Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Google Classroom, how do I love thee?

Happy, happy July friends! Apologies for my absence from the blogosphere - I'm living the "Developmental Psychology" chapter here at home with Baby George...who just STOPPED crying (pretty much) since his birth date in April. Good times. With less "Shhhh....shhhhh....please.....shhhh...." - there will be more time to think Psychology and get ready for the school year!
Gratuitous Baby George photo 

Anywhoo - the point of my post. Google Classroom. This classroom app available with Chrome is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Why do I love it so much? It has made my life so, so, so much easier.

How do I use it in my classroom?

1. Classroom management - I post every assignment (Unit FRQs), practice test (any teacher keen on retrieval practice!?), powerpoint, prezi, etc....that I use for easy access for my students. After the first few days of class, I NEVER hear, "I was gone yesterday...what did I miss?" They start knowing RIGHT OFF THE BAT that anything they miss is there for them. And then they stop asking that dreaded questions. Which. Is. Awesome.

2. Paperless Classroom - I have gone away from a lot of paper copies of things and have found that it is much easier for kids to grab things off classroom. Win-win.

3. IEP/504 Accommodations - I have found that a classroom management site like Google allows my students with IEP or 504 accommodations to be more self-sufficient and that it lessens my workload in this situation. Students can go right to the webpage and print off notes or follow along in class on a smartphone or Chromebook. This is huge for kids with note taking needs or for parents who want to help their students organize themselves or study.

4. Parent communication with what's going on in class - I allow parents to join my classroom and for some of them who want to assist their students - this keeps them in the loop. Parent emails have dramatically decreased. (Not that I don't want to hear from parentals.)

5. Students may submit homework or assignments on Classroom and you can grade them digitally. You (literally) never lose a paper. You also know who has their stuff in, and who's out. (Project Runway, anyone?)

6. When I want students to do something in class (a quick web-based activity, a Socrative.com quiz, or when I have them do stations activity days) - I can link up the webpages right to Google classroom. NO MORE will you have to hear "This website doesn't work." Ugh....every teacher's worst nightmare.

I'm sure there are many, many more uses for Google classroom. How do you use it?

----Posted by Amy Ramponi

Monday, July 4, 2016

Psychology Teacher Mapping Post--A Request for Information

OK, this idea has been around for a while now and it seems it has not gotten off the ground.

Let's give it a go here. This is a trial run. If you have problems, please email me at thspblog@gmail.com

I made a short Google Form that, when the questions are answered populates a Google map, with the information available for each person.

Link for Google Form--please go here and fill in your information:

When taken, the only data in the spreadsheet was mine, so that is why only one icon exists. I will post periodic updates in the future. The name of the high school is listed at the top of the information.

The Map can be found here:
Version 3 https://drive.google.com/open?id=160BjGqEoTJILVCAwef7NLn8uk_U&usp=sharing

When you click an icon, this information pops up:

At the moment, we have not created any guidelines as to the relationship and expectations between mentors and mentees. The College Board has done a trial version of this for APUSH. No word on when it will reach psychology.

For now, if you are willing to mentor, look for people in your area who are in need. If you are in need, reach out.

Please do not just ask for materials, but rather, make this a working series of discussions to become better psych teachers.

Post Update: 7/5/2016 10:10 AM PST

Mapping the Psych Teachers Update:

--I changed the parameters and got rid of latitude and longitude and used zip code for location. Fewer errors, but still some exist.

--For some reason, google sheets does not accept a "0" at the beginning of a set of numbers, making the east coast zip codes only four digits - not totally sure how this is impacting the mapping

--I must update the map manually

--The map must be used to get an idea only--it seems it will not be perfect, but will get us a pretty good idea of who is around us

--All this data is in a spreadsheet that I can share with people willing/interested in organizing regional conferences

--The spreadsheet will have the accurate information even if the map does not reflect that

--I'm hoping this will spark some regional/state PLCs and connecting psychology teachers with one another

--at the moment of writing this post, we are at 340 teachers

-----as of 7/7/16 we are up to 448

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TOPSS Resource Manual for New Teachers of High School 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
reposted by Chuck Schallhorn

Substantial Psychology Paper Assignment

Earlier in the summer, Eric Castro, one of our exceptional San Francisco Psychology teachers wrote
on a listserv a project he was working on for his social science department. That list is pretty inactive, so I wanted to post his request here.

Here is the request Eric posted:
In response to Steve Jones' and David Lane's questions, I've published what prompted my original solicitation:

The short version is that my Social Science department has surveyed and interviewed eight constituencies about our course offerings and curriculum: grammar school teachers, 9th graders, 12th graders, other departments at our own school, recent alumni, other high schools, college professors, and employers around the San Francisco Bay Area. From those has emerged two needs: greater ethnic and cultural diversity across our course offerings, and better preparation for college-level research and writing.

Eric Castro 
Social Science Faculty 
St Ignatius College Prep, San Francisco

Please post your ideas and feedback in the comments.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Psychology Shopping: Megapost

Are you ready to do some shopping?  If so, below is a list of places you can find wonderful items for your own personal collection and/or your classroom.

Please be sure to add any places or ideas in the comments!


I will do a separate post on all of these at some point in the future, but here are a few pictures of my bookshelves-I can recommend nearly all of these; I have not gotten to all of them (and this is not even all my psych books)--sorry for the mess, I just recently moved:


Includes inversion goggles, activities, and many other resources


The THSP Psych Store--lots of possibilities

Lots of different brain models

Psychology Games

Psychology Jewelry--seriously, this is a thing!


iScore5 Psychology App

Psych Hero

Psychology Posters

Holstee Manifesto Poster

If you can print out your own posters (and possibly have them laminated by your school), Pinterest has numerous possibilities:

From the APA, Classroom Posters--downloadable

Anatomical Prints
Skull Anatomy

Anatomy Warehouse
Spinal Nerves

Organs of the Ear

Brain Poster-$11

Brain Model

Brain Model with Arteries-$344

Giant Brain Model-$467

Teachers Discovery Store-Psychology Page

Social Studies dot com
They have a little bit of everything, but especially books and DVDs. They tend to be a bit more expensive

Cafe Press Psychology Jewelry

Cafe Press All Gifts

The Psychology Shop
for lots of different ideas including Jung and Freud finger puppets--don't even think about commenting on this one
Freudian Slippers

Zazzle Psychology Gifts

Etsy Psychology Gifts

Sniffy the Virtual Rat (Lite Version)

Again, if I have missed anything, please leave a note in the comments or email me at thspblog@gmail.com 

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Saturday, June 25, 2016

NETOP meeting is scheduled for 8/10 in Hopkinton, MA

If you're in New England, life isn't just about going to the Cape this summer. (Is that a thing? I'm trying to sound hip, here.) Your summer plans MUST include a visit to Hopkinton High School on August 10th to hang out with Mike Hamilton, Maria Vita, Michael Sullivan and ...you know...a Harvard Psychologist. That's right - you get to learn from and hang out with Jeremy Wolfe, PhD!

Information on Dr. Wolfe here:
Jeremy Wolfe is principal investigator and head of Harvard University's Visual Attention Lab, as well as Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University.

The fifth annual conference promises to be wicked. Details and registration information here 

---Posted by Amy Ramponi

$10K available to teachers of psychology

That's not a typeo. The American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Foundation (APF) have $10,000 available for teachers of psychology to create networks, host a psych fair, or create a "psychology quiz bowl" with students.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS APPLY. A really simple application process could net you serious cash to use for conference food, honorarium for a speaker, for door prizes, tee shirts, and other related costs.

Here is all the info you need to apply: http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/psychology-teacher-network.aspx?tab=2

The deadline for these grants is coming up quick - JULY 1.

--- Posted by Amy Ramponi

Friday, June 17, 2016

AP Psychology Exam - equated across years!

I learned something interesting (to me) about the AP psychology exam via Twitter: the exam is "equated" across years, meaning that the difficulty of the exam is kept constant. This means that if students do "better" on one year vs. another, we can interpret that improvement as a learning gain.

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Psychology and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?

I got to sit by a friend at a meeting today and we chatted about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). He shared this article with me - it describes these 8 "practices of science," and I started wondering about whether they might apply in Psychology classrooms, and if so, how?

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 
7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

The science classes taught in science departments in my district are getting redesigned using these 8 practices. I like our current national standards for high school psychology, and I don't propose changing them to "meet" the NGSS, but I'm curious about whether or not these science "practices" might apply to psych classes in interesting ways. Any thoughts? Are the NGSS a big deal in your districts? Does anyone think we psychology teachers should pay attention to NGSS?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, May 23, 2016

Brain Stamp!

Have you seen Brain Stamp? Looks like a great new high school psychology resource, created and run by high school students!

Yena Kim and Abby Flyer  (twitter account = @Brainstampnews ) started this blog because of their passion for their high school psychology class! Here's how one of their teachers (the fabuloys Allyson Weseley) described the blog's origin story:

"Earlier this year, Yena and Abby came to see me saying that had "a surprise" to show me; Brain Stamp was that surprise. They had already set the up site and posted a number of articles and were eager to talk about how they could expand their audience. In 26 years of teaching, I don't think I've ever seen students initiate and execute an independent project of this scope."

Amy Ramponi interviewed Yena and Abby (via email) about the site:

Tell me more about yourself and why you started this.
Yena: We are currently two psychology-obsessed high school juniors from Roslyn High School. After taking AP Psychology last year, we realized that psychology is just so captivating and important in all of our lives. Later that year, we sought to create a Psychology Club in our school. However, the club didn’t pass due to insufficient funds.

Abby: Even though we couldn't get our club started, we still wanted to share our passion for psychology with our fellow students. We started Brain Stamp as a way to write about topics that interested us and make them available for anyone to read. After a while, it became clear to use that our website served a much better purpose than a club would have; while clubs provide a community of learning and sharing within a set time frame in a classroom, Brain Stamp creates an online community that is easily accessible at any time, from any location.

When did you start?
Yena: We started in Fall 2015.

What are your future plans?
Yena: For now, we really want more high schoolers to find out about who we are and what we do. This is because Brain Stamp is a brand new platform for students to get more involved in the field and to share their love for psychology in a unique way.

Abby:  We also want to build more of a relationship with the students who visit our website. We want to hear what topics students are interested in or are struggling with so we can share our insights, and we hope to receive more submitted articles as a way for the members of the community share their insights, too.

Who motivated or inspired you?
Abby: I was first introduced to psychology informally in seventh grade. I was in a general accelerated course called SAIL, in which my teacher presented the class with videos or readings that he personally found interesting or enriching. Much of what he showed us was tied to psychology—for instance, we watched videos on change blindness and selective inattention, videos I found absolutely fascinating but couldn't explain why. When I finally took AP Psychology in tenth grade, everything made sense. Ever since, I've been absolutely enamored with psychology, and, as with everything I love, I take every opportunity possible to share it with everyone I can. Creating Brain Stamp seemed like an effective way to do so.

Yena: I’ve always loved to observe the way people interact with each other and with the world. Ever since I was little, my father encouraged me to constantly think about the “why’s” of individual differences in human behavior. When I entered high school, I became deeply involved in my school’s behavioral and social sciences research program and took my first psychology class. Through these experiences, I was able to study (some of) the answers to my endless list of questions and discover the complexity of what makes us who we are. Inspiration, for me, derived from all sorts of places—history, home, school, friends, the news, etc.; curiosity is what drove me to be here.

Who was your teacher?
Abby: Both of us had Dr. Todd Postol for an enrichment class in seventh grade and Ms. Andrea Pearlman for AP Psychology, two teachers who, I feel, have had a profound impact on my life.

Yena: We run Brain Stamp independently, so it’s not an official organization of our school. However, we have many teachers who support what we do. For example, the Coordinator of Secondary Research at our school, Dr. Allyson J. Weseley, is one of the teachers who stands out. 

posted by Amy Ramponi and Rob McEntarffer