New on Shmoop: a “Woolf,” an Albatross, & Pigs

Pig Out on Our Enhanced Coverage of Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
  • Based on your requests, we've upgraded our coverage of this classic allegory
  • Find our totally revamped Symbolism and Allegory page – mapping key events from the novel to historical events
  • Check out our deeper character analyses – outlining which characters represented which historical figures
What Gives with the Saying “Albatross Around the Neck?” Check out Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Classic Poem
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" may be one of the most influential and eerie poems in the English language, but it's a doozy of a confusing read. An old sailor stops a wedding guest and says, essentially, "I know you want to get your drink and your dance on, but now I'm going to tell you a really long story about how I got my entire crew killed and almost died myself because I acted like a jerk while sailing the far reaches of the globe."

April is National Poetry Month

How do we love poetry? Let us count the ways…

We receive a lot of love from teachers and students for our analysis and coverage of poetry. Students tell us that they are naturally drawn to poetry, but often feel stymied by the difficulty of interpreting and analyzing the subject. Shmoop is here to help.

There’s really only one reason that poetry has gotten a reputation for being so darned “difficult”: it demands your full attention and won’t settle for less.

To help teachers and students get more comfortable with poetry, we offer a Shmoop Poetry Primer:

What would you like to see us add to our Poetry Primer? What are your favorite tips and tricks for teaching and understanding poetry?

TED Talk: David Merrill: Siftables, the Toy Blocks that Think

Maybe we’re still secretly lusting after that awesome Jabba the Hut Barge lego set that was on our holiday wish list year after year. Whatever the motivation, we think Siftables are cool.

David Merrill’s talk from the most recent TED conference caught our attention. Merrill, an MIT grad student, says that his passion is “making new human-computer interactions that better map to the way our brains work.” We think that rocks. Tactile computing could change our daily lives – and education – in big and small ways.

How would you use siftables to learn or teach?

  • chemistry experiments without the chemicals?
  • legos that visually display principles of physics and architecture?

Add your ideas in the comments below. Or, tweet @helloshmoop

Watch David Merrill’s TED Talk (7 min)