Sunday, May 23, 2010

Phineas Gage news

(Photo via the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus)

This past Friday was the 150th anniversary of the death of one of psychology's all-time favorite subjects, Phineas Gage. Today in Vermont (as I learned via ScienceBlogs) the Cavendish Historical Society is holding a walking tour of famous sites related to Gage including the accident site itself, the home of Dr. Harlow (the surgeon who treated Gage) and the house that Gage was taken to after the accident.

The newsletter of the CHS published earlier this month gives some great historical background to Gage's accident, including this reference from the local newspaper on the following day:
Horrible Accident: As Phineas P. Gage, a foreman on the railroad in Cavendish, was yesterday engaged in tamping -for a blast, the powder exploded, carrying an iron instrument through his head an inch and a fourth in circumference, and three feet and eight inches in length, which he was using at the time. The iron centered on the side of his face, shattering the upper jaw and passing back of the left eye and out at the top of the head.

The most singular circumstance connected with this melancholy affair is that he was alive at two o’clock this afternoon, and in full possession of his reason, and free from pain. Ludlow Vt. Free Soil Union Sept. 14, 1848
Also this week was a post on Mind Hacks by Vaughan Bell who found a recent journal article with more details about Gage's life after the accident. Don't just settle for "Gage was no longer Gage"; as Malcolm Macmillan and Matthew L. Lena published in Neurophysiological Rehabilitation, Gage continued to work for the twelve years following the accident, seven of them as a driver in Chile, and at one point was examined by a doctor who found "no impairment whatever." The Mind Hacks post has been updated to include a link to the actual journal article as well.

P.S. Coming this summer: a post on the top ten subjects in psychology? I'm thinking Gage, Little Albert, the Bobo doll, Piaget's three kids, Lorenz' geese, Zimbardo's prisoner #819, etc. Who would you nominate?

-- posted by Steve

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Self-Discipline more Important for Success than IQ


These findings probably won't surprise most teachers, but I wonder if the findings might start interesting classroom conversations. This LifeHacker blog post summarizes research coming out of Seligman's Positive Psychology Center regarding the relative impact of high levels of self-discipline vs. IQ as predictors of success. As teachers, I bet we would have predicted the outcome: Self-discipline wins. But it might be interesting to hear what students would predict, and whether these findings match their experiences/perceptions? The original research article is also available in full text.

It also might be interesting to bring Dweck's research about "ability vs. effort" attributions into this conversation about self-discipline vs. intellectual "ability"



Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Psychology Position in Clintonville, WI

A full-time teaching position for the 2010-2011 school year has opened up at Clintonville High School in Clintonville, WI (35 miles west and slightly north of Green Bay). The assignment includes: AP Psychology, Sociology, World Studies and US History.

Full details of the job can be found at
http://ww2.wisconsin.gov/state/employment/app?COMMAND=gov.wi.state.cpp.job.command.ShowJobDetails&selectedJob=201005121339521476804 Applications must be sent by May 28th.

If you have information on a high school teaching position which includes psychology that we can post on the THSP Blog, please contact Kent Korek at kkorek@germantown.k12.wi.us. Best of luck to everyone looking for an opening.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

News from TOPSS

Below is the latest news from Emily Leary (Eleary@apa.org) regarding the Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS).

2010 TOPSS Committee Elections

The mission of the APA Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) is to promote the scientific nature of introductory and advanced high school psychology; to meet curricular needs of secondary school teachers; and to provide opportunities for high school students to be recognized and rewarded for their academic excellence. If you would like to become more involved in TOPSS, we encourage you to consider serving on the TOPSS Committee. TOPSS is especially interested in encouraging individuals from diverse backgrounds (including diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age, and religion) to consider running for TOPSS Office. In 2010, the following three elected positions will be filled:

  • Chair-Elect
  • Member-at-Large (2)

The Chair position is a three-year position and the Member-at-Large positions are each two-year positions. Please consider nominating a colleague who would make a positive impact. We encourage teachers to consider volunteering to be a candidate for the TOPSS Election Ballot. Nomination materials should be submitted by July 1, 2010. For more information, visit http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/call-for-nominations.aspx.

2010 APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients

The TOPSS Committee congratulates William James of Milford High School (Highland, MI) and Scott Reed of Hamilton High School (Chandler, AZ) for being selected as recipients of the 2010 APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards. The TOPSS Teaching Awards recognize outstanding teachers in psychology. The award recipients will receive a framed certificate, award, cash prize of $300, ActivePsych CD series, and a free TOPSS membership or renewal for the 2011 membership year. The ActivePsych CD series has been generously donated by Worth Publishers. Congratulations, Bill and Scott!

2010 APA TOPSS Scholars Essay Competition Winners

The TOPSS Committee congratulates the student winners of the 2010 APA TOPSS Essay Competition. Sabina Babar of Colonia High School (Colonia, New Jersey), Rachael J. Erickson of Sutton Memorial High School (Sutton, Massachusetts), Allison Gutworth of Colonia High School (Colonia, New Jersey), and Alexis Suskey of Grandville High School (Wyoming, Michigan) each received $250 scholarships for their winning essays. The 2010 essay question asked students to focus on the effects human behavior has had on the current environmental crisis.

Information about the 2011 APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards and the 2011 APA TOPSS Scholars Essay Competition will be announced during the fall of 2010.



Posted by Kent

Teaching Positions

As many of you are painfully aware, there are a large number of school districts across the country laying off staff. In some places hundreds of teachers are being given pink slips.

We here at the Teaching High School Psychology Blog would like to do what we can to help connect teachers with job openings. If anyone is aware of a teaching posting which includes psychology as part of the assignment, please send the information to Kent Korek at kkorek@germantown.k12.wi.us. I will then post the information on the THSP blog.

AP Psychology Free Response Questions

In the AP Courses and Exams section of the AP Central website (http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/Controller.jpf), you will find all of the AP Psychology Free Response Questions since 1999 along with various other documents pertaining to the FRQs. Many people have difficulties finding the documents from 1999-2002 as they are on a different web page. To make it easier for teachers, below you will find links to the AP Central documents. Please report any faulty links to Kent Korek at kkorek@germantown.k12.wi.us

2010

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Overall Grade Distribution


2009

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Overall Grade Distribution


2008

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Overall Grade Distribution


2007

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Overall Grade Distribution


2006

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Overall Grade Distribution


2005

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Questions
Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions
Overall Grade Distribution


2004

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions
Overall Grade Distribution


2003

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2

Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions
Overall Grade Distribution


2002

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
FRQ Scoring Statistics
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions
Overall Grade Distribution


2001

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Student Performance Q&A
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions

2000

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2

1999

Free Response Questions 1 & 2
FRQ Scoring Guidelines (Rubrics)
Sample Response Question 1
Sample Response Question 2
Scoring Commentary on Sample Response Questions

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The all new invisible gorilla!



Trust me, psych teachers -- give the above video a try. Thanks to ScienceBlogs.com for first posting this!

If you're interested in learning more, check out invisiblegorilla.com -- Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons have a new book on the subject of attention coming out this week.


--Posted by Steve

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Most prescribed psychiatric drugs and more infographics

The above infographic is from GOOD Magazine and displays the 10 most prescribed psychiatric drugs in the U.S. in 2009. More drugs were prescribed than there are Americans!

Here are some other psych-related infographics:
How to trick your brain (Boston.com)

Which countries are the happiest? (GOOD)

How colors are perceived in ten countries (Information is Beautiful)

And don't forget, before putting too much faith in an inforgraphic, to note this warning.


--posted by Steve

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fake Science!

In case you and your students need a little break after the AP! Maybe we can have our students work on more psychology posters like these over the next month?

You can find more of these at http://fakescience.tumblr.com/. --posted by Steve



Best of Luck on the AP Psychology Exam

Here's wishing everyone, students and teachers, the best of luck on today's (05/11/10) AP Psychology Exam.

Teaching High School Psychology Blog Moderators

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Psychology Today Blog - Head of the Class


I just discovered that the excellent Dr. Dana Dunn (long-time AP psychology exam reading Table Leader, wonderful college psych teacher, and all around great guy) writes a blog about teaching psychology for the magazine Psychology Today. The blog is called Head of the Class, and I'm just starting to dig into the archives. The current post is about grading, and Dana gets into the topic in a funny and useful way, I think. I suspect Dana would love comments from high school psych teachers (I added one!).


posted by Rob McEntarffer

AP Psychology Exam - Last Minute Items

With the AP Psychology Exam just one week away, many of us are reaching the end to a long journey that started last September. Below are some of the "last minute" items I tell my students. Note: This listing is basically the same as the last minute items I posted last year at this time.

General Information:
  • Tuesday May 11, 2010 in the afternoon
  • Bring pencils with erasers and blue or black pens
  • Bring a watch that does not beep
  • Do not wear any psychology related clothing
  • Do not bring anything else: books, papers, calculators, cell phones, etc.
Multiple Choice Section:
  • 100 multiple choice questions
  • 70 minutes
  • 2/3 of the overall grade
  • A-E Answers
  • Names, charts, graphs, drawings are all possible
  • 1/4 point adjustment for guessing
Free Response Section:
  • 2 required Free Response (essay) Questions
  • 50 minutes
  • 1/3 of the overall grade - 1/6 of grade for each question
  • Points are given for correct responses not taken away for incorrect material
  • Points can only be removed if one part of an answer contradicts another part
  • Read through both questions before doing anything else
  • Think through the answer before starting to write
  • Write an outline or notes in the test question booklet
  • Don’t be afraid to cross something out, if needed
  • Write in sentences - DO NOT OUTLINE OR BULLET YOUR ANSWER.
  • Be as complete as possible, but keep to the point.
  • Watch the time. Don’t get caught short on essay #2
  • Structure the answer following the structure of the question
Test Security:
  • Do not discuss the multiple-choice section with anyone
  • Do not discuss the free response questions for 48 hours. The general rule of thumb is wait until the questions have been posted on the College Board website
  • Do NOT post, text, email etc. anything about the exam on the Internet, especially on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks
  • Do not come and visit me between the multiple choice section and free response section
If you have any questions on the above items, please contact me at kkorek@germantown.k12.wi.us Please feel free to leave any other ideas in the comments section below. Best of luck to everyone.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Babies - the Movie


Just in time for Mother's Day comes a French documentary called Babies. From the website's synopsis:
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balm├Ęs, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco.
Sounds like this is going to be a MUST for future development units! If you see the movie soon and want to post a review, please let me in know in the comments and you can have your own guest post!



-- Posted by Steve

The Cognitive Bias Song!


Nice! This song (above) was created by a real-life AP Psychology teacher and hit the trifecta today of being featured on Freakonomics, Boing Boing and was Tweeted by the insanely great @vaughanbell. The teacher is Brad Wray and he teaches at Arundel High School in Gambrills Maryland. Well done Mr. Wray! I've send him an e-mail and hope to post an interview with him soon.

Enjoy as you're reviewing for the AP next week ...
-- Posted by Steve

Monday, May 3, 2010

MIlwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology Meeting - May 13th

Since 1993, Milwaukee area psychology teachers have gathered twice a year to share teaching ideas and develop friendships. Our group has come to be called the "Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology" (MATOP) even though many come from outside the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Below you will find an agenda for our next meeting on May 13th. If you live within driving distance of the Milwaukee area, please feel free to attend. If you would like to be included on the MATOP mailing list please contact me at the email address below.

For those of you not within driving distance of Milwaukee, feel free to "check out" our agenda for items you might find useful in your classroom. Whenever possible, I have tried to include email or website addresses for further information. Please contact me with any questions you may have.


The Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology (MATOP) Fall Meeting will be held on Thursday May 13, 2010, 7:00 PM, at Pius XI High School, 135 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53213 in the library.

Our agenda includes:
  • an introduction to the brand new Myers' Psychology for AP. David Myers has adapted his popular college textbook used by many AP Psychology teachers to fit the specific needs of Advanced Placement Psychology. Thanks to the generosity of Eileen Tanania, the Bedford, Freeman and Worth representative (866-843-3715 ex 714) etanania@bfwpub.com we have examination copies for everyone attending our meeting. To learn more go to http://www.bfwpub.com/highschool/
  • new information on the Quizlet Flash Card Website (www.quizlet.com) Recently both Quizlet and MATOP have made some changes to the flash card website.
  • a review of Psychology and the Real World (1st edition) from Worth Publishers www.worthpublishers.com Quoting from the Worth website, "Psychology and the Real World: Essays Illustrating Fundamental Contributions to Society is a collection of brief, personal, original essays, ranging in length from 2500 to 3500 words, in which leading academic psychologists describe what their area of research has contributed to society..... The book is unique the world of textbook ancillaries in that it does not reprint writings. Rather, innovative psychological scientists clearly and entertainingly tell readers why their research matters and how their line of inquiry developed. This text would be perfect for a regular high school level class which emphasizes the application of psychology into our lives." Eileen Tanania, the Bedford, Freeman and Worth representative (866-843-3715 ex 714) etanania@bfwpub.com has sent enough copies for everyone coming to our meeting. A special thanks to Eileen for sending two major items for our meeting.
  • thoughts about the 2010 AP Psychology free response questions released earlier the afternoon of the MATOP meeting. The FRQs, rubrics, sample responses, etc. from previous years can be found at http://apcentral.collegeboard.com
  • discussing the date change for the AP Psychology Exam and the ramifications. For many years the exam has been on Tuesday of the second week of testing (i.e. May 11 in 2010). In 2011 the AP Psychology Exam will move to Monday of the first week of testing (May 2) which for many will be the day back from Spring Break.
  • discussing the potential of an AP Psychology Quiz Bowl for the spring of 2011. In many cities around the country, AP Psychology students from multiple schools gather in a competition style event. We will determine if interest exists in the Milwaukee area to sponsor such a quiz bowl and discuss what format the event might take.
  • announcing a new regular Psychology textbook. After a short hiatus, Cengage Learning is returning to the high school psychology market with the release of Psychology: A Discovery Experience by Steven Franzoi of Marquette University. Everyone attending our meeting will receive an examination copy of this book thanks to Mary Sommers (608.846.2174) Mary.Sommers@cengage.com To find out more about this new text, go to http://school.cengage.com/
  • activities from PsychKits. Earlier this spring, PsychKits introduced a newly designed set of inversion goggles. These goggles literally "turn the world upside down" for whoever is wearing them. One lucky person will be leaving the meeting with their own set of goggles. More information on PsychKits can be found at www.psychkits.com
  • plus much more
Everyone is welcome to attend at no charge. There is no need to RSVP. Please feel free to invite anyone you feel might be interested in coming. If you would like to be added to the MATOP email listing, please contact Kent Korek at kkorek@germantown.k12.wi.us For directions to Pius High School, 135 N. 76th, Milwaukee, WI 53213 go to http://www.piusxi.org/prospective/Transportation.aspx Our meetings usually last about two hours.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Psych Week on Discovery Health

Discovery Health is featuring psychology -- or to be more precise, abnormal psychology -- in a series of programs to air May 2 - May 6 that they are calling Psych Week 2010. The program line-up is as follows:

Sunday @ 9 - Anxious (anxiety disorders)
Sunday @ 10 - Enraged (people with uncontrollable anger)
Monday @ 9 - The Woman with Multiple Personalities (dissociative identity disorder)
Tuesday @9 - Born Schizophrenic (featuring the same young girl Oprah interviewed)
Wednesday @9 - My Strange Addiction (addictions)
Thursday @9 - Bipolar Mysteries: Families in Crisis (bipolar disorder)

Also, according to the press release, there is more online: "Online at DiscoveryHealth.com, visitors can access a comprehensive Mental Health Guide, as well as quizzes, slide shows and Q&A with renowned experts. The site will also feature special blog posts on mental wellness and exclusive video content, including webisodes from select PSYCH WEEK programs."

(Thanks to the multiple posters on the AP Psych list and Nancy F for pointing this out!)

-- posted by Steve