can facilitate their being able to approach their new assignment with more confidence and poise, equipped with strategies for effective instruction."

Resource Manual for New Teachers of Psychology

posted by Rob McEntarffer
reposted by Chuck Schallhorn