My psychology class is pretty tough. I don’t want it to be, but the book is a high school level text and my students are in 8th grade. The concepts are abstract and totally new to all learners. I’ve been trying lots of new things this year to make the text and vocabulary more accessible to my students. My instructional coach sent some ideas from Learning in the Fast Lane, and there was one that I was easily adapted for psychology….
Learning in the Fast Lane recommended having students act out vocabulary words to deepen their understanding. I transformed this into skits called “Therapy Sessions.” Students were assigned a partner and a vocabulary word (in this case, a psychological disorder). One student was the therapist and one was the patient. The students conducted the “therapy session,” giving clues to what their assigned disorder was. After the skit, the class guessed which disorder was being “treated” in the skit.
Kids LOVED this! I actually saw a girl skipping out of the room saying, “Psychology is the BEST!” I will absolutely continue to use this strategy. In fact, I think it will become a standard activity in psych class!