Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Resource Manual for New Teachers of Psychology

The APA/TOPSS released a manual for new psychology teachers, and it looks like it's full of great resources! See the announcement below for details.

"New high school psychology teachers may have a number of questions about how to proceed with instruction in their first psychology teaching assignment. What is the best way to choose a textbook? How do teachers find substantive and effective activities? How can teachers find quality support resources? Questions like these are just a few that are repeatedly posted to listservs when new teachers are looking for help. The purpose of this document is to present new high school psychology teachers with some resources and helpful suggestions from teachers with many years of teaching experience. This resource begins with suggestions for preparing to teach psychology, textbook selection, course-pacing formats, and lesson planning - the underpinnings of an effective psychology class. The next set of topics address specific issues faced by high school psychology teachers and are designed to help new teachers be proactive when deciding how to run their class, make rules, and make daily ethical decisions. The authors believe that this resource will prove very useful to teachers new to the teaching of psychology. It can facilitate their being able to approach their new assignment with more confidence and poise, equipped with strategies for effective instruction."
Resource Manual for New Teachers of Psychology

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, February 17, 2014

APA/TOPSS Convention Award Program for High School Psychology Teachers and Students

Emily Leary from APA/TOPSS shared this announcement recently:

"The APA Education Directorate, thanks to support from the APA Board of Directors, is pleased to announce an award program for high school psychology teachers to attend the 2014 APA Annual Convention. The 2014 APA convention will be held in Washington, D.C., Aug. 7-10, 2014, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Given the location of the APA convention, preference will be given to applicants from the D.C. metro area.

There are two levels of available funding:

Individual teachers can apply for $200, to cover one $95 teacher registration fee and $105 to cover food and travel expenses*.

Individual teachers who want to bring between two to four students with them can apply for up to $500 in funding. Funds must be used to cover one $95 teacher registration fee and up to four $10 student registration fees; teachers must plan on bringing at least two students to be considered for this level of award. Any funds within the requested amount that remain after registration fees have been covered can be used for food and travel expenses. Applicants are required to provide an approximate budget for these expenses along with their applications.

For eligibility and how to apply, visit http://www.apa.org/about/awards/convention-high-school.aspx

Deadline: April 15, 2014

*Teachers with farther distances to travel are encouraged to consider applying for an APF Professional Development Award for High School Psychology Teachers, which provides up to $500 to teachers to attend convention."

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Science of Kissing

You and your kids will love this video--it puts a common activity and scientifically explains WHY kissing is so enjoyable.  It goes beyond the average answer.
Good stuff.

Here is a link to a book on this topic for those who want to explore more.

The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us

 posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flipping out

To me, the idea of "flipping your classroom" has been presented as The Next Big Thing by its advocates, and Just The Latest Fad by its detractors. I have toyed with it some, but not seriously, and I have been looking for someone who's actually doing it in high school psychology and was willing to share the experience with our readers. 

I connected with Melissa Schaefer via Twitter, and she agreed to do a guest post about her experience. I am thrilled that she was able to do this, and hope that our readers will chime in the comments with their take on this new trend. Take it away, Melissa!

So I’ve been expressing my love (okay obsession) with the flipped class on #psychat for months now, and I thought I would give a little more explanation into my quest for those who are interested.  Last year I had 62 class days to teach the AP Psych curriculum.  We are on 4X4 block, and there was construction that summer.  While I had no experience in video, I was hoping the flipped classroom would be my key to success.  I attended a conference on the flipped classroom where I was provided the Camtasia software as part of the cost.  I started with the first lecture and just kept recording- usually only 1 or 2 nights ahead of the kids.  In class everyday we would start by reviewing the notes with a partner, which is great practice for Cornell Notes.  Most students don’t look at their notes again until the night before the test, so I was able to show them how to review each day.  Next we would go through questions, and then I would pick the 5 or 6 most important terms to do activities or simulations.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from my students- each one said they would suggest the videos again for next year on their end of the year evaluation.

In that first year, I learned a few lessons.

1. It can be very hard to lecture to your computer screen- but even worse for students if you are boring … so it is important to still be yourself.  Sometimes I wear hats or have challenges for them to complete.  I often act like a fool- but I do that in class anyway.  In addition, a signature “sign off” makes the videos your own.

2. The videos are best kept between 10 and 15 minutes.  Depending on the intensity of the content, it can take some students 60 min to do a 15 minute video.

3.  Save your favorite examples and stories for class- but still put a few in the video.  I was able to get a lecture that would take the whole period into 10 minutes when there were no interruptions.  While I’m sure my students will say I talk fast, it is totally possible.  I was shocked how much time is sucked up by a computer error, a class interruption, etc.

4. Watching the video must be essential for class.  Students who did not do the video (which honestly did not happen that often) realized quickly that they were completely lost the entire period.

Now starting my second year, I have learned a few more:

1. I will need to redo several of the videos.  However for those I will use again, I rewatch them before class.  It is hard to remember exactly which examples you gave and so rewatching helps me prepare for the lesson.

2. This year after reviewing the notes, they create a mindmap that they add to each day.  This is another way to digest information without adding more homework.

3. While I did not have too many problems with students who did not watch videos in my first year, this year if they do not have all their video notes, they cannot take the test for that unit.

Finally, please feel free to look at the videos I have created on my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/mschae2/videos and use them in anyway you would like!  I would love any feedback or comments! I did not originally plan to share them so please forgive mistakes or errors I make.  I tried to catch them- but my students are always much better at that :).  I will tell you that my “sign off” may be slightly unconventional, but I do take great care to explain the political and social issues within psychology to my students.  Also, please feel free to contact me at Mschaefer@d120.org or @MT_Schaef on Twitter if you would like to talk about the flipped class!

Melissa Schaefer teaches AP Psychology at Mundelein High School in Mundelein, Illinois. Thanks for sharing this, Melissa!
- posted by Steve

Monday, February 10, 2014

Online AP Psychology practice exam from Barron's - and it's FREE

Here's a pre-AP Psych test present for you all: A colleague (the great and powerful Allyson Weseley, AP Psych teacher extraordinaire from NY) and I authored an online AP Psychology practice exam, and it's free!

It's from Barron's Education series, and we think it's a good representation of the kinds of items students will see on the actual AP test.
Barron's did a good job with the interface: students can choose a "practice" or a "timed" mode, and the web site seems to work well. We are asking them to add one feature: a "diagnostic" mode that would provide students feedback about what units they are "strong" or "weak" in.

Please send us feedback on the exam - we may have a chance to improve it in the future. Happy practicing!

Barron's Online AP Psychology Practice Exam

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, February 3, 2014

Proposal for NCSS 2014 are due on Feb. 18th!

The NCSS psychology community is a GREAT resource for psych teachers (thanks to the efforts of Daria Schaffeld, Joe Geiger. Sejal Schullo, and other high school teachers who do the work to keep the NCSS Psych community strong). If you haven't attended NCSS before, this year might be a great time to start! (Boston! Woot!)

We've posted before about the psychology sessions at NCSS . Each year there seems to be more and better psychology programming at NCSS, and it's a great, supportive conference for new and experienced psych teachers.

Some buildings/districts are more willing to provide travel support money if you have a presentation accepted for the conference. The proposal process for NCSS is pretty easy to do - come up with an idea that you think other psych teachers might like to discuss, submit it via the online form, and you're done! Every proposal helps the NCSS psych community because they assign programming hours according to number of proposals submitted.

If you have questions about the conference feel free to put them in the comments (or email one of us - email links are on the left column of the blog). Hope to see you there!

posted by Rob McEntarffer