From the Front Lines: Shmoop in the Classroom – Reaction Blogging

We’re kicking off a new blog series to coincide with the launch of our new Shmoop Teachers website. Shmoop reports from the front lines. The trenches. Yes, real-life examples of teachers using Shmoop in the classroom. Send in your classroom examples (lesson plans, assignments, classroom activities, etc.) and we’ll share it here with the Shmoop Teachers community.

First Up: Students Share Reactions to Shmoop Reading via Classroom Blog

Who: Debra Schneider, Ph.D.
Subject: Social Studies
School: Merrill F. West HS, Tracy, CA

Reaction Blogging, Deb Schneider's Social Studies ClassThe Idea: Assign a Shmoop reading to your class, and have them post their reactions to the classroom blog.

“We were viewing segments of “Eyes on the Prize,” so my students are captivated by the Civil Rights Movement. I wanted them to show me they have read deeper and discovered more. I want them to read, show their comprehension, form an opinion, and convey their stance.”

The Assignment:

  • Debra assigned her students readings from Shmoop’s Jim Crow in America
  • She posted the assignment to her classroom blog
  • Each student was required to comment on her blog, answering the question, “What section (in reading, photos, or videos) most surprised you? Include the URL where you found it. The deeper you go into Shmoop, the better.

Debra says:

“I found Shmoop on a teacher’s list of “best Social Studies sites of 2008″ and I completely agree. The topics covered are comprehensive, the resources are varied and interesting, the writing acknowledges a complex history but in a way that my students can comprehend, and the writing style is very engaging.”

The assignment was a success. See Deb’s classroom blog for yourself. Deb plans to assign another Shmoop topic soon.

February is Black History Month: Discover African-American History, Literature, and Poetry on Shmoop

Here’s a fun bit of trivia. Many say that Jackie Robinson, the man who bravely desegregated Major League Baseball, was even better at football than he was at baseball. More on Race in the History of the NFL

Shmoop is just getting started, but we have loads of African-American learning and teaching resources to help bring Black History Month to life. Here are our picks:

African-American History on Shmoop

African-American Literature on Shmoop

African-American Poetry on Shmoop

New this week on Shmoop: Ch-ch-changes

Hi from Shmoop HQ -

Change is in the air. We at Shmoop promise you continual change and lots of surprises. We also like to gossip and we’ve got some juicy news for you.

We announced our launch (drumroll, please)

+ We just announced our launch on Nov. 11 (so we could share our special day with Vonnegut’s and Dostoyevsky’s birthdays, while saluting our vets).

+ See our press release and links to our news coverage at the Shmoop Dept. of Propaganda

We Opened our Blog – “Much Ado About Shmooping

+ Check out updates, musings, and daily pieces of brain candy. Leave us comments, and let us know what you’d like to see us do with our Blog.

+ Our opening salvo is the “Shmoop Students’ Bill of Rights

Hitting the Road with Student Journalists

+ Ellen Siminoff (our CEO) was the keynote speaker at the recent Associated College Press national conference in Kansas City. Highlights included great BBQ and making lots of new friends. We’ve posted Ellen’s keynote presentation online.

+ Shmoop will be at the JEA/NSPA (high school media national conference) this weekend in St. Louis. Shmoop’s own Brady Wood will present a talk on student media Friday at 11am. Come by and say hello!

New Content on Shmoop

Trifecta! With the Addition of Dante’s Paradiso, We’ve Shmooped the Complete Divine Comedy
+ Inferno, by Dante
+ Purgatorio, by Dante
+ Paradiso, by Dante

Also New this Week in Shmoop Literature:
+ Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
+ Tess of the D’Ubervilles, by Thomas Hardy
+ The Lady with the Dog, a short story by Anton Chekhov
+ The Lottery, a short story by Shirley Jackson
+ House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
+ The Flies, a play by Jean-Paul Sartre
+ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play by Tom Stoppard

New in Shmoop Poetry:
+ We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks
+ Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
+ Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen
New in Shmoop U.S. History:
Are we missing something on your reading list?
+ Hit Up Our Request Line

The Shmoop Students’ Bill of Rights

You have the right to:

1.    Find your writing groove. The biggest schoolyard bully is the blank sheet of paper. Time to strike back.

2.    Save your energy drinks for a fun night out. Shmoop will help you kick that can by supplementing your sleep-inducing (and wallet-draining) textbooks.

3.    A lotta links. Photo-audio-video-…stuff like that.

4.    Learn like it’s the 21st century. Text and printed books are kinda 20th century (15th century, actually) – but great stories are timeless.

5.    Debate with your teachers. Every story has multiple sides.

6.    Find literature, history, and poetry relevant – inspiring, even – to the life you live today.