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Lift Off

Get ready for Lift Off, Zinc's auto-leveled and choice-based reading program!

Updated over a week ago

Lift Off is an auto-differentiated, four-week reading program that you can customize to fit your classroom needs. It nurtures a love of reading and grows independent reading habits. You decide what the workload will be, and students choose what they read from options tailored to their reading levels. Lift Off is an ideal way to build on the skills introduced in Zinc Ignition.

Lift Off only takes a few minutes to assign, and students receive new content every week for four weeks. All activities are scored automatically, and you can track student and class progress in reports. Every activity covers important reading skills; just one classroom Lift Off assignment will populate your Reading Skills Report with valuable student data.

To encourage students and keep them engaged, they earn points and badges as rewards. You can easily preview Lift Off for yourself or look over what a student will experience below.

When students complete Lift Off, the Book Recommender gives them two book recommendations based on the choices they make along the way! We are partnering with Penguin Random House, and all recommended books come from their current Classroom Library Collections.

Assigning Lift Off

It only takes a few minutes to assign Lift Off to individuals or an entire class. You can adjust the amount of content, and students will automatically gain access to new activities each week for four weeks. You may assign Lift Off to any student as often as you like, and you may cancel a Lift Off assignment at any time.

To assign Ignition, click "Assign Activities" in the middle of the top menu and then click "Zinc Lift Off."

This takes you to the Lift Off assignment page. On this page, you can create new Lift Off assignments. After you have assigned Lift Off, you can also view all past Lift Off assignments.

Clicking the green "Assign Lift Off" button will bring up your options for the Lift Off assignment. You may choose whether a student completes one or two Zinc articles a week. Every article contains a challenging quiz, and you have the option to include pre-reading vocabulary games.

If you'd like to include our interactive Close Reading Experiences, you may add them to the first and third weeks or to every week. If this is the first time students have experienced Lift Off, they will complete 3 to 5-minute Close Reading Intros. These bite-size lessons introduce or remind students of the skills covered in Ignition.

As you add or remove items from the workload, the workload preview will update to show what students will be assigned. On the right side of the preview, you will see a list of activities and how long they are expected to take.

Here are the estimated times for possible components of Lift Off:

  • Close Reading Intros: 3-5 minutes each

  • Pre-reading vocab: 5-10 minutes

  • Article + Article Quiz: 15-25 minutes

  • Close Reading Experiences: 15-30 minutes

  • Level Placements: 15-30 minutes

  • Book Recommender: 5-10 minutes

Please note, if students have not completed a Level Placement, they will automatically be assigned one before beginning Lift Off. This assessment is necessary for Lift Off to show content matching the appropriate Zinc Levels. If a student has completed a Level Placement in the current or previous school years, a new one is not required.

After you have chosen your Lift Off options, click the green "Choose Students" button. On this menu, you can choose to assign Lift Off to individual students or entire classes.

If you choose to assign Lift Off to one or more individual students, begin typing where it says "Enter Student Names." Once you have typed a few letters, you may select your student from the menu. If you choose to assign to classes, you may select each class from the dropdown menu.

Once you have selected all the students or classes you wish to complete Lift Off, just click the green "Assign Lift Off" button. Your students will now see Lift Off on the dashboard of their Zinc homepage.

For more information about what a student will see as they progress through Lift Off, please see below for how to preview Lift Off as a student or view a student's experience in Lift Off.

Preview Lift Off as a Student

To work through Lift Off as a student, please click the green "Try this as a student" link under Lift Off in the Assign Activities menu.

You'll be greeted with the same video and initial question as a student. You will then begin a Level Placement, which will determine the Zinc Level for your preview.

You can complete as much or as little of this assessment as you like. At any time, click the purple "Skip to the End" button. The options to choose a specific Zinc Level will appear. Select the Level you prefer and click "Complete."

Your Lift Off preview will now reflect that Level. Each time you begin a Lift Off preview, you may choose a different level (For more information about Zinc Levels and Level Placements, please click here.)

After determining a Zinc Level, you can begin your Lift Off student activities. To learn more of the student experience inside Lift Off, please see below.

Student Experience in Lift Off

When a student is assigned Lift Off, it appears on their Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." They click "Go to Lift Off Home" to begin.

Lift Off begins with a video explaining what they'll be doing and a survey question. Students who have not completed a Level Placement during the current or previous school year will need to complete one now.

The Lift Off map shows the articles and Close Reading Experiences that a student has been assigned. When a student begins their first Lift Off, they start with short Close Reading Experiences that introduces or remind them about Zinc reading skills. Then they can begin the activities for their first week.

Depending on how Lift Off is assigned, students will see a different number of activities each week. Articles may be assigned with or without vocabulary games.

In Lift Off, students get to choose the topics for their activities. They can click on any broad topic they like, and they can further narrow it down by clicking on specific subtopics. To provide a greater amount of appropriate content, students may choose from articles at current Zinc Level, or from articles slightly higher or slightly lower than their current level.

Each week for four weeks, new activities will unlock on the Lift Off map. Students are rewarded for their effort, progress, and achievement by accumulating points and earning specialty badges.

Once a student has completed their activities, they are rewarded with the Book Recommender. Using the topics students choose and their answers to a short survey, Book Recommender shows them recent book titles from Penguin Random House. Students can save these titles to find or request at their school or local library. The more times a student completes Lift Off, the more book recommendations they receive.

Please note: Right now Lift Off can only show students book titles and summaries. Stay tuned for more features coming soon!

If students want to review their recommended book titles, they should go to the assignments on their Zinc Dashboard or homepage and click "View All Assignments." On the next page, they should click the "Completed/Past" tab. Then they can click on the completed Lift Off, where the book titles will appear.

Lift Off Reports

To reach Lift Off reports, click on "Assign Activities" and then click on "Zinc Lift Off." This takes you to the same page where you create Lift Off assignments.

For any past Lift Off assignment, you may click "View Report." This takes you to a comprehensive report for that Lift Off assignment.

Progress Report Tab

The report opens on the Progress tab. The graphs at the top show student progress for each week of their Lift Off.

Below the graphs, you'll see how each student is progressing. Empty circles show an assignment they still need to complete, while checkmarks show completed assignments. You'll also see the average score for their assignments.

Articles Report Tab

If you click the Articles tab of the report, you'll see how each student performed on their article assignments. If the space shows a lock, then the student still needs to complete previous weeks to unlock more content. If you would like to see how a student's individual answers, as well as their predictions for each question, click "See answers" under a quiz.

Class Choice Stats Report Tab

On the Class Choice Stats tab, a graph shows the broad categories chosen by your students, such as fiction and nonfiction. You'll also see a graph with the top 10 topics your students have chosen throughout this Lift Off assignment.

Student Choice Stats Report Tab

The Student Choice Stats tab shows which goals students set at the beginning of of Lift Off, whether they feel their goal was met, and the article topics each student chose. You'll also see which book recommendations they received from the Book Recommender.

The Book Recommender

At the end of Lift Off's four weeks, and after a student has completed most of their Lift Off assignments, they gain access to the Book Recommender.

Book Recommender uses a student's Zinc Level, their choice of article topics, and their answers to a brief survey to provide individualized book recommendations. Right now we can only show book titles and summaries, but students can save these titles to look for or request books in their school or local library.

You can view all student book recommendations using the Student Choice Stats tab of your Lift Off report. Teachers can use these recommendations in various ways. For example, teachers have purchased recommended books for their classroom or requested their school librarian acquire the books for their campus. Others have added popular titles to extra credit or summer readings lists, or used excerpts from titles for in-class examples or instructional slides.

If you'd like to see all the books the Book Recommender draws from, you can do that too! We're partnering with Penguin Random House, and every title in the Book Recommender can be found in their Classroom Library Collections. Here's a link:

Implementation for Lift Off

We recommend assigning Ignition to students as a way to start off the school year or new semester. Once Ignition is complete, you can use a similar implementation plan for Lift Off. However, you may always begin with Lift Off if it better suits your classroom needs.

We recommend that students spend 10 to 20 minutes per day in class or at home on Lift Off, depending on the workload the teacher has assigned. Many teachers use Lift Off as a daily “do now" activity, allowing them to circulate and help students one-on-one or in small groups.

Lift Off works well for both classwork and homework. We encourage teachers to check in every day students are expected to work on Lift Off assignments. This can be done in a few short minutes using Lift Off reports.

You can assign Lift Off an unlimited number of times per school year. Students will encounter new activities each time. You can chain together Lift Offs every four weeks, providing fresh and challenging content to your students throughout the semester.

Sometimes students need more time to finish. There may also be school breaks or unexpected interruptions. Don't worry! Students continue to have access to Lift Off assignments after the four-week period has ended.

How is Lift Off different from Reading Sprints?

Reading Sprints focused on leveled practice, but students lacked control of the texts they read. Taking the best aspects of Reading Springs, Lift Off provides more options for teachers and greater freedom of choice for students, as well as keeping students on track with the motivational elements they love from Ignition, including badges and points.

We're excited to share this engaging Zinc tool with you. Try assigning Lift Off today!

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