Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Congrats to the 2013 TOPSS board!

Congrats to the folks elected to the 2013 TOPSS board! Wahoo! If you aren't a member of TOPSS yet, now is a great time to join - new lesson plans and other goodies coming soon!

Here's the announcement on the APA/TOPSS page

"The APA Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) is delighted to welcome three new members who will join the committee beginning in 2014.
  • Chair-elect: Michael Hamilton of Hopkinton High School (Hopkinton, Mass.).
  • Member-at-large: Virginia Welle of Chippewa Falls Senior High School (Chippewa Falls, Wis.). 
  • Membership Coordinator: Amy Johnson Ramponi of Kimberly High School (Kimberly, Wis.). 
The TOPSS Committee extends sincere thanks and appreciation to Jann Longman, Tonya Hinton and Katie Clark for their service to TOPSS and their commitment to excellence in the teaching of psychology. 
TOPSS also thanks Ken Keith, PhD, for his term as a TOPSS college faculty representative. Keith's term ends in December 2013, and a new college faculty representative will be announced in early 2014."

(PS: These folks are on Twitter if you want to send congrats that way -  @mhamilton81 @Welle_APpsych , and @AmyRamponi

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, December 16, 2013

Repurpose old board games with a new purpose!

This post might be more useful for Sociology (or even Government?) teachers, but I think the underlying idea/concept might apply in interesting ways for psych teachers. I spotted a tweet from @reubenhoffman (Reuben's website: about a "Social Stratification game, and I think it's a very cool idea.

Reuben sent this link to the rules of the game . The concept is that you change the rules of Monopoly in order to help students think/talk about socio-economic class issues. I haven't done this with students yet, but I imagine it starts some GREAT conversations.

Reuben's example makes me wonder: could Psych teachers do something similar, maybe with other games? The Game of Life for developmental psych? Clue for research methods? Anyone do anything like this, or have other ideas? Please chime in in the comments section.

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Your brain is all squishy

Scott Miller (great psych teacher from Washington State - hi Scott!) sent me a link to this amazing video of a (very!) recently removed brain. In the video, Dr. Susan Stensaas from the University of Utah explains that this brain was removed during an autopsy of a cancer patient. The video does a great job showing the fragility of the brain, and it would be tough to get a more accurate "view" of what the human brain is physically like unless you were present at an autopsy.

I'm sharing this video because it might be very useful during the Bio unit, or even during discussions about concussions, etc. BUT (as Scott points out) PLEASE PREVIEW! It will definitely make queasy students (or teachers :) uncomfortable, and you may want to make it optional viewing.

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

APA TOPSS Webcast for Psychology Teachers: Does That Psychology Demonstration Really Work?

Anyone interested in a webcast? I (Rob McEntarffer) got invited to do one for the APA/TOPSS (nice! I'm honored!), and I'll try to make it a fun/educational experience. Details below:

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. EST
Presented by Robert McEntarffer, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, Neb.
This first-ever TOPSS webcast will be free of charge to TOPSS members , and $20 to all others. TOPSS members will be emailed a discount code by mid-November, which will give them free access to the webinar. We hope you will join us!


Psychology teachers often use activities and demonstrations to help communicate important concepts to students. However, it can be difficult to know if students remember the concept or just the exciting details of the activity. During this webcast, participants discuss how to keep the focus on learning during demonstrations. The presenter shares several ways to use technology and the formative assessment process to check whether or not an activity resulted in students learning the psychology concept. This hourlong webcast will include time for questions and answers.

Click on this link to register - hope to "see" you there! (Note: the teacher in the image above isn't me. But she looks happy!)

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, November 15, 2013

Great article from Kristin Whitlock: "Preparing Students for the AP Psychology Exam"

If you're an NCSS member, you probably recently received the Oct. issue of Social Education. The fabulous Kristin Whitlock (psychology teachers extraordinaire and contributor to this blog) wrote an excellent article for this issue:

"Preparing Students for the AP Psychology Exam"
(the above link takes you to a preview of the article - you can find the full article at Social Education, but it's behind a paywall - free for NCSS members)

The article is definitely worth reading: great, concise advice about preparing for the multiple choice and FRQ sections of the exam, innovative practices like "Psychology Bowl," and some online resources that were new to me (The appearance of the AP Psychology Commune threw me at first, but it is content-rich!) Great work Kristin!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Twitter-storm about "nonlinguistic representations" and ELL language learning

Well, that was interesting. A few minutes ago I somewhat unintentionally started a lively exchange of ideas via Twitter.

Someone from our state department tweeted from a training session about ELL instruction, and this claim caught my eye:

"Teachers should use nonlinguistic representations to stimulate the right brain when learning language" 

I wondered if the folks at @neurobollocks had written about it, so I mentioned them in a tweet. That opened the flood-gates, and in a good way, I think. If you're interested in following the twitter conversation, check the link below (note: some NSFW language is used in one tweet, and look at the image on the neurobollocks blog closely before you decide to use their blog in class :).

An interesting example of the power of social media to get something discussed in real-time, and I hope this empowered an educator at a meeting to challenge "neuroscience" claims about learning.

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Had a Black Dog and His Name Was Depression

One of my students was doing some research and I was reminded of this wonderful video available at:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology (MATOP) Meeting

Please excuse the cross-posting. We are trying to make sure we reach everyone interested in the MATOP meeting.
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). Below you will find an invitation to our next meeting.  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.
Kent Korek
Germantown High School
W180 N11501 River Lane
Germantown, WI 53022
Phone: 262-253-3400
Fax: 262-253-3494
Below you will find the November 14, 2013 Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology (MATOP) Meeting Agenda.  Please refer any questions to Kent Korek at
Dear Psychology Teacher:
Please consider attending the 20th anniversary meeting of the Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology (MATOP) on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at Pius XI High School, 135 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee 53213 in the Library.
Our meeting will include:
 ■ a presentation, "DSM-5: Not Without Controversy", by Rhinehart Lintonen, MATOP member emeritus.  Rhinehart's talk will emphasize the past history of DSM, what the controversies have been and remain, and what the new DSM-5 looks like (changes, deletions in categories, additions, structural changes in the manual).  Our hope it to upload the presentation slides and handouts to the MATOP website at for those unable to attend our meeting.  Please check back at the site in the coming weeks.
 ■ an inspection of a number of texts and supplementary books from Prentice Hall/Pearson ( .  In honor of MATOP's twentieth anniversary, Pearson has sent examination copies of all the items listed below for everyone at our meeting.  For more information on these texts please contact Pat Salstrand, Pearson Education K-12 Humanities Specialist, (320) 249-9160,
  . Teacher's Edition of Psychology by Katherine Minter and William Elmhorst
  . Student Edition of Psychology by Katherine Minter and William Elmhorst
  . AP Edition Psychology 2e by Saundra Ciccarelli and J. Noland White
  . AP Test Prep Series: AP Psychology by William Elmhorst
  . Forty Studies that Changed Psychology 7e by Roger R. Hock
  A very special thanks goes to everyone at Prentice Hall/Pearson for going above and beyond the call of duty. Sending five different items will help make our twentieth anniversary meeting a huge success.
 ■ an examination of Barron's AP Psychology Exam Student Study Guide and Flash Card set by Rob McEntarffer and Allyson Weseley.  All those in attendance will receive a complementary copy of both the review guide and a set of 500 flash cards.  To learn more about Barron's review program, go to
 ■ a review of two texts from W.W. Norton ( Everyone at our meeting will receive a copy of Psychology 8e by Gleitman, Gross and Reisberg and Psychological Science 4e by Gazzaniga, Heatherrton and Halpern through the generosity of Travis Temple, (929) 800-1417, Welcome to Travis, the new Norton WI sales representative.  Please be aware, Norton recently started selling texts directly to the high school market.  Be sure to check out their new high school website at, especially The Norton Psychology Reader.
 ■ the sharing of items from Gerry Palmer of Psychkits (  One lucky person will leave with a pair of displacement goggles ($15 value) and another, a pair of inversion goggles ($25 value).
 ■ an analysis of the "hot off the press", The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View 3e (2014) by Laura King.  This text, so new it has yet to be posted on the Glencoe website (, will be distributed to everyone in attendance.  A special thanks goes to Diane Bellin, McGraw-Hill Education WI Representative, (262) 347-7047, for getting us this text so quickly.
 ■ a presentation from Colleen McFarland, the Bedford, Freeman and Worth representative, (630) 468-2251  on upcoming AP Psychology titles coming from Worth and using eBooks in your psychology course.  For more information on psychology products from Worth, go to
 ■ insights from the 2013 AP Psychology Reading. We anticipate a number of AP Psychology table leaders and readers will be attending our meeting. Come listen to their reflections on the Kansas City reading. The FRQs, rubrics, and sample responses can be found at

 ■ information regarding the 2014 AP Psychology Reading in Kansas City from June 2-8, 2014.  For an AP Reader application, go to
 ■ a display of a vast collection of psychology related products from Cengage Learning by Mary Sommers, sales representative, (608) 239-1928,  Cengage has recently started selling directly to high schools once again.  Thanks to Mary for coming to our MATOP meeting and showing everything Cengage now has to offer.  For the current Social Studies catalog, go to
 ■ a look at the Latest News in Psychology/AP Psychology including:
  . 2014 AP Psychology Exam date
  . changes in the AP Psychology Course Description
  . the AP Psychology International Exam and its ramifications
  . the released 2013 AP Psychology Practice Exam
  . the publication of the DSM-5
  . the DSM-5 and AP Psychology Curriculum and Exam
  . AP course redesigns
  . change in the AP proctor eligibility policy
  . AP exam fee changes
  . the publication by NCSS, "C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards"
  . the article "High School Psychology: A Coming of Age" in the October 2013 edition of Teaching of Psychology.
  . the Whitman Journal of Psychology (
  . Prep-U, an adaptive quizzing environment
  . the 2014 AP Annual Conference in Philadelphia
  . articles on Advanced Placement in the October 13th edition of Social Education by NCSS
  . statistics on the 2013 AP Psychology Exam
  . information on Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS)
  . information on the NCSS Psychology Community and the NCSS National Convention
  . If you are unable to attend the MATOP meeting and would like more information on any of the above, please email Kent Korek at
 ■ a sharing from the College Board One-Day Workshops at Alverno College and Grayslake.  We would ask anyone who attended these workshops, to briefly discuss the events of the day.   Please contact Kent ( is you are interested in sharing.
 ■ a report from the Fox River Valley Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (FOXTOPSS) meeting. We would ask anyone who attended this meeting, to briefly discuss the events of the day.  Please contact Kent ( is you are interested in reporting.
 ■ activities/demonstrations/resources for classroom use. At previous meeting, we agreed to spend more time letting teachers share some of their best classroom activities.  Please feel free to bring something to the meeting.  Bring handouts for 35 to 40 people.
 ■ and much more.

Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no need to RSVP. Please feel free to invite anyone you feel might be interested in coming.  Our meetings usually last about two hours. You need not stay the entire time.
If you have any questions concerning our meeting, please contact Ruth Regent-Smith at Pius H.S. (414-290-7000)  or Kent Korek at Germantown H.S. (262-253-3400)
For directions to Pius go to   Please be aware of construction projects in and around the Zoo Interchange.  Go to for more information.  We look forward to seeing you at the meeeting.

Ruth Regent-Smith 
Kent Korek
 Check out the MATOP website at  The site includes basic information about the Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology including agendas from past meetings.
If you would prefer not to receive these invitations and be permanently removed from our mailing list, please send a message to

Monday, November 4, 2013

The godfather of high school psychology

Quick, what do these things have in common?

  • The annual Clark/APA Workshop for high school psychology teachers  (#10 in 2014!)
  • The TOPSS lesson plans that are created AND updated by college and high school faculty
  • Money for high school teachers to be able to travel to professional psychology conferences
  • Money for high school teachers to create local networks of psychology teachers
  • Videos for high school psychology teachers, taken at the Clark workshop and APA conferences

Okay, you might think I know - those are all things TOPSS does! Well yes, you'd be right. But did you know that most of those are because of the great generosity of Dr. Lee Gurel? I know long-time fans of our blog know of Dr. Gurel, since we have documented his kindness before.

This month's APA Monitor has a feature on Dr. Gurel and all of the things that have been accomplished with his donations. But what you probably don't know - and what the article features - is that Dr. Gurel has decided to include in his will a bequest of $250,000 to APF/APA to help high school psychology! This is an amazingly kind gift that will help APA and TOPSS continue to provide outstanding resources and support for high school psychology.

I know that Dr. Gurel is a frequent reader of this blog, so I would love for all psychology teachers out there to leave a comment to say THANK YOU DR. GUREL!

--posted by Steve

Friday, November 1, 2013

2014 Neuroscience for Kids Poetry Writing Contest

I received this contest information in my email this morning and wanted to share.  There is something for everyone.  Check it out!

2014 NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS POETRY WRITING CONTESTThe 2014 NEUROSCIENCE FOR KIDS POETRY WRITING CONTEST is now open to students in kindergarten through high school, college students, teachers and parents. Use your imagination to create a poem, limerick or haiku about the brain and you might win a prize. The complete set of rules and the official entry form for the contest are available at: 
Here is a summary of the contest rules: 
All poems, limericks and haiku must have at least THREE lines and CANNOT be longer than TEN lines. Material that is shorter than three lines or longer than ten lines will not be read. All material must have a neuroscience theme such as brain anatomy (a part of the brain), brain function (memory, language, emotions, movement, the senses, etc.), drug abuse or brain health (helmets, brain disorders, etc.). Be creative! Use your brain! Visit the Neuroscience for Kids pages for ideas and information! 
- If you are a STUDENT IN KINDERGARTEN TO GRADE 2: write a poem in any style; it doesn't have to rhyme. 
- If you are a STUDENT IN GRADE 3 TO GRADE 5: write a poem that rhymes. The rhymes can occur in any pattern. For example, lines one and two can rhyme, lines three and four can rhyme, and lines five and six can rhyme. Or use your imagination and create your own rhyming pattern. 
- If you are a STUDENT IN GRADE 6 TO GRADE 8: write a brainy haiku (3 lines only). A haiku MUST use the following pattern: 5 syllables in the first line; 7 syllables in the second line; 5 syllables in the third line. Here is an example:Three pounds of jelly wobbling around in my skull and it can do math 
- If you are a STUDENT IN GRADE 9 TO GRADE 12: write a brainy limerick. A limerick has 5 lines: lines one, two and five rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables; lines three and four rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables. Here is an example of a limerick:The brain is important, that's true, For all things a person will do, To skiing to biting, It makes up the person who's you. 
- If you are a COLLEGE STUDENT, TEACHER, PARENT OR ANYONE ELSE: write a rhyming poem that explains why it is important to learn about the brain.Books or other prizes will be awarded to multiple winners in each category. 
Other rules:A. You must use an entry form for your writing and send it in using "regular mail." Entries that are sent by e-mail will NOT be accepted.B. Only ONE entry per person. If you cannot download the entry form, let me know (e-mail: and I will send a form to you attached to an e-mail.C. Students may enter by themselves or teachers may make copies of the entry form for their students and return completed entries in a single package. The contest is open to people from all countries. 
Entries must be received by February 1, 2014.
Additional information can be found here:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learning Styles: Myth?

I'm interested in hearing how teachers and administrators in your district talk and think about "learning styles." I remember learning learning style "theory" during staff development workshops as a young teacher, and the main impact was that I felt guilty for not diligently including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences in my lessons.

So I was glad to read Daniel Willingham's work on "debunking" what he calls the "learning styles myth." It turns out there really isn't much empirical evidence that learning styles exist or impact learning (they might be learning "preferences"). Willingham has been dedicated to adding some science to the discussion of "learning styles" for quite a while and created many resources that are usable by many audience. The FAQ document linked to below is a good overall summary of his thinking:

Learning Style FAQ

More recently, Howard Gardner chimed in to try to clarify how his multiple intelligences theory is different form  "learning styles," and how people misinterpret his theory too.

Howard Gardner: 'Multiple Intelligences' are not 'learning styles'

Please post your experiences with this debate in the comments section. And one last thought: this might be a great "project based learning" experience for psych students? 

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Color and Gender

I discovered this little gem of a cartoon while researching infographics.  It's mostly whimsical with a lot of truth-guys do see colors differently.  The cartoon is free to share under the creative commons licensing (see below).  I suspect you could use it in a gender/perception portion of a unit.  If you go through their collection, many of the cartoons are gender and relationship based. Enjoy.

The original site is: 

From their site: 
Basically, you may share, copy, reprint, or publish these comics as long as you provide the source. Email us if you're still unsure.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The 2013 Whitman Journal of Psychology

We've posted about the Whitman Journal of Psychology before, but their new issue is out, and the articles look great (and potential useful reads for your students!):

  • a thorough review of how some concepts from positive psychology, learning, and cognitive psych apply to natural disaster recovery: "Understanding the Psychological Impact of Natural Disasters: Grief"
  • a very timely study done with high school participants about how group identity influences test performance (well done!) "Effects of Group Factors" BONUS: all the instruments, consent forms, etc. are included - your students could replicate this!
  • an interesting study done with toads that shows the impact of "instinct" on conditioning (Dr. Skinner would not be happy :) : "Autoshaping in the American Toad"
  • several well-done reviews of psychology topics done by Walt Whitman students
If you haven't dived into the Whitman Journal before, this is a good introduction! Congrats to the Whitman staff and students for producing such a fine, peer-reviewed psych. journal! 

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, October 21, 2013


I'm on facebook way too much and one of my favorite pages to follow is All-About-Psychology.  The authors share many ideas and trivia related to psychology's content and history.  Their main website is:   You can find them on facebook at this link:  The author of the page also offers free kindle versions of his work from time to time.  It's worth a look.

You will find ads on their site, but they have some pretty good content, just check out the links along the left hand side.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Headache Infographic

It seems that every semester, students assume that since I know about the mind and brain, I also know about headaches.  I do--I have a great poster I pull out and share.  But today I ran across this infographic that was pretty cool.  The Mount Sinai Hospital put this together back in 2011, but it contains some great info.  Enjoy.

Link for the graphic iteself:

Link for the post on DailyInfographic

 Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, October 14, 2013

AP Psych Course Online at

During the summer of 2013, I had the chance to put much of my efforts into creating an online
version of my AP Psychology course for  They had found my youtube ap psych review videos and I interviewed for the chance to teach the course for them.  The link for the course is here:

I prepped in May, June, and July and went to Los Angeles for two weeks to film the course.  The perfectionist in me wanted to be able to do so much more (but I lacked the graphics budget of National Geographic, the History Channel and PBS), but I was able to go over every part of the AP Psych course outline and explain everything.  There are nearly 40 hours of content.  I also went through the 1999 exam, both multiple choice and FRQ and gave test taking tips.

I included lots of examples and spent more time on the more difficult subjects that our students find challenging.  Additionally, for those who subscribe, there are sections for each lesson where questions can be asked and I will be responding to student questions there.  The course is divided into 68 different lectures--I tried to demarcate specific aspects of the content and make the lectures shorter (I have issues with adding lots of examples and connections).

As you can imagine, I was not able to use many of the tools we normally would have, the PowerPoints and the videos,  but I was able to add some links.  I had to get creative and create some of my own graphics.  All in all, it was a great experience getting to create this course and put it together.  I am looking forward to interacting with the teachers and students who choose to use the course.

What I really like about the site is that once you have a subscription, you can access any of the courses they have--it's an amazing set of resources--I plan to take some time to watch some of the other AP courses myself.  Very cool.  Thank you to Eric Hung, founder of and to the wonderful producer/editor I worked with, Tiffany Lin.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Celebrities and Personality Types

More Infographics--what can I say?  I get these emails and many connect to psych.  Here is one that uses the Myers-Briggs Jungian personality types (16 of them), and matches them up with various famous people.  As I've mentioned before, I am very wary of the MBTI and its validity, but this could be used for a fun activity.

The original post is here:

Apologies if this does not fit in your browser properly.

posted by Chuck

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Child Brain: An Infographic

They say that the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one.  I seem to have a thing for infographics.  Not sure why, but I do.  I found this one this morning, tweeted it and it got several retweets and favorites.  Figured I'd better share with everyone.  It's got some amazing facts and really cool graphics.

The original graphic can be found here:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

ASAP Science Videos

One of my students, Frankie, has been on me for weeks to check out as series of videos on YouTube.  I finally did and wanted to share them with you.  They call themselves "ASAP Science."  This is the link to their channel:  They are similar to the RSA Animates videos, only dealing with various science topics, including many in psychology.  There are so many ways to use them, whether it be as attention grabbers, resources for topics we have no time for, or as research ideas.  Great stuff either way.

They have many videos covering many topics we teach--here are a few:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brain Internet Search and Discover

Below is an assignment I do when I can get a computer lab for my regular psychology class.  Our school of 3000 has only two labs.  I love each of these sites--I use this assignment as a springboard into the brain and neuroscience after my students have become familiar with the brain (after about a week or two).  It is NOT a webquest, but rather a search and discover (my term, nothing official).  I checked all the links this morning and they all work. Many of my students are also poor and do not have computers and/or internet access at home to complete the assignment.

We have an alternating block schedule.  Given that, I added the last two sites on optical illusions for the students who work more quickly and give them something that could be endlessly entertaining.  My biggest goal is exposure to the possibilities of the brain and topics that interest them--that's why I began with sleep ;)

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Mr. Schallhorn's Psychology/Brain             Name                                                                                                     Per         
Internet Search and Discover (rev. 10/13)

Follow ALL Directions:
·         Today's exercise is designed to take your through some excellent sites about the brain and help you review and understand the ideas for the unit.
·         Complete each section before moving on to the next one.
·         Go to my web site to access all these specific sites without having to type in each link.

Site 1: The Teenage Brain: Why We Sleep

This link examines why teens sleep so differently than other people.  Read the first several sections and explain what the research says about teens and sleep.






Site 2: The Brain in 3-D Form-- --once here, look to the right and view the 3-D brain section

This link shows the brain in 3-Dimensional form. 

Play with the simulation to get a feel for the brain and how parts relate to one another.  Do this and read the descriptions at the right of the page.  Spend about five minutes doing this.  Name three things you learned about the brain by using this tool.




This link explains in detail and great color just how science can scan the brain. What does each do and HOW does it achieve its measurement of the brain.




Site 4: Brains in the News--

Neuroscience for Kids--in the News
Choose one of the articles and give a four-six sentence summary of its contents.

Site 5: Brain Games

Neuroscience for Kids--Neuroscience Games
Choose a game that is for kids in high school. Play it and report back as to what you learned from it.

Site 6: Topic of Your Choice

Scan the article titles on this page. Make a list of topics  (at least 8x) the magazine is currently offering.

Site 7: Medical News Today ArticleSearch this site for articles dealing with the brain (easy search box at the top).  Choose and article.  Choose one and create a mini-report (summarize in 4-6 sentences on the article topics about which you read).

Site 8: Sheep Brain Dissection
This link takes you through the dissection of a sheep brain and the connection to that of a human brain.  Please take key notes (at least 8) that are important to understand the brain.

Site 9: Society for Neuroscience:
Take a look at the page.  Choose one of the topics under “main page.”  Read that section and summarize it here.

Optical Illusions Sites
Go to the following links and experience the world of optical illusions. What do you see—what illusions grab your attention and why




What is happening to you when you view these illusions?  What is your reaction to it?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stunning Visual Effects--New Software and Hardware

This is a must-see.  Share with your students--this includes visual illusions, robotics, art, and more.  Too cool for words.

Box from Bot & Dolly on Vimeo.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rat Park

Psych teacher Scott Miller recently sent me this link to a graphic novel about a psychology experiment. A graphic novel! I didn't know anything like this existed! This is an interesting way to present the complexities of a series of animal studies in a compelling, visual way.

The studies were conducted by Bruce Alexander, professor emeritus at Simor Fraser university. Dr. Alexander's bio page links to the wikipedia page explaining the study, so someone there must think that wikipedia is representing the study accurately.

NOTE: I expect there are controversies and complexities galore involved in this study and the researcher's conclusions, so as always, please read through the material thoroughly and use it only if you think it's appropriate for your classroom. Thanks for sending this link my way, Scott!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, September 23, 2013

A breakdown of the recently released AP exam

If you are an AP Psychology teacher, we (Steve and Nancy) hope that you've seen the new released AP Psych exam that was shared (via the AP Course Audit site) earlier this month. As Nancy did last year with the previous released exam, she's again analyzed the exam and broken it down by content areas. She had questions on how to categorize a few of them, so we looked at those questions together and then came up with table below.

How to use this? A great way is to give it in your class as a practice exam, and then later let students see which questions they missed by content area. If they get 100% of the bio questions correct but only half of the sensation and perception questions, then they have a way to focus their review.

A final reminder: DO NOT SHARE THESE EXAMS ONLINE. I know that some teacher out there will think about posting this to their school's server and sharing it "just for my students to practice with," but very quickly that could be discovered and distributed widely. The College Board also has a pretty sobering reminder on the download page about what you could lose if you do this. I always just copy them, give them to student in paper-and-pencil mode, and then collect them at the end of the period.

Content area and CB range - comes from the AP Psychology course description
Numbers - represent the question numbers on the test. 

If you have questions or comments about how these were categorized, please let us know.
-- posted by Steve (for Nancy and Steve!)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What to Do With $500

So imagine you have just won $500 for your classroom (does not have to be psychology).  What technology-based items would you purchase?  What non-tech items would you buy?  I already have an LCD projector, a document cam and lots of software.  Guide me--what suggestions do you have?  

Please leave ideas in the comments section.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Psychology of Fight Club: An inforgraphic

Most of us cannot show R-rated movies to our students, but will occasionally recommend them.  Fight Club is one such example. Lots of psychology and social commentary, but also lots of language, violence, and sexuality.  While the movie is not showable in class, this graphic is.  Here is an infographic taking us through the movie that was shared with me recently. I love the way it takes us through the movie and book and describes the steps of the various changes.

The sizing of the graphic does not work on this blog--no worries--click the link above or this link to see it properly.

Harry Potter and the Myers-Briggs???

Yup.  Someone went and did that and turned it into an infographic.  Check it out at this link:  While I am not a fan of the MBTI, it is very well-known and can be a nice intro into testing and the 16 types that were created.  Have fun all you Potter fans!

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, September 16, 2013

The DSM and the AP Psych Exam

In case you missed this email, here is a clarification from the Collegeboard about the DSM-V and the AP Psych Exam.

Dear AP Psychology Teacher:
As many of you know, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was published last May with revisions to the criteria for the diagnosis and classifications of mental disorders. In the interest of fairness and to allow time for publishers to integrate such changes into pertinent sections of AP® Psychology textbooks, the College Board has made the following decisions regarding upcoming AP Psychology Exams:
  1. Questions on the 2014 AP Psychology Exam will adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR).
  1. Beginning with the 2015 AP Psychology Exam, all terminology, criteria and classifications referred to among multiple-choice and free-response items will adhere to the new fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).

We appreciate your hard work to update your instruction and prepare students for success in earning college credit and placement in the study of psychology. Additional teacher support and updates can be found on theAP Psychology Online Teacher Community 
Kind regards,  Advanced Placement Program® 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Neuroscience Haiku--Poetry in Psychology

Brain plaques and tangles
Memory loss, dementia
You are someone else.

This is but one of many haikus that Eric Chudler (from Neuroscience for Kids fame) wrote for his new book, The Little Book of Neuroscience Haiku.  This book combines my love of the brain and love of words and poetry in such an enjoyable and informational manner.  You can use these Haikus as topic or class starters, as clarification, or as a lesson in itself about a term.  Each poem is accompanied by an explanation and cover a wide variety of neuroscience topics.  Chudler also uses humor, puns, and straight learning in his poems.  While I like them all, here are a few of my faves.

Fresh neurons arise
Call it neurogenesis
New tricks for old brains.

EEG awake
Muscles paralyzed, eyes move

A very large stressed reptile
You're a nervous rex.

Strange homunculus
Little man inside the brain
My, what large fingers.

Large, small nerve fibers
Melzack, Wall control theory
Closed gate, reduced pain.

Do get this book--it's a great addition to your arsenal of classroom teaching tools.

For some context, here is Wikipedia's entry on haikus in English:
Haiku in English is a short poem which uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition.[1] It is a development of the Japanese haiku poetic form in the English language.
Some of the more common practices in English include:
  • use of a caesura or kire represented by punctuation, space, a line-break, or a grammatical break[1] to compare two images implicitly.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hmm. Maybe NOT the best way to start a class?

I have mixed feelings about this "prank" a University of Rochester professor used to start a chemistry class. Video in the link below:

Fake Professor, Real Course

Brief summary: A professor ("Dr. H") allowed a group of students from a campus radio show to pretend to pull a prank on the first day of class. They hired an actor to pretend to be Dr. H and start the course, emphasizing difficulty of the course and describing a very restrictive cell phone and laptop policy.

This prank seems fairly harmless (the real Dr. H shows up and "debriefs" the class) but I wonder whether there are potentially long-term impacts to this prank. Specifically: we know that first impressions and the fundamental attribution error are powerful (irresistible, to some extent) and I wonder if some students in this class might develop harmful schemata about the course (and/or their success in the course) based on the prank?

One semester I asked a student to help me with a fundamental attribution error demonstration. We pretended to have a verbal fight in front of the class, then I surveyed students about their attributions. The demonstration "worked" - students attributed my behavior to the situation and hers to her inner disposition - but I never did that demo again because students told me that it "colored" their experience in the class for days.

I'm sure that the demo in this video did "enliven" the experience of the chemistry students, but I wonder about it. What do you think? Am I taking it too seriously? Would you do a demonstration like this? Since many of you reading this probably just started your teaching year, how do you "enliven" the first day of class?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Updated resources for teachers new to high school psychology

Welcome 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 page
b) 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 questions
e) 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.

3) Teaching psychology activity books. These were compiled by Ludy Benjmin 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.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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 to get a copy of the latest newsletter and to find out more. Also, consider attending the annual NCSS Conference to hear great presentations.

7) 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!

8) 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, Trevor Tusow and myself. 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.

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!

--posted by Steve