Thursday, August 28, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity: Pull a Plane for Special Olympics

The Plane Pull features the ultimate tug-of-war competition, as teams of up to 20 battle a UPS Airbus A300, weighing more than 190,000 lbs.  That’s right, the plane weighs more than 90 tons!  Each team raises a minimum of $1,000 to participate (only $50 per person for a team of 20). Special Olympics Illinois and the Law Enforcement Torch Run will host the 6th Annual Plane Pull at O’Hare International Airport on Sept. 27.  The 2013 event was a record-breaking success, as 64 teams participated and more than $135,000 was raised for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois! Click here for more info.
A special thanks to UPS, the Chicago Department of Aviation, City of Chicago, HMS Host and Durham School Services for their continued support of this event.
Teams compete in one of three divisions:
  • Open Division (ideal for companies, school teams, gyms, crossfits, clubs, friends and families)
  • Public Safety Division (law enforcement officers, fire fighters, paramedics, DNR, DOC and military personnel; teams need at least 10 public safety competitors to qualify)
  • Hotel Division (new in 2014, and by popular demand, we have created a division solely for groups in the hotel industry!)
For  questions on hoPlane Pull Logow you can get involved in the Plane Pull, please contact Matt Johnson.

2013 Event Results

  • Open Division: Maine South Hawks (HS Football Team), 9.81 seconds
  • Public Safety Division: Chicago Police Department - O'Hare, 9.34 seconds
  • Grand Champion: Chicago Police Department - O'Hare
  • Top Individual Fundraiser: Bob Pomeroy, ComEd
  • Top Fundraising Team: Niles Police Department
  • Team Spirit Award: Park Ridge Fraternal Order of Police #16

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Teacher Resources

Hello fellow sociology teacher,

About Me
I have been teaching high school sociology at Stevenson High School since 1999.  I now teach a one-semester dual credit intro to sociology class for Loyola University and Stevenson High School.  I have also been working with the American Sociological Association as a member of their High School Advisory Board (more info about the ASA below).  Additionally, I have been working with a group of high school teachers called the Chicago Area Sociology Teachers (CAST).   I did my undergrad at Loyola University and then I earned an M.A. there in Chicago Studies, an interdisciplinary urban studies program with a focus on Chicago.  It was mostly a sociology masters with some history mixed in.

About this blog (
This blog is basically what I do in class each day.  You can go backwards down the blog and it will be like looking through my lesson plan book from back to front.  There are also links on the right side menu bar that will take you to my posts by unit and by topic.

Other Resources

Chicago Area Sociology Teachers (CAST)
Hayley Lotspeich from Wheaton North High School and I run a listserve for sociology teachers through google groups.   You can login to the Chicago Area Sociology Teachers listserve (if you created an account) here:!forum/chicagoareasociologyteachers
There is a searchable archive there with lots of discussions about lesson ideas.

Also for over ten years, Hayley and I have facilitated an annual lesson plan sharing event for sociology teachers.  It is usually during February at her high school in Wheaton.

ASA High School Resources
Around 2009, Hayley Lotspeich from Wheaton North High School and I approach the American Sociological Association and said we would like to work with them to create more resources for high school sociology teachers and promote high school sociology.  The ASA has since created a high school group.  Check here for details:

ASA Listserve

The ASA also has a listserve for high school teachers that has archives of discussions.  Go to   You will see a log in page that asks for your email and password.  If you’ve never logged in before, click “get a new LISTSERV password” to set up a password.  Once you have your password and log in, you will see a page with all the ASA listservs.  Our list (ASA_high_school) isthe 8th one down the list.  Click on it.  You will come to a page that has a search box on the upper right corner.  Type in the topic you want (for example, “socialization”), and voila! – you can see the 19 posts on this topic over the past two years. 

ASA Trails
If you join the ASA, you get access to a web-based bank of lessons called Trails.  Without membership, you can search the Trails resources, but you will not be able to view or download them.

AP Sociology - Introsocsite
Here is a compilation of resources originally designed by an ASA taskforce to move AP sociology forward.  There are copious resources here including lesson plans, unit outlines, simulations and readings.

Teaching Sociology

If your library has a JSTOR account you can digitally access archives of the journal Teaching Sociology.  It is full of lesson ideas.  If join ASA, you can subscribe to the journal to get the latest issues as soon as they are published for a really reasonable rate.  Here is the journal page:

Other helpful sites include:

Soc Images:
Socimages is a great site that uses visual images to illustrate sociological concepts.

They even organized a syllabus for an intro class, it is on their instructor page here:

Here are sample lesson plans from Soc Images:

Teaching Sociology Blog:
Here is a blog about teaching sociology:

Sociology Toolbox

This website run by Todd Baer from Lake Forest College is hosted on the Society Pages

Nathan Palmer's Website about teaching sociology:

Sociology and videos:
Here is a website with movies for sociology
Common Core Civic Life Standards for Sociology:

The C3 framework for social studies contains an appendix with sociology standards that I co-authored.  Click here to download the whole framework.

Census Bureau Lessons
Sociology Lessons with data from the US Census Bureau

Sociology Teachers on Facebook:

High School Teachers on Facebook:
HS Teachers of Sociology

College Sociology Facebook Group:
Teaching With A Sociological Lens

Socioquest Website with webquest activities

Twitter hashtag for teaching sociology:

Sociology In Focus Blog (

 Everyday Sociology Blog (

Print Resources

In The Trenches. Kathleen Lowney and Maxine Atkinson. W.W. Norton Press. 2016
This book is a comprehensive guide to teaching sociology at the undergraduate level.  It is very helpful for high school teachers too.

The Un-TV and the 5mph Car.  Bernard McGrane.  
This book is a very high level intro to sociology text that is organized around different social experiments that are designed to make students aware of society and the social pressures it creates.  While the book might be too complex for the average 12-13th grader, it is a very stimulating read for teachers.  The experiments in it are really useful and adaptable even if you don't assign the book as required reading.

Sociology through Active Learning: Student Exercises.  Kathleen McKinney and Barbara S. Heyl, editors. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-4129-5703-83  (Also has an Instructor's Manual with background on each student exercise and further suggestions for use.)

The Creative Sociology Classroom   A set of curriculum materials—lesson plans, mostly—have been put together for high school sociology teachers by the Sociology Department at Appalachian State University.  It is available for $15 from:

Dr. Jan Rienerth

Dept of Sociology and Social Work

Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina  28608