Sunday, August 21, 2011

What do you do the first day?

There was a recent discussion on the AP Psychology e-mail list about favorite things to do on the first day of class. I posted about my favorite, the Slippery Snakes memory demonstration by Janet Simmons and Don Irwin. You can download the demonstration here and you can also download information from me about how I use this activity here. (Note that both files are PDFs.)

So what do YOU do on the first day? How do you set the tone for the rest of the year? Please add your contributions in the comments below.

  --posted by Steve

9 comments:

Mrs. Welle said...

Last year for the first time I tried some "psychic" demonstrations taught to me by Charlie Blair-Broeker. The kids were floored and left SO excited about psych. But since I did have to reveal at least part of the illusion in the debriefing, I don't feel I would get the same effect this year (as word likely spread). While I will reuse that activity in a year or so again...at this point I'm still working on day 1 plans for this year. Might involve visual illusions...those tend to produce a strong reaction.

Crossen's Blog said...

I have nothing to add to the discussion other than I am teaching Psychology (an Intro elective course, not AP) for the first time after a colleague moved within the district. I wanted to thank you Steve for the idea of Slippery Snakes. I too had a very good discussion on memory after completion of the demonstration.

Mrs. Welle, I'd love to hear of the psychic demonstration you are not using this year.

Also just in general, any strategies or activities you and others could provide would be much appreciated. I have been looking at and consuming the excellent ideas on this blog ever since I learned the class was mine. Unfortunately, I have a ways to go as I found out about a month ago. Thanks in advance for any assistance. I know everyone on here have very busy lives.

tbirds said...

I would also like to hear about the "psychic" demo

Mrs. Welle said...

Crossen & tbird,

Feel free to email me at wellevk@chipfalls.k12.wi.us

I'd be happy to share these activities with you (although I can't claim credit for developing them), but I'd rather not distribute them widely over the internet as students could discover the "tricks" to them. You would lose the "wow" factor and the opportunity for discussion that they create.

Charleen said...

I use Scott Reed's High Low Activity. http://www.box.net/shared/x7nxnsqq9ctgue1920q2 On #psychat last night someone mentioned that they use it with inside/outside circles. I'll be using that idea next week?

Unknown said...

I have the students take a Barnum personality test and discuss what psychology is NOT. There are many of these tests online and it works really well if all the students have computer access during class.

Nina said...

I am new to Psych teaching, as well. I hope it is alright to email you Mrs. Welle. I am trying to create a curriculum that is exciting, and insightful. This is the first time we have offered this course in over 15 years, so I want it to make an impact. It is just an elective at this point, but our principal is hoping to add an Ap section if all goes well. Any suggestions would be amazing!

Steve Jones said...

Nina - I think I can speak for Mrs. Welle and say, YES, you can e-mail her! Psychology teachers are the most giving people, I've found, because at one point everyone has been in your shoes! One quick tip: if you see my post for new teachers http://www.tinyurl.com/newpsychteacher I think the Teacher's Guide written by Kristin Whitlock is a great place to start, as there are syllabi in there. Good luck with your course - it's the best one in high school!

Ms.Hammerly said...

This is my second year teaching an intro to Psychology class so I am still adding to and revising the curriculum. I used the Slippery Snakes activity on Friday and was very pleased with it. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful activity to get the ball rolling. My students were highly attentive and thoroughly enjoyed the activity.

Additionally, my new principal (he was our Dean of Students last year) stopped in during the activity and was very impressed. Thanks for helping me set the tone in my classroom and with my principal :)