Attendance/Engagement; Zinc; Grading FAQs
Dear Students and Families:
This letter will address some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) I’ve received from students and parents/guardians over the past couple of weeks. Due to previously scheduled meeting commitments, today, it will come in two parts.
How will attendance/engagement credit be determined for the week of 5/20 – 5/26?
- Due to the shortened school week with the four-day Memorial Weekend Holiday, there was no Scholastic Scope activity this past week. So, to achieve engagement credit, a student must complete all six (6) activities for “Week Three” of the current, “Active” Zinc Reading Sprint.
How will attendance/engagement credit be determined for the week of 5/27 – 6/2?
- Student must complete all six (6) activities for “Week Four” of the current, “Active” Zinc Reading Sprint.
- Complete the Scholastic Scope Lesson Package I will post tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27.
Do I have to do both the Zinc Reading Sprint activities and the Scholastic Scope activities?
Short Answer: Yes . . . however, not to achieve attendance/engagement credit.
Explanation/Rationale: At the beginning of May, when the District asked teachers to start monitoring and tracking student “attendance/engagement,” it was left to each individual teacher to determine what “engagement” looked like in their particular classes. Prior to that, the District had also published a Student Learning Structures schedule for daily activities to help teachers and families manage remote learning time. That schedule allotted three (3) hours of “learning period” time a week for English Language Arts (ELA). There was also the expectation that students engage in a certain amount of “independent work” outside the learning periods.
So, I determined that for my classes the “minimum” I could reasonably expect from students to be credited for “engagement” was what they could accomplish in the three (3) hour, programmed “learning period.” The weekly Zinc Reading Sprint activities (2 Close Reading Experiences, 2 Article Quizzes, 2 Vocabulary Sets) take approximately two (2) to three (3) hours to complete, depending on difficulty level. Equally, the activities in a Scholastic Scope Lesson Package take roughly three (3) to four (4) hours to complete. So, in order to achieve “attendance/engagement” credit, completion of one or the other is acceptable. But, that should be considered a minimum amount of engagement.
Just like in the physical classroom, there is the expectation that a distinguished student will continue work outside the class. In remote learning there is also the expectation that students are engaged in “independent work” beyond the programmed class time allotments.
The two (2) main activities I’ve assigned during closure meet different learning targets.
- The Zinc Reading Sprints focus on Common Core Reading Standards in both literary and informational texts. The Close Reading Experiences provide “guided reading” lessons to help understand passages from selected texts. The Article Quizzes provide students an opportunity to respond independently to multiple choice questions related to articles that challenge their reading levels. The Vocabulary Sets provide scaffolding and practice for vocabulary the students will engage with in the assigned articles.
- The Scholastic Scope activities ask students to respond to their reading in writing. The focus is more on written constructed responses that challenge students to back up their inferences or claims with evidence from the text. The Scope activities also ask students to write expositively or argumentatively about their reading.
So, a student wishing to keep up with both reading and writing aspects of ELA would be doing both Zinc Reading Sprint activities and Scholastic Scope activities.
The current Zinc Reading Sprint assigned me a Close Reading Experience that I already did in the first Sprint. Do I have to do it again?
Short Answer: Yes.
Explanation/Rationale: During the first Sprint, several students wrote and asked if they could redo Close Reading Experiences or Article Quizzes to improve their scores. The Zinc system wouldn’t allow that. But, now we know that Zinc will allow it in the new Sprint.
So, yes, students should redo reassigned Close Reading Experiences and try to better their performance. Students can see their initial scores for the Close Reading Experiences in the first Sprint in LMS. There are three (3) elements that make up the total score . . . they are recorded in the “comments” for that assignment. By raising any of the category scores, a student could end up raising their overall score.
BE WARNED, however, do not rush through the activity. A student may think . . . “Oh, I’ve already done this, so I’m going to breeze through it,” . . . Or, “I don’t have to fully answer that written response.” That would be a mistake! The system deducts points for “rushing.” That’s when a student takes less time to answer a question than what the system thinks is reasonable. Additionally, students lose points for not answering correctly the first time. So, don’t rush. It would be a shame to score lower the second time than the first due to overconfidence and careless mistakes.
More to come later today . . .
Stay safe, stay well,
Monte J. Scholz
6th-Grade ELA & Honors ELA Block
Heatherwood Middle School
Everett Public Schools