Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2019

Freckle

Target skills and differentiate with dynamic practice and assessments

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
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.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (61 Reviews)

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Pros: Adaptive student practice, opportunities to differentiate, and the intuitive teacher dashboard make standards-based instruction nearly effortless.

Cons: Without opportunities for teacher feedback within the tool, it's easy for teachers to over-assign content and rely on busywork instead of relationship building.

Bottom Line: Rich with content-aligned assessments, printable worksheets, and progress analytics; 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 from YouTube, Khan Academy, and LearnZillion. Students can complete teacher-assigned activities as exit tickets or quick checks for understanding, or they can practice skills independently, getting feedback and 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 for which students need more practice.

At any point, assign students an adaptive pre-assessment for any domain. Afterward, check your dashboard to gauge their progress, and assign more practice as needed. Using this information, you can group your students accordingly to encourage more social learning. Though kids have the option to use either the web or the tablet app, they're likely to find the app more appealing; the touch interface may allow better manipulation of tools such as the virtual scratch pad and highlighter.

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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 rosters manually or import from Google Classroom. Teachers will find a plethora of ready-to-assign content in the form of pre-tests, 3-, 5-, or 10-question assessments, printable or digitally sharable worksheets, inquiry-based lessons, and benchmark assessments. In addition, they'll have access to video tutorials, student dashboards, student progress monitoring tools, and more. Teachers can find a set of sample student questions as well, allowing them to differentiate standards-based content for students from a comprehensive, ever-growing library of resources. Freckle is offered to teachers for free, but the School Edition upgrade offers unlimited access to assignments, lessons, reports, and targeted benchmark assessments.

Students sign in with their names and a class code. Upon their first login, they'll be prompted to complete an adaptive baseline assessment, which adjusts with students' responses. This allows teachers to meet students where they are and use the results to differentiate to individuals or groups by assigning additional practice as needed. Built-in resources offer students support if they're struggling with a concept -- or Freckle might suggest a classmate who can help out. 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.

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. Since Freckle is adaptive, students will progress to more challenging content within the domain as they achieve mastery. While the pre-assessments provide a good diagnostic baseline for monitoring student progress, they can be lengthy. Younger students might need some help getting started, while more advanced students may have to answer multiple low-level questions before they're challenged.

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. 

Overall Rating

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

Virtual manipulatives and earning coins to shop for virtual gear make skill practice fun. The printable worksheets aren't as lively as the more dynamic features, but individualizing them might boost kids' interest.

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

Many standards-aligned assessments are adaptive, increasing in difficulty as students master skills, and students can access video lessons as feedback; inquiry-based lessons promote critical thinking.

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

The dashboard's FAQ section, demo videos, and blog give teachers useful guidance. Virtual manipulatives, audio options, a Spanish language option, and a scratch pad support different learning needs.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 61 reviews) (61 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lynn D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Franklin Elementary School
Succasunna, United States
I love that I can collect data for math and ElA in one place for each of my students. Front Row makes it easy to differentiate lessons, and the kids love earning coins, as well as having a choice in what they want to learn about.
I love that I can collect data for math and ElA in one place for each of my students. Front Row makes it easy to differentiate lessons, and the kids love earning coins, as well as having a choice in what they want to learn about. Students choose to use this website for their technology practice center and to read articles of their choice at home.
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