Friday, September 27, 2013

Study Resources for Your History & Methods Test

Whew! That unit flew by...and now students are preparing for their test on History/Approaches & Research Methods, which will happen on Monday, Sept. 30th. If you like, you are welcome to join us on Sunday, Sept. 29th at 5 PM, for organized review.

In addition, I've compiled some online study tools for you below.

Flashcard sets (2) for this unit are also embedded below! :) Happy studying!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Basic Psychological Statistics

Before you left class today, you should have received this practice worksheet that requires you to apply some statistics knowledge to hypothetical quiz scores. Your textbook does cover these topics, and many people have encountered them before in other classes, so I'm hoping for many of you this is a simply a matter of review.

However, because some of you might feel lost or in need of additional help, I'm embedding below a video that I made for last year's students regarding this topic. Be warned, I was cutting it close when I recorded this and you'll hear the bell ringing toward the end. However, it should clear up confusion regarding the various descriptive and inferential statistics you'll need to be familiar with for this unit.

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.

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top 25 Assignment

On Tuesday, you will get directions for your Top 25 Assignment, which is due on Monday, September 23rd The purpose of the exercise is to get you introduced to some of the "big names" in psychology that you will be learning about over the course of this year. Because of their notoriety, you will be able to find most of what you need to know about these individuals (which, is not much...just a brief summary of their biggest accomplishments) with a quick Google search. But, since Google doesn't always lead a person to credible, scholarly information, below I've provided examples of some links that you may find helpful.
Admit that you could not be more stoked to learn about this stylin' crew.
Of course, given that you'll have a lot of time to be reviewing the photographs of this hip crew, we'll also be voting on Most Attractive Top 25 Psychologist on Friday. Choose carefully, as many of them have put a lot of thought into their outfits and accessories. 

Letters to the AP Psych Class of 2014

It was a pleasure meeting all of my students face-to-face, together, for the first time today. I very much appreciate your patience and cooperation in approaching the transition from one teacher to another. In order to help you get to know me (and my quirks), my students from last year have prepared letters of "advice" for you. Hopefully, their words will help you succeed throughout the rest of the class. Many of you are in the process of examining how you might change your study habits to master the material and earn the grades you want on tests, so this might give you some ideas.

You'll organize the advice you found into this Top 10 List, with the most emphasized piece of advice in the #1 spot. You were provided with a sampling of student responses in class, but if you would like to see ALL of the responses from the AP Psych class of 2013, you can find them here (organized alphabetically by last name).

We will be using your lists for an activity in class tomorrow, so put some thought into it! Also, you'll want to begin reading the Prologue and Ch. 1, as your reading quiz for that unit will come up fast (Monday, Sept. 23)!

Thanks for the great start today.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Study Tools for Your Memory Test

Throughout this unit, you have learned that there are good and bad strategies for remembering material you are trying to learn. It's time to put some of the good strategies into practice as you prepare for Friday's test! First up, remember to harness the spacing effect and spread out your studying over multiple sessions (ideally over multiple days, too).

One thing some students have found helpful in mastering the vocabulary for AP Psych is the Quizlet flashcard sets on this blog (see the "Study Resources" tab at the top of the page). While I'm sure you remember from Dr. Chew's videos that memorizing flashcards alone will likely not result in a perfect test score--you have to understand the concepts and how they relate to each other, not just memorize isolated facts--if the 54 terms you need to know for Friday seem like an intimidating list, you can use these flashcards to help you review.

Remember, the best types of studying require you to put your memory to the test, recalling items in the ways you will be asked to do so on the test. So, don't just read the flashcards and convince yourself, "I knew that!" Instead, see if you can identify the word or the definition BEFORE looking at the answer. You can also use other testing modes (including games) to increase your fluency. Even better? Encourage deep processing by  giving yourself an orienting task. Randomly pull 3 to 5 cards and ask yourself: How are these terms similar to each other? How are they different? Which will be most helpful to me as I prepare for this test?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Using Cognitive Science to Improve Your Study Strategies

If not today, soon you will be getting an assignment from your instructor that requires you to access this video series by Dr. Chew of Samford University. Due on Monday, this assignment requires you to view five short videos and to think about what research says about human memory and learning. Of course, you'll also be prompted to apply it to your own study habits.

I won't try to steal the show from Dr. Chew by describing everything in the videos here. However, I will tell you that, as an AP Psych teacher, I see students making the EXACT SAME mistakes that Dr. Chew describes in the video and suffering for them as well (in terms of grades, that is). The strategies that he proposes as alternatives are the same ones I would recommend to students, as they are research-supported. I hope by viewing the videos now you can put these into place before your first test, rather than waiting until afterwards to try to figure out what went wrong. Of course, as Dr. Chew points out, even if the first test doesn't turn out the best, there are good strategies you can harness to recover and improve from that point onward (but there are also ways to set yourself up for continued hardship...avoid those)!

Happy studying! - Mrs. Welle

Sunday, September 1, 2013

10 Tips for AP Parents

The start of the school year is upon us, and for parents of Advanced Placement (AP) students this means helping your children gear up for a challenging and exciting year of rigorous coursework. Whether new to the AP program or not, many parents of AP students wonder how best to support their students' efforts in order to promote success. This post will provide some suggestions.

We share this list of 10 Tips for AP Parents with families at our school's annual AP Night in January, and I think they provide a great framework for understanding the challenges unique to parents of AP students. Although some of the pieces of advice concern decisions made when registering for classes, which the timing of our yearly event is intended to address, they are worth reviewing at the start of the school year as well. I've detailed these tips below, and added my own experiences to the conversation.

  1. Park the Helicopter & Encourage Personal Responsibility
If your child is enrolling in an AP class, he or she should be ready to handle time management, organizational skills, and negotiations with teachers about most grade- and homework-related issues on his or her own. This sort of self-advocacy and responsibility for one’s own learning is necessary for college success, and it is learned through practice. Of course, AP teachers will be happy to meet with you if needed and to respond to your legitimate concerns just like other teachers. But before you pick up the phone or begin composing an email to solve a problem for your student, make sure he/she has attempted to solve it FIRST. College-bound juniors and seniors need to become comfortable approaching their instructors for the help that they need, and you can support that process by sitting on your hands for a while as your student troubleshoots and adjusts to the new workload.

You might be worried that letting your sometimes unreliable teenager manage on his own will result in a low grade (on a test or report card) that will doom his chances for future success in college, and this is understandable. However, if it is your constant intervention and monitoring is ultimately what ends up getting your child admitted to college, when he arrives there completely unprepared to manage his own time and to handle conflicts or setbacks independently, his adjustment will be far more painful than if it had been made years earlier in that AP class. So, please, trust the process! 

  1. It is Your Child’s Schedule, Not Yours
You may think an AP Biology course would be amazingly fun, and I’m sure it would be…for you. If your child could care less about biology then that is NOT the class for him/her. They will be the one doing all the assignments and readings, so their interests and goals should be the driving force in decision-making about which AP classes to take.

  1. Be Prepared for Considerable Homework, even during “Breaks”
AP courses require students to complete considerably more reading and homework outside of class than regular high school classes. They will likely have work every night. Because of the sheer amount of content being presented, it will not be uncommon for students to have work during “vacations” or “breaks”. Some classes have required summer reading assignments before the course even begins. Many classes offer open labs or study sessions on evenings or weekends, too. It probably goes without saying that if there is stuff to do even when school is not in session, being present when school is in session is absolutely necessary. Missing class in an AP course is just like missing a college class: you can get notes or try to "make-up" lost time, but it will be much harder to do well on tests regardless of your efforts to catch up. As a parent, you can ease the burden by avoiding scheduling vacations or unnecessary trips that force your student to miss class. Save those for scheduled breaks or for the summer time.

  1. Accept that a “B” or “C” is Not a Sign of Your Child’s Failure (or Your Own)
Of course, most AP students aim for A’s, which is an appropriate goal. However, because of the rigor of AP classes, former “A-students” often encounter their first B’s or C’s. Be sure to remind your student (and yourself) that a hard-earned ‘B’ probably represents more understanding and knowledge than an easy ‘A’ and is something to be proud of as well. Working hard, no matter what, should be encouraged.

  1. Budget for AP Exam Fees
Even though those AP Exam scores represent huge college savings in the long run, it can be quite a wallet-buster to pay for several AP exams all at once. Exam fees are usually due in February/March of the exam year, so have some funds set aside for that purpose.  If your student will be responsible for covering the cost, make sure he/she is aware of that before enrolling.

  1. Take Advantage of Financial Assistance Programs
Many schools have programs to cover costs of AP exam fees for students participating in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. If you are eligible for such assistance, use it.

  1. Push for Quality, not Quantity
It is better to take two AP classes and do well in them than to take six AP classes and do poorly while sacrificing sleep, nutrition and sanity. Each student has his/her own limit. Respect it.

  1. Be the Voice of Reason During Enrollment
After hearing about all of the course offerings in AP (and the numerous other exciting and challenging courses offered at Chi-Hi), your child might be tempted to bite off more than she can chew. She wants to be in Harmonics, Gymnastics, Student Council, LIFE Team, Marching Band, Track, get a job AND take five AP classes? Such a plan will likely end in disaster. Encourage your student to realistically account for the time it will take to succeed in an AP class (and other activities). Consider including a study hall in his/her schedule, especially if athletics or music activities factor heavily in their plans. Also, consider the value of that after-school job: if the purpose of it is to make money for college, weigh the potential earnings against the potential savings of passing a couple of AP classes.

  1. Encourage Adequate Nutrition & Sleep
Just as in any class, being alert and ready to learn is critical in AP classes. The whole year over this is true, but it is of heightened importance during “AP Week” – the two-week period in May during which exams are administered. Space out the studying and be sure to get enough shut-eye.

  1. Understand the Power of a 2
Brace yourself for the arrival of that score report in July. It could be a moment of jubilation—all those hours paid off in the form of a passing score—or a moment of disappointment if a goal is not met. However, even if your child’s considerable efforts do not result in a passing score, much has been gained. Even students who fail AP Exams benefit from the experience of a rigorous course and do better in college than their non-AP peers. They very likely learned a great deal, pushed their own limits, and will benefit in the long run.