Sunday, December 20, 2015

Additional Make-Up Times

Hi all,

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during my absence on Friday. Was feeling kind of crappy by the end of the day on Thursday, but thought I could head it off by going to bed early that night. Turns out, the cold/flu bug I was dealing with had other plans. After resting this weekend, I'm pretty sure I'll be back tomorrow.

But, my impression is that some of you encountered obstacles when attempting to take your Learning Unit retake on Friday. From the various emails I received, it appears Ms. Ambelang graciously agreed to give retakes in the library, since they did not find a sub to cover my entire day. However, she put a note on the classroom door and maybe not all of you found it? Or, maybe you gave up after learning I was out for the day?

In any case, I want to make sure you've got a chance to try the retake (particularly if tomorrow's scheduled lunchtime administration won't work for you). With that in mind, here are some additional times when you could complete the retake:

  • Monday AM (7:30-8:30 AM)
  • Monday during Lunch (as we had originally planned)
  • Monday after school (as long as we're done by 4:45? Please?)
  • Tuesday AM (7:30 - 8:30 AM)
Hope this helps resolve any worries. Didn't mean to make it difficult for you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Studying for Your Learning Theory Test

On Friday, you'll be testing your knowledge of learning theories and concepts by writing a timed FRQ. I'm posting some resources that should help you prepare. (More to come in the days ahead.)

Remember, our study session for this unit will be on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10th from 5-7 PM in the CAFETERIA. Afterwards I will try to post as many of the materials we use as possible (for the benefit of those who cannot attend.)

  1. First, there's our friend Quizlet (below). Remember, you'll want to be ready to generate SPECIFIC EXAMPLES of each of these concepts. So, don't simply try to memorize the definition. Be ready to explain it and give a relevant example.
  2. Review the unit learning objectives. Are you ready to do all these things?
  3. MORE practice multiple choice questions. Again, although you're not really preparing for a multiple choice test, this can help you figure out if there are particular concepts you need to review.
  4. Need some quick video reviews? Try How to Train a Brain (on conditioning approaches) and Bobo Beatdown (observational learning).
  5. STUDY SESSION MATERIALS. The following items were used during our study session:

Learning: Basic Principles

Observational Learning

What the Behaviorists Missed

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Welcome Back!

I hope you all enjoyed a very relaxing Thanksgiving break. If nothing else, I hope you were able to catch up on some much-needed rest, as we'll need to keep our energy up as we head through some busy weeks ahead.

I imagine that tonight, many of you will be finishing up your States of Consciousness unit projects. Don't forget that you'll need to have a PRINTED copy of this for use in class tomorrow. You should be able to easily identify the following elements in your paper:

  • Your Claim (or thesis).
  • Evidence (facts, psychological research, data you collected) and
  • Reasoning (that links the evidence to your claim).

You will need to refer back to your text or class notes in order to gather information. To help you with this, I've posted this unit's slide show below.

If you want additional practice for tomorrow's reading quiz, check out the vocab flashcards below OR try out the practice quiz in Socrative! Go to and enter room 109495.

States of Consciousness

Vocabulary Flashcards for States of Consciousness

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stroop Test

Today in class we'll briefly discuss how the Stroop Test has been used in research designs that explore impacts of hypnosis. To get a sense of the task participants complete, try out the Online Stroop Test here! NOTE: READ THE DIRECTIONS SO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Monday, November 16, 2015

States of Consciousness Unit Project

Your unit on States of Consciousness will be brief, in part because of its small representation on the AP Exam and our approaching Thanksgiving Break (yay!). As a result, you will not take a full-length unit test on this content. Instead, your mastery of the material will be determined by:

  1. Your Reading Quiz on Unit V (given on Nov. 30). AND
  2. Your completion of the States of Consciousness Unit Project. Also due Nov. 30.
Thankfully, these tasks should complement one another. And...the project involves something that I HOPE you were planning on doing anyway: sleeping!

All of the links you need are for the unit project are linked into the document above.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Studying for Your Sensation and Perception Test

By now you've probably noticed that, although this unit doesn't contain any more vocabulary than previous units have, the major challenge it presents is that so many terms and concepts seem to be only separated by subtle differences. And, given their abstraction, writing about them (like on an FRQ...) can be a challenge because of the sophistication of the description required.

So...let's get started reviewing! Here is a handy list of study tools that may help you in your efforts:
  • First, remember that our Study Session for this Unit is SUNDAY, November 15th at 5 PM. Because we've been struggling with space issues in the past, I've moved this one to the CAFETERIA. Here are the links to the study session materials used tonight!
  • You should have a list of the Unit Objectives for Sensation and Perception. You will want to be prepared to do any of the tasks listed on that handout!
  • Don't forget to brush up on that vocabulary! Quizlet can help make sure you don't miss anything.
  • Carefully review that list of Confusing Term Pairs from this unit. Can you describe how these things are kind of the same YET different from each other?
  • If you've already burned through the practice questions on the paper Study Guide you were given in class and are looking for more, here are some practice questions on Sensation and Perception.

Quizlet Flashcards

Basic Sensation and Perception Principles

Visual Process

Auditory Process

The Other Senses
Note...I may or may not use all of this in class. I'm contemplating a different activity for handling Module 21 content, so you might not actually view these slides in class. I'm posting them here in case I use them AND in case you miss Friday and need some way to access content covered that day.

Virtual Haircut Illusion

If you would like to experience a convincing illusion involving sound localization, follow this link to the Virtual Haircut. Use headphones while listening to experience the effect.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PsychSim: The Auditory System

In order to review material from Module 20 and prepare effectively for class on Wednesday, you'll need to complete a PsychSim module on The Auditory System.

To access the module:
  1. Go to this website.
  2. From the "Main Menu" select Sensation and Perception.
  3. Select The Auditory System.
  4. Use the navigation buttons to move through the module, and complete the accompanying worksheet
Also, a reminder: Headphones will be helpful on Wednesday, since you'll have the opportunity to experience some auditory phenomena using your Chromebook.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Color Blindness Test

You are welcome to participate in a short (non-diagnostic) color blindness test as part of today's activities.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Threshold Demonstrations

Today in class we'll be learning about psychophysics and different types of thresholds. To that end, we'll be trying a couple of online tests for sensory ability.

Absolute Threshold - Vision - This module introduces you to how absolute thresholds are measured. You won't get a score, but you will try out some practice test items.

Difference Threshold (JND) - Adaptive Pitch Test - determines your sensitivity to detecting differences between two presented tones. This is a difference threshold test because the test attempts to determine what degree of difference is necessary.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Brain Movie Trailer Marathon

I'm currently working my way through scoring all of the wonderful Brain Projects that have come in since Friday, and so far I'm pretty impressed. Not only do you folks appear to be a pretty creative bunch, but you're applying your knowledge of neuroscience, too!

Since I probably won't have time to share ALL of the movie trailers in class, I figured I'd make a playlist here. (This way I won't lose the links so easily, too). As you will notice, the amygdala was a wildly popular choice.

Tessa and Maisy: Deteriorating Medulla
Ty and Kathryn: Paranormal Amygdala
Molly: The Boy with the Mishapen Amygdala
Carter and David: The Decent Cop Whose Amygdala Gets Damaged and Turns Super Aggressive
Tim and Mitch: Amygdalacalypse
Maygen and Anna: The Amygdala
Gina: The Amygdala
Cheyenne: The Amygdala

I think those are all the links I've gotten? If yours is missing, please let me know and I'll add it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reviewing for Your Biological Bases of Behavior Test

Holy cow! This has been an exciting unit, and I'm actually a bit sad that we're drawing to a close. I've had fun introducing you to the AWESOMENESS that is neuroscience, and I hope you've enjoyed the process, too. Since our unit test is coming up on Wednesday, October 28, here are some links to help you get started with review.

Quizlet Flashcards

Intro to Brain Science


Nervous System v. Endocrine System

Techniques for Studying the Brain

Brain Anatomy

Nature and Nurture

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Bad Night at the ER

Today in class we looked at some (hypothetical) patients with neurological problems and attempted to match and generate diagnoses. Some of you didn't have a chance to finish and requested that I post the case files so you can complete your diagnoses. Here they are!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

AP Psych Lesson: Thursday PM

Hi AP Psych students!

Unfortunately, I have to be away for a meeting this afternoon. So, if you're viewing this, it's probably because you're in my 6th or 7th hour class and have been directed here by your substitute teacher. Lucky for you, all the directions for today's activities can be found below!

STEP #1: View the Slide Show (we began this yesterday) and take notes at your own pace. You may also refer back to your text as needed. You will want headphones, as there is a video clip to view. You will have to answer some questions in Socrative following the show, so please go through this information carefully before moving on to that step.

STEP #2: Answer the comprehension questions in Socrative. (The final slide in the show will prompt you to do this.)

STEP #3: View the video, "Inside the Teenage Brain." You will not complete all of it, but should get enough information to launch our discussion tomorrow. Particularly, please be ready to discuss how the teen brain is different from the adult brain and how this impacts behavior and decision-making. In the video, see if you can spot examples of the different devices used to study the brain that you just learned about (EEG, MRI's, etc).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Neurotransmitter Exploration

Today in class we'll be exploring the functions of several different neurotransmitters. In addition to the informational chart you can find on pg. 82 of your textbook, you might find the following links helpful:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mouse Party Assignment

Poor, addicted mouse.
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 (Oct. 13).

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!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Neural Messages PsychSim

For Monday, I'm asking you to complete this worksheet on Neural Messages. You will be using an online module to review and extend your learning regarding neural communication. Here is how you access the online module:

  1. Click on this link to reach the PsychSim 5 launch screen.
  2. Select "Main Menu."
  3. Choose "Neuroscience and Behavior" from the available content areas.
  4. Then, select "Neural Messages." 
  5. A module will open with information to assist you. Use the "next" and "back" navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen to navigate through the entire module.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Studying for your Cognition and Memory Test

Your unit test on Cognition and Memory is coming up on Wednesday, October 7th. To help you prepare, I'm compiling a bunch of study tools here, including notes from this unit. I'll add more next week, but this is a good start for now.


Cognition and Problem Solving Notes


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Availability Heuristic - Summer of the Shark

Looking forward to sharing this classic (2002) Daily Show clip to introduce the Availability Heuristic to students this week. With the transition to a new host some of my links to Jon Stewart clips needed to be updated, so I'm posting it here in part so I can locate it again in the future.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Picking Cotton - Eyewitness Memory

During Tuesday's class, you will be investigating a criminal case involving eye-witness testimony. There will be two video clips that you will need to view, and you will use this worksheet to guide your investigation. The video clips are embedded below.

Clip #1:

Clip #2:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fall Check-In Meetings - SIGN UP

Today during class, I will be asking all of my current students to sign up for a Fall "Check-In" Conference with me. These are required for all students, and as the name implies, they are a chance for us to speak one-on-one about how things are going in the course and how I can help you reach your goals.

Come ready to discuss your progress thus far: What are your goals for the course? What is going well? What do we need to work on?

Please sign up for an available appointment IN THIS DOCUMENT.

Please feel free to SCHEDULE A REMINDER IN YOUR PHONE or somewhere else so that you don't miss your scheduled meeting.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Using Cognitive Science to Improve Your Study Strategies

Greetings, AP Psychology students!

I'm sorry I couldn't be with you today. I'm attending meetings in Washington, D.C. as part of my affiliation with Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) and the APA. But that doesn't mean your learning will be put on hold!

The unit of study we are beginning today concerns Cognition (i.e., thinking) and Memory. Happily, researchers have learned A LOT about what helps people understand and remember what they have learned, and this information should be immediately useful to students hoping to improve and refine their study strategies (and, by extension, their course grades).

Regardless of how you think yesterday's test went--whether you think it was a face-plant or you feel you knocked it out of the park--today's assignment will give you some helpful ideas about how to study more efficiently and more effectively, AND it will introduce you to some basic memory terminology that we will encounter this unit.

You'll have time in class to view this video series by Dr. Stephen Chew of Samford University, and you should complete this worksheet as you go. The worksheet is due Monday (Sept. 21), so anything that you don't finish in class should be completed over the weekend. Note: since there is sound with this video, please use a pair of headphones when viewing so that you don't disturb others.

Enjoy! Happy Learning!

Mrs. Welle

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Preparing for Your History, Approaches, and Research Methods Test

On Thursday, you'll take your first unit test in AP Psychology! I know you find it important to prepare thoroughly, so I'm hoping the links in this post are helpful as you begin your review.

Study Tools:
  • Your unit objectives. Can you confidently do all of the things described on this list?
  • The MC study guide you received in class (on Friday, Sept. 11). Harness the power of retrieval practice by treating this as a practice test.
  • Quizlet Flashcards for Unit I and Unit II. 
  • Need a quick video refresher of major topics from this unit? Here are the Crash Course Videos on Psychology's History and Research Methods.
  • You might want to check out the resources in your etext, including the practice quizzes available there (2 per unit). You will need the login info you created when we registered these in class.
  • Still want MORE practice multiple choice questions? Here are some on psychological approaches, and some more on research methods
  • I'm also posting the slides we've used this unit below, along with embedded flashcards and some helpful videos.
Video: Why Experiments Show Cause and Effect (and...Why We Know Sugar Doesn't Cause Hyperactivity) Note: "Randomized Controlled Trials" = experiments

Unit I: History Approaches

Unit II: Research Methods

The Story of Psychology

Contemporary Psychological Approaches

Research Methods and Stats

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PsychSim: Descriptive Statistics

For tomorrow, I'd like you to practice your Descriptive Statistics skills as you complete a PsychSim module on the topic. I know for many of you this will be a review of math concepts learned long ago, but sometimes I've found that our knowledge of these things has faded a bit with time.

To access the site, use THIS LINK and click on "Descriptive Statistics" from the menu screen that pops up.

You'll need to complete these brief practice problems.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fun with Correlations!

Today in class we'll be exploring correlational research designs and related statistical techniques. We'll be using a couple of links for today's activities.

We also may have the chance to investigate some bizarre correlations. If not, these links are worth checking out on your own time:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Career Areas in Psychology

Today in class we took a look at various career subfields within psychology. For those that weren't able to finish, or who simply wish to go back and review, I'm posting some related materials here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wason's Rule Detection Task

Try out this fun problem-solving challenge! We will discuss this in class in relation to the scientific method. Once you've solved it, don't share the answer with your neighbor until we're ready to discuss it!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Vote on Psych Club T-Shirts!

Note: You MUST be logged in using your Google account in order to view and complete this form.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Psych Club...Assemble!

With school back in session, it's time to kick off the year in Psych Club. Our first meeting will be Friday, September 4th during Lunch B (in rm 136). Thereafter we'll continue to meet the first Friday of the month.

Of course, no respectable club should go without witty t-shirts, so our first order of business will be voting on t-shirt designs. Here are this year's options for you to preview!

Straight Outta Leipzig
An homage to the location of psychology's founding: Leipzig, Germany.

Welcome to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
A tribute to everyone's favorite humanistic psychotherapist.

Serotonin and Dopamine: Technically, the Only Two Things You Enjoy
It's about time your wardrobe included some neurotransmitter humor.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tips for Success in AP Psychology

In class on Tuesday you will receive a sample of letters of advice from last year's AP Psychology students. Those students have much wisdom to share, given their outstanding performance on the AP Psychology Exam. Your task is to read through the information they are providing for you and generate a "Top Ten List" of tips for success in this class.

Of course, I only selected a small sample of student letters to print for you so I could avoid murdering entire forests. If you would like to review the entire pack of advice letters from 2014-15 AP Psych students, feel free to do so. They are sorted alphabetically by last name, so if you wish to find words of inspiration from a particular friend or acquaintance, just scroll to the appropriate point in the alphabet.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Getting Started on Your First Reading Assignment in AP Psych

Wheeee!!! It's time for your very first reading assignment in AP Psychology!

Even if you are not as thrilled as I am about this, you are likely to have the most energy and enthusiasm for digging into your textbook at this point in the year. Everything is fresh, you're not sleep deprived (yet), and the year seems to be full of possibility. I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of that peak motivation and use this opportunity to shine up your reading and note-taking strategies.

If you are like many of my students, you might not have had to read your textbooks very carefully in the past. The number of assigned pages was small, and the amount of detail you were expected to recall and use may have been limited. You may have even been provided a worksheet or guide that pointed you directly to all the important information, so you barely had to read at all!

You'll find things are different in AP Psychology. Your first reading quiz will cover pages 1-70 in your textbook! But that doesn't mean you need to freak out. If you are looking for tips on how to approach what feels like a massive task, look no further.
  • First, check out this handout on tips for your first reading assignment. You should have received one of these when you picked up your textbook.
  • Next, consider watching one or both of the videos I've embedded below. I really like Thomas Frank's YouTube channel, CollegeInfoGeek, as he provides great, well-researched tips for college students (like yourself!) who want to be successful in their courses. If you've never had to keep up with college-level reading and study schedules before, he provides concrete, usable advice (but no magic fixes, because there are none.)
  • You may also find this video from your textbook author helpful, as it walks you through some basic, research-based tips for more efficient study. 
  • Finally, don't forget that you have that Strive for a 5 to use as a resource. If you feel lost at sea without reading guides and worksheets to direct your reading, this is a great way to provide yourself with some supports. Sure, it takes a while, but READING YOUR TEXTBOOK CAREFULLY ALWAYS TAKES TIME! So, pace yourself, and dig in! 
How To Read Your Textbooks More Efficiently

5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Back to School Shopping for AP Psych

Greetings, AP Psych Students and Parents!

I hope this message finds you enjoying a pleasant Wisconsin summer. However, according to virtually every retail establishment I’ve visited during the past two weeks, it’s time for back-to-school shopping. Whether that thought excites you or makes you cringe, I figured I’d give you the heads up about what you’ll need for AP Psych. That way, we can streamline your shopping trip (whenever it happens).


  • Be sure to pick up a 3-ring binder for use throughout the year in AP Psych. You’ll need this to keep your notes and handouts organized by topic area. Look for one 1.5 to 2.5 inches in width (3 in is usually too unwieldy to carry in a backpack daily). Note: I do have a number of free binders generously donated by the parent of a former student (her workplace was discarding them). I’ll have them available at textbook pick-up on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to save some cash, you are welcome to take one at no cost!
  • You’ll also want paper for note-taking (loose-leaf or notebook, your choice). Student preference is the key here: some folks like to use loose-leaf paper so they can insert notes into the binder by topic area, others like keeping their notes all in one notebook (post-it tabs to mark chapters/units can be helpful if going that route). If you like notebooks, be aware that many students fill up their notebooks by spring in AP Psych, so having more than one on hand will help. Also, some students prefer to keep their book notes and class notes separate (not a bad idea), so you’ll want to think about your “system” when shopping.
  • Pens and pencils are going to be necessary. Perhaps this is obvious, but I thought I’d be thorough.

Some students like to purchase these items to assist with their studying and test preparation throughout the year (and prior to the AP Psych Exam). However, they are not required. (Tip: Parents sometimes purchase these as very practical gifts at birthdays and holidays, so you may want to hang on to this for future reference).

    Additional test-prep book(s). There are a lot of these on the market (and you can find them online or at large book stores in the test-prep section), and are not many differences from one brand to another. Cost is usually $17-20. Some students like using them (especially the practice tests usually found in them) as the AP Exam approaches in the spring, but this is completely a matter of personal preference. If purchasing one of these, be sure to look for the 2014-2015 version or later, since our curriculum changes slightly this year (and previous versions will not be up to date). I’ve got examples of these for viewing (or classroom use), so feel free to take a look at them when you come in for textbook pick-up if you want to see what they are like.
  • Strive for a 5 Study Guide (cost $30; accompanies the textbook). This workbook helps students process what they read in the text and practice skills in preparation for unit tests and the AP Psych Exam. I’m very excited about this, because I think it’s a great resource for students! The district provides each student with a copy; HOWEVER (and this is a big drawback, I think), because the district’s copies will be reused from year-to-year, students cannot write in them. That is a bummer, because they are set up like workbooks and would be much easier to use if students could write in them. Because I think that students might be interested in purchasing their own copies (to be able to write in them), I’m happy to organize an order for those who wish to do so. Students will be getting the copies provided by the district at textbook pick-up in mid-August, so you are free to take a look at the item and decide if you’d like to buy your own instead. If you know you would like to order your own, payments will be accepted at that time (then I can hopefully get the order submitted in time for them to arrive for the start of the school year). Depending on interest, I may place a second order in September (if students would like to wait and see how the first unit goes before buying). Unfortunately, the publisher does not have a direct retail website, so all ordering will have to be organized through the school.
  • Flash card sets. Like the test-prep books, it’s easy to find these online or at large book stores, and some students appreciate not having to print/make 1000+ flashcards on their own. (Note, however, that online flashcards are linked up to the class website for free;  this would be for folks who like having physical versions on hand for study.) However, if you wait until March or April to buy them, you may have trouble, since they tend to be in high demand as the AP Exam approaches (when, suddenly, 260,000 AP Psych students decide to simultaneously purchase them). Like the test-prep books, I’ve got sample sets for classroom use, so you can peruse them before deciding if it’s worth buying your own.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email ( or ask when you come in to pick-up your textbook in August. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Congrats, AP Psych Class of 2015!

Chi-Hi Students who took this year's AP Psychology Exam have a lot to be proud of! Score reports for students and teachers (in Wisconsin) were released yesterday, and much celebrating is in order for this group of students!

Note to Students: If you haven't logged in to check your own AP Exam results, you can do so here, depending on your location. Wisconsin was scheduled for Day 2 of a five-day staggered release, so if you are trying to access scores from a computer in another state, you may have to wait until that state's scheduled release date.

Before I detail some of the highlights from this year's results, I want to emphasize (as always) that students are more than a score. It is a strange thing to see a year's worth of work reduced down to a few pages of numbers, as it is both satisfying and incomplete at the same time. While I'm pleased with the group's performance, keep in mind that I see much more than numbers when I look at score reports.

I see hours and hours of hard work put in, during study sessions and late night readings.

I see students who grew A LOT in their study habits over the course of the year, students who are now much more ready for college-level work than when they started.

I see students who were, literally, reduced to tears over some unit tests, but who doubled-down and committed to mastering the material even when it wasn't easy.

And, I see students who, for their studies this year, now have a much better understanding of the psychology of their everyday lives.

So, regardless of your individual score, there is something to be celebrated in what you've accomplished! Please take the time to do so!

Some highlights from this year's results:

  • 93.2% of Chi-Hi students who took the exam passed it (earned a 3 or above). That is quite an achievement in and of itself, as (according to my records) it is the second-highest pass rate for AP Psych in Chi-Hi's history, surpassed only by 2013's group, which saw a 95% pass rate. 
  • This is also substantially higher than the national pass rate, which was 66.2%.
  • The average score on this year's AP Psychology Exam was 4.23, the highest ever for Chi-Hi AP Psych students.
  • That high average is in part the result of the huge chunk of students who earned 5's (the highest possible score) on the exam! 52% of Chi-Hi AP Psych students earned a 5 on this year's test! Wowsa!
The release of last spring's scores always signals to me that planning for next year must soon begin, so as much as I'd like to join in the celebrating, it's time for me to return to work. I'll be updating the course resources, lesson plans, pacing guides, and syllabi over the next several weeks, so prepare for a lot of messiness on this site.

The Class of 2015 set a high standard for others to follow, but I'm excited for the challenges ahead. In looking at my rosters, there is more history to be made next year in AP Psych, as we're expecting our largest-yet class of AP Psych students: 118 at the time of this writing. That means another potential milestone lies ahead in 2016: we're likely to have our first-ever group of test takers that numbers in the triple digits for a single subject!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

August Textbook Pick-Up Dates Set


I am SUPER excited to begin the journey with another great group of AP Psych students, and I’m busy making plans to prepare a fantastic experience for you!

I know you are probably in the midst of enjoying a beautiful summer, and the fall may be (understandably) far from your mind, but I wanted to give you the heads up about something to watch for in your Infinite Campus message inbox/email this summer.

AP Psychology students do not have a “summer assignment” like some other AP courses, but we do have early textbook pick-up in August. At that time, you’ll get your AP Psych textbook, course materials, and directions for your first reading assignment. You also get to meet me in person, and start talking about the great adventure that is AP Psych!

This year, I was able to schedule textbook pick-up dates and times concurrently with registration week at the high school. I’m hoping this will be convenient for students and their families, since you’ll probably be making a trip to the high school that week anyway. I’ll be meeting students and handing out textbooks in rm 136 (my classroom) during the following times:

Monday, August 10; Noon - 5 PM
Tuesday, August 11; Noon - 5 PM
Wednesday, August 12; 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday, August 13 - Noon -5 PM and 6 PM - 8 PM

If, for whatever reason, you will not be available to come in during those times, please feel free to contact me via email to arrange some other time when early August rolls around. I’ll be spending A LOT of time at school this summer, so chances are we will be able to make something work.

Have a great summer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Global AP Psych Score Results are Out!

As the AP Psych Exam Reading wrapped up almost a week ago, global numbers are just becoming available. Trevor Packer, head of the College Board, tweets about trends in results in all AP subject areas, and today AP Psych was the subject of several.

A couple of trends that Trevor commented on are worth noting. First, the number of students taking and passing the AP Psychology Exam is up. At the Reading, we were told that over 280,000 AP Psych exams were taken this year. Similarly, news at Psychology's College Board Forum night was that the number of schools who offer AP Psych continues to rise, with another 7% increase projected this year.

Also pleasing to hear is that the percentage of students earning 5's on the test is up this year (as compared to last). I'm hoping Chi-Hi students' scores also reflect that trend. Perhaps one of those "perfect" scores belongs to a student from Chippewa Falls (okay, odds are against that, but one can hope?).

Last, it looks like students performed better on FRQ 1 (research methods) as opposed to FRQ2 (Chandler and Alex). As someone who participated in the scoring of FRQ2, I can say I was surprised at how difficult that one turned out to be for students. I certainly learned a lot about the interesting misconceptions students can have about the terms and concepts used in that question.

All this talk about AP Exam data makes me anxious to see how my own students performed on this year's test. Alas, here in Wisconsin we must wait until July 7, so I'll have to use the opportunity to practice my patience.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Have a Great Summer!

2014-15 has been a great year in AP Psych! We've been VERY busy, so I thought I'd put together a little slide show detailing some of the amazing stuff you've done this year.

Congratulations to our graduating seniors, and I hope everyone enjoys a happy, healthy summer!

AP Psych 2014-15 from Virginia Welle on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Looking Ahead to College: How to Succeed When So Many People Fail

Today in class we'll be taking a break from project work to consider a topic of direct importance to seniors bound for college: how to actually succeed when you get there. Many high school students, for very good reasons, focus a great deal on getting into college. While that is an obvious first step to obtaining a college degree, it is hardly the only (or the last) obstacle they will face. College dropout rates are alarmingly high, so it's worth considering how you might prepare to thrive once you arrive on campus.

Defining the Problem: What Obstacles do First-Year College Students Face? 

Message to My Freshman Students - Huffington Post, May 15, 2015 (If you are having trouble viewing the original post, try reading it within this Google Doc.)

Related: Skills Needed for Success in High School versus College

Dropping Out of College, And Paying the Price - New York Times,

Some College, No Degree (Radio Documentary; need headphones) - American Public Media

Who Gets to Graduate? New York Times, May 15, 2014

Wisconsin One of Few States Taking Up Higher Education Cuts, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 28, 2015

Why Poor Kids Don't Stay in College - Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2014

Why America's College Students Don't Graduate - The Fiscal Times, Dec. 19, 2011

The New Class Divide - The Economist, March 20, 2015

Student Survey: Dreams

A group of my students would like you (AP Psych Students at Chi-Hi) to complete this brief survey about your dreams as a part of their data collection for their final project.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End-of-Course Survey 2015

This year I made used of several new types of resources and materials. Completing this survey will help me determine what I might update/change for next year. Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Instructor Evaluation Link

Hi everyone!

Today in class you'll be given time to complete this Instructor Evaluation to help me get feedback and improve as an AP Psychology teacher.

You will need to be signed in to your Chippewa Falls Google Account to access the form, but your individual login information will not be recorded, as your responses will remain anonymous.

Thanks for your help!

Work Time Planning
When you are finished, with your team, make a copy and complete this form and share it with Mrs. Welle (or print), indicating your needs for work time during our last week of class.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

APA Style Guide & Project Description

For the written portion of your final project, you'll want to adhere to APA Style when creating citations and your reference list. This may be a new format for some of you, so this style guide should be very helpful.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Generating Final Project Ideas

Now that the AP Psych exam is over and the dust has settled, it's time to start thinking about your final project. You'll have time to explore topic ideas, but the sooner you can get settled on an idea, the better.

This project is left fairly open-ended for a reason: I want you to be creative in your content, application, and presentation. You've got a chance to have fun with a topic you are REALLY interested in, so pick something COOL!

If you're really struggling for ideas, some possible sources of inspiration:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

AP Exam - Last Minute Reminders

This Monday, you'll be taking the AP Psych Exam. Here's what Chippewa Falls AP Psych students need to know:
  • The exam begins at 12:00 at the National Guard Armory. (See Map below) Arrive a few minutes early, if possible, to locate your testing room, as there will likely be more than one testing room for this exam. (NOTE: Not all AP subject exams will be at this location. If you are taking a different subject AP exam later in the week, be sure you know where to go for that).
  • You will be automatically excused from 4th - 7th hours (release @ 11:12 AM) for testing. If you wish to use the morning hours to prepare at home, your parents will need to call you in to excuse you from hours 1-3.
  • Since there will be little time between the end of your 3rd hour class and the exam start, consider packing a LIGHT lunch to eat on the way/before the exam begins. However, you can't bring food into the exam rooms. You may pack a snack in your backpack, though. Like maybe your juicebox robot? 
  • You need to provide your own transportation to the test site. Arrange carpools ahead of time, if necessary. Don't wait until the last minute!
  • Be sure to practice a solid pre-test regimen: get plenty of sleep the night before, eat healthful meals, and of course, review your course materials!
  1. A couple of #2 pencils (for the MC part).
  2. A couple of pens (blue or black) for the F-R part. Be sure to have a couple in case one runs out of ink!
  3. A watch (that does not beep!), in case you are seated in a place where the clock is not easy to see.
  4. A sweatshirt? It's ideal to dress in layers so you can adjust if you're too hot/cold.
  1. Cellular phones, beepers, MP3 players, or personal data assistants (PDAs)
  2. Books, correction fluid, dictionaries, highlighters, or notes
  3. Scratch paper (notes can be made on portions of the exam booklets)
  4. Calculators
  5. Watches that beep or have an alarm
  6. Portable listening or recording devices (even with headphones) or photographic equipment
  7. Clothing with psych-related information on it (e.g. sorry, even Psych Club shirts are a no-no)
  8. Food or drinks
Good luck, everyone! You can do it!

Map to testing site:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Voting: Social Psych Peep Dioramas

As we close our unit on Social Psych today, take a moment to vote on your favorite entry in our Peep Diorama contest. In total, I received 27 entries, and I think you'll be impressed with your classmates' creativity and social psych expertise.

You must be logged in to your Chippewa Falls Google account to vote. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

AP Exam Review Resources, Tips, and Tricks

There are SO many things you can do to help you review for your AP Psych Exam, and it can be hard to know where to start. Never fear! Here are some links and general tips, including some important "Do's" and "Don'ts" to help you out.

What NOT to Do:
The following strategies have been shown by researchers to be ineffective (people using them don't do much better than people who hadn't studied at all), so DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THEM.
  • Re-reading your textbookSkimming over previously read passages of your text is a terrible way to study, in part because 1.) it is time-consuming, 2.) you don't actually retain any more info after doing this, and 3.) (even worse) it fosters the "illusion of mastery,"  which leads to WORSE performance. For example, you may think you "know" something just because you think to yourself, "oh, sure, that seems familiar," when actually you aren't able to answer questions about it correctly. Of course, this tip assumes you read the textbook the first time. Also, note that there is nothing wrong with looking up a specific topic that you don't understand in order to get a question clarified or answered. Just avoid passive re-reading of whole chapters (or the whole book).
  • Highlighting stuff in your notesWhile it sure makes stuff look pretty, there is little processing going on when you highlight terms or ideas in your notes. Since memory is the product of thinking about something, you're better off doing something that forces you to think about the material.
What works?
  • Distributed PracticeYou may remember this being called "the spacing effect" in your textbook. Spacing out study of your material, rather than planning one giant cram session, leads to better memory. In fact spacing is most powerful once a little "forgetting" has set in. So, study a topic until you feel you've "got it," then come back to it in a day or two and quiz yourself. This strategy can also be a time-saver, since less overall time is needed to achieve the same result as cramming. However, it takes more planning, which is the hard part.
  • Retrieval Practice or Self-Testing. There is NO BETTER way to prepare yourself for a test than to practice pulling information from memory. There are LOTS of online tools to help you do this, and I've included some of them below.
  • Use what you've learned this year about memory! If you are continuously stumbling over the same term, researcher name, or list of things you need to recall, use encoding strategies to help you! Mnemonics, acronyms, chunking, and DEEP PROCESSING/ELABORATIVE REHEARSAL (thinking about connections between course concepts and what you already know.
So...where do I start?
  1. Take a practice testThis will help you identify areas of strength and weakness and provide you with feedback about how "far" you have to go yet to achieve mastery. If you haven't already taken advantage of a weekend practice exam, here are some options to get you started:
  2. Narrow your focus and make a plan. If you found out that you rock at Abnormal Psychology, but are not exactly comfortable with Developmental Psych, use that to plan your study sessions! 
  3. In the last couple of days before the test, plan time for "polishing." 
    • Review Famous Psychologists to help practice many different areas of the course. Can you identify how these people are similar to each other? Different? 
    • Use the "combine sets" feature on Quizlet to study multiple topic areas at once.
    • Study with a friend: take turns quizzing each other on major course topics (using flashcards or term lists).

Friday, April 24, 2015

Reviewing for Your Social Psych Test

Once you've rested up after Prom, you'll want to return your attention to preparing for your Social Psych test. You've got an opportunity to finish strong on this last one, so don't neglect it!

Some resources you might find useful:
  • The MC Study Guide you picked up after your unit quiz
  • Why not complete the Days in your 40-Day Packet on Social Psych? (the whole thing is due on Friday, after all)
  • Quizlet Flashcards
  • Online Practice Multiple Choice Questions
  • Crash Course Videos (embedded below). Note: Don't assume passively viewing videos constitutes "studying," be sure to actively process that info by testing yourself on it. 

Notes from your Social Psych Unit

Crash Course Episode #37: Social Thinking

Crash Course Episode #38: Social Influence

Crash Course Episode #39: Prejudice and Discrimination

Crash Course Episode #40: Aggression v. Altruism

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prejudice and Discrimination: Social Psych Research

In class over the next couple of days, we'll be exploring the social and cognitive factors that lead to prejudice and discrimination. We're going to attempt to answer a few questions about these issues through our work, including:

What evidence is there that prejudice and discrimination persist in modern life?
To see how social scientists explore these issues, we'll read this article.

Secondly, we'll attempt to figure out why prejudice and discrimination appear even when people readily acknowledge such things are wrong and consciously believe they (personally) do not harbor such inclinations?

One area of research that has suggested answers to this second question is the use of Implicit Association Tests, which are described by your text on p. 782. In order to get a sense of how these tests measure implicit bias, you'll have time to complete one in class.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social Psych Peeps Diorama Challenge

Want to earn additional points on your upcoming Social Psychology test? Do you have an abundance of Marshmallow Peeps left over from Easter? Well, do I have an opportunity for you!

Create a Peeps Diorama illustrating a Social Psych principle of your choice. Snap a photo of that thing and Tweet it or email it to me. For full contest rules, click here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Psych Disorders & Treatment Review

Reviewing for your Psych Disorders and Treatment Unit Test is going to require you to bring your A-game. You've been working hard all year to master your study habits, so put those hard-earned skills to work in the week ahead.

This unit has a lot (100+) of confusing-sounding vocabulary terms (e.g, drug names, disorder names), so it would be easy to get bogged down in vocabulary. I would highly recommend that you avoid simple "death-by-flashcard" review and instead focus on identifying connections and relationships between ideas. For example: if using flashcards, can you group terms into piles by category? Which ones are anxiety disorders? Which therapeutic techniques are behavioral?

To help you focus your studies and recognize the relationships between the vocabulary terms, I've created this Short List of key items for review. You might question whether this is "short" or not, it will provide a place to start.

Study Session Materials:

Class Notes/Activities on Psychological Disorders

Therapy & Treatment - Unit 13

Biomedical Treatments (4/14/15)