System 44
You've got Mail! Teach Your Students How to Compose and Send an Email!

Do your students know how to compose and send an email? Do they know how to check for new messages and reply to them? Sure, they may be familiar with texting, Snap Chat, Instagram and snapping photos, but are they aware that email is an effective way to communicate with their teachers, parents, friends, and future "job" personnel? Hmm...

Yes, the title of this blog says it all. At a team meeting a few weeks ago, a parent mentioned that their child didn't understand what an email was. Well, that came as a surprise to me as all students in our district have a school email address. The question posed by this parent prompted the OTR/L Occupational Therapist (Karen Foster) and I to finally implement the lesson we had talked about a year ago with the Aim: "How do we compose and send an email?"

My colleague, Karen Foster, is an outstanding Occupational Therapist (OTR/L ): (Occupational Therapist Registered/Licensed) who works directly with some of my System 44 students in my classroom. She addresses their needs during my whole-group and independent working rotations. After a few impromptu "colleague discussions," that of course, occurred in between bells ringing and the 4-minute passing time between classes, Karen mentioned that she would be willing to teach an email lesson to all of my students.

We decided that the lesson would be implemented before the Thanksgiving break so that the students could send Thanksgiving greetings to one or more of their teachers by the end of the class. 

Now, that's real- life literacy action!

The students were ecstatic when they received "mail" in their inboxes even as they continued to draft more emails to other teachers and school administrators. This experience brought back memories of the movie You've Got Mail which was released in December 1998. While email has been around decades, my System 44 students only discovered its real potential in November 2018! Well, better late than never! Not to mention, a great lesson for us in the sense that being so proficient with texts does not mean emailing is a natural form of communication. 

Why not implement this lesson in time for your students to send Winter Holiday greetings to their teachers, other school personnel, and even their parents? Go ahead, and use and modify this PowerPoint in your lessons.

Since implementing this lesson, I have received comments in my inbox from my students such as "I didn't understand question number 7 in last night's HW", and "Why did I get an 86 on this assignment?" Of course, I, myself, was thrilled to see them using their emails. Plus, being driven to ask questions to get guidance or inquire as to why.

Up to a week ago, I assumed that my students knew how to use their email addresses and that they were choosing not to communicate using this method. I was wrong. The truth is that they didn't know how to go into their inbox, click compose, type in an address, put a topic in the subject header, and then write and send a message. Oh my...!

This step by step PowerPoint lesson that Karen Foster created will significantly help you in your "How do we compose and send an email?" lesson with your students.

Please feel free to use the template of this lesson plan and then enjoy the moment when your students realize that they've got an email and now know how to communicate with people that are important to them.


System 44 Educator
  • tvickers

    Sally, this is such a wonderful lesson to teach our middle schoolers. I have students share their writings with me on google docs, but I didn't think about them not being familiar or comfortable with the basics of email. I will definitely be using this next year! Thank you