Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Say hello to a promising new blog

I was delighted yesterday to learn about a new psychology blog that THSP readers will LOVE. Books for Psychology Class is the brainchild of two amazing high school psychology teachers, Nancy Fenton and Laura Brandt, and here is the introduction they posted:
Welcome to the Books for Psychology Class Blog. The goal of this Blog is to share books that would be useful in an introductory Psychology class for both instructors and students.  We encourage anyone who is interested to submit reviews of books they would recommend, please e-mail us at lbrandt@d125.org or nfenton@d125.org.
They are off to a terrific start for me already, featuring one book I've read (Quiet) and two that are on my reading list (Behind the Shock Machine and David and Goliath). Let's here it for more quality places to share information for psychology teachers.

Well done, Laura and Nancy!
--posted by Steve

Friday, January 17, 2014

What's your favorite "FRQ Practice" method?

A post on the AP Psychology Teacher Community site got me thinking about the different ways AP Psych teachers help students prepare for the Free Response Question part of the exam. The free response question is a unique item format: it's different than traditional "essay questions" that students and teachers are familiar with, and if students aren't ready for these unique characteristics, it can be a surprising and frustrating experience.

Here's a list of "FRQ studying techniques" I've heard of or seen demonstrated. I'm sure there are plenty of others, and there may be good reasons to choose one method over another. Please share your techniques/recommendations in the comments!

  • Walking students through a "mock reading experience." This is easier to do if you've been an AP reader (which you should all do! It's an amazing experience! Please apply!) You can tell students that they are now "readers," and train them in one of the released scoring guides. After training, assign partners and students read sample essays, grading them using the scoring guides. Through this experience, students learn the ins and outs of the scoring guides, and get a much better idea about the kinds of thinking the FRQs demand. 
  • Some teachers get students involved in writing scoring guides. This can be more time consuming, but it's a deeper examination of what it takes to measure knowledge and application of psych concepts in the FRQ format. Students could write scoring guides in groups, then another group could use the scoring guide on a sample essay and give the group feedback about how it worked. 
  • I've been playing with a "progressive FRQ" (and I'm sure this idea doesn't originate with me). I wonder if it would be possible to "build" a longer FRQ over the course of a semester/year, starting with a short FRQ after the 1st unit, then adding another section/more bullets after the 2nd unit, etc. Students would need to "repeat" their answers to the earlier parts of the question on each exam, which can help students practice recalling information from previous units. I took a swing at an example here  (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/985931/Progressive%20FRQ.docx)

I know there are MANY more ways to do this well, so please chime in using the comments!

image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP_Psychology

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sugar and the Brain


A colleague was looking for examples and descriptions for the economic idea of diminishing marginal utility.   He ran across this video on sugar and the brain.  It deals with taste buds, brain parts, dopamine and all sorts of brain and physiology ideas.  It's only 5 minutes and has some fun graphics to keep the kids interested. Not all the various terms we use are in here, but may are referenced. Check it out.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Spinning Lady Illusion Updated

One of my students from last year found this and shared it with me. Thank you Harleen. :)

It is an update of the spinning lady illusion to make it more visible for each direction.  The original was from this link:

In the comments section, there were requests to have the illusion explained.  Here are a few excellent links that explain this and other illusions.  Enjoy :)


Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Correlation, Causation and Some Cautions

I found this great post on Twitter and it's such a simple example for a basic stats point.  Thanks to io9. The article explains the distinction and how our cognitive biases can influence what we take as acceptable data.

The original link to the article can be found here: http://io9.com/on-correlation-causation-and-the-real-cause-of-auti-1494972271?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

or Link
Here is a screenshot of the article and headline:

Note that the author of the graph intended it as satire, not reality.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 TOPSS Deadlines: Teaching Awards, Essay Competition, and APF grants!

In case you didn't see it: Emily Leary (the fabulous person at the APA who works with TOPSS - hi Emily! - ELeary@APA.ORG) sent this email announcing upcoming deadlines. These are all great opportunities!

"APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards
These awards recognize outstanding high school psychology teachers.  There will be up to three annual awards.  Winners will receive a framed certificate, engraved award, cash prize of $500, and a free TOPSS membership or renewal for the 2015 membership year. Additionally, Worth Publishers is generously donating a set of their “Interactive (PowerPoint) Presentation Slides for Introductory Psychology,” volumes 1 and 2, as well as the “Worth Video Anthology Flash Drive for Introductory Psychology,” to each of the winning teachers.  The nomination deadline is March 1, 2014.  For details, see http://www.apa.org/about/awards/teaching-excellence.aspx

TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students
The 2014 TOPSS Essay Competition requires students to describe the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and offer a solution using psychological science.  Up to four students will receive $250 scholarships for their winning work.  The submission deadline is April 1, 2014.  For details, see http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/student-competition-question.aspx.   

Professional Development Awards for High School Psychology Teachers
These APF Awards will provide up to $500 for teachers to travel to and attend the APA Annual Convention, Aug. 7-10, 2014, in Washington, D.C.  APF will award $2,500 in grants in 2014. The application deadline is April 1, 2014.  For details, see http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/professional-topss.aspx

High School Psychology Teacher Network Grants
These APF Awards support the development of local or regional networks of psychology teachers.  APF will award $2,500 in grants in 2014. The application deadline is May 1, 2014. For details, see http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/psychology-teacher-network.aspx. "

posted by Rob McEntarffer