Monday, October 22, 2012

Samson's Classroom

As you know, I have a beginning reader.  I'm always looking for fun ways to review or enhance what we're learning, so when I was given the opportunity to try out Samson's Classroom, I knew we should give it a try.

What is Samson's Classroom?
Samson's Classroom is an online program for K-5th graders.  It is divided into three sections:  Sight Words, Spelling, and Reading.  While the Sight Words section is geared for the younger end, the Reading is for older students.

How does Samson's Classroom Work?
Parent Account:  Once I set up my account, I was then able to create an account for Iron Man.  He had his own separate user name and password, so we logged in and out individually.  From my parent account, I can monitor his progress on each level, create spelling lists, and do other administrative tasks.

Student Account:  Once Iron Man is logged in, he can choose a section.  Iron Man is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old.  Being at the at the youngest end of the intended age range, we focus primarily on the Sight Words and Spelling sections.

Sight Words
When choosing where to start your lesson, there are 4 levels of words, progressing in difficulty.  There are a total of 224 words for your student(s) to work on!  Level 1 List 1 included the words and, big, for, in, is, me, the, to.  Now, in addition to big there are other words on other lists (cat, dog, sit, etc) that some may not consider sight words, since they are often introduced phonetically to beginning readers.  However, that is personal opinion.

There are 5 different components within Sight Words: Learn Words, Build Words, Identify Words, Quiz and a Challenge.  Between these sections, there are many opportunities for the student to see the word and hear the word, see the individual letters, identify the spoken word and build the words themselves.  This helps appeal to auditory and visual learners.

There are an abundance of additional resources besides the interactive lessons/games.  You can access lesson plans, printable certificates, worksheets, articles on literacy and more!  This is a great way to add some variety to the program, reinforce concepts in a fun way, and show the student their progress.

How Do We Use Samson's Classroom?
We work on the sight word portion as a supplement, since the words do not really coincide in order with our reading program.  We choose a list, and Iron Man works as independently as possible.  This is where the resources then come in, because they give ideas for practicing the words in different ways so it doesn't become monotonous for the student.

Although there are many ideas for using the flash cards, these are something that are easily adaptable.  I called out a word for him to read, then he was allowed to shoot a nerf dart at it.  It's a good way to get wiggly kids up and moving, yet still learning!

I really wanted to be able to make a customized sight word list, but since I couldn't find this option, I chose to utilize the Spelling section so we could try it out on his level.  Since we've been learning colors with our reading program, I inserted those into a spelling list for review.  The games/lessons are different, since it targets different skills, but at least he can see those words in a different capacity.  The Spelling section is intended for mid-elementary (approximately) so some of the games were above his ability, but he loved Missing Letters and helping Samson "karate chop" the correct answer!

I imagine learning spelling words through this program would more be exciting for almost any student than the drudgery of studying spelling lists like I did in school!

I did not review the reading section with Iron Man, since it's intended for upper-elementary, independent readers.  I did look over it myself though, and the reading comprehension questions are very basic at the beginning level (what color an item was, how many children were participating in a particular activity, etc).  It would be good for children who need to develop better attention to detail.

What Did We Think?
Iron Man:  He doesn't mind working on this website.  He doesn't love it, but then again he doesn't love anything that's not nature study, so the fact that he does his work willingly and enjoys the animations is enough for me to continue with the program for now.  

Mom:  I think it is a thorough supplemental program all around, and I would love it if I could personalize the sight word lists to customize it to our reading program.

You can try Samson's Classroom if you want to get a better feel for the program.  For a Home plan (1 user) the program is $30/year, or for a Family plan (4 users) it is only $50/year.  Larger packages are available as well.  If you have children at different stages of reading development, or are in need of a well-rounded supplement, this could be a good investment if you are looking for an inclusive program that targets different needs!

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a complimentary 1-year Family subscription in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed here are based on our personal experiences and were not influenced in any way.


  1. Love your idea of shooting the words! Stopping by from crew to say hello.

  2. Brittney,
    Thank you for the great review!! I agree with Karyn- that nerf gun game looks so fun! I just wanted to drop by and let you know that you actually can create custom word lists from the Spelling with Samson section of the program. We have over 7,000 words in our database that you can use to create content that matches up with your current curriculum. You can watch the video at the link below to learn how;

    Thanks again,
    Jessie :)
    Samson's Classroom