Have you Shmooped?


No, it’s not the latest dating site or an ill-timed bodily function, so what exactly is it?  According to their website,  “Shmoop is a digital publishing company with “a point of view.” We seek to empower and broaden the range and depth of choices students have in life. Our teaching method revolves around the basic notion that learning is often too hard, so we carry gallons of academic WD-40 that we squirt on the tracks whenever we can.” Who doesn’t love academic WD-40????  Shmoop is also a website that is chock full of fabulous curriculum related materials that have social language application!  There is a free version of the site, as well as a paid version, and it has separate offerings for teachers and students. Take a few minutes/hours/days to wander through the site and check out all the resources available to you (click on the picture below to be taken to the magical land of Shmoop….)


I love the video section ( over 5,000 videos on Shmooptube, of course) that include PBIS and life skills themes, like this one on cheating or this one on balancing interests with friendships.  These are about 2 minutes long and are great opening videos to use in social groups, counseling or speech therapy for middle school on up!

The summary units, like this one for Shakespeare’s  As You Like It,  are also great to use to help my students visualize an overview of the story. I love these “In a Nutshell” video summaries to teach the big picture concepts prior to reading the books.  From historical novels to the deeper meaning of Dr. Seuss books (including this 3 week online unit lovingly called Dr. Shmeuss, ha!), you can find tons of resources to support your students!

Within each unit’s text , you might find little orange-colored pins labeled WTFWhy’s This Funny? (not what you thought, be honest!).  Click on the pin and it explains why a statement is humorous based on context, background knowledge or word play.  For my literal thinkers, this is AWESOME!!  It also defines idioms, great for ELL students and for my literal friends, BONUS!

Along the side of the page, there are tabs for character descriptions, theme discussions, summaries, questions, pictures, flash cards, writing prompts and more!  My own high schooler has used this site often to help break down the often confusing or nebulous themes and vocabulary within literature and has found it extremely helpful.  The students that I work with, who have ASD or language processing impairments, often struggle with the indirect and figurative language concepts in novels.  Shmoop helps to make these concepts clear and direct, with visual supports that help them participate in class discussions more successfully, and better yet, understand the material!  If that’s not academic WD-40, I don’t know what is.

What are some other materials or websites that help your older students understand literature?   Share here!


It’s a Spring Social!!

spring social blog

Spring has sprung in Atlanta (ah-choo!) and I have gathered some of my favorite spring themed TPT social language products into my virtual Easter basket for you.  You can just click on the pictures for the links to my TPT store, SmartmouthSLP, easy peasy lemon squeasy!  These packets are all focused on social language concepts including figurative language, hidden rules, expected/unexpected behaviors, determining the best solutions, the language of emotions and much more!   There is even an April Fool’s product to help your students figure out if they are being jokey or jerkey this week (hint: jokey is the much better choice). The packets and games range from your littles all the way through materials appropriate for young adults, so I hope that you will find something that you can add to your SLP bag of tricks (there are 2 freebies included too)!

 If you have any other social language products that you LOVE, please share and add the link in the comments section.  I am always on the lookout for new materials for my students and fellow SLPs!!  Ready to find some goodies?  Let’s go!

Spring means warm weather, and that means it’s ice cream time!  Check out 31 flavors of fun here:

ice cream social

Looking for a little April Fool’s fun social language fun this week?  Here you go!

8x8 cover aprilt fools.jpg

What’s Up Peeps? Is chock full of spring themed social language activities:

8x8 cover whats up peeps

For your middle and littles…:

wow worry wonder 8x8 cover

wow worry wonder 8x8 cover

8x8 cover how does your garden grow

And a social language game for your big kids too….

8x8 cover can of worms

Last but not least, a spring craftivity and 2 freebies for you!

8x8 cover sprout and spring

8x8 cover whats bugging you idiom freebie

8x8 cover template stop bugging me sss

Which April Fool are you, Jokey or Jerky?

April Fools

April Fool’s Day is upon us about a week from now.  I was never a big prankster, but my younger brothers had many hours of enjoyment playing tricks on family,friends and each other. Most jokes were harmless fun, like switching out the salt for sugar. My college boyfriend’s roommates thought it was hilarious to put tacks (pointy side up) on the floor, just outside a running shower, and yell to the person taking the shower that they had an urgent phone call. I found this mean-spirited and not one bit funny, but those crazy college boys thought that was the best joke ever!  Ugh. Everyone has a different idea of what is funny (Jokey) and what isn’t (Jerky).

So how do you figure out the boundaries of April Fool’s Day? For my kids who struggle with social language and humor, I found they needed background knowledge, perspective taking and very clear rules to participate successfully on April Fool’s Day. This group can include students with ASD, ADD (impulsive + jokes=potential social trainwreck) and ESL learners (humor has a LOT of figurative language components). These skills translate into unstructured time with peers too, as humor is a way to connect socially, when it’s done with the right people, in the right place and at the right time.  You can find my social language packet in my TPT store here: “April Fools”  to work on these skills.  This 18 page pack is perfect for elementary and young middleschoolers and includes:

  • A one page summary of the history of April Fool’s Day
  • A page to create your own April Fool’s Day ad
  • A discussion chart with questions to ask BEFORE you play a joke or prank. Remember how I mentioned very clear rules?  Here it is and it would make a great classroom poster! 
  • A cut and paste chart to determine if April Fool’s Day actions are JOKEY (funny) or JERKY (mean)
  • Five April Fool’s Day social scenarios to talk about what someone might be thinking/saying/feeling, identifying problems and figuring out solutions
  • A list of suggested books to go along with April Fool’s Day theme and an Expected/Unexpected* behavior chart to discuss the character’s actions from the books

* Expected/Unexpected are terms used in the  “SocialThinking” (R) curriculum by Michelle Garcia Winner.

This Pinterest page dedicated to April Fools has a lot of cute, kid friendly ideas and you can talk about them in light of being “Jokey or Jerky”.

What is the best April Fool’s Day prank you ever pulled?  Share here (we won’t judge 🙂 )