Sunday, October 28, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–Samson’s Classroom

Speak Up Saturday

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Only a few more TOS Crew reviews left before my tour is over…

Today, the review is Samson’s Classroom, online reading software for grades K-5. They say the best way to understand what their website is all about is to watch this 3-minute video.

Basically, there are three main areas to their program: sight words, spelling, and reading. We tried a little of each area to see what they had to offer.

The sight words has five activities for each sight word list, starting with learning the word and moving all the way to picking the correct word (and spelling of the word) to go in a sentence. Kahlen really enjoyed this section. Each activity was engaging, not too slow, and provided her with enough practice to get the words correct. Most of the ones she was working on were review for her, but I wanted her to start from the beginning anyway so that she wasn’t frustrated by the program AND the words, which has happened before. Currently, one of the things that I need in software is for her to be able to do it completely on her own once I get her started. That’s the life of a mom with littles, right? Samson’s Classroom, particularly the sight words part, does that beautifully. She was able to navigate from one step to the next easily and it was not confusing at all what she was supposed to do when an activity was completed. Another thing that I liked about the program is that is focuses on mastery. If she did an activity, but did not get 100%, it would show up red instead of green, and then she knew that she needed to go back and try it again.

2012-10-05 Samson's Classroom (1)

My daughter continues to amaze me with her reading skills. The reading section of this program looked to be too advanced for her, but I thought we’d give it a whirl anyway. It’s reading a long passage of text (4 paragraphs!) and then answering 7 comprehension questions. I had her read the passage out loud to me and then I read the comprehension questions to her but had her click on the correct answer. She was able to read the entire passage and got all the questions correct on the first try! The reading part was a struggle for her, though, and she asked me if she could be done before she was actually done with it. She stayed the course, though, and was very proud of herself when she finished :)

The spelling part also proved to be a bit above her level, but doable. The five activities offered in this section do not take into account the beginning computing level of early readers. Kahlen does not really know how to type yet, although we’re certainly working on that. One of the activities has you type the word that you hear, but it’s timed and you get eaten by a walrus if you don’t do it in time. She was very frustrated by this one and another of the spelling activities that had a similar problem. The part that I *did* like about the spelling section is that you could put in your own list or use one of theirs, which included grade appropriate lists as well as sight words and word family lists.

Overall, we liked the sight words portion the best and will continue to use this part. I will probably ask her to do some more of the reading section as well to stretch her reading abilities, but I know I’ll hear about it.

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Pricing varies by how many users you will be adding. An individual is $30 / year, and a family is $50 / year for up to four users. They also offer classroom and whole school plans.
 
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~S

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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