Saturday, August 16, 2014

Teacher Resources

Hello fellow teacher,

About Me
I have been teaching high school sociology at Stevenson High School since 1999.  I teach a one-semester intro to sociology class there.  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.

On blogging with students
Besides maintaining this blog for teachers and students, I also help my students create their own blogs which they post on throughout the semster.  For more about how I blog see this link.  Spiro Bolos from New Trier high school convinced of the merits of blogging with my students.  I have been helping my students setup their own blogs since 2007.  I see it as a chance for students to interact with the content and write authentically about it.  That allows each of them to become a teacher to the rest of the class.

Other Resources
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 also has hosted an annual lesson plan sharing event for sociology teachers.  It is usually during February at her high school in Wheaton.

ASA High School Group
Around 2009, Hayley 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:
They have a web-based bank of lessons called Trails.  Your membership gets you access to that.  Without membership, you can search the Trails resources, but you will not be able to view or download them.
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. 

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
This is a journal of the ASA devoted to 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.  Here is the journal page:

Other helpful sites include:

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

Here is a blog about teaching sociology:

Here is a website run by Nathan Palmer:

He also has a list of songs that fit into a sociology class:

Here is a website with movies 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.

Twitter hashtag for teaching sociology:


Caroline Percell has a website with materials for teaching Introduction to Sociology, and it has a variety of learning exercises, some of which are on-line projects.  Go to this website for a wealth of good projects, all of which were originally part of the AP course an ASA committee worked on when she was chair of the AP Prep program:

ASA page for High School Teachers  (On the right side are resources from presentations over the last few years)

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


* Sociology Source (

* Sociology Toolbox (


* Everyday Sociology Blog (

* Sociology In Focus (

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