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How to Use Zinc for Students
How to Use Zinc for Students

Find the answers to all your questions about Zinc!

Updated over a week ago

Dive Right In!

If you're new to Zinc, welcome! Please don't feel like you have to read all of these instructions before you get started. We've done our best to make everything easy to follow, so you can jump in right away. Thanks for using Zinc!

If you're looking for more information about something in Zinc, please use the table of contents on the right side of this screen. You can jump right to the section you need. If you don't find the answer to your question, click the blue bubble in the bottom right-hand corner to ask Zinc Support for some help.

How to Log Into Zinc

Before trying to sign into Zinc, ask your teacher how you should access Zinc. This will help you know how to log in.

Error Message: "You Have to confirm your email before continuing"

If you try to log into Zinc and see an error message that says ""You have to confirm your email before continuing," then you need to check your email for a message from Zinc. Follow the link in that email to confirm your email address.

Sign in for Clever, Google, and ClassLink Users

If you access Zinc through Clever, Google, or ClassLink, click the correct button on the sign in page and follow the instructions. You may need to grant Zinc the necessary permissions to continue.

Sign in for Direct Users

If you access Zinc directly, go to the sign in page and log in using your email and password. If you don't have an existing account, you'll need to Register for Zinc.

Register for Zinc

If your school uses Clever, Google, ClassLink, or SpringBoard to access Zinc, you will not need to register. Please continue on to the Sign in for SpringBoard Users section.

For direct users, you'll need to click on the "Register" link before you log into Zinc for the first time. You'll need to fill in your personal information to create an account. When you are asked for your email, please provide your student email address given to you by your school. You'll also need the Class Code provided by your school or teacher.

Here's what the form you'll need to fill out looks like. If a space on the form is marked with an asterisk (*), that space must be filled in.

Once you've filled in all the required information, click the green "Register" button. If you filled in an email address, you'll need to check your email for a message from Zinc Learning Labs. If you don't see it, please check your Spam. The email will include a confirmation link that you must click before you can start using Zinc.

Sign in for SpringBoard Users

  1. Log into your SpringBoard account. (Your SpringBoard account may require you to log into Clever first and then into SpringBoard.)

  2. Select an ELA class from the top menu.

  3. Select an ELA eBook from the menu below that.

  4. Click on the Zinc tile

If you see a page that says you are now leaving SpringBoard, click "Continue." To avoid seeing this message every time, click the box next to "Do not show this message again."

This will take you to Zinc!

How to Join a Class with a Class Code

This section does not apply to SpringBoard users, who should follow the instructions in the Sign In for SpringBoard section. If you have a Class Code when you Register for Zinc, you'll need to enter the Class Code to complete your registration.

If you need to use a new Class Code after you've registered for Zinc, you'll need to click the circle with your profile icon in the top right-hand corner. This brings up a small menu.

Click on "Classes," and it will take you to a page showing all of your active classes. Click the green "Enter Class Code" button.

A pop-up will appear that looks like the one below. Type in the Class Code provided by your teacher and click "Join." That's it, you're in your new class!

What to Do if You're No Longer Part of an Active Class

Every summer we automatically archive data from the last school year. Sometimes this will leave you "locked out" of Zinc because you aren't considered part of a class. If you think this has happened to you, the message will look like this:

The message above reads: ​"Oops! Looks like you're no longer part of an active class. If you have a valid class code, please click here. If not, please contact your teacher or school admin for help."

If this happens, reach out to your teacher. They will either:

  • Give you a class code, which you can enter after you click the button that says 'Enter Class Code'

  • Or, add you directly to the class. If the teacher takes this approach, you will need to refresh your page and/or log out and log back in for the class to appear.

Until your teacher takes one of these actions, you won't be able to access any of the features on Zinc until after you're added to a new active class.

The Zinc Dashboard and Menu

When you log into Zinc, you'll see your homepage or Zinc Dashboard. The top of the page is your menu. In the middle of the page are your active assignments. In the top right-hand corner, you'll see a question mark (?) that will bring you to this help page. There's also a bell that shows notifications. The circle with your initials or a profile picture will take you to your profile page. Clicking the leaf in the top left-hand corner will always bring you back to your Dashboard.

From the menu, "Assignments" will take you to a complete list of all the assignments you've been given. On the Assignments page, view finished or expired assignments by clicking on "Completed/Past."

You can click on "Explore Activities" to bring up these options: "Vocabulary," "Articles and Texts," and "Close Reading Experiences." Clicking on any of these will bring up a huge selection things you can do on your own.

Click on "Leaderboard & Reports" to go to the "Leaderboard" or your "Performance Report." The Leaderboard, if it's available in your school, will show how the points you've earned in vocabulary and articles compares to the other people in your class or school. Your Performance Report is a great way to see what you've accomplished in Zinc and track how you've grown as a reader.

How to Find and Complete Assignments

You'll need to sign into Zinc to see your assignments. When your teacher gives you a new assignment, you'll receive a notification on the bell in the top right-hand corner of your Zinc Dashboard. If you click on the bell, you can click on the assignment and go to the assignment page.

You'll also see a list with any active assignments in the middle of your Zinc DashBoard, where it says "Recent Active Assignments." Assignments can be found on this list until you complete them or they expire. Make sure to complete assignments as they arrive so that they don't expire!

Let's take a look at the different types of assignments and some of what you'll be doing!

Making Predictions

Many Zinc activities include making predictions. If you'd like to learn why it helps you to make predictions in Zinc, please watch this helpful video!

Making predictions before answering a multiple choice question is an important part of Zinc-ing. Taking time to form your own answer before seeing the options helps you in many ways, both inside and outside Zinc.

Completing a prediction in Zinc is simple. First, read the question. Consider what the answer will be. If you need to, you can always look at the passage again.

Click on the text box and type a few words about what you think the answer will be. It doesn't need to be detailed or a complete sentence. The most important part is thinking it through.​

When you finish your prediction, click the "Submit and Unlock Answer Choices" button.

Read over all the answer choices and compare your prediction to them. Do any of them match your choice? Do you see a stronger answer? Select the answer you believe to be correct. Remember, you can always go back to the article.

Remember, you don't have to be right on your prediction, and you don't have to write in complete sentences. You can even change your mind once you see the answer choices. The goal is for you to thoughtfully consider the question!

Level Placements

If you've been assigned a Level Placement, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Some Zinc activities, like Ignition and Lift Off, may start with a Level Placement if you haven't taken one recently.

Completing a Level Placement allows Zinc to show you texts and activities to best help you grow as a reader. You may be tempted to rush through the Level Placement, but giving it your best effort will make Zinc a more helpful and hopefully enjoyable experience.

After you click "Start Assignment," you will be taken to the first passage of the Level Placement. Read the passage carefully. For each question, you will be asked to make a prediction about what you think the answer will be. After you've made a prediction and clicked "Submit and Unlock Answer Choices," you'll see the multiple choice answers.

In the example below, the passage and question have been blurred.

The Level Placement itself is made up of 5 to 7 short passages with a total of 15 to 20 questions. Expect to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes on the Level Placement. Please do your best and do not rush. The Level Placement will end when you've finished enough questions to determine your Zinc Level.

When you're done, you'll be shown your current Zinc Level. Zinc activities like articles, Ignition, and Lift Off will use your Zinc Level to show you content to help you get stronger reading skills. Please do your best on your Level Placement!

In rare cases, you may need to complete a Level Placement that's part of an expired assignment. The Level Placement can then be reached by clicking "Continue Level Placement" in the top right-hand corner of your Zinc Dashboard as shown below.


Ignition is a hands-on way to grow as a reader. As you move through Ignition, you'll meet video presenters who will guide you through short texts, ask questions, and prompt you to use the four Zinc close reading skills.

If you've been assigned Ignition, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Click on "Go to Ignition Home," and you can get started!

You'll be greeted by a video, and then you'll go to your Ignition map. If you haven't taken a recent Level Placement, you'll need to complete one before continuing. Ignition uses your current Zinc Level to show you helpful content.

The Ignition map shows you everything you'll be doing. First you'll do a quick survey, and then you'll dive into Use Your Senses, Make It Real, Pronouns, and Navigators. When you reach the rocket ships, you'll "Show What You Know" about what you've done so far.

Each Ignition activity works like Zinc's Close Reading Experiences. You'll be asked to make predictions, select answers, type your own ideas, click or drag important words, and more! The person in the video will guide you all the way.

You'll start each section looking at passages that match your Zinc Level. Depending on your answers, you may see passages that are one or even two levels above your Zinc Level. As you finish activities, you'll receive Ignition points and badges. You can click "Show Rewards" under the green button to see what you've earned so far.

After you finish all the sections, you'll do a final survey. Ignition ends with another Level Placement to show how much your reading has grown. Be sure to take your time and do your best!

Lift Off

Lift Off provides four weeks of activities where you're in control! Your teacher will assign the number of activities to do each week, and you'll choose the topics and texts you want to explore. When you finish everything, you'll be rewarded with Zinc's Book Recommender, which shows you cool new books about the things that interest you.

If you've been assigned Lift Off, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Click "Go to Lift Off Home" to get started!

Lift Off begins with a video explaining what you'll be working on and a survey question. If you haven't finished a recent Level Placement, you'll need to do one before you continue.

As you can see in the example Lift Off map below, you may be assigned a variety of articles and Close Reading Experiences. If this is your first Lift Off, you'll start with a Close Reading Experience that introduces or reminds you about Zinc reading skills. Then you can begin the activities for your first week.

Depending on how your Lift Off was assigned, you may see fewer or more activities each week. Articles in Lift Off may be assigned with or without vocabulary games. For best results, finish each week's activities as they assigned. It's much easier to do each week as it arrives than trying to play catch-up at the end of the 4 weeks.

In Lift Off, you get to choose the topics of your activities. You can click on a topic that grabs your attention, and you can narrow it down by clicking more specific topics. You'll see articles for your current Zinc Level, one level higher, and one level lower.

Over the next four weeks, new activities will open up each week. Once you've completed all the activities, you can open up the Book Recommender! The system will look at the topics you chose and your answers to a few questions, and it will show you a few of the latest books that you will probably enjoy. You should be able to find these books at your school or local library. The more times you complete Lift Off, the more book recommendations you'll get!

Finding Past Recommended Books after Finishing Lift Off

If you ever want to see your recommended book titles again, go to the assignments on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage and click "View All Assignments."

On the new page, click the "Completed/Past" tab. Then you can click on the completed Lift Off, and the book titles will appear.


If you've been assigned an article, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Articles will also be part of other Zinc activities like Lift Off or Reading Sprints. You may also check out articles on your own by clicking on "Explore Activities" in the top Zinc menu and then clicking on "Articles and Texts."

If you are looking at articles on your own, you can sort through the articles based on topics or you can search for keywords that interest you. Our articles include excerpts from great books, cool sports stories, crazy true events, cozy articles about nature, and poetry and essays by students just like you.

When you select an article or click on an article that's been assigned to you, you'll be taken to the article page in Zinc. This page will tell you what you need to do to complete your assignment.

If you've been assigned an article to read, it will include a quiz. If that's everything you need to do, you'll see a page like the one below. Along with the article and quiz, you'll have the option to learn words from the article in a vocabulary game.

Your teacher may also want you to complete the vocabulary game and a writing prompt. If you're assigned an article with a vocabulary game, quiz, and writing prompt, you'll see a page like the one below.

If a vocabulary game is assigned with the article, you need to that first by clicking "Learn Words." If you don't complete required vocabulary, you won't be able to unlock the quiz. Click "Read Article" to get to the article itself, which you should read carefully. The article itself might be on Zinc or on another site.

The quiz will be the same whether or not you need to do vocabulary. Each quiz includes Warm-up, Target, and Challenge questions. Warm-up and Target questions are worth more points than Challenge questions. You'll make predictions to unlock the answers. Please check the article if you aren't sure about the answer!

If you were assigned a writing prompt with the article, you will complete that after the quiz. Read the prompt and pay special attention to the hints under "Be sure to." Click "Save Draft" as you go to save your work. When you need more information or a quote, take a look at the article. When you're all done, click "Submit Your Response." And that's everything you need to do with articles in Zinc!

Vocabulary Games

If you've been assigned a vocabulary game, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Vocabulary may also be included in an article assignment, Lift Off, or Reading Sprints. You can do vocabulary games on your own by clicking on "Explore Activities" in the top Zinc menu and then clicking on "Vocabulary."

If you are looking at vocabulary on your own, there are word sets about an unbelievable number of topics. If you're looking for a way to get a head start on assigned reading, important tests, studying history, or understanding the world, the Zinc vocabulary games are an excellent place to start. Good luck as you build your vocabulary with Zinc!

Vocabulary Assignment Page

Each vocabulary game includes a set of words. If there are more than 10 words in the set, they are divided into "decks" of 10 words or less.

When you select a vocabulary game or click on one that's been assigned to you, you'll be taken to the vocabulary page in Zinc. There you can click the orange "play button" to get started. You'll review the words and play through different game modes: image, synonym, sentence, and definition. You may play different combinations of these modes in the obstacle course mode.

As you can see, you can also see how many words you've learned in Zinc. Learning words earns points, and you'll gain more points by completing vocabulary while a bonus timer is visible, avoiding the word bank, and answering quickly.

Ways Vocabulary May Be Assigned

Vocabulary lessons may include a timer that counts down, and a game may restart if you select a wrong answer. Don't worry, each game is very short, and you'll learn the words well enough to complete the game. If you need help, be sure to check the word bank, which can be viewed by clicking "View Word Bank" in the top-left corner of the screen. (The word bank may appear automatically based on how the vocabulary was assigned.)

Vocabulary with an Article

If your assignment includes an article with vocabulary, you'll play a single round of all 4 modes of gameplay. You'll need to finish the game before you start the article quiz. Below is an example of a basic vocabulary page that's part of an article assignment. You'll only go through the deck of words once.

Vocabulary with Spaced Repetition

If you are assigned vocabulary with space repetition, you see the same words six times over the course of two months. This helps you truly learn the words. If you play a newly unlocked exposure within three days, you receive 2X or 3X BONUS POINTS! The image below shows the length of time between exposures.

Below is an example of a vocabulary set with 50 words split between 5 decks. As you can see, the student has completed the first exposure of the first deck. This unlocks the first exposure of the second deck. The timer shows how long until the next exposure of the first deck can be played.

Vocabulary with Spanish Support

For some Zinc vocabulary sets, your teacher can assign them with Spanish support. You'll play all four modes of the vocabulary game: Sentence, Definition, Synonym, and Image. The vocabulary word will still be in English, and all the answers in the games will be in Spanish.

Close Reading Experiences

If you've been assigned a Close Reading Experience (CRE), it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." CREs will also be part of other Zinc activities like Lift Off or Reading Sprints. Zinc's Ignition works like a series of Creative Reading Experiences. You may also check out Close Reading Experiences on your own by clicking on "Explore Activities" in the top Zinc menu and then clicking on "Close Reading Experiences."

Close Reading Experiences are interactive lessons with a focus on reading skills. Each CRE includes a video guide who explains the passage and helps you answer questions and work with the text. Sometimes you'll select answers, create your own answer, click or drag words, and much more.

If you run into any issues while completing a Creative Reading Experience, reread the question or instructions from the video guide. They do an excellent job explaining what you need to do.

If you're exploring on your own and it's your first time to do a Close Reading Experience, we recommend completing the introductory CREs. These can be reached by clicking the green buttons that say ""Start Zinc-ing Lesson" or "Start Tracking Lesson" on the Close Reading Experience page.

Reading Sprints

If you've been assigned a Reading Sprint, it will appear on your Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Click "Go to Reading Sprint Home" to begin your reading Sprint.

Reading Sprints may last for 3 or 6 weeks. They may include articles, vocabulary, and Close Reading Experiences. An example for the first week of a comprehensive 3-week Reading Spring is below.

You will see 1 to 6 activities each week depending on how the Reading Sprint was assigned. Click on each assignment to complete it. Remember, an article's vocabulary game must be completed before the quiz will unlock.

After a week has passed, another week will unlock with new assignments. Please complete each set of activities the week they arrive. It's much easier to finish each activity when you don't have to play catch-up at the end of the 3 or 6-week assignment.

At the end of the Reading Sprint, you will take another Level Placement to see how you've grown as you've been reading and learning. As always, take your time and do your best!

Your Student Performance Report

Your performance report is a record of everything you've done in Zinc, including the success you've had becoming a stronger reader. To reach your Performance Report, click "Leaderboard & Reports" in the top Zinc menu and then click "Performance Report."

Here's an example of a Performance Report with the details blurred out. As you can see, you can access all your active assignments. Your past assignments will be visible just a little farther down. You can also sort by different activities, such as Article Quizzes, Vocabulary, and many more. If you click "Level Placement," you'll see a history of your reading growth in Zinc.

Editing Your Profile

If you click on the circle in the top right corner of your Zinc Dashboard (the circle shows your initials by default), you can access your profile page in Zinc. Here's an example profile with the details blurred out.

Here you can view your total points and make changes to your nickname and profile picture. To change your nickname, type a new name in the "Nickname" box. To change your profile picture, click "Change photo." The file must be a jpg, jpeg, gif, or png. You'll need to select which part of the image you want to appear as your profile by dragging the circle and resizing it as you like. After you're finished with your nickname or profile picture, click "Save Settings." If you don't save, your changes will be lost.

What are you waiting for? Hop on your Zinc Dashboard and get started!

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