Writing Prompts

Assign and Grade Writing Prompt Responses

Kate Hannum avatar
Written by Kate Hannum
Updated over a week ago

Each Zinc article is paired with a writing prompt to encourage deeper textual analysis. Students can now respond to each prompt on Zinc, and teachers can use our robust answer keys, summaries, and rubrics to easily grade each response.

Assign a Writing Prompt

Find an Article to Assign

First, you'll want to decide which article to assign. Use filters like Difficulty Levels, Standards, Reading Time, and Content Category to find the right article for your students.

Preview Article, Vocabulary, Quiz, and Writing Prompt

Next, preview the article by clicking, "Read Article." The article will open in another window of your browser. On Zinc, scroll down to see the paired quiz, vocabulary game, and writing prompt resources.

You can assign one, two, or all three of the activities. Article quizzes are required, but vocabulary and writing prompts are optional. For example, you could assign the article quiz and the writing prompt without the vocabulary game, the article quiz alone, or all three activities at once, but you cannot assign the vocabulary game and the writing prompt without the article quiz.

The article quiz preview will show you the short quiz associated with the article. You'll see each question, the multiple choice answers, the reasoning behind each correct and incorrect answer (your students will see this after they've selected their choice!), and which skill or standard each question is aligned with.

Article quiz note: Your students will see their multiple choice options in a randomized order, so always be sure to refer to the answer choice itself rather than Option A, B, C, or D.

Click "Vocabulary Game" to view which words students can practice before reading the article. We selected the ten most difficult words from the article, along with their parts of speech and definitions. This allows more students to be able to access language of the article and focus on their comprehension.

Note: Spaced repetition is not available for these paired article vocabulary games.

View the writing prompt resources to see what your students will be asked to write about beforehand.

Prompt Question

Read the prompt before assigning.

Student Guidelines

Your students will see these guidelines alongside the prompt. Consider if you'd like to add additional guidelines or instructions to the assignment in "Notes."

Response Key

Get the gist of what a correct answer should include.

Response Evidence and Support

Use this resource as a guide to grading student responses. You'll see a text summary relevant to the prompt, valid examples from the text that you may see in your students' writing, additional possible answer content, and examples of particularly strong responses.

This is especially helpful if you haven't had time to reread the article recently, or if you've assigned different articles to different students in your classes.

Note: if a student needs to step away from their response in the middle of completing it, they are able to save their draft and return to finish at a later time.

Take a look at the Scoring Rubric to see how you'll be grading your students' responses.

  • Each writing prompt response is out of 12 points.

There are three types of rubrics based on the writing skills your students will be asked to demonstrate:

  • Explanatory/Informational

  • Creative

  • Argument/Opinion

You can check to see which writing skills each prompt addresses in the information at the top of the page:

Select Assignment Options

When you're ready, click "Assign." You'll be prompted to assign to entire class(es) or to individual student(s), type a note with your own specific instructions or due dates, and designate whether the assignment will be completed in class or at home.

Decide which activities will accompany the article quiz. You can choose to assign paired vocab games, writing prompts, or both.

If you've assigned vocabulary, select the settings you'd like for each student.

Monitor Assignment Completion

Keep tabs on your students' progress by visiting the Assignments page, then clicking "View Report." The Articles Assignment Report will show you when each student completes their activities, as well as their scores on article quizzes and writing prompt responses.

Grade Writing Assignments

Click "Review" to open a student's writing prompt response. Use the drop downs under "Student Score" to provide a score of 1-4 on the student's claims/structure, evidence/elaboration, and grammar/style. View the Scoring Rubric to see specific requirements for each category. The total score is always out of 12 points, and you can provide feedback to your students in the text box.

  • "About the Text" is an overview of the entire article.

  • "Response Thesis Statement" is a guide to grading students' thesis statements.

  • "Response Evidence and Support" gives examples of different arguments you may see in student responses, sorted by possible thesis statement.

What Do My Students See?

Preview the student Writing Prompt experience here.

Or, check in on a particular student's account by using Impersonation Mode.

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