“An invaluable resource that saves teachers loads of time”
Gomer Junior School, Hampshire
Freckle is a self-paced online resource that meets students exactly where they are. Freckle provides coverage of standards and skills in maths throughout KS1-4. With its continuous adaptability to each student’s level and with over 70,000 unique maths questions, Freckle is an easy choice to help motivated and engage your pupils with maths practice.
Gomer Junior School has been using Star Maths since 2019 to support pupils’ maths progress and provide staff with critical information around pupil development and understanding in maths. In 2021, because of Star Maths’ impact on supporting intervention and learning in maths, the school agreed to trial the new maths practice solution from Renaissance: Freckle! We spoke to Maths Lead, Heather, who described the experiences and perceptions of Freckle amongst both staff and pupils who used the maths practice platform.
An instantly engaging resource for pupils
Heather explains that pupils from Year 3 up to Year 6 have been using Freckle over the last six months. Pupils especially love the avatars in Freckle, she says. The avatars represent each pupil’s character as they head out on their maths practice journey in Freckle. Heather says that the pupils are excited by Freckle, and remain engaged throughout as they enjoy trying to get strong scores in maths activities to earn points to customise their avatars.
Staff at Gomer Junior School appreciate that pupils are limited to how much time they can spend in the Freckle shop: Freckle sets time limits as to how long pupils can spend customising their character. These limits mean pupils spend more time on their maths practice and less in the Freckle shop! Heather says that the character customisation feature is a great incentive to motivate pupils to do well in maths. Freckle. she says, has also encouraged pupils to share their latest scores and talk more about maths.
Adaptable tasks that are perfect for catch-up learning
There have been no problems regarding the difficulty of the questions posed to pupils in their Freckle practice tasks and activities. says Heather. Freckle is a simple platform for pupils to navigate, and they have no problem carrying out their Freckle journey autonomously.
Heather explains that Freckle’s introduction came at just the right time for the school, and it has been a valuable resource in assisting those pupils who require extra maths practice to catch up with Covid- relating lost learning. Heather has noticed that Freckle has been particularly helpful for those pupils who are otherwise disengaged and reluctant to conduct regular maths practice. Because of how adapts to pupils based on their level of ability and aptitude, pupils remain engaged in their maths practice and keep moving forward – albeit, some slower than others!
“Freckle is never too daunting for pupils because of the adaptability of the questions.”
Heather tells us how pupils have learnt that there are never any tasks too daunting for them in Freckle due to its adaptiveness. This reassurance is especially apparent in the Facts questions, because pupils can visually see their progress moving forward. With Fact Practice, pupils can see, for example, that last time they got three questions wrong, but in their most recent attempt, they only got one wrong. The illustrative progress keeps them self-motivated to keep up their maths practice.
Heather notes that Freckle is especially powerful with encouraging peer to peer support. For example, Freckle will reveal which pupils in the class got specific questions and tasks correct, so others can ask them for advice and tips. Freckle has also been great for pupils’ self-confidence, she says. For example, children receive an email from the Freckle character bill with post-activity reports that inform the pupil that they are an ‘expert’ if they achieve a strong score. Pupils find this very motivating, Heather affirms.
Freckle has been beneficial for teachers and staff too, she says. For example, she describes how some teachers who are supporting pupils with additional catch-up will use Freckle’s problem-solving activities. These intervention groups rely heavily on Freckle’s adaptive questions and suggested next steps for learning. However, Heather explains, Freckle is also an excellent resource for supporting pupils who are already enthusiastic and proficient with maths practice. She describes how the adaptive nature of Freckle will assign pupils demonstrating strong proficiency in maths questions that are more challenging for them.
“Freckle will be a crucial resource for our school going into the new academic year because we know it can support maths intervention and practice for all pupils.”
Heather tells us that Freckle will be a crucial resource for the school from the beginning of the 2021 academic year. Freckle will support their maths intervention and practice for pupils in school, as well as being used for homework, during holidays, or if pupils are required to learn from home again.
Heather told us about how the language used in some activities and questions in Freckle has actually encouraged pupils to re-read the question and think about how to interpret it differently. She describes how pupils stop and think about the questions as they realise they’re not written in the straightforward way that they would say out loud.
During their time using Freckle, any technical issues have been quickly addressed and fixed by the Renaissance support team, Heather says: in fact, overall, since the school implemented Renaissance solutions, the general response and help provided by the Renaissance customer support team has always been efficient.
Insightful data that outlines accurate strategies for learning
Like Star Maths, progress information provided by Freckle is easy to interpret, Heather says. She explains that she loves seeing Freckle pupil activity notifications come through to her on weekends. These notifications illustrate which pupils have used Freckle over the weekend and who has moved up a level. She says that it is brilliant that pupils are accessing Freckle on weekends!
Heather explains that one of her colleagues has put together their very own Freckle folder and uses it to highlight the specific data and recommended next steps for practice that Freckle provides for her pupils. With this insightful information provided by Freckle, Heather’s colleague knows precisely where to target each pupils’ next steps for learning.
“My staff and I will frequently refer to maths assessment data within Freckle. The reports are clear and outline each pupils’ accuracy and objectives based on their latest maths practice performance.”
Heather explains that she and her staff frequently refer to the maths assessment data within Freckle. Clear reports outline the accuracy and objectives for each individual pupil throughout a year group, class or specific group. In addition, Freckle also recommends where to concentrate subsequent learning for each pupil. The learning suggestions from Freckle give Heather practical strategies to offer appropriate intervention. The school has recently begun linking Freckle with their Star Maths assessment subscription too, in anticipation of the upcoming start to the 21/22 academic year. She states that having crucial baseline data at the beginning of the year from Star Maths is imperative to helping teachers form subsequent learning strategies. Together, Freckle and Star Maths both provide critical information that advises teachers on the next steps for each pupil.
A core resource for the future
Put simply, says Heather, Star Maths assessments identify pupils below benchmark, and Freckle allows staff to identify and provide appropriate invention for adequate catch-up opportunities.
Heather reveals that overall, Freckle has been hugely positive for their school. She elaborates that Freckle has shifted pupils’ attitude in maths to one that is wholly positive. She says, “if you can get pupils to be positive about maths, you’re onto a winner!”
“Freckle has been invaluable for us and has saved our teachers loads of time.”
Freckle has been invaluable for the school over the last six months. Heather says that the maths practice resource saves teachers loads of time, and from now on, Heather is sure that both Freckle and Star Maths will be integral in providing the data and information to inform SLT around pupil intervention and catch up. With Freckle’s engaging maths practice, teachers have a firm base to scaffold pupils’ future learning.
- “I like the fact it is online!”
- “It makes me stop and think.”
- “It’s so much fun making my character!”
To find out how your school can provide bespoke maths practice for all pupils with Freckle, click here.
|Talking Points||Assessment, Data, Data Review, Incentives, Motivation, Personalised Practice, Progress, Progress Monitoring, Pupil Premium, Pupil Progress, Staff Engagement, Staff Workload, Student Engagement, Target Setting|