• RE: Attendance/Engagement Monitoring and Zinc Reading Sprints

     

    Dear Students and Families:

     

    Warning: There is a lot to cover in this email, please be patient and read thoroughly.

     

    First, thank you to the 57 students (approximately 70% of the students in my classes) who took part in some aspect of the six-week Zinc Reading Sprint. Congratulations to the ten (10) students who have already completed 100% of the assigned activities. More about Zinc Sprints later in this message.

     

    Attendance and Engagement

    Last week, the District notified teachers that we were to start monitoring students’ engagement in class activities. In essence, taking virtual attendance. On Mondays, the District will automatically upload an assignment to each teacher’s LMS gradebook. Teachers enter student engagement data once a week on Wednesdays, for the previous five school days starting the Wednesday before. This information will be visible to all teachers, administrators, students, and parents/guardians.

    There are three (3) codes that will be used to monitor students’ learning engagement:

    Y – Yes the student engaged in learning opportunities during the week.

    N – No the student did not engage in learning opportunities during the week.

    NS – Not scheduled to see specific student in the last week.

     

    So, how will I determine attendance/engagement?

    For this past week (4/27 – 5/5):

    • Student must have completed six (6) separate Zinc Reading Sprint activities (either Close Readings, Article Quizzes, or Vocabulary Sets).

     

    AND/OR

     

    • Completed all the Scholastic Scope activities for the Lesson Package that was due last week: “The Broom Dog.”

    Students have until tomorrow night to meet that deadline.

     

    For next week (5/6 – 5/12):

    • Complete all six (6) activities for “Week One” of the new six-week Zinc Reading Sprint.

     

    AND

     

    • Complete all the Scholastic Scope activities for the Lesson Package I will post this Wednesday.

     

    New Six-Week Zinc Reading Sprint

    The previous six-week Reading Sprint ended last night. That is a bit problematic because Spring Break caused us to be a week behind the actual six-week calendared Sprint. Week Five’s activities are actually due today. And, Week Six, next Monday.

    Despite that . . . here is how we are going to proceed.

    After I send out this email, I am going to assign a new six-week Zinc Reading Sprint. Below are specific instructions for different categories of student. Read the instructions for the description that best matches you.

     

    I have never started a Zinc Reading Sprint.

    In some regards, you are the easiest group, because you are starting from scratch.

    The "Sprint" can be accessed by clicking on the "Zinc" icon in the SpringBoard digital dashboard. Select "Reading Sprints" from the Zinc pull-down Dashboard.

    How does it work?

    • At the start of each Reading Sprint, students will be prompted to take a Placement Test. Their scores will help Zinc personalize the activities that students are assigned.

     

    Warning: Students are assigned a Reading Difficulty Level, 1 – 7. Levels 5 – 7 are solidly mid to upper high school level. We learned, however, during the first six-week Sprint that just because a student can read at a high school level, sometimes high school level content is not appropriate to the social-emotional maturity of a middle school student – especially in an unsupervised format. Therefore, if a student tests into the upper levels, I will manually override the level back down to a Level 4. UNLESS, a parent/guardian emails me indicating that they want to have their student challenged at the level he/she tested into and is okay with subject matter that may be more suited to a junior or senior in high school. I am also open to substituting other articles at the same level if the student and parent/guardian is uncomfortable with the subject matter of an assigned article. I don’t have control over the articles assigned by Zinc.

     

    • Zinc will automatically generate a uniform set of assignments for students each week. Six (6) activities per week (2 Close Reading Experiences, 2 Article Quizzes, and 2 Vocab Decks). It takes roughly 2 – 4 hours to complete all six activities depending on level of difficulty and student ability.

     

    • To measure progress, students will also be assigned a Placement Test at the end of the Reading Sprint.

     

    Students will need to play the 3-minute "Introduction to Zincing" Lesson to unlock Close Reading Experiences. This quick lesson will familiarize students with Zinc's core skill, “Zincing” (picturing what one is reading).

    Students should take a quick "Navigators Reading Skill" lesson after they complete their first Close Reading Experience. Students who complete this lesson learn essential close reading skills and perform better on CREs and in reading in general.

    More “Zinc Terms and Tips” are on my web page to help maximize students’ success in their Reading Sprints.

    https://www.everettsd.org/hms-mscholz

    Have Fun!!!

     

    I started the last six-week Zinc Reading Sprint, but I didn’t finish all the activities.

    • First, you need to make sure that you have completed at least six (6) activities in the previous Reading Sprint in the past week to achieve the attendance/engagement credit for this past week. Remember that deadline is tomorrow night. That means you need access to the previous Sprint.

     

    When you go to the “Reading Sprint” section in the Zinc Dashboard, you should see a set of tabs: one labeled “Active Sprint” and one labeled “Archived Sprint.” You should be able to go back to the Archived Sprint and finish the activities you need to for this week’s attendance/engagement credit.

     

    • After you’ve finished enough activities to be credited for this week – start the new Sprint. Don’t worry about finishing all the activities of the now expired Sprint.

     

    • You may have to take a Placement Test to finish out the old Sprint or to activate the new Sprint. Since this is new to me, too, I don’t know what will happen in the transition.

     

    Warning: Students are assigned a Reading Difficulty Level, 1 – 7. Levels 5 – 7 are solidly mid to upper high school level. We learned, however, during the first six-week Sprint that just because a student can read at a high school level, sometimes high school level content is not appropriate to the social-emotional maturity of a middle school student – especially in an unsupervised format. Therefore, if a student tests into the upper levels, I will manually override the level back down to a Level 4. UNLESS, a parent/guardian emails me indicating that they want to have their student challenged at the level he/she tested into and is okay with subject matter that may be more suited to a junior or senior in high school. I am also open to substituting other articles at the same level if the student and parent/guardian is uncomfortable with the subject matter of an assigned article. I don’t have control over the articles assigned by Zinc.

     

    • After next week, I will only record grades for the new Sprint activities in LMS.

     

    I completed all the activities of the last six-week Zinc Reading Sprint.

    • Go on to the new Reading Sprint. You may have to take a Placement Test to finish out the old Sprint or to activate the new Sprint. Since this is new to me, too, I don’t know what will happen in the transition.

    Warning: Students are assigned a Reading Difficulty Level, 1 – 7. Levels 5 – 7 are solidly mid to upper high school level. We learned, however, during the first six-week Sprint that just because a student can read at a high school level, sometimes high school level content is not appropriate to the social-emotional maturity of a middle school student – especially in an unsupervised format. Therefore, if a student tests into the upper levels, I will manually override the level back down to a Level 4. UNLESS, a parent/guardian emails me indicating that they want to have their student challenged at the level he/she tested into and is okay with subject matter that may be more suited to a junior or senior in high school. I am also open to substituting other articles at the same level if the student and parent/guardian is uncomfortable with the subject matter of an assigned article. I don’t have control over the articles assigned by Zinc.

    Also an unknown – since there are only a limited number of Close Reading Experiences and Articles at a given level – will you be assigned activities you’ve already done once, or will they all be new? If you are reassigned Close Reading Experiences or Article Quizzes, will you be allowed to do them again—basically redoing the activity or retaking the quiz for a chance at a better score? Another unknown. We will learn about this together.

     

    Stay safe, stay well,

     

    Monte J. Scholz

    6th-Grade ELA & Honors ELA Block

    Heatherwood Middle School

    Everett Public Schools