Lesson Plan

E-mail Basics with G-mail

E-mailing appropriately and effectively for elementary students.
Brenda B.
Computer Teacher k-6
Beacon Elementary School
Harper Woods, United States
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to ...

Tell what e-mail is and how it works.

Send an e-mail

Retrieve e-mail

English Language Arts
Grades 3 – 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Have you heard of email?
Do you have an email account?
Do other members of your family have an email account?
Have you ever sent or received an email?
How do you think email works?

Show the Brain Pop Jr. video about e-mail.  In the video Annie talks about the main components of e-mail and how to send one.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting

Prior to the lesson the teacher should have educational g-mail accounts for all students.  The teacher should project his/her own e-mail inbox on a screen.  

What is the same on my screen as what you saw in the movie?

What is different?

Show the important characteristics which are "compose, To, Subject and Body".  It is important to show the kids that they should write in the body portion of the e-mail, not in the subject line.  

At the time you are showing how to write an e-mail, it is fun to send it directly to one or more children in the class, while they are looking at their own inbox.  They are always amazed they have received mail!

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Other — Whole Class Game

Divide students into groups.  Make up index cards ahead of time that the students can use to identify themselves. There should be one card of each of the following: student, teacher, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and internet.  Then the rest of the cards should say e-mail.  Hand the cards out so that each student has a card. All the students who are people, should be assigned a location to stand in the room, away from others.  Keep the child who has the internet card centrally located. All leftover students will be "e-mail" that need to be placed with a person, there will be 3 or more e-mails per group.     The only student who does not have any e-mail to begin with is the internet student.  

 In each group the "person" tells the mail where to go.  They might tap the e-mail and say "go to the teacher". Every piece of mail will calmly and carefully go to the person they were directed to, but first must go to the internet.  The internet then needs to tell them to proceed to theirr destination.  The e-mail cannot leave the internet until directed to do so.  After about 2 minutes, this game becomes somewhat chaotic.  The teacher should stop the class and explain that if there is a lot of e-mail at some point during the day, then the internet sometimes gets clogged up,  in that case the e-mail has to line up to be directed to the next destination.  In the same sense, the e-mail has to wait in line at their destination to then be told where to go next.  If the "person" is busy, a lot of e-mail may build up.  After a few minutes, stop the game, have to students sit and discuss what happened in the game.  Most likely there were a lot of e-mails at the internet station all at once. Ask the children how it felt to play the roles of the people.  Reflect with the child who played the internet, and ask him/her how it felt when there were so many e-mails waiting to be sent. 

This is a great game to help children understand how e-mails work.  This is also a good time to discuss what happens if the other person is not looking at the inbox, when do they see they have e-mail?  It also helps to explain why some e-mails take a little longer to arrive at a destination. 

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Assessing

Have each student e-mail the teacher with a question.  This will indicate whether the student is able to follow all the steps of sending an e-mail.  I usually leave my inbox projected on the board and then the the studetns can self check to make sure I have received the message.

Later I send a message back to the student to answer the question and also give individual feedback.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Investigating

Students can play the DigitalPassport.org game on the ipad or the computer to start to investigate netiquette.  This is a tool provided by Common Sense Media.  The teacher needs to make a free account ahead of time.  Classrooms can be created and students can be assigned specific assignments that tell about talking online with others.  The games are fun and ask meaninful questions.  The site will also keep track of the students score so the teacher can monitor how much the students know about appropriate online behavior.