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: