Thursday, August 29, 2013

UTOPSS Fall Conference: September 13, 2013

The 15th annual Utah-Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (UTOPSS) Fall Conference will be held Friday, September 13, 2013 at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The goal of the Conference is to improve the teaching of scientific psychology at the high school level.  High school teachers receive activities that they can implement in their classrooms, resources, and the opportunity to network with others.  Presentations by university faculty give teachers insight on topics that may not always be covered in their textbooks. We have a fabulous day planned! 

Dr. Elizabeth Yost-Hammer (Xavier University of Louisiana):  I think (about thinking), therefore I am: Fostering metacognition in Introductory Psychology

Dr. Elliott Hammer (Xavier University of Louisiana): Beating the lag: What we have learned since your textbook was published

Dr. Lesa Ellis (Westminster College, UT):  Adolescent Brain Development: New Explanations for Old Observations

Lisa Jensen (Herriman High School, UT) and Lisa Olsen (Davis High School, UT):  My “go to” activities!

David Rockwood (Payson High School, UT):  Teaching Sports Psychology

Dr. Elizabeth Yost-Hammer (Xavier University of Louisiana) and Kristin Whitlock (Viewmont High School, UT) What’s New in AP Psychology?

Participant Idea Share

Registration is due Friday, September 6.  Please contact me if you would like to receive registration materials (

I hope you can join us!
Kristin H. Whitlock

Information about the DSM-5 and AP Psych

Breaking news! (See the image below for the news)

--posted by Steve

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Research Opportunity- Replication!

If any of you are planning on getting your students involved with research experiences, than this announcement might be useful: The Society for the Teaching of Psychology (great organization, by the way, and they love high school teacher members!) recently started an effort to encourage psychology students to replicate recent and important psych studies:

Open Science Framework - Collaborative Replications and Education Project

This "call" is pointed at college students and teachers, but I don't think there's any reason why ambitious high school folks shouldn't be involved! The list of studies that they are encouraging replication for is intriguing (list below). If any of you high school folks dive into this, please let us know so we can post about it on the blog?

  • Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., & Van den Bergh, B. (2010). Going green to be seen: Status, reputation, and conspicuous conservation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(3), 392-404. Study 1
  • Elliot, A. J., Niesta Kayser, D., Greitemeyer, T., Lichtenfeld, S., Gramzow, R. H., Maier, M. A., & Liu, H. (2010). Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 139(3), 399. Study 7
  • Back, M. D., Stopfer, J. M., Vazire, S., Gaddis, S., Schmukle, S. C., Egloff, B., & Gosling, S. D. (2010). Facebook profiles reflect actual personality, not self-idealization. Psychological Science, 21(3), 372-374. Study 1
  • Diener, E., Ng, W., Harter, J., & Arora, R. (2010). Wealth and happiness across the world: material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(1), 52. Study 1
  • Mazar, N., & Zhong, C. B. (2010). Do green products make us better people?.Psychological Science, 21(4), 494-498. Study 2
  • Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). When helping helps: autonomous motivation for prosocial behavior and its influence on well-being for the helper and recipient. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 222. Study 4
  • Kool, W., McGuire, J. T., Rosen, Z. B., & Botvinick, M. M. (2010). Decision making and the avoidance of cognitive demand. . Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 139(4), 665. Study 1
  • Tsouloupas, C. N., Carson, R. L., Matthews, R., Grawitch, M. J., & Barber, L. K. (2010). Exploring the association between teachers’ perceived student misbehaviour and emotional exhaustion: the importance of teacher efficacy beliefs and emotion regulation. Educational Psychology, 30(2), 173-189. Study 1
  • Kiefer, M., & Martens, U. (2010). Attentional sensitization of unconscious cognition: task sets modulate subsequent masked semantic priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 139(3), 464. Study 1
  • Florian Jaeger, T. (2010). Redundancy and reduction: Speakers manage syntactic information density. Cognitive Psychology, 61(1), 23-62. Study 1
posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Want. . .

But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.  Or so say the Rolling Stones. Some of you know of my weird situation of having the AP Psych course taken from me after having taught it for 20 years.  I did not react well.  I took it personally.  My ego was bruised.  I was angry and felt betrayed.

After a summer of job searching, much ego soothing, moving to a new home, and filming a new AP Psych course, I still find myself not teaching AP Psych for my local high school.  That decision without any real explanation was infuriating, exasperating, sickening, irrational, absurd, and more.  It took me some time to process everything.  I am good enough for the world (During the summer, I filmed an AP Psych course for coming out soon), but I am not good enough for the local high school).  Oh delicious irony.

So after way too much reflection and a decidedly negative attitude coming back into the school year, I realized what I needed--to work with kids.  Generally speaking, adults make me crazy since they are often not rational and have a lot of educational/personal baggage they bring to our various interactions.  The primary reason I got into teaching was the kids.  Kids are fantastic. The kids I have here at my school are fantastic.  Are they all going to college?  No.  Are they all going on to post-HS training of some sort?  No.  Do they need adults who can role model mature behavior and lifelong learning and have a positive and nurturing attitude?  Absolutely.  When I came to California, I realized that most anyone could have taught my students back in the Midwest and the kids would have been successful--they had families who supported them in visible and invisible ways.  Here, the kids need adults since they are often missing the support mechanisms of home, family, and too often, basic needs being met.

So what do I need?  To be working with kids in high school.  What do I want?  To be teaching kids through the subject of psychology (and by extension AP Psych).  Do I need the AP?  No.  Once I accepted that last part, my life became much more positive.  With only two preps, I am becoming a better teacher in both my US Gov and regular Psych classes.  I have time.  Time to advise, time to plan, time to grade, time to work out, time to read, time to relax.

So I choose to be positive by getting what I need.  I choose to create a more positive reality by controlling the things I can control--my attitude.

Be well everyone and may your school years be wonderful and amazing.

Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, August 26, 2013

New to High School Psych? Repost

Steve Jones originally posted this, but it bears repeating given the new teachers of psych joining our ranks every year.

If you or someone you know will be teaching high school psychology for the first time and don't know where to begin, THIS is the place! Below is a list of steps (modified from a post I (Steve) made to the AP Psych e-mail list earlier this year) that you want to take NOW so that you are ready to come out swinging when your school year begins:

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 which 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 $40 per year. 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 conference 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 are being revised and should be out soon. (Full disclosure: I'm currently a member-at-large for 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)
c) The AP Psych teachers guide -- written by 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'll want to buy the 2004 and 2007 released exam multiple choice questions at some point

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.

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, Trevor Tusow and myself. It's a site for us to just 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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Repost: Summer Reading and Teacher Resources

Originally posted in May of 2012.  Reposted for ideas for reading and classroom resources.

It's that time of year when we are thinking about assigning summer reading for ourselves and our kids and getting ready for next year.  Below are some resources that I have either seen and/or read.  I make these recommendations since I have positive personal experience with each one.  I am certainly not saying that these are the only good resources out there, they are only a list of items on my bookshelf--that I can see/recall.  I have many more.  Each link below takes you to the site where you can order the books immediately should you wish.

(note: As I finish this list, I am kind of stunned that I've read all these books.  Too bad all the info has not stayed with me.  Perhaps it's time to go back to learning to play guitar.)

Books for summer reading:

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

Minds on Trial: Great Cases in Law and Psychology The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

Imagine: How Creativity Works

How We Decide

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Sleep Thieves

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales

An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

My Lobotomy

A Natural History of the Senses

A Natural History Of Love

Thinking, Fast and Slow

An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

The Social Animal

Readings About The Social Animal

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)

Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World

A Geography Of Time: On Tempo, Culture, And The Pace Of Life

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition

50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Outliers: The Story of Success

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

The Story of Psychology

Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

The Sociopath Next Door

Columbine (on my reading list, but not yet read--highly recommended though)

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity
 (I have not read this, but it looks fascinating)

The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

WHY Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

DVDs to get your hands on:

 (sorry--VHS only)

Some Valuable Resources for Every Teacher:

Activities Handbook for the Teaching of Psychology

As and A-Level Psychology Through Diagrams (Oxford Revision Guides)

Challenging Your Preconceptions: Thinking Critically About Psychology
The Human Brain Book

Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psychological Research (6th Edition)

Teaching Introductory Psychology: Survival Tips from the Experts The Critical Thinking Companion for Introductory Psychology

posted by Chuck Schallhorn