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Zinc Articles

Leveled real-world texts with quizzes, vocabulary, and writing prompts!

Updated over a week ago

Every day, our team explores diverse online sources for the best content, picking real-world texts to use in your classroom. We find the freshest, most thought-provoking pieces to engage students across reading levels and interests. Each article includes a challenging quiz that the system will score automatically. Zinc even uses these quizzes to track specific reading skills for all of your students!

We’ve made it easy for teachers and students to find articles covering a wide range of topics and classroom needs. Teachers may assign articles with optional vocabulary and writing prompts, and students may explore articles on their own. To work on comparing texts, we also have many comparison quizzes. Lift Off, Zinc's four-week independent reading journey, allows teachers to automatically give students article assignments, allowing students to choose their own article at an appropriate skill level.

What are Zinc Articles and Quizzes?

Zinc articles are real-world texts, sorted for you by Zinc Level. Articles assignments always include challenging quizzes, which help develop specific reading skills. At your discretion, articles assignments may also include vocabulary and writing prompt activities.

For teachers, the article page is found by clicking “Assign Activities” in the top menu and then clicking on “Articles and Texts.”

The main articles page displays all our the articles Zinc has prepared for you. Students and teachers may find articles using a variety of sorting features.

Students will see any assigned articles on their Zinc Dashboard or homepage under "Recent Active Assignments." Articles will also be part of other Zinc activities like Lift Off. Students can also check out articles on their own by clicking "Explore Activities" in the top Zinc menu and then clicking on "Articles and Texts."

When a student selects an article or clicks on an article assigned to them, they'll be taken to the article page in Zinc. This page provides clear, step-by-step instructions that detail everything the student needs to do to complete the assignment.

All article assignments include a quiz. A student with a basic article assignment will see the one below. Along with the article and quiz, they have the option to learn words from the article in a vocabulary game.

While giving the assignment, you may require your student to complete the vocabulary game and a writing prompt. If you assign an article with all the possible activities—a vocabulary game, quiz, and writing prompt—your student will 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 a student is assigned vocabulary or a writing prompt. Each quiz includes Warm-up, Target, and Challenge questions. Warm-up and Target questions are worth more points than Challenge questions. Students must make predictions to unlock the answers. Encourage your students to check the article if they aren't sure about the answer!

If the article is assigned with vocabulary, students must complete the vocabulary game first by clicking "Learn Words” before the quiz will unlock. Zinc reminds and encourages the student several times to read the article, and it even asks them what they thought of the article to encourage engagement. Zinc hosts many articles, while others can be found on carefully vetted sites.

Each quiz includes Warm-up, Target, and Challenge questions. Warm-up and Target questions are on-level for students, so they count more towards the final score than a Challenge question. Students are required to make a prediction before viewing any answer choices.

Here’s the article score breakdown:

  • 40% for confirming they read the passage

  • 60% of score for answering questions:

    • Easy questions: 25%

    • Medium questions: 25%

    • Hard questions (Challenge question): 10%

When you assign articles to your students, you have the option to include vocabulary and writing prompts. These activities bring added depth to article assignments, and they reinforce everything the student learns during the process.

Finding Zinc Articles

Zinc has gone to great lengths to help teachers and students find the articles they want. At the top of the articles page, we have links to all our channels, including fun topics like famous people, great first pages, meaning of life, and the arts. These channels are a great way to sort through broad article topics. You can also look for specific keywords using the search bar.

To further narrow down your search, use the dropdown menus to sort by details like Zinc Levels, reading skills, and reading time. As shown below, clicking the Standards dropdown gives you different Common Core State Standards and many specific state curriculum standards.

The Article Sets dropdown opens many helpful categories, including excerpts from commonly-taught books and topics like chemistry and philosophy. These sets are an excellent way to find an article that complements what you’re already covering in class. These sets also cover curriculum support for programs such as SpringBoard and Core Ready (LitLife).

You can click on any article to see more details about the assignment. You may view all the questions for every article’s attached quiz.

By clicking on the vocabulary tab, you can view the 10 words included in the optional vocabulary assignment. These short vocabulary activities help prepare students for reading and understanding the article.

The final tab shows the optional writing prompt. You can view the prompt question, student guidelines, and the answer key you would use for grading the prompt.

Once you’ve found articles that are a good fit for you and your students, consider clicking the yellow bookmark outline to save them for later in your Zinc bookmarks. This will help you keep track of your favorite articles from one semester or school year to the next.

Assigning Zinc Articles

Specific articles may be assigned to single students, groups of students, or entire classes at a time with ease. You can also assign your students article "packs" through Lift Off, which will allow them to choose their own auto-leveled articles.

From the Zinc articles page, click on any article to bring up further details as described above. This detailed view also included a green “Assign” button. Clicking this button will bring up the assignment options.

The first option makes it possible to assign the article to a single student or group of students. You can also assign an article to one or more classes all at once. In the”Type a note…” section, you may include any additional information about the assignment, such as due dates. There’s also an option to tell your students to complete the assignment during class or at home.

If you would like to assign pre-reading vocabulary, click the checkbox. Please keep in mind, students should complete this vocabulary game before reading the article. You also have the option to include the writing prompt.

If vocabulary is included, you will see a second page of assignment options. This second page includes options for the vocabulary timer, restart if a mistake is made, and Spanish vocabulary support (if included for this set). The system will not unlock the article quiz until this vocabulary game is completed.

An article assignment may be canceled at any time. Canceling an article assignment must be done for the entire group to which it was assigned. Any article assignment will expire two months after being assigned or started.

Please note: a student may have already been assigned the same article, or they may have self-selected it but not finished it. If this is the case, you'll see a notification explaining why specific students did not receive the assignment.

Writing Prompts

If an article assignment includes a writing prompt, students must complete the prompt after completing the quiz. Articles will have a prompt in one of three categories: Creative, Argument/Opinion, or Explanatory/Informational.

From the student view, each writing prompt assignment includes the question they should answer and helpful guidelines for crafting a strong response. Students may save their work at any time by clicking "Save Draft." They are encouraged to go back to the article for quotes and clarifications. When the student is done, they click "Submit Your Response."

Clicking “View Report” for each article assignment on your Dashboard to track student progress. You may also click on “View Classes & Reports,” then “Assigned Activities,” and then the assigned article.

Clicking on the assignment will show you all the students who were included. Once a student has completed their writing prompt, the last entry on that student’s row will show “Needs Review.” You will also receive a notification at the top of the page that you have ungraded writing prompts.

Click the green "Start Reviewing" button or the "Review" button by a student's assignment to open the writing prompt response review. This page includes the original prompt, an overview of the text, and a response key.

Use the drop downs under "Student Score" to provide a score of 1 to 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 1 to 12 points, and you can provide feedback to your students in the text box.

This information will help you quickly review the student’s writing prompt response without the need to read the article yourself. This is especially valuable if you give a variety of different articles to a group of students.

Comparison Quizzes

Zinc offers a selection of comparison quizzes for teachers and students. These comparison quizzes offer a special quiz that refers to two articles. These comparison quiz assignments help students strengthen their ability to compare texts.

These comparison quizzes work like our other article quizzes. They require students to make predictions before revealing the multiple choice answers. Please note: comparison quizzes require students to read two texts. When you assign comparison quizzes, you do not have options for vocabulary or writing prompts.

How Do I Add Article Assignments to my Gradebook?

Many educators use Zinc articles as grades in their gradebook. For all Zinc activities, we recommend using a rubric or other holistic grading tool in adding scores to the gradebook. For example, award points for completion, but add points for students who score over 80% on a section.

Depending on the assignment, please keep in mind that the system adjusts content for a student's reading level, so students will have individual experiences. For instance, students choosing their own article quizzes may see completely different articles based on their Zinc Level. Using completion as the primary rubric is often the most fair option.

There are many options for putting articles assignments in the gradebook, and you should of course do what works best for you and your students.

What to do if a Zinc Article is Blocked or Unavailable

Because we use real-world texts, articles sometimes do not appear when you or a student clicks the “Read the Article” button. Fortunately, we're here to resolve any issues.

If you or your students require a text that is blocked or unavailable, please contact Zinc support using the blue balloon in the bottom right-hand corner of your Zinc homepage. Our team will supply you or your students with a PDF to complete the quiz.

If you and your students find several blocked articles, please forward our Zinc article whitelist to your IT department. Your IT department can use this whitelist to allow all of your students access to every Zinc article.

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