Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019

Shmoop

Pop culture plus solid content equals legit learning

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science

Skills
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
6–12
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Teachers say (8 Reviews)
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Pros: Well-written, engaging material that uses humor and teen-friendly lingo to clearly convey concepts.

Cons: The amount of content can be overwhelming; to fully use, both students and teachers need subscriptions, which is a big investment.

Bottom Line: Cleverly written content divided into digestible sections offers solid educational value.

Shmoop can be used to deliver full courses or to supplement classroom instruction. Full access gives access to hundreds of complete courses -- with auto-graded quizzes, diagnostic tools, and, of course, humor.  Individual teacher and student subscriptions are available, but for the biggest bang for the buck, school or district licenses can be purchased. While content could be delivered to students electronically to complete at their own pace, teachers can also customize content to suit their needs for whole-class instruction and individual instruction and assessment and intervention.

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Shmoop is a website offering students a variety of study materials written by scholars. The catch? Shmoop's study guides are purposefully written in a conversational tone. Sometimes they're downright hilarious, and the fun language helps students access complex subjects and relax into learning. Teachers have to pay to access site materials designed for educators –- including hundreds of student assignments, quizzes, test prep, and activity tips. Some content is free, but for full teacher and student access, both need a subscription. Teachers can manage classes from the dashboard, assigning courses, viewing progress, and curating content to deliver to students. The site's learning resources are legit: Ph.D. and master's students from schools such as Stanford and Harvard write much of the conversational content, which is peppered with pop culture references.

Between the humor interjected throughout and the extensive, varied content, teachers and students will enjoy Shmoop. There's so much available -- from life skills (how to buy a car) to elementary RTI to ACT/SAT prep courses. It's overwhelming but there's truly something for everyone. With a subscription, students can get focused feedback on test prep, giving information on which skills need more work and the courses and practice to get those skills.  Educators can choose hundreds of courses and materials across content areas and all levels, from RTI to college credit courses. Beyond the engaging humor, the ACT and SAT prep are excellent, and the literary courses are top-notch and engaging.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Pretty much every page offers in-depth -- but easy to understand -- info for both teachers and students. Educators will find more than just a few quizzes to hand out (for a fee). Students will laugh while learning, thanks to the lively text.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Teachers can buy subscriptions to set up classes for student subscribers, who can complete units across content areas, including AP, ACT, and SAT prep. Literature guides and some courses are included for free.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Videos are available to show how to use pretty much every feature. Specific feedback guides students to improve and master content -- from RTI to college courses.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 8 reviews) (8 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Cynthia C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
McSwain Elementary School
Merced, United States
Videos are engaging and hook students immediately!
My overall opinion of Shmoop is favorable. Using their videos to introduce or wrap up a topic or concept helps me switch up the way I teach and deliver my lessons. The Shmoop videos seem to get me in a more creative mood when designing my lessons. I want the rest of the unit of study to hold their attention the way the video did. A draw back of Shmoop is not always finding a video suitable to what you will be teaching.
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