Off-Site Schooling

The Problem

With the current outbreak of the COVID-19 corona virus, many schools are getting in touch with us about how to continue meaningful learning for their students, especially if they are in voluntary or self-imposed home isolation.
Here at Ziptales, we understand the immense burden and pressure this puts on our educators, and wish to offer our support in this difficult time.

Some major issues facing teachers in an off site schooling environment are:

  1. Setting reading and lesson work for children, aligned with the class program.
  2. Monitoring the children’s activities and getting feedback on their progress.

Since Ziptales is a completely online reading platform, it offers a range of quality resources for teachers to use in an off-site education environment. The following are some suggested ways to make off-site schooling workable through the use of Ziptales.
Here is a Quick Guide of the main suggestions.

Setting remote study or reading work

Teachers already familiar with our content will have different ways of using the online stories and lessons they believe will encourage learning.
For those less familiar with the Ziptales package, the best place to start is to get an overview of all we have to offer with our Full Guide. This shows every single module of content on Ziptales, listed in ascending age order, from Prep/Kinder up to Year 6. All readability statistics are provided, as well as word lengths, themes and the like.
You may also be interested in our Curriculum Alignment module, which maps your chosen curriculum to our Ziptales content.
We also have a Theme Units module which assists teachers with integrating Ziptales stories and activities into classroom reading programs using a theme-based learning approach.

As a rough guide, every year or class level has between 30-40 stories and 20-30 online lessons catering for that age group. That’s an average of one story and one lesson per week for a whole year.

Monitoring and Feedback

Ziptales currently offers two "tracking sheets" in our tracking section of the Teacher Dashboard. These can be viewed using Microsoft Excel, or the free software Open Office. Let’s look at them now:

Tracking Sheet 1 - Class (F-2) & (3-6)

This tracking sheet allows the teacher to track every student in the class, story by story. The sheet lists the stories, one by one, with the Ziptales reading level guide (Zip Stage 1-10). The F-2 sheet also lists the reading recovery level, while the 3-6 sheet lists the Flesch reading score and the Lexiles reading score.
It is suitable for teacher use only, as it has age level equivalent ratings.

This tracking sheet has a 'sheet' made for each student, with 4 samples already provided. To add more students simply right click one of the sheets and create a copy, as such:

Tracking Sheet 2 - Student (F-2) & (3-6)

This allows the teacher to track each child individually. It lists the stories, one by one, with the Ziptales reading level guide (Zip Stage 1-10), and a word length listing. This is suitable for student use, because it does not share information about reading skill levels. Thus if you were to ask students (or parents) to track what they have read, you would use Tracking Sheet 2.

Story map (download)

The Story Map shows all stories on Ziptales. Instruct your students to read the stories you have chosen for them. When they have finished reading each story they should color in the box for that story as a record. If you wish, they can add the scores they got on the comprehension tests.

Email Based Tracking

For teachers who want a tracking solution as simple as possible and plan on communicating with their students over email, we have come up with the following solution. Email your students individually with their assigned work, using this form (which you can copy and paste into your email). Then have your students reply to your email and fill in the form with their performance.
You can even prefill the form with the Student's name, and then provide a link to the story you want them to read.

My Ziptales Record
Student Name:
Story Title:
Story Link:

Date Started:
Date Finished:
What I thought of the story:

Test Results
Fill the Gaps:

Multiple Choice:


Here is a sample of what a filled out record might look like:

My Ziptales Record
Student Name: Richard McRoberts
Story: Dr Wow in Atlantis
Story Link:

Date Started: 17/03/2020
Date Finished: 19/03/2020
What I thought of the story: It was fun! I like it when... I had some trouble with..., etc.

Test Results
Fill the Gaps: 8/10
Attempts: 2

Multiple Choice: 4/5
Attempts: 1

Worksheet: Complete

In Conclusion

If you wish for further guidance on how to manage off-site learning using Ziptales, please get in touch. We can set up a time for a conference, or even a screen sharing demonstration.
Despite the challenging circumstances so many of us are facing during this time, we hope the Ziptales online literacy library will bring some joy to you and your students.


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