Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More Psych Teacher Professional Developement in St. Louis, MO!

2015 Fall St. Louis TOPSS (SLTOPSS) Workshop!

**Partially funded by a grant from the APF Psychology Teacher Network Grant 

This conference is being held Wednesday, October 21st from 5-7 pm at Education Plus (formerly Cooperating School Districts) at 1460 Craig Road in St. Louis, MO.

The cost is free, zero, zilch, nada. There is a side dish/dessert pot luck - so bring a dish to pass. Also, bring your best stuff for a sharing session.

Email Jennifer Flores at or Melody Barger at for details or to sign up!

Want to start your own TOPSS group!? Click the link about for information on how to do so or where to get some cash!

---Posted by Amy Ramponi

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Two Midwest PD Opportunities!

CHI-TOPSS is being held October 23rd at Lake Park High School in Roselle, IL. The fantastic Terri Lindenberg is the contact and here's a schedule to take a peek at if you're interested. The cost is a mere $25 which includes breakfast, lunch, and a key note by Randy Ernst. Um, yes, please!!!

Randy Ernst is the CHI-TOPSS Key Note! 

Here's a link with a schedule and more information.

EPIC is being held at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay on October 10th. This conference was the brain child of a collaboration of high school teachers and the generous and AWESOME professors of UW-GB. The breakout sessions are AWESOME - like Stats, What Inside Out Got Right, Assessment, Diversity, etc...and the key note is SUPER awesome, by Dr. Regan Gurung. The cost is $20 and there's lunch. And breakfast. And swag. LOTS of swag! (Free texts, test banks, Zipgrade yearly memberships, etc...) Also - each participant will get a free tee shirt with a witty psychology pun. How cool is that?

Several of these AWESOME UWGB professors are speaking at EPIC. How cool is that? 

Here's a link with a schedule and more information. Register today!


--- Posted by Amy Ramponi

Friday, September 25, 2015

Concussions and Damage to Young Brains

Embedded below is a video from ESPN's E:60 show about a popular high school athlete who experienced a second concussion before the first one was healed. The damage to his brain and body are expertly shown, including a photo of when he had to have part of his skull removed in order to help deal with the swelling of his damaged brain. If you have not seen it, it is quite powerful as it shows both before, the event, and his recovery and rehabilitation afterward. 

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) hosts Lecture Series on Intersection of liberal arts and neuroscience

From : 
The intersection between the liberal arts and emerging technologies that reveal new answers for the way the human brain functions will be the basis for a new speaker series at Lawrence University.
Over the course of the next eight months, five national experts will explore how brain research is connected to various areas of the liberal arts, including religious studies, music, art and literature.

Edward Vessel

The series, “Liberal Arts in the Century of the Brain,” will incorporate the interdisciplinary areas of neuroscience and cognitive science to create connections with other disciplines at Lawrence by examining questions such as whether the brain processes literary fiction differently than formula fiction or how perception, emotion and cognitive processing impact creative expression.
Edward Vessel, director of the New York University ArtLab and a noted research scientist at NYU’s Center for Brain Imaging, opens the series Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m in Steitz Hall of Science 102 with the presentation “Art and Neuroesthetics.”  A question-and-answer session follows. The event is free and open to the public.
The emerging field of neuroaesthetics uses neuroscience to study art to determine why certain works of art produce an emotional response. Through the use of neural imaging, Vessel will share recent research that focuses on understanding the basis for how people derive pleasure and inspiration from various art forms and how this may be related to learning, motivation and well-being.
What a great way to bring Neuroscience and the Science of Psychology to students, teachers (of all disciplines, but especially us Psychology lovers), and the general public.
The OCTOBER speaker is none other than Dr. Richard Davidson. For real. So exciting. He will speak at 11:10 on October 30th in the Chapel at Lawrence. No cost to the public. For more information on Dr. Davidson's amazing work, check out his website here. SO EXCITING. 
I'm so excited for all the amazing opportunities being presented for HS Psychology teachers in and around my state. Wonderful!
-- Posted by Amy Ramponi 

A Cartoon Homage to Skinner

Today's Bizarro comic

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Seriously good conference for WI, IL, MN, IA, MI teachers of HIGH SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY!

Professional development - many of us cringe at the very thought. But what if you have a chance to attend a conference with a speaker with national street cred, spark sessions, 8 breakout sessions, lunch, TOPSS and publisher swag, and a seriously nominal cost ($20) and a FOCUS on teaching High School Psychology?

The first (and hopefully annual) E.P.I.C. (Excellence in Psychology Instruction Conference) is being held on Saturday, October 10th from 8am - 3:15pm. UW Green Bay (118 miles from Milwaukee, 208 miles to Chicago, 280 miles from Minneapolis) is graciously hosting the conference. Registration is here and the Facebook page is here.

Consider attending!

-Posted by Amy Ramponi

Ethics in Psychology: Elephants on Acid Gallery Walk Activity

Happy Saturday, everyone! 

I recently came across this interesting article and book entitled Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese. Using an idea that Ms. Allison Shaver (Plymouth South High School, Plymouth, MA) gave me a while back, I created a new activity for my class. Using her idea for a "Gallery Walk" - you can turn the article into short readings put around the room on the wall and have your kids read though them in a class period, synthesize the information they've read, and then rank the studies in relation to the studies ethical and/or unethical behaviors.  

Here's the activity write up. LINK TO ARTICLE AVAILABLE THERE. 

What studies do you like to highlight when discussing ethics? 

- Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Spurious Correlations

Like most of you I'm teaching research methods.  One big idea that students often miss is the idea that you can't assume a cause and effect relationship when you find a correlation. This point is driven home by the "Spurious Correlations" found at this site.  These are sure to generate discussion in your class!

Best wishes for a great school year!
Kristin Whitlock

Monday, September 14, 2015

Love in an fMRI

Happy Monday, everyone! Amy here...and I'm knee-deep into Biological Basis of Behavior. My online PLN is constantly sharing videos that I use in class and absolutely love...and this one is no exception.

The video is a short, 15 minute documentary called "The Love Competition" and it documents people loving as hard as they can while inside an fMRI machine. The link can be found here

The video is great for the "awe" factor (no spoilers here,  you gotta watch it) and because it is great for showing students the components of an fMRI and how it differs from a PET, CT, or MRI scan.

I've showed this in past years and my kids think it is just the best.

- Posted by Amy Ramponi

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Teaching Wundt's Research

Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt
I'm not a huge fan of TEACHING the history of psychology in the first days of class. There's no frame of reference for students and it just seems confusing to them. Structuralism? Functionalism? What? 

I recently came across this on Twitter and was very intrigued. It is a Psych Inquiry by Connie Varhagan of the University of Alberta. It is about a ten minute activity that can be used in explanation with Wundt's initial study on consciousness. It looks to test sensation and sensation/perception with cognition. The kids easily see the difference in their scores and hopefully have an "aha" moment.

Try it out here!

Has anyone used this in their psychology course to help teach the early foundations of psychology?

- Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Great new videos from SfN

The Society for Neuroscience has just announced the winners of their 2015 Brain Awareness Video Contest. The three winners are posted below and not only are all three great, they are perfect for teaching high school psychology.

ALSO - before I get to the winners - note that the Society is asking people to vote for the People's Choice Award winner between now and September 29. There are nine videos altogether (including the the three winners) - the other videos are about prosopagnosia, language, hearing, memory, and how technology affects out brain. Go here to get links to all nine videos and vote!

First place winner: Do We See The Same Red? by Matthew Sugrim. In addition to answering the title question, this was an excellent video because it explained the function of cones in the context of neural and brain activity.

Second place winner: How Powerful Illusions Reveal Coding in Your Brain by Guillaume Riesen. Another nice explanation of the function of cones, but this time also explaining (and showing) effects of afterimages and motion illusions. I thought the last minute went a little beyond high school psych with the discussion of population coding, but it's not bad to show them a peek at more advanced ways to study vision.

Third place winner: Your Sixth Sense by Allison and Michael Caldwell. I don't know about you, but for me, proprioception is one of those areas I never do much with. I also just assumed it was the same as kinesthesia, but proprioception is more about body position while kinesthesia is more about body movement. This video is different in style from the previous two in that the narrator is speaking directly you, and there are many fewer graphics here. But there are nice explanations and examples of how proprioception works, and good demonstration for learning about the Pinocchio illusion. (Did you know about this?)

I have not looked at the other six videos, and would LOVE for any reader out there to check out one of those and post your feedback in the comments. Or just let us know what you thought of these three above!

posted by Steve

Thursday, September 10, 2015


(Rob says: Kristin Whitlock sent me this news about the UTOPSS conference - what a GREAT line up! If you can possibly go, go!)

Utah Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (UTOPSS) FALL CONFERENCE

Date:  Friday, October 23, 2015

Place:  Westminster College, SLC, UT

Time:  8:00 am – 3:30 pm

Cost:  $50.00 (includes materials, continental breakfast & lunch)

Registration due by:  OCTOBER 16



Unsimplifying Mental Disorders: Principles for Understanding and Teaching Abnormal Psychology, Rik Seefeldt—University of Wisconsin—River Falls

Attitudes and Approaches for Diversity in the Classroom, Jen Simonds—Westminster College

Homeless Youth in Utah: What We Know and What Is Being Done, Justice Morath—Salt Lake Community College



Effective Methods in Teaching Sports Psychology, David Rockwood—Payson High School

Using Myths to Teach Introductory Psychology, Annette Nielsen—Woods Cross High School

AP Psychology, Dr. Rik Seefeldt—University of Wisconsin—River Falls & Kristin Whitlock—Davis High School

Please contact Kristin Whitlock if you have any questions (

posted by Kristin Whitlock, via Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Repost of Great Hanover Site on Sensation and Perception

When I began teaching this topic, I was scared because I had no idea what I was doing. I'd never had an S&P course in college and this seemed a little daunting. Over the years, with a lot of hard work, some research, and some wonderful internet sites, I learned and learned.

Today, I'd like to share and highlight the work of John H. Krantz of Hanover College in Southern Indiana. For years, he has been at the forefront of taking concepts online in an interactive format for students (and teachers). This site is about sensation and perception and its constituent parts. While I cannot use all the illustrations in an introductory course, there are some great specific ones I can use. Be sure to have the latest Java to help your experience.

Experiencing Sensation and Perception (includes cognition and neuroscience links)

There is lots more on this tremendous site. Poke around a bit and see what you can use.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Strange Case of Missing Posts

Hi All. Chuck here.

For reasons we cannot ascertain, the posts that Amy Ramponi had created have disappeared. We consulted Google, but we had already tried the steps they told us about. Sadly, Google blogger does not have an activity log, so that option is out. We tried examining drafts, account settings, and more. Nothing. It is as if they never occurred. But we know they did.

Please have patience as we use the internet way-back machine to gather the content of the posts and repost them.

Thanks for your patience and continued support.