Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Webinar on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning!

This post is shamelessly stolen from the APA/TOPSS email all members received from Chair Mike Hamilton yesterday. 

Next Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 7:30 PM ET, The American Psychological Association and  TOPSS is pleased that Regan Gurung, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay will be presenting a free webinar for TOPSS members: “Cultivate Learning: Capitalizing on the Science of Learning.” A description of the webinar is provided below; the hour-long event will include time for questions and answers. To watch the webinar, please visit this site. The webinar will be posted online after the live event. We hope you will be able to join us next Tuesday!

Cultivating Learning: Capitalizing on the Science of Learning 
Regan Gurung, PhD, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

What is the best way to conceptualize what we do as teachers? What are some evidence-based strategies to foster learning? This talk will answer these questions and more, providing a variety of key research findings relating to what works in the classroom (and what does not). Packed with pragmatic strategies teachers can implement immediately, the presentation will raise some thought-provoking questions about what learning should look like.
Dr. Gurung received a BA in psychology at Carleton College and a master’s and PhD in social and personality psychology at the University of Washington. He teaches various courses in health psychology, research methods and culture development and health. He is a past-president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA’s Division 2) and a dedicated teacher with strong interests in enhancing student learning and faculty development.
This webinar has been made possible through a grant from the American Psychological Foundation, thanks to a generous gift from Lee Gurel, PhD.

I recently saw a version of this talk at the EPIC conference held at UW- Green Bay in October and IT. WAS. PHENOMENONAL. I've very excited to see what else Dr. Gurung has to share and for all of you to join in! I took home immediate and very helpful resources to bring to my classes, and you will, too.

A very happy, healthy, and grateful Thanksgiving wish to all the THSP readers from my house to yours! 

- Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Easy YouTube Videos - Bypass Publishing "Difficult Topics Explained"

Teaching AP Psychology on a semester block requires some innovation and quick activities. Imagine my delight when I found this set of videos online this morning! At a few minutes running time each for difficult topics - this is perfect for any psychology, AP Psychology, or IB Psychology review!

Important and difficult topics explained - schedules of reinforcement, action potentials, Weber's Law - yes, please!  Thank you very much Bypass Publishing!

Find the YouTube Channel here:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thoughts from NCSS New Orleans

Last weekend, I had the great luxury to attend the National Council of the Social Studies (NCSS) conference in New Orleans. It was great to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones, and to get some seriously good professional development in. I asked attendees to give me a few comments on their experiences, and here's what I got. 

"I liked how so many presentations dealt with real world issues, and showed how they linked back to psych (instead of focusing on a psych topic and how to teach it.) 

"The entire weekend was amazing! One thing I want to try is actually from your session (Amy Ramponi) with Jen Schlicht and Allison Shaver, Talk Tuesdays, I believe you called them. My students struggles with developing good questions, this sounds like just the thing!" 

"It was awesome to attend the first session Friday morning on teaching AP Psychology. I also feel a bit like it is {AP Psychology} set up like a vocabulary course. As the only AP Psych teacher I know (maybe the only one in Maine?) it was nice to talk with others who are teaching it and I loved the ideas from the presenter (Sean Tischler). Super effort by everyone! Thank you! 

"Don't teach kids psychology, DO PSYCHOLOGY."

"You can learn about psych in lots of places (like the THSP blog!) and the things you learn about psych at NCSS are fantastic. But the best thing about the conference is the chance to develop personal relationships with other psych teachers. It is helpful (and wonderful) when these new colleagues' names come up on the Psych Community Facebook page or with the #psychat tag on Twitter. NCSS always leaves me feeling energized and connected. 

"I liked how all presenters mentioned doing projects or activities that were very open-ended and unencumbered by rubrics and exemplars. This is such a great way to encourage students to explore something of interest to their lives.

Thank you to the NCSS leadership committee, NCSS, New Orleans, LA and everyone who attended for enriching the experience. Next year, plan on attending in Washington DC, if you can! Also, if you're looking for the presentations and links keep your eye on the NCSS Psychology Community web page for the links from the presentations to go up. If you're not a member, consider joining. The fee is a ridiciously tiny $30 for a lifetime membership. (Wha?) Membership information is included on the website linked above. 

My two-cents about the NCSS conference? An engaging & passionate group of psych teachers putting some seriously thought-provoking and good stuff out there. And I'm set for pens and pencils free from the Exhibition Hall for at least 20 years. 

---Posted by Amy Ramponi, who has almost caught up on her sleep  

Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 Released Test Breakdown

The AP Psychology Facebook page member Courtney Beitler ( broke down the recently released AP Practice Exam for your use! Thanks, Courtney! 

 - - -  Posted by Amy Ramponi 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Webcasts and Online Modules from APA/TOPSS
The fabulous folks at TOPSS/APA have done it again! They are making webcasts and online modules available for FREE teacher use! Check out this list!
  • Does that Psychology Demonstration REALLY work? (Rob McEntarffer - warning: you may not be able to stand this guy's voice for long :) 
  • Neuroethics and Neurotechnology (Eric Chudler - Neuroscience for Kids!) 
  • Research Methods, Measurement and Statistics (the great Stephen Chew! If we all listend to Dr. Chew more, all of us would actually KNOW how to study!) 
  • Key Points to Remember in Biopsychology
  • Classroom Activities in Biopsychology
Please comment when you find great things in these resources so that we can all share your joy! AND if you aren't a member of TOPSS, why not? They do great stuff!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, October 30, 2015

Help compile a resource of psychology podcast episodes

We need your help! In November at the NCSS Annual Conference Rob McEntarffer and I are presenting "Now Hear This," a look at using podcast episodes in introductory psychology classes. While I have collected a slew of them to share, I know there are many out there that YOU think are pretty great. So I created the Google Form below (and if it's not embedded, please click here to go to the form directly) to create a starting point to collect these resources.

Here is what we are looking for:

  • podcast episodes that you think would be good for a intro psych class, whether high school or college (note: it's better to suggest episodes rather than entire podcasts - for example, there are many episodes of This American Life which are excellent for this purpose, but not all of them)
  • why you like this podcast - what makes it compelling
  • where it fits in the curriculum (using the fourteen content areas from AP Psychology as a guide)
  • HOW to use podcasts - we are looking for a wide variety of ideas here
  • who you are - tell us who you are and how to get in touch with you

Please share these with us by Friday, November 6.
Following the NCSS conference, we will publish the compiled list for everyone to use as a resource and continue to add to! (Also, here is a list of all the psych-related presentations at NCSS.)

If you have questions, let me know ( Thanks!
--posted by Steve


I spotted a few GENIUS level psychology related costumes from Facebook friends - check it out!

Can you tell who this is? Hint: he's been having trouble with emotional control...
(source: I believe this is Psychology teacher James Roscoe - James, if you're out there, let us all know how you did this!)

If you don't recognize this costume, ask anyone who goes to movies with kids...
(source: Psychology teacher Melissa Rogers - cheer up, Melissa!)

Get it? Get it? I wish I could remember the term for this ... let me check my mother textbook ... Oops! I meant ANOTHER textbook!

(source: I don't know! Attributed on Facebook to the mysterious"Cookie Cookalooka")

If you have other psych related Halloween goodies, please share them in the comments! 

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#ThisPsychMajor and Political Fallout

In case you missed it, Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, recently stated that most psychology majors would end up working in fast food. This spawned a series of people tweeting what #ThisPsychMajor does in their professional lives. Psychology Today blogger Travis Langley posted a number of tweets stating what the psych majors have done. You can find that information here:

From the blog post:
""Universities ought to have skin in the game," former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush said at a South Carolina town hall meeting Saturday morning, "When a student shows up, they ought to say 'Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that's great, it's important to have liberal arts … but realize, you're going to be working a Chick-fil-A.'" (link is external) Psychology and philsophy [sic] weren't random examples used to put down all college education because he also bemoaned a shortage of, among other things, information technologists and teachers."
Dr. Ali Mattu,, has extensively covered the event as well, retweeting many posts, including my own. Below is a picture he tweeted about his own work. Be sure to check out his YouTube show and other work-they are linked on his Twitter account.

For checking out the posts directly, here is the twitter search:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, October 19, 2015

Iowa Teachers of Psych Conference is Nov 6th

The midwest sure does seem to be hub of psychology-teacher professional development lately. This time, it is in Iowa!

Image result for iowa

The 16th annual Iowa Teachers of Psych Conference is being held in Pella, Iowa at Central College and all are welcome.

Information can be found here  and registration is a mere $35.00.

----Posted by Amy Ramponi

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Teaching with GIFs?

We should probably start with the pronunciation controversy: some people insist that  ".gif" is pronounced like the first syllable of "Jiffy," while others are equally passionate that it sounds like the first part of "Gift." I don't care how anyone pronounces it :)

But something I do care about: maybe we could use .gifs in teaching? Greg Shenk, psych teacher extraordinaire from CT shared this .gif his students made of neural depolarization. I love it - short, detailed, and on a loop. Might be cool to have this running behind a lecture/discussion of depolarization, talking about the process and pointing at details in the animation. Or students could look at it on their own devices and be ready to narrate the process using correct terminology? Cool possibilities.

Does anyone else do "animations" or other small videos like this with your classes? Maybe this could be a new thing!

Credit for the video goes to a few of Greg's awesome students:
Alec Bernardi
Aleks Nowicki
Mason DiCicco

posted by Rob McEntarffer