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Pros: Students at different levels can work on the same content, and materials go beyond rote practice.
Cons: No teacher feedback options, a lot of multiple choice-based practice, and paid subscription required to access any science or social studies content.
Bottom Line: It's rich with content-aligned assessments, worksheets, and progress analytics, so mindful teachers will find it a valuable resource to promote skills mastery through practice.
At first glance, Freckle seems to be intended for practice and reinforcement, but a closer look reveals valuable teaching resources and opportunities for differentiation and inquiry-based learning. A simple click from the dashboard gives you access to a host of instructional materials, including videos and lessons on a wide variety of subjects. Students can complete teacher-assigned activities or practice skills independently, earning coins to spend on virtual goods in the Piggy Store (although the dashboard is different for older students). Teachers can also customize printable worksheets and activities in order to address specific standards.
Use students' math and ELA assessment results -- and other data you've collected -- to help differentiate. Because you can choose a level for most materials, you can have all students work on the same content, but each at their level. The teacher dashboard also contains detailed information on each student, their progress, and their areas of struggle for additional support, so you can assign work that targets each student's needs.
The materials presented in Freckle cover a wide range of subjects (math, ELA, science, and social science) and many different topics, and Common Core State Standards, in each area. The resources available can be used to supplement lessons already being taught in class or to introduce new areas and create a starting point for further discussions and investigations. For instance, take a look at the ELA passages and choose according to standard or genre. From there, you can see the subject of each passage, so you can align to current areas of study or student interest. And since there are inquiry-based lessons for math, you can create group assignments to add a social element to the Freckle curriculum.
Freckle is a practice website (and app) for grades K–12 that addresses standards-based skills and concepts in core subject areas. From the dashboard, teachers can create class rosters manually or import from other sources (like Google Classroom). Teachers will find a plethora of ready-to-assign content in the form of targeted practice of skills, printable or digitally sharable worksheets, inquiry-based lessons, and adaptive assessments. In addition, they'll have access to video tutorials, student dashboards, student progress monitoring tools, and more.
Students sign in with a class code; however, they must enter their name as matched with the class roster to access the class. Upon their first login, they'll be prompted to complete an adaptive baseline assessment in either Math or ELA (or both, depending on what content has been assigned by the teacher). This assessment adjusts based on the student's responses and is used across other materials assigned by the teacher. Built-in resources offer students support if they're struggling with a concept, including video explanations of concepts. There are also built-in tools like scratch pads to help students figure out their answers. Students can access the tool using a tablet or from a web browser. All information is stored in the cloud, so kids can use different devices interchangeably. Individual logins make it easier for students who share devices.
Teachers with free accounts are limited to a small amount of assignable content per week, and the social studies content is available only with a paid account. Many of the science lessons are also locked past the first lesson. Account pricing is not available on the website and is provided only through a quote request form.
Using Freckle's expansive library of resources, students can become fluent in key skills needed to master learning concepts across subject areas. Students receive timely feedback, and they'll have access to virtual supports, such as calculators, highlighters, videos, read-aloud, and a scratch pad. Teachers can also scaffold reading passages across subject areas, enabling students to comprehend at their level without sacrificing content knowledge. They can also give students Spanish-language support.
Since Freckle is adaptive, students will progress to more challenging content within the domain as they achieve mastery. The pre-assessments are only a few questions and provide a good, leveled understanding of where the student is starting from. Further materials are then adjusted to that level. This allows students to work on concepts similar to those their peers are working on, but at their own level. It also allows teachers to group students from multiple grades together and have them work on materials at their own level (good for homeschooling, virtual classrooms, or other alternative school systems).
Once students complete the pre-assessments, teachers can differentiate by assigning appropriate activities to help them master more advanced skills. With the School Edition, teachers can assign benchmark assessments to measure progress over time, identify strengths and weaknesses, or zero in on standards before a high-stakes state assessment. Freckle can be an excellent supplement to a dynamic classroom where students create, collaborate, and problem-solve, but there's no place within the tool where teachers can give students direct feedback. As such, teachers should be mindful of their role as a learning coach to ensure a balance of digital skill practice and classroom activities that promote deeper analysis, reflection, and concept application. And since many of the materials are very traditional and might seem a bit dry to kids, teachers should definitely explore some of the more innovative features in the math section that let kids do some inquiry-based learning.