That being the case, my summer hiatus from school has come to a rapid close as well as the break I've taken from this blog. I'm looking forward to another school year with my AP Psychology students and the opportunity to dialog with my psychology colleagues from around the world (approximately 20% of our visitors come from outside the US).
Last year at this time I introduced the Midnight Postings. My hope was to present some useful ideas for your classrooms and bring a sense of continuity to the hodgepodge of thoughts and ideas that normally is found in many blogs. As the THSP blog is a year and a half old with a strong base of followers, I would like to return to the free-flowing nature of postings.
The "Stranger Paper" is an assignment I present the first day of every year. Very early in the class period, usually right after I have introduced myself, I ask the students to find someone in the classroom that they don't know or don't know very well. At this point many students think we are doing the prep work for some type of "boundary breaking" activity where I will ask them to interview this stranger and then introduce them to the class. Imagine their surprise when I tell them for the next few days I want them to watch this person and eventually write a paper about their personality characteristics. I stress the paper should NOT be a simple listing of what the person wore and did but conclusions about their stranger based on those observations.
The students seems to find the paper interesting and a bit of a challenge. In time, we can discuss the limitations to naturalistic observation and the tentative nature of their conclusions. The paper creates a sense of excitement that separates AP Psychology from the other classes that spent the first day going over the syllabus and classroom rules.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Stranger Paper.