Week 1


  • What does a professional email look like?


Students will be able to...

  • compose a professional email
  • take advantage of spell check tools
  • read emails with Re: and Fwd: subjects and bracketed quotes
  • use CC: and BCC:


  • What are things that you have typed but never spoken out loud?


Project the email client your class is using. Open a new message.

Look at the apparatus. What makes the process of composing a new email different from writing a traditional letter?

  • Subject line, Subject/Body distinction
  • Multiple recipients
  • Rich text options
  • Instantly sent
  • ...etc, etc.
(Students will likely come up with this list with just a little prompting.)

Subject line

What do your recipients see first when you write them?

  • Email address
  • Subject line
We already have a professional email address. What makes a subject line professional? Why can't you just write "Hello"?

  • Spam! Again!
  • Capitalization
  • Preview of what's to come
Find some real-life models. Perhaps there are messages from your school's internal email that model this well.

Break your class into groups. Pass out strips of paper with short email messages and challenge them to write compelling subject lines. (5 mins)

When time runs out, have the reporter in each group share the group's subject line. Ideally, you can project the original messages and fill in the student subject lines.

Keep the students sitting in groups ...


Like many of the terms in personal computing, "CC" has roots in office culture: carbon-copy. If you can get your hands on some carbon paper, bring it in! Some schools use carbon paper on medical forms. You can also get it at arts and crafts stores: http://www.sherwoodonline.com/item.asp?id=1589

The difference between CC and BCC is rather subtle so this time, we'll pass out slips of paper with situations on them. Groups will have time to decide whether to use CC or BCC and prepare a defense for this decision. (5 mins)

Depending on the time, space, and size of the group, you can debrief this activity in a number of ways. The simplest is to the ask groups to report back as they did from the previous activity. A more fun report back is to use the "axis of agreement" activity in which everyone stands up and moves around. You give each reporter a chance to make their case and then students arrange themselves along a line in the floor from "agree" to "disagree". You can then tap people from the distribution for comment.

''Note:'' Many clients have collapsed To: and CC: into a single field. If this is the case, "CC" is still a useful vocabulary word as it is often used as a verb. For example, "Please CC me on that!"

Reading Incoming Mail

Many of the students will be familiar with the basics of email but it is useful to look at the three models of quoting behavior together - inline comments, comments atop a stack of previous replies, and comments below a quoted reply. Through this short, if dry, exercise, you can establish a vocabulary for talking about email: "quoting", "forward", "reply."

Depending on time, you might take this opportunity to talk about "forward" used as a noun. What is "a forward"?


  • Each student should select a teacher in the school. Their assignment for the week is to ask that person for his or her email address, compose a professional message about classwork, and send it with a CC to you.
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