20% Plan - Incorporating Digital Citizenship
- I spent the majority of my time, when looking through the Digital Citizenship resources, looking for ways to address what I see as the most pressing and immediate need for instruction in my classroom. Although citing sources and being careful with copyright is important and would be impactful in my class, because as a 1:1 classroom we are often using the internet for resources for our digital projects, I felt that writing a professional email was one that had a multitude of important uses in the future. Writing a well-thought out, polite, proofread letter would be important for the rest of their lives, both in and out of school.
- I could have used more of the online resources you recommended, specifically from Common Sense Media, but I chose to borrow more from an already existing program at Hopkins called #HopkinsOnline because the videos and content are great and were really tailor-made for our kids. In addition, if this is a lesson that we end up using as a school, instead of just for my science class, I thought it’d be a good idea to build on what was done in the past. In this way, I think of this lesson as the next iteration for our 1:1 iPad students when teaching them email etiquette.
- The purpose of #HopkinsOnline is to teach digital literacy skills & responsibility. It’s an online platform that’s intended to create a community of learning around online skills and digital responsibility. We launched it two years ago and there have been several iterations--the next one being unclear at the moment. There are great lessons embedded in the badges and I’d like to borrow a few of the screencasts for the instruction portion of the lesson.
- Another reason I love the #HopkinsOnline lesson is that I think it’s important to address tone and intent, and not just spelling & grammar. Many of the lessons that I found online were focussed more on the structure of a professional email. I wanted this lesson to be one that will help them after they’re out of junior high; in college and in their future careers.
- The lesson is intended to be done over the course of two class periods and has three assessments completed out of class. The first day, with the discussion of internet slang and comparing and contrasting how they write to friends vs teachers, is designed to be teacher-led with multiple cooperative and digital activities interspersed throughout. I constructed this lesson, however, specifically so that the first teacher-led day could be left out and the second day - with more videos - could be done independently (which fits more with our old badge-earning style). If a teacher wanted to have students work on their own they could take the activities from the second day and put them on their website so that their kids could work on their own. Because students learn more by practicing, the second and third homework assignment are very similar: write a professional email. My intention is that the 2nd homework assignment (the 3-2-1 email) be assigned immediately after the lesson on how to write a professional email, and the 3rd assignment (parent email about grades) be sent a week or two later.
- The open-ended style of this lesson meshed well with how I learn.
Lesson: The Why & How To of Writing a Professional (Teacher) Email
How should you write a letter to your teacher? aka How to write a professional email.
Students explore the components of a well-written, professional email. They learn
that such emails have a 4-part structure that is similar to that of traditional professional business letters.
Students will be able to ...
- identify the four main parts of letter/email writing.
- compare and contrast the format of emailing a teacher (professional) to that of emailing or texting their friend (personal).
- Google Form - formative assessment code switching
- 1st Email - formative assessment email to me 3-2-1 style
- 2nd email - summative assessment email w/ parent cc
Identify What They Know - Internet Slang
Internet slang, otherwise known as textspeak or netlingo, seems to change daily. Often such Internet slang is used in emails, IMs, and text messages. Challenge students to work with partners to figure out what the following acronyms mean:
LOL – laugh out loud
TTYL – talk to you later
G2G – got to go
L8R – later
Have students brainstorm with their partners all of the different Internet slang examples they know. Have them discuss when it’s appropriate to use this kind of slang and with whom. Ask students to type their words in this Google Form. Remind them to separate each word with a comma. To make sure that each phrase is counted the same way, ask them to capitalize all letters.
Teacher: highlight the column with their responses and paste them into Wordle Create. Show the class what the most popular slang is that they use.
Compare & Contrast Professional & Personal Emails
Double Bubble Map
Professional email (to a teacher) vs a personal email (to a friend): how are they similar and how are they different?
Ask students to create their own double bubble map.
Once students have had a chance to work on their own, complete one together as a class. While going through a map together, remind students that they should always proofread their emails by double-checking their work. They should consider the following five guidelines with emails to their teacher (this should be added to their bubble map if missing).
Does the email to their teacher have ...
- a clear and specific subject line?
- a greeting, body, and closing?
- proper capitalization?
- proper punctuation?
- correct spelling?
HW Assignment #1
Google Form - formative assessment code switching
Explain: Email might be old fashioned but it is one of the ways your teachers now and in the future will be communicating with you. It is also one way that you will communicate with teachers, employers and college admissions in future.
Watch the following video. Ask students to follow the directions in the video.
Watch the following video. Ask students to create an email signature for their account. Include name, grade, and school.
Subject Line & Body
Explain: There are four parts to an email: the subject line, the greeting, the body, and the closing. These could be in notes form or you could have them take notes while watching the videos.
Subject: This is actually one of the most important parts on an email although most students forget it.
Greeting or Salutation: The greeting usually starts with 'Dear' and is followed the person's name and then a comma.
Body: Make sure you include details like what, where, when, how and why. These are the non-negotiable parts of a professional exchange via email. It’s also important to proofread your email for correct spelling, capitalization, and grammar.
Closing: The closing includes a short capitalized expression such as 'Sincerely' or 'Best' and is followed by a comma. Skip a line after the body before writing your closing.
Here’s a sample of an email that includes all of the necessary parts of a professional email: subject, greeting, body, and closing.
The Subject Line
Watch the following video about the importance of a subject line in an email.
Watch the video below to learn more about the body of an email.
Read this super short article posted in USA Today College called: 5 Things to Remember When Emailing a Professor. It is relevant to junior high students too!
Discussion or TPS:
Which do you think is the most important of the five (Be Formal, Specify, Be Thorough, Be Kind, Proofread)? Explain why.
Which do you think is the one most difficult for a junior high student to do or remember to do? Explain why you think that.
If you were asked to add one tip to this list to make it a “Top Six” list, what would you add? Why do you think it is important to add? Explain.
HW Assignment #2
1st Email - formative assessment email to me 3-2-1 style
Teacher: provide feedback about their email.
HW Assignment #3 (intended for a week or so later)
2nd email - summative assessment email w/ parent cc