A History Teacher in a Psychology Classroom

Social studies teacher Anne Walker shares her favorite eMediaVA resources for her first year teaching Psychology.

“Teach Psychology!” they said. “It will be fun!”

“Ummmm, I guess?” was the only way I could respond. Let’s be honest, when your department chair at your new school tells you to teach an elective, you really can’t say no, even when you wish you could.

What I knew about Psychology could be written on the head of a pin. I had taken Psychology once, in college, in the late 1900s. I’m pretty sure I passed. Regardless of my confidence level, the Commonwealth of Virginia had previously issued me a piece of paper certifying me to teach all Social Sciences K-12–so teach Psychology, I had to.

I had a rough outline of the school year and an IB (well above my Intro to Psychology) textbook. I felt a bit lost on how to proceed until I remembered eMediaVA. eMediaVA was a resource I used extensively in my US History class so maybe there were resources I could use for Psychology?

I was not disappointed! My first unit, on the human brain and its role in regulating life, was covered in an Annenberg Learner digital model. This provided me with the background information I could use to introduce The Brain with David Eagleman, an incredible 3D interactive students could use to explore the lobes of the brain and what they control. This is only one of the interactives available!

My current unit is on learning. Students are familiar with Pavlov’s dog but through eMediaVA they can condition their own virtual dog in this Experiment with Classical Conditioning before practicing their vocabulary with Classical Conditioning Matching Review.

My favorite surprise came with B.F. Skinner. eMediaVA actually linked to Psychology: Behaviorism, B.F. Skinner and Social Media from RetroReport. RetroReport is a documentary news organization dedicated to examining stories after their headlines fade; it is non-partisan, independent, and nonprofit and they love teachers! They have an entire page devoted to RetroReport in the Classroom with lesson plans and video clips. With resources like eMediaVA and RetroReport, my year is off to a great start!

Anne Walker is a social studies teacher in Fairfax County and an eMediaVA Ambassador.

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