Hacks & Shortcuts

With any new concept, you're going to find easier ways to use it...

...albeit shortcuts or modifications (we call them hacks)... that make something better. This page chronicles what we've learned so far over the past months to make incorporating FRECK! into the classroom easier.

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Teaching the Game
Unit Review
Standardized Question Simulation
Writing Effective Questions
Beat the Teacher

Hack #1

Start simple, add more each episode.

When you begin teaching FRECK! to your students, we recommend that you omit the Action cards at first. Having the kids play just the Money cards - reading the clues, understanding the flow of the game - will give them a better grasp on how the game is supposed to work. Then, add in 1-2 different Action cards the next round or time you play. You'll be surprised how quickly the kids catch on AND how ruthless they will be during the game. It's pretty cool.


Hack #2

Hands down the most fun way to review.

Playing FRECK! the original game... Depending on how many table groups you have, place one unit per table. Each table group focuses on one unit at a time. Students begin at one table and play a 10-15 min. game (or specified # of cards) in a single unit. When time is up, the table groups rotate to another table and unit. This works well in a "boot camp" setting, as well.


Hack #3

Standardized tests mix up the concepts, why not mix up the cards?

We all know how the standardized test question concepts are mixed throughout the test. They aren't in sections or units. To simulate this... Playing FRECK! the original game... Take all 500 cards and shuffle them up. Divide the cards into decks and place them at each table group. Just like the STAAR (in Texas, for example), concepts will fluctuate question to question, making our kids categorize the information. By jumbling up the cards, the students must learn now to categorize content within eras, eliminating the content from eras not being questioned.

Also, the cards are further categorized by People, Event, Government and/or Place, so this helps the kids put the information in the right place when determining the answer.

The back of the cards have the unit and are color-coded as such to reinforce the idea of categorizing the information. For your above level learners, have the students cover the backs up.

Hack #4

To answer hard questions, write hard questions... and use FRECK! to help.

To be able to effectively answer some of the gloriously written STAAR questions, it's paramount the kids understand the types of questions they will face. Take a concept card from FRECK!, cover up the clues with a postit, put it on the document camera & ask the kids to come up with a STAAR formatted question. For your struggling learners or ELLs, keep the clues as a form of prompt. We recommend allowing the kids to review STAAR questions (released STAAR is a good source) and have them decide which type of question they want to use.


Hack #5

EXCELLENT for small group tutorials... teacher-led and the kids love it!

This great small-group activity resembles what you'd experience if you happen to hail the CASH CAB in New York. It's a game show where the Cabbie gives the passengers questions to answer. They get it right, they earn money. They get it wrong, three strikes and you're out of the cab.

Beat the Teacher is similar. You give the clues or questions, the kids collectively get to decide on the answer. If they get it right, you move on to the next question. If they get it wrong, they're down for a one count. A three count on the mat and the 'house' wins. If they can answer your pre-determined goal (either time limit or # of cards), they "beat the teacher". You can offer some sort of prize... usually it's candy or a free homework pass, etc. It's up to you what you can provide. But, have a carrot...

The goal is to make sure all the clues are read clearly and all kids are engaged in the activity and each card. More importantly, you can control which content the kids are being exposed to AND you can tutor them as you go... offering more clues or prompts, etc.

We used this for our STAAR tutorial small group pullouts this past week and have been asked by the kids, "Can we do this next week?" Proof that "Beat the Teacher" is a very effective Small Group Review activity. By the way, the kids won all 4 times.