SuperDville Brings SEL to Middle School!

Just in time for the 2023-2024 school year, SuperDville is thrilled to announce that 6th-grade episodes are here! These new episodes address the unique challenges that all students, especially those with Learning Differences, encounter as they begin middle school.

(Episodes for 7th grade are in the works!)

What’s New for Middle School

Here’s what we’ve created for 6th graders:

  • A brand new show in a new middle-school setting
  • A new cast of talented kids with Learning Differences like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD
  • New episodes with a middle school view on issues like bullying, social media, friendship, and self-advocacy.
  • A new research-based Social Emotional Learning curriculum featuring discussion prompts, activities, and peer-to-peer video Tips

Welcome to W.U.N.D.R!

The new show centers around the headquarters of W.U.N.D.R., a newscast created by a group of middle schoolers with LD. These kids pride themselves on being Wacky Underground Neuro Divergent Reporters.

The W.U.N.D.R. crew tackle a new story each episode, solving mysteries, helping friends, and reporting on important issues. Five minute episodes feature an engaging mix of live-action, animation, eccentric characters, and real-life middle-schoolers.

Each show’s plot revolves around building the SEL skills that middle-schoolers need most, like Confidence, Perseverance, Focus, and Self Advocacy. Every episode comes with a robust research-based companion curriculum that includes discussion prompts and activities.

A Super(Dville) Start to 6th Grade

The transition to middle school can be challenging for any student, but particularly those with Learning Differences. This is why the episode sequence for W.U.N.D.R begins with the SEL skills kids entering 6th grade might find most useful. It’s also why we recommend educators use SuperDville at the start of the school year.

The first episode, Confidence, mirrors how overwhelming the start of middle-school can be for kids who were in fifth grade just a few months ago. An elementary-school student named Alex visits the busy W.U.N.D.R. studio for the first time. At first, he’s too overwhelmed by the older kids and the bustling studio to speak up about why he’s there.

As the episode progresses, we see Alex find the courage to share his problem. His homeroom teacher is making secret plans to cancel recess, and Alex needs W.U.N.D.R.’s help to stop her!

It’s our first chance to see the W.U.N.D.R. news crew in action and a great introduction to the team. We learn that everyone in W.U.N.D.R. has a Learning Difference, like Dyslexia or ADHD. These LDs give each of them unique strengths that help them, “Get the Facts, Get the Quotes, and Get the Story!”

Can Alex and W.U.N.D.R. save recess? Find out by watching the episode – and exploring its accompanying curriculum – for free by clicking here!

Behind the Scenes: The Research Behind W.U.N.D.R.

Gina Riley, Ph.D., is an educational psychologist, Clinical Professor, and Program Leader of the Adolescent Special Education Program at CUNY – Hunter College. Dr. Riley was part of the Hunter College team that served as advisors and consultants for the creation of W.U.N.D.R.

The collaboration included attending and participating in focus groups, reading through existing scripts, giving feedback, and creating a curriculum for select episodes. You can read more about the collaboration in Dr. Riley’s white paper on the project.

The input and feedback resulting from this collaboration were invaluable to the creation of W.U.N.D.R. It helped ensure that the new episodes and activities would be age-appropriate. engaging, and sequential. Most importantly, the team developed the curriculum to provide targeted SEL instruction to students with LD as they begin middle school.

For Middle Schoolers, a Shift in Focus from Family to Peers

According to Dr. Riley and her associates, a critical difference between elementary and middle schoolers is the increased importance of peers.

“[I]n elementary school,” Dr. Riley says, “your parents are your world, and you’re still feeling so connected to them.” As students begin middle school they enter a space where suddenly, “peers are playing a huge role.” This outsized peer influence can affect middle schoolers’ perceptions of themselves and how they feel within their own bodies.

When a student has Learning Differences, dealing with peers can be even more challenging.

The team at SuperDville focused on this increased importance of peers when making W.U.N.D.R.

By creating an on-screen peer group, they not only provide positive role models but give viewers a sense of belonging. The kids on-screen have Learning Differences, just like many of the kids watching. They all automatically belong to the same peer group.

Get a Sneak Peek of W.U.N.D.R.!

We can’t wait for middle school educators and their students to experience W.U.N.D.R.!

Want to check out an episode of W.U.N.D.R. and accompanying activities for free? Click here!