Keypals Activity
  • Brief Description
  • Objectives
  • Materials & Resources
  • Activity Description
  • Internet Resources

  • Brief Description

        Students will begin communicating over e-mail with students around the world in preparation for future collaborative activities. This lesson can provide a great supplement to traditional language arts activities, such as writing for an audience, reading for editing, and writing a journal, as well as introduce students to different perspectives and points of view. The concept of students as global citizens and appreciation for people of different cultures, societies, and countries are stressed in these types of activities, as students come to know and respect other students outside their local community. A personal connection between two students can help each understand each others' point of view and broaden their thinking on local, national, and global issues of mutual interest. Up to Contents of this Page

        Students will:

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    Materials & Resources

    1. Hardware requirements: A computer and modem.

    2. Software requirements: E-mail account(s), software and Web browser (for teacher), preferably Netscape.

    3. Network/Internet requirements: Access to the Internet or to other e-mail services (AOL, Compuserve, etc.).
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    Activity Description

        Pre-activity Preparation

        Before beginning this lesson, the teacher should locate and coordinate e-mail exchanges with students in other classrooms by visiting any of the resources listed below (see Lesson Plan Resources). Posting a message to these list servers or Web sites will publisize that students are looking for key pals to communicate with. This should lead to another teacher contacting you and setting up the ongoing exchange, or perhaps a group of classrooms sharing e-mail.

        Prior to actually starting the key pals lesson, teachers may also want to consider how students will receive and respond to their e-mail messages. There are at least two ways of doing this:

    1. Each student can have their own e-mail address and receive their e-mail directly, without teacher involvement. Teachers may want to discuss issues related to privacy and security for students, and establish rules for conduct over e-mail, prior to letting students send and receive their own e-mail. In addition, parents should give their permission for their children to participate in these e-mail exchanges.

    2. Otherwise, the teacher can use their own e-mail address for all messages sent and received, and then use the SUBJECT field in the e-mail message to direct mail to specific student names. This allows the teacher to filter all the e-mail sent and received, before passing it along to the students. This oversight obviously requires more time and effort on the part of the teacher.

        Also in preparation for this lesson, consideration should be given to when students will be allowed to read and respond to their e-mail, and how this activity will fit within their other classroom work. One way is to have students communicate with their key pals around specific writing tasks - such as describing their local community, research their doing, etc. - or on specific topics - related to science, social studies, etc.


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    Internet Resources

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