Thriving in the Virtual Classroom: How to Email with your Teacher

Continuing with our series on helping kids adapt to online learning, we break down the skill of proper email communication between teacher and student to help kids not only adapt to the new normal, but thrive. At-home learning has become the new normal, but is still a harsh learning curve for both students and teachers to adapt to. In our last blog post, we provided tips on how to help kids learn to focus on video calls and beat zoom fatigue. With this post, we’d like to tackle the issue of email communication. Communicating virtually is a lot different than one-on-one interactions. For one, there’s no instant back-and-forth between participants to ensure comprehension is met. Communicating through emails must rely on one participant’s abilities to communicate effectively, and the other’s abilities to interpret correctly.

In the Email Writing for Students blog post from Lori Gracey at technotes, helpful strategies are introduced so students can effectively learn the skill of writing an email. To start, Lori highlights key tips depending on the age of the student. For elementary-aged students, they must use proper sentence structure, check their spelling, and ensure privacy for both the student and the recipient. For middle school-aged students, they must think before they click Send, understand what to share and what not to share, and ensure basic courtesies when communicating. For high school-aged students, they must know when to email and when not to, avoid using emojis and acronyms, and understand how to clearly communicate.

From there, we move on to the basics of writing an email. Lori highlights the importance of explaining to students that writing an email is different from writing a text message or essay. She then provides 5 steps to follow in order to compose a well-thought-out email, along with examples.

 

1. Subject Line: This should be a short summary of your email (2-6 words).
  • a. “Missing Assignments”
  • b. “Technical Difficulties”
  • c. “Late Work”

2. Say Hello: Just like you would in person, say “Hello” first.
  • a. “Hi [Name],”
  • b. “Good morning, Mrs. Gracey,”
  • c. “Greetings!”

3. Purpose of the Email: Tell the teacher why you are emailing them. Include any relevant details.
  • a. “I am emailing because…”
  • b. “I can’t find…”
  • c. “Can you please help me with…”

4. End your Email: Close your email with a simple goodbye.
  • a. “Thank you for your help.”
  • b. “Have a nice day.”
  • c. “See you in class.”

5. Signature: Include your name at the end of the email.

 

Have students complete a series of sample email questions, where an email is missing a greeting or closing, or an email doesn’t state the problem or question, or an email that has a subject line that doesn’t connect with the body text. Students will go through these 5 steps to find out what is wrong with the sample emails, then how to correct them. Finally, explore the many different resources Lori has compiled to help students with proper email etiquette. For more help, visit our Life Skills titles that deal with proper communication:

Learning Communication & Teamwork
Daily Social & Workplace Skills

AdaptationAt-home learningBreakdownCommunicationCoronavirusCovid-19CyberDigitalGuideHomeschoolOnlinePandemicParentsPlanQuarantineStepsStrategiesTeacherTipsVirtualWalkthrough