Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Resources for States of Consciousness Exploration

As we will discuss in class, your exploration of content from the States of Consciousness unit will happen largely over break. This is good in some ways, because it involves sleeping, and who wouldn't want to do that? However, it does mean you'll be responsible for keeping track of your own progress through some of the material, in preparation for a quiz on January 3rd.

To help you out, I've created a checklist for you AND I've attempted to give you options for reducing your workload in fun and interesting ways (You should have receieved a paper copy of this in class, but I'll give you the online version here). In order to be ready for our end-of-break quiz, you should:

  1. Read Ch. 7 in your text.
  2. Complete Ch. 7 Reading Questions (due January 3)
  3. Get notes on Stages of Sleep & Sleep Disorders either
  4. Complete either Dream Monitoring OR Sleep Habits Monitoring for 4 consecutive nights, your choice.
  5. Get notes on Dream Theories either
  6. Optional: watch Inception! Psych Club will be watching this at 5:00 on Dec. 28th (after lecture/discussion)
  7. Optional: view Discovering Psychology video on Hypnosis. For those interested in hypnosis and its uses, this is a great supplement to the text reading.
  8. Finish video notes from “NOVA: What Are Dreams?” show (if needed). Note: you should have completed the majority of this with the sub on December 13.
  9. Prepare for quiz on Ch. 7 on January 3rd
    • Quizlet flashcards can help with vocab review
    • Review the Unit Objectives. Do you feel comfortable with all of these listed tasks?
    • You may use your notes, your Ch. 7 Reading Guide, and your video notes sheet from “What Are Dreams?” on the quiz.
Good luck! Hopefully I'll also see you on the 28th for a mind-bending viewing of Inception!

Preparing for Your Cognition & Language Test

It's that time again. Time to review your notes, textbook reading, and study guides in order to perform your very best on our LAST test before Christmas break! This unit seems to have gone by quickly, but on some level they all do, I suppose.

To help you with your studies, we will have a study session from 5-7 PM tomorrow (Wednesday)evening. If you are looking for more practice with multiple choice questions than you can find in you study guide (or just need some new ones to try), give these a shot.

Otherwise, our old friend Quizlet is here to help you out, too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NOVA: What Are Dreams?

Because I'll have to be gone tomorrow for a meeting, you get the privilege of enjoying a break from my incessant talking and demo repertoire. Instead, you'll be viewing a video that's a little ahead of the content we're now discussing. The NOVA production, "What Are Dreams?" will introduce you to research and theory on dreams, a topic we will be learning more about next unit.

Yes....I'm having you complete a viewing guide, too. But when you finish groaning, cheer up, because this will actually help you on the quiz for Chapter 7, which you'll take when we get back from Christmas break (more groans...I know). It's only because I love you guys so much! :)

Bring your caffeine, since this video shows lots of footage of people sleeping. And, given what you know about mirror neurons from last unit, you should be able to guess what effect that tends to have on people.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tools for Reviewing Learning Theories

We've got a test coming up on Learning theories, so here are some tools for your preparation. Many of the videos and tools below were developed by fellow AP Psych teacher Chuck Schallhorn, for your benefit in reviewing. Thanks, Mr. Schallhorn.

The first type of learning we studied was Classical Conditioning. The video below does a brief review of that process, as well as a providing a brief overview of learning in general.

Still feeling uncertain about the terminology surrounding Classical Conditioning? Here are some more examples for your reviewing needs.

As you may recall, the second type of learning we discussed was Operant Conditioning. The video that follows gives you an overview of this type of learning and the various reinforcement types used with it.

One potentially tricky concept to tackle this unit is Reinforcement Schedules. Below, a video review that can illuminate the differences between the various schedule types.

Feeling confident? If you think you've got this stuff down, challenge yourself with these practice multiple choice questions on learning.

And, of course there are Quizlet flashcards for your use as well.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1st Quarter Test Trends

Over the break, I had the time to sit down and review test data from first quarter, all tests and grades having been completely finalized by this point. I was pleased to find an upward trend in our performance over the course of Quarter 1, which is consistent with previous years and a sign of good things to come!

However, these gains don't come easily, as most former students will attest, so it is important to keep refining and updating your study habits. As we move into 2nd Quarter, pay special attention to study tips and guides that I provide, as each unit has its nuances (Unit 5 is vocab heavy, Unit 6 very conceptual) and you will benefit from adjusting your study habits to accommodate these quirks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Studying for Your Sensation and Perception Test

We will be wrapping up our sensation & perception unit tomorrow with a test on those topics, so that means tonight should involve some careful studying of the many (over 100!) terms and concepts we learned over the past couple of weeks. To help you, I've included some links and videos below.

How the Eye Works (a little more detailed than the version we used in class, but it does hit all of the major parts). For more info on this and other eye-related stuff, check out the National Eye Institute Website.

How the Ear Works

For your entertainment as you review all those depth perception cues: SNL Skit on No-Depth Perception Guy!

And, of course, we don't want to leave out our favorite vocab review tool: Quizlet. For your reviewing pleasure, all 105 vocabulary terms from this unit. Yikes!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Phrenology Head Arrives at Chi-Hi

Our new Phrenology Head
Last week Friday we welcomed a new member of the AP Psychology family to Chi-Hi, when our Phrenology Head arrived in the mail! My classroom has long felt the absence of a phrenology head, since it seems no psychology classroom would be complete without one. However, thanks to the folks at Jake's Antiques and Reproductions, we now have a model even Franz Gall would be proud of. (Note: Ours is certainly a reproduction, not an original...the Psych Club budget is not THAT flush.)

We are looking forward to making sure this friendly piece of psychology history is outfitted for each season, and my students wasted no time in arranging for some accessories.

Phrenology Fiona?
The next big step for Phrenology Head will be our December Psych Club meeting on December 7, during Lunch B, where we will vote on an official name for the Phrenology Head. Personally, I'm pulling for Phrank the Phrenology Head, but we'll see what club members come up with.

Also during the December Psych Club meeting, we will be decorating Psychology cookies for the holidays (because...why not?). So this will be a meeting you won't want to miss.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visual Illusions PsychSim

You'll need to use this link in order to complete your PsychSim Module on Visual Illusions. If, for some reason, you are unable to get this link to work correctly, try using this older version of PsychSim and clicking on "visual illusions." The same illusions will be presented, but with less-flashy graphics.

Your reflection worksheet will be due Friday.

Have fun!

Slides for 6th Hour

Sorry for the delay, folks. But here is the link to the two slides missed by most folks who were out of the room yesterday for organizational pictures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fun with Illusions!

At about halfway through the Sensation & Perception unit, we've seen a good number of visual illusions, and more will follow. I like to try to post links to sources of the ones I use in class, as well as new, interesting ones that students bring to my attention.

The one shown below is of the latter type. A student sent me the link, and I think it works by simulating stroboscopic movement (we perceive movement in a series of slightly changing static images). Seems like it would be fun to try using the links to print out your own! (Shown in the comments section if you view in YouTube.)

Also, back again this year are the holophonic illusions that exploit stereophonic hearing and the results of the Visual Illusion of the Year contest held by the Vision Sciences Society. Embedded below is the 2012 contest winner, which shows a device that creates the convincing illusion that one's hand has disappeared! Unfortunately, the video has no accompanying sound, which made me question whether my computer's speakers were working for a moment (that was probably not an intended part of the illusion).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reviewing Developmental Psych

Halloween is the perfect time of year to review developmental psych! It also happens to be the day before your unit test on developmental psych, so that's convenient. After you watch the trick-or-treaters that arrive at your door, looking for signs of various developmental stages, you may wish to use the tools below to polish your understanding.

  • Theory of Mind - (video) Describes research on the concept of the "Theory of Mind" that develops gradually as children lose their egocentrism
  • Piaget vs. Vygotsky in 90 Seconds - (video, 1.5 min) Video created by a teacher to explain (briefly) the major similarities & differences between these researchers and their theories.
  • Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development - (video, 4 min) Admittedly, not the BEST instructional video ever made (you'll see mistakes in the writing on the board and in other places), but does provide a quick, accurate overview of the 4 Stages in Piaget's model.
  • Practice MC Quiz on Child Development - 66 questions on development in children & infants. Most are topics that we address in Unit 4. Some may seem unfamiliar because we address those topics (intelligence, language development) in other chapters.
  • Practice MC Quiz on Lifespan Development - 66 questions on development topics
And...everybody's favorite...Quizlet!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Moral Development - Video Lecture

On Monday, October 29, you'll be asked to apply the theories of Lawrence Kohlberg to some moral dilemmas presented in class. In preparation, you'll need to view the video lecture on Moral Development embedded below. Treat this with the same seriousness that you would if you were in class. For example, you'll want to take notes, since you will undoubtedly need this information later (both for reviewing this unit and at semester time...and prior to the AP Exam).

If the video player below is not working for you, try here.

As a bonus, I'm also embedding for your interest and entertainment a 2008 TED Talk by Jonathan Haidt, one of the critics (or counters) to Kohlberg's theory described in the lecture. Not only does his talk on The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives describe the essence of the "Social Intuitionist" model, but be provides evidence (and explanation) for its roots in evolutionary theory and how it impacts modern political decisions. So, if you're at all interested in politics and why Democrats and Republicans seem so incapable of getting along, this talk may provide an useful answer. Especially in an election year, his message is relevant and may offer all of us some much-needed perspective.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nature & Nurture Review Tools

As you prepare for the Unit Three test, some review tools...

The video below reviews Twin Studies:

    Of course, we don't want to forget our good friend Quizlet. There may be fewer vocabulary terms this unit, but that doesn't mean they are not important to know and apply. Obviously, some may appear on the FRQ you are asked to do, so be ready to explain how these terms impact development & human differences.


Ermahgerd! Mermes! (Memes)

Today, discussing the topic of "Nurture" as an influence on development led us into a discussion of memes. As tiny units of culture, memes influence our speech, dress, behavior, and thinking, but often in subtle ways.

No example of memes are more powerful than the fast-spreading, often nonsensical memes generated via the Internet. From LOL Cats to Planking to Gangnam Style, Internet memes showcase both the speed of cultural transmission and the creativity of Internet users, who seem endlessly capable of spawning new variations of popular memes.

In class today, we got a look at the history of the now-popular "Ermahgerd" (Oh My God) meme, whose history is described in the video below.

After you're done completing your Nature-Nurture projects tonight, see if you can come up with a AP Psych-related incarnation of the Ermahgerd meme. Then post a link here or on the Facebook page. We want to see it. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Darwin Awards

For those who enjoy morbid humor, The Darwin Awards are an entertaining way to to explore applications of evolutionary psychology. The website (and resultant books) have become popular fare for morning radio DJs hoping to fill air time and similar "stupid news" outlets.

The site is a compilation of submitted news stories (look for those marked "confirmed true" as others that have turned out to be hoaxes are still listed) about people who have met their untimely deaths in creatively stupid ways. According to the byline for the site, "The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it."

Admittedly, it is a bit crass to find humor in others' deaths, and use descretion when clicking around the site. I would also caution that the site authors, while attempting humor, are not always well-versed in evolutionary theory, nor are those who submit comments on particular articles. However, it should be commended for drawing our attention to ways in which natural selection in human beings continues, sometimes in surprising ways.

For a couple points extra credit for tomorrow's class, you may visit the site and find one (appropriate) Darwin Award to share. It's nice to start class with a little humor. :) But please, don't WIN any Darwin Awards! This is not an honor anyone wants to attain!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Look Who's Here!

Guess what arrived late this afternoon as my 7th hour students worked to finish their Neuroscience tests? JOHN WATSON! Chi-Hi students will be able to pick up their (paid for) t-shirts tomorrow.

Your friends will be SO jealous of this fashionable tribute to the father of behaviorism.
 Folks who ordered from afar can expect to get their t-shirts next week sometime. We have to sort, pack, and ship...but first we've got some club business to attend to (a Brain Food contest), so we'll probably be mailing out orders on Monday, October 8.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Split Brain Video

For those who requested it, the video clip we watched in class on Michael Gazzaniga and his split brain research.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Teenage Brain

As often happens after we view an excerpt of this documentary in class, I got requests from my students to post this for parents. Today in class we watched the first few segments of Frontline's Inside the Teenage Brain, a great program highlighting recent neuroscience research that suggest explanations for many typical teenage behaviors (e.g., staying up late at night and sleeping in mornings, taking risks that make their parents uncomfortable, miscommunicating with adults...etc.)

The entire program is available for viewing online (Windows Media and RealPlayer users, try here) and its companion site has numerous links to more information that may be helpful for both parents and teenagers.

The short version of the program's message is that the adolescent brain is still developing, and parents may be able to respond with more empathy to the sometimes frustrating behaviors of their teens if they know some things about this process. While we have to exercise caution when attempting to translate neuroscience research into prescriptions for parenting or teaching, the conversation about teen brain development is an important one, and parents may actually find it quite uplifting.

Those looking for additional resources might want to try these links:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Boatload of Neuroscience Study Tools

It is that time of the year! The time for all good AP Psychology students to review their neuroscience. To that end, I'm including here a TON of great study helps: some video, some online quizzes, and some flashcards.

First up, if you made it through the study guide that you received in class and would like some more ways to put your knowledge of neuroscience and the brain to the test, have I got the practice for you! Below I'm posting links to two online multiple choice tests that will give you feedback on your mastery of this unit's content.
If you're not feeling quite fluent in the operations of the nervous system in general, below you'll find an excellent "crash course" video on the operations of the nervous system. This 12 minute video captures a great deal of the "big ideas" from this unit. If you would like to use more of these types of videos, check out the great biopsych collection at Education Portal Academy's Psych 101 Course. There are individual videos on virtually every topic we covered this unit.

And, last but not least, there's our old friend Quizlet. Embedded below are the flashcards for the 79 terms for this unit. As always, remember that it is not likely sufficient to JUST know these terms and their definitions, since you will have to know how to apply them in new and dynamic ways to demonstrate understanding on the test. However, no one does well in AP Psych WITHOUT mastering their vocabulary, so this is a great place to start.

And, don't forget that you also have the chance to study with other real live human beings (including your teacher) on Tuesday evening from 5-7 PM. Best of luck, everyone!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Brain Food Contest & Extra Credit Opportunity

Mrs. Welle's Brain Cake - 2010
After completing the Orange Brain Surgery lab on Friday, you have undoubtedly figured out that the best models of the brain are edible ones. So, our next Psych Club meeting will feature a celebration of delicious neuroanatomy through a "Brain Food" contest.
Current AP Psych students who participate will earn 5 points extra credit (computed in test category), as this will help them review important structures in the brain/nervous system.

The Rules:
  • Entries must be edible representations of the brain or portions of the nervous system (e.g. neuron, synapse, brain stem, etc).
  • Component parts must be accurately labeled.
  • Entries will be judged during LUNCH A, so they must be delivered to room 136 no later than 12:15. You have to set up/complete registration for your entry during lunch (or have a friend do so), so please don't just leave your creation in my room in the morning an assume it will get set out.
  • Winners will be announced and snacking will commence during our regular meeting time (Lunch B)!
Even if you do not wish to enter (and earn Extra Credit), you are welcome to join us for the meeting and eating. There is always plenty of food to go around.

If Psych Club shirts arrive this week (which might happen), I'll be sure to distribute them so that we can wear them to the meeting!

If you are looking for inspiration and ideas, check out the AP Psychology facebook page for pictures of some of last year's entries and winners.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mouse Party Assignment & Other Links

Poor, poor intoxicated mice.
Here it is! The link to the Mouse Party interactive! You should have received this worksheet, which you will use to record your answers. Remember, this assignment will require you to use what you learned in class today to determine whether a drug is an agonist or antagonist for a particular neurotransmitter. It will be due tomorrow (Sept. 25).

If you've got time after completing the Mouse Party assignment, you might want to check out some of the other cool interactives and games created for you by the Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah. For example:
Learn...and have fun!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Neural Firing & Neural Communication

Greetings, all! Over the next several days in class we will be learning much more about how neurons work to enable thought and sensation. In particular, we'll spend a great deal of time learning about neural firing and neural transmission.

In order to familiarize you with these basic processes and their associated terminology, I'm asking you to complete this worksheet in time for Monday's class. In order to finish it, you'll need to work through this PsychSim Module on Neural Messaging. (Click, "Neural Messages" on the index screen.)You navigate the module using the "next" and "back" buttons at the bottom of the screen, for those of you who might miss that.

Also, for those of you who would like to earn back a few points on your last test, an opportunity: if you complete this module on correlations (Click, "Correlation Analysis" on the index screen) and the accompanying worksheet you were given in class by Wednesday, Sept. 26, you'll get three points added to that test score. It will be good review on those types of statistics, which caused confusion for some of us on the test.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Reviewing for Tomorrow's Test

You'll find this website has tons of study resources. So, in addition to completing the printed study guide you got in class, come here to get ideas about what to study. Below, a favorite tool of my students: Quizlet Flashcard links for this unit! Since there are two sections of the text covered on the text, both are provided below.

See you at the study session! Otherwise, happy reviewing. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Basic Psychological Statistics

Okay, I think this should work! In order to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable with their basic statistical methods, I'm having you complete some questions as you view the presentation below (you should have received these in class). As a bonus, since I was trying to finish up the recording during the lunch hour, at the very end you can hear the main office making announcements...that's how close I was cutting it.

Additionally, if you feel you want more practice matching correlational coefficients with scatterplots, here's the link to the website we used in class today.

Good luck! Be sure to make a note of any questions you have so I can address them tomorrow if needed. :)

Having troubles playing the video? If the player above doesn't work, try here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Psych Club Shirt Design Finalized!

I am proud to announce that, after an initial vote last week Friday, Psych Club has received approval for and finalized its annual t-shirt design. I have long been a believer that the most important feature of any successful organization is the witty-ness of its t-shirts, and this year's model does NOT disappoint.

The 2012-13 shirt features a handsome John Watson posed in conjunction with the phrase, "I don't always scare babies. But when I do, it's for psychology." The back side showcases the necessary accompanying tagline, "Stay thinking, my friends." A fitting tribute to the father of behaviorism, an unrepentant baby-scarer. Poor Little Albert.

Chi-Hi Psych Club members have the opportunity to purchase this classy swag for the BARGAIN BASEMENT price of $12. Get your money to Mrs. Welle by Sept. 21st for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate your psychology smarts and your love of John Watson at the same time.

Custom t-shirt printing at CustomInk.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

Notes: 6th & 7th Hour 9/11/12

Hi all!

Since I have to be at a meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 11, I've recorded notes & instructions for the demos and posted that here. Hope your class & quizzes go well!

Note: Yeah, I know I messed up on describing the two outcomes of the first demo. Cut me some slack, Jack. Also, there was fly in the room when I was recording that become increasingly annoying throughout the video. That should be entertaining for you.

Bonus? If you missed any of this you can go back & re-watch. Or, if you didn't quite finish before it was time for the quiz, you can watch at home. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Psychology's Top 25

Today in class you received materials and instructions for your Top 25 Assignment, which will be due Monday, September 10. To complete it, you will use your best Googling skills and the links provided below to identify the most significant contribution(s) of the listed psychologists, who are among the most important folks we'll learn about all year. Don't feel the need to summarize EVERYTHING they've done (many of them had long and storied careers); we're just looking for a sentence or two about what the psychologist is most known for.

Perhaps more fun will be Step 2: coming up with your own ranking system for them. After finding out what they did, you'll identify the first most important psychologist, second, third, etc., and number them on the worksheet. NOTE: I do not need a repeat of what OTHER scholars think is the appropriate ranking (as this is easy to find with a quick Web search). I want to know what YOU think, and you'll not be judged against any established list.

Be sure to complete YOUR OWN WORK; honesty is important, and copying another's work (descriptions or rank order) will result in a score of zero.

Also, don't forget to scope out their pictures as you read about these guys. Not only will most of them show up again later this year, but their fashion choices and poses are priceless.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting Off to a Great Start in AP Psych

For a printer friendly version of this page, click here.

Greetings, AP Psychology Students and Parents!

We are now just a couple of weeks away from the start of the school year, and I hope you are all getting ready for a fantastic experience in AP Psychology! I know I am.

We will have many exciting adventures together in psych class starting September 4, but there are a few things students can take care of before classes begin in order to get off to a smooth start in AP Psychology.

Students should:

1.) Plan to stop by the classroom (rm 136) and pick up your textbook during one of the times listed below. You will get directions on your first reading assignment (in preparation for your first quiz, which comes up quickly). Many students, whether they have taken an AP course before or not, need time to adjust to the pace and density of the reading load in AP Psych, so getting started before classes begin will help you ease into the process. And, you get to meet me, which is reward in and of itself.

Monday, August 20: 8AM – Noon & 1–3PM
Tuesday, August 21: 8AM – Noon & 1–3PM
Wednesday, August 22: 3-5 PM
Thursday, August 23: 8AM – Noon & 1–3PM

Please note that I will generally not be available to check out textbooks during the “Staff Work Days” August 28-31, as I will likely be in planning and training meetings most of those days, so don’t put this off assuming I will be around. If you absolutely cannot make it during any of the times listed above, email me at wellevk@chipfalls.k12.wi.us to set up a time so you don’t arrive to find a dark room & locked door.

2.) As you complete your back-to-school shopping, be sure to obtain a 3-ring binder for use during this class. You’ll need this because exams are cumulative and you will need to save most materials for studying for the AP exam in May. All former AP Psych students can attest to the necessity of the 3-ring binder! I’d recommend looking for one that is sturdy and at least 1½ -2 inches wide. (Three inches is excessive, though, and just takes up space in your backpack.)You will likely fill it up by May, which is the point. This may seem obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway: you’ll also need a notebook or loose-leaf paper (your choice) to go in the binder. This is where you’ll keep your notes.

3.)You've now accomplished #3, visiting the course website. Be sure to sign up for email updates (via the box on the top left of the page), if desired. If you regularly access your email, this will be a great way to stay on top of what is happening in class, as you will receive email notifications each time the blog is updated with links, assignments, or class news. Many parents have found this a helpful resource in the past.

4.)“Like” us on Facebook if you are a regular Facebook user, or “Follow” us on Twitter if you Tweet. Links are available on the left side of this page. I post reminders about upcoming quizzes, deadlines, course links, and fun video links through these mechanisms. However, I will not have access to your personal FB page (nor will you have access to mine) so we both preserve our privacy.*

5.) Consider ordering the textbook companion study guide. This is an OPTIONAL, paperback study guide that helps students focus their text readings, so the school does not provide copies. You can purchase them for ULTRA CHEAP on used book sites like half.com. Many students have found these very helpful; others develop their own reading strategies and do just fine without one. I’ll be happy to answer questions about the study guide (and have copies for display) when you pick up your textbook. The reason I mention it now is that it generally takes a while to ship, and the wait can be frustrating if you’re counting on using it to prepare for an important test.

Welcome to AP Psychology! I’m sure reading through this has got you thinking about what this class will be like, so please, bring any questions you have when you come to pick up your book. I hope to meet each of you soon and am looking forward to it!

Mrs. Welle
AP Psychology Teacher
Chippewa Falls Senior HS

*FYI: Please don’t take it personally, but as a general rule I don’t accept personal friend requests on FB from current Chi-Hi students or parents. Once you graduate, if you want to stay in contact, you are more than welcome to send a request to Mrs. Welle. Before then, it’s probably best to maintain some teacher-student (or teacher-parent) boundaries.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fun with Video

Today I took a course on how to use screen capture and video tools to create quick presentations for viewing outside of class. I'll be incorporating some of these into lessons in the coming year. The one you see below is an overview of how to use Quizlet flashcards for vocabulary review, a study resource that many AP Psych students use extensively.

Sorry for the background noise...a bunch of us were working in the same lab at the same time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Well, friends, it is August. That means it's time to start thinking about the upcoming school year. Although I still have some meetings that need to be scheduled in to the next few weeks, I have a firm enough idea of the month's busy agenda to issue a couple of announcements about upcoming AP Psych-related events at Chi-Hi.
You'll need one of these for class.
First, textbook pick-up will take place August 20th-24th. I'll be able to provide specific details about hours in the near future. I was hoping to be able to schedule this event during registration this year, but I'll be at a conference much of that week, so I apologize.

Second, as you begin your back-to-school shopping, be sure to pick up a 3-Ring Binder for use in AP Psych this year. You'll need it to keep all of your notes and handouts--from September to May--organized (if you don't believe me, ask a former student). 1.5 to 2 inch width is sufficient for most students. 3 inches is overkill; don't hurt yourself. 

More details to come in the next couple of weeks! Enjoy the remaining days of summer. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

AP Exam Reading

Mrs. Welle & fellow WI AP Psych Reader, Michael Ray
The AP Psychology Exam Reading wrapped up on Friday, June 8th, and I could not be happier to have been a part of it.

Some of you might easily dismiss this praise as stemming from my inordinate nerdy devotion to AP Psychology, but I don't think that's the whole picture.

Certainly the process was daunting. Reading student responses to the same question for 8 hours a day seems intimidating to a lot of people, and it is undoubtedly a lot of work. (For those interested, the process is described in greater detail in this article from CNN.com.) But the level of energy that accompanies the endeavor is quite remarkable.

I think Jordan Bienstock, author of the CNN article, captured it perfectly: "The AP Readings take place at four sites around the country with an all-star team of graders. You know that scene in an action movie, when the team of heroes has been assembled and walks in slow motion together while an electric guitar wails on the soundtrack? Replace the actors with academics, and you’ve got the general idea."

It was great to be a part of such a tremendous undertaking--in all, AP Psych Readers scored 218,812 student exams, each of which contained two Free Response Questions--and it was amazing to share the experience with so many talented high school and college-level faculty.

I was able to reconnect with friends that I had met at previous conferences and institutes, meet in person several teachers I had only communicated with via email and other electronic means, and make many new friends and professional connections.

Perhaps even more surprising to me? At the end of an exhausting school year, when I felt like I had really been run completely out of fuel by the many nights of little sleep and days of peak energy expenditure, at the AP Reading I began to look forward to next year. And that's saying something, this early in June.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Web Links for Juniors

For those completing your final exam in my absence next week, here are the links you will need. You will get the accompanying prompt sheet from my substitute when you arrive for your scheduled final exam period.

Good luck and have fun!

Web links for final exam:

Thanks for a Great Year!

It was bittersweet saying good-bye to my seniors yesterday...and to my juniors today. For those interested, I've embedded our 2011-12 AP Psych slide show. It's been quite a year!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Phineas Gage Lives!

Model of the path taken by the rod & its impact on white matter.
Well, sort of. Obviously this famous case study patient from the early days of brain science has been deceased for some time. However, a team of researchers recently published an article, Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage, in PLoSONE which attempts to use modern brain imaging techniques to simulate the damage that occurred when that unlucky railroad worker had a tamping iron run through his head.

Besides reinforcing the idea that Gage was incredibly "lucky" in that this accident didn't kill him, the research also attempts to shed light on the role of white matter in shaping the behavioral changes experienced by Phineas.

The article is getting a lot of attention from Gage fans everywhere (e.g., CNN Health) and has sparked renewed interest in the story of the poor Phineas, who may not have been as permanently impaired by the injury as psychology lore would have us believe. In all, Gage's case is a great reminder of both the strengths and limitations of using case examples to learn about the brain. And these images are going straight into next year's slides for my neuroscience unit.


Van Horn JD, Irimia A, Torgerson CM, Chambers MC, Kikinis R, et al. (2012) Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37454. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037454

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Home Stretch

Looking for some online review tools for brushing up on your AP Psychology knowledge over the weekend? In addition to topic area Quizlet sets that we've been using all year, here are some links you might find helpful:
  1. ShortYouTube Clips on Difficult AP Psych Topics - These were created by a fellow AP Psychology teacher for the benefit of psychology students everywhere. At the time of this post, he's uploaded 33 brief (3-5 minute) videos on some of the most tricky concepts in AP Psych, including reviews of Standard Deviation, Neurotransmitters, Schedules of Reinforcement, Types of Memory, and more.
  2. Famous Psychologists Quizlet - for reviewing all those people and their work!
  3. Practice Multiple Choice Questions - sorted by topic area
  4. Twitter as a last resort? - Twitter users, if you are stuck, you can compose a Tweet with a question and the hashtag #appsychreview. There are a number of psychology teachers that have been answering questions from AP Psych students via that hashtag, including myself (@Welle_APpsych).
I hope to see a number of you at Sunday's review session, too!

6th Hour Students review Stage Theories of Development

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Look at All These AP Psych Exam Takers!

We've got quite a crew here at Chi-Hi on a Sunday taking practice AP Psych Exams to test their skills for the national test, now about two weeks away. Great turnout for a sunny Sunday afternoon!

For any students who were not able to make this practice exam administration, see Mrs. Welle ASAP if you'd like to arrange to take one in the next week or so. It is a great exercise for honing your skills and narrowing the focus of your reviewing!

About 20 Chi-Hi Students made it in for today's practice exam. Way to go, guys!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reviewing Psych Disorders and Treatments

As we approach what is probably one of the most difficult unit tests of the year, you're probably looking for ways to consolidate all that information about Psych Disorders and Treatments that we've been learning about this unit. In addition to the multiple choice study guide you received following the reading quiz, you've got a number of tools at your disposal.
One is the Quizlet Vocab Review embedded below. Also, if you'd like some additional multiple choice practice, you might want to check out these online practice questions from www.appsychology.com . You'll want to select "Psychological Disorders" and/or "Therapies" to test your skills for this unit.

Of course, we also have a study session scheduled for this evening from 5:00 - 7:00 PM, so if you prefer to review in person with classmates, that is an option, too!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Weeks Ahead

As I write this, only 26 days remain until the AP Psychology Exam on May 7th! That means the next three and a half weeks will be extremely busy as we conclude our final curricular units and continue to intensify our reviewing.
No doubt, these last few weeks leading up to the exam will be a challenge for all. We’ve been building to this point all year. The content from our latest unit – on Psychological Disorders and Treatment – will be the most challenging we’ve faced to this point. Students will have to master many new vocabulary words (over one hundred) and apply concepts learned in previous units in order to differentiate between 27 different psych disorders and 9 different treatment approaches. They will have to know names of many common psychiatric drugs and the mechanisms by which they work.

Additionally, students will continue work on their 40-Day Countdown Packets. These comprehensive (but lengthy) review guides, which were distributed in early March, should be worked on DAILY from now until their completion. They are due on May 8th (the day following the exam), and students have been marking their progress on charts in our classroom. While many students have been impressive in their progress to date, others are now finding themselves making up for time lost due to procrastination. Parents might help encourage their students to make steady progress on this assignment, as delaying it only means risking future nights of anxiety, panic, and despair as the exam date approaches.

It will also help to remain alert to a number of upcoming opportunities for review, engagement, and mastery over the next few weeks. These include a chance to take a full-length practice exam, two evening study sessions for our (two) remaining unit tests, and two weekend study opportunities for the AP Exam itself. Here are the “big” calendar items:

·        Thursday, April 12th“Out of the Shadows” Event @ Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire (5:30 PM). Interested students have already registered for this event, which focuses on child and adolescent mental health in the Chippewa Valley.

·        Friday, April 13thPsych Club Team Trivia – Lunch B in rm 136. Get together a group of (no more than 5) fellow psych enthusiasts and test your knowledge of psychological terms, people, and concepts while reviewing for the AP Psych exam. Prizes and glory for the winners…but doesn’t everybody win when we learn? J

·        Monday, April 16thPsych Disorders & Treatment Test Review Session – 5:00 – 7:00 PM in rm 136. One final review with classmates and Mrs. Welle as you prepare for a very challenging unit test!

·        Tuesday, April 17th TEST: Psych Disorders & Treatment

·        Sunday, April 22nd Optional Practice AP Exam - 3:00-5:00 PM in rm 136. Take a full length practice test for the AP Psych Exam. Results (scored before you leave) will help you determine areas of relative strength and weakness (i.e. you will identify which topics need the most review in the final two weeks before the real thing). This also will help calm the nerves of first-time AP test takers (through simulated practice).

·        Tuesday, April 24th LAST Chapter Quiz (Ch. 18); Mandatory Pre-administration Meeting 2nd Hour for all AP Testers. During 2nd hour on this day all students registered for AP exams (in all subject areas) will complete pre-administration procedures for test day in the cafeteria, with the help of Student Services Staff. (Note to my 2nd hour students…we’ll come up with a work-around for your quiz.)

·        Sunday, April 29thOPTIONAL AP EXAM REVIEW SESSION - 5:00 – 8:00 PM in rm 136. Prepare for the AP Psych Exam with the help of Mrs. Welle and your classmates. We’ll be taking suggestions for topic areas to be covered during the week prior.

·        Monday, April 30thSocial Psychology Test Review Session – 5:00 – 7:00 PM in rm 136. Join us for our LAST review session for a unit test! Vocab, flashcards, & practice Free-Responses!

·        Tuesday, May 1st – TEST: Social Psychology

·        Saturday, May 5th = PROM… Have fun, but for goodness sake use good judgment and don’t wear yourself out too much.

·        Sunday, May 6th FINAL (OPTIONAL) AP EXAM REVIEW SESSION AND SIGMUND FREUD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY EXTRAVAGANZA – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (or later, as needed). This is it! Your chance to clarify any lingering confusions that you were alerted to during all your prior reviewing endeavors. It will be aimed at achieving confidence, fluency, and mastery of all we’ve learned this year. A time for putting the “final touches” on your understanding so that you can proceed to the exam the following day with cool self-assurance. Since this day is also Sigmund Freud’s birthday, wear your Psych Club shirt and expect cake.
  • Monday, May 7th AP PSYCHOLOGY EXAMINATION @ CVTC Old Notre Dame Middle School (location changed from previous years to accomodate our larger crew)
I told you we’d be busy!

Given how much is on our plates this time of year, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. When you start to feel this way, remember that I am ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help you meet this challenge. My room is open to you during lunch for getting assistance or for just a quiet place to work (and you might see some classmates there). Please take advantage of all the evening and after-school study opportunities you can. It will help calm your nerves and improve your grades.

I’m confident that all of my students have what it takes to finish strong in the coming weeks, but it will take continued discipline and an “eyes on the prize” mentality. Best of luck to everyone as we grit our teeth and roll up our sleeves for this final round!

Then we’ll all have a collective sigh of relief on May 8th. J

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Out of the Shadows - Children's Mental Health

On April 12th, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Continuing Education Office will be hosting a community event to raise awareness about children's mental health. Entitled, "Out of the Shadows: Children's Mental Health," the program is intended for "families, communities, educators, and others affected by children's mental health to talk with one another about child and adolescent mental health issues, hear from a variety of professionals that touch the lives of children with mental health needs, and discover how everyone can better work together."

The event, which will be held at the Sacred Heart Hospital Auditorium in Eau Claire, will take place from 5:30 - 8:00 PM and feature a viewing of the film Are the Kids Alright?, a documentary film examining the crisis in mental health care for children and adolescents at risk. A panel discussion on children's mental health in the Chippewa Valley will follow the film. Pre-registration and payment ($15) for the event is required, as participants will be treated to a hors d'oeuvre reception and receive educational materials to accompany the program.

Since this event coincides perfectly with our in-class coverage of psychological disorders and their treatment, it is a very timely topic for AP Psych students. As such, Mrs. Welle is offering up hefty extra credit for those who ultimately attend. Due to the expense and effort outside of school, 10 POINTS extra credit will be awarded to attendees. Keep your ticket/program to demonstrate proof of attendance, though you likely will also see Mrs. Welle there.

If you wish to register online via credit card, you may do so by following this link. However, since many students may prefer to pay via cash or check (and...if the number of participants is limited, Psych Club may be able to kick in some of the cost), Mrs. Welle will collect registration forms & payments from interested students up until the end of this week (March 30th). Copies are available in the classroom. (If paying by check, you can make checks payable to UW-Eau Claire.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Practice: Applying Personality Theory

Today in class we will be practicing applying the four major personality theories we've discussed over the past couple of weeks. Here are some SNL videos with characters we'll use for analysis: Surprise Party Sue and The Googly Eyes Gardener.

Surprise Party Sue

FYI: Sue also gets excited about surprise proposals...

The Googly Eyes Gardener

Monday, March 19, 2012

Personality Theory Vocab Review

Hard to believe, but our Personality unit is drawing to a close. This means a test is on the horizon, and knowing your vocab terms will be necessary for your success. However, keep in mind that the ability to apply these terms to relevant examples is more important than simply being able to rotely memorize the definition for later repetition. You will need to be able to recognize and identify each concept in scenarios that you are given (in the MC section and possibly the FRQ); you may also be asked to generate examples (frequently a task on FRQs).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Did Freud have an Extramarital Affair?

From L to R, Minna Bernays, Martha Bernays Freud, and Dr. Freud (1929) 
As a supplement to our in-class discussions of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalytic theory, my students recently read this Newsweek article from 2006 that attempted to capture the Austrian psychologist's impact on modern psychiatry on what would have been his 150th birthday. As student questions often do, one student's inquiry into a detail from the article that I had glossed over and essentially dismissed drew my attention to the need for further investigation on my part.

The article hinted at the possible existance of an extramarital affair between Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernay (sister to his wife, Martha). My students wondered whether this was true. It turns out there has been interest in this possible episode in Freud's life since Carl Jung claimed, in a 1953 interview, to have been told of the affair by Minna herself. Freud biographer Peter Gay had explored these allegations in 1989 when a number of letters in the Freud archive of the U.S. Library of Congress became publicly available, but the information offered by this source was inconclusive at best. Some letters exchanged between Minna and Freud were missing, others revealed nothing more than a friendly, if close, relationship between in-laws who lived in the same household for some time.

Such rumors apparently resurfaced in 2006, when a hotel log was uncovered that revealed Freud and Minna had spent a week together at a hotel in the Swiss Alps, registered as husband and wife. This NYTimes article explores the significance of the revelation, including speculation about whether a pregnancy scare followed the trip.

Defenders of Freud's otherwise unmarred sexual history (ok...unmarred in the sense of conscious behavior...we all know what he believed about unconscious sexual impulses) find this evidence to be lacking. It doesn't actually prove the existance of an affair. Critics might wonder, what proof would one need?

One could easily argue, "What does it matter, anyway?" Yet, given what we know about how much Freud's personal life influenced his theories, one might expect that an illicit love affair (if it happened) would have had a rather significant impact on his already complicated view of human sexuality.