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news & tips

A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

No, Really, Read Your E-mail

candy heart on keyboardI recently had to teach my sixth grade students a slightly painful lesson.  It went a little something like, this: “The school provides you with an e-mail account for a reason.  Use it.”


We have a new textbook, just for my sixth graders, this year.  (FYI: I teach grades one through eight technology classes.)  I have the students take a quiz on each chapter of the book.  This most recent chapter covered the World Wide Web (maybe you’ve heard of it), and I gave them a reading guide to help them grasp all the most important concepts in the chapter.  You know, the stuff in boldface print.  You know, the stuff that’s on the quiz.

So, there I was, a full NINE DAYS before I wanted them to have completed the reading, working on a Sunday as I sometimes do.  I made the reading guide and e-mailed it to each and every one of my darling sixth graders.  I also put it in the files section of my class page.  And I made reference to this fact in an assignment posted on the same class page.

Fast forward to quiz day.  Only nineteen of my forty-one Grade Six angels brought the completed reading guide to class as requested.  I heard some great excuses:

“My Internet didn’t work.”  For NINE WHOLE DAYS?  And you didn’t tell me?  You see me twice a week and my Internet works just fine.  No excuse.

“Our printer is out of ink/broken.”  And when in the past NINE WHOLE DAYS did you come see me about this issue?  My printer works just fine.  Plus, I had several students read the worksheet on-screen and write their notes on a sheet of binder paper.  (They are included in the nineteen I mentioned earlier.)  No excuse.

“My Mom e-mailed you . . .”  STOP right there.  Your Mom e-mailed me LAST NIGHT while I was attending my online classes.  I responded.  It doesn’t change the fact that you had this document in your e-mail Inbox for NINE WHOLE DAYS.  No excuse.

My students first get their e-mail addresses in third grade.  I expect that by sixth grade they are checking their e-mail at least twice a week.  And I tell them so in the first week of school.  I love e-mail.

Whenever I am feeling like the most awesome, helpful teacher EVER, I e-mail my students all the information and materials they need.  Well in advance of any related due dates.  And before you worry about my students having access to e-mail, please be comforted by the fact that only 2% of my middle school students report having no Internet access outside school.  58% have access on a shared computer in the home, and 36% have Internet access in their own rooms!  I have my computer lab at school open twice a week after school for any student to come use.  Therefore, I accept no excuses.

E-mail is a very powerful tool, and I think it’s safe to say that my private school students in Silicon Valley can look forward to a future in which they will be expected, by the people who sign their paychecks, to read and respond to their e-mails.  With the widespread of availability of Internet access in public libraries these days, e-mail could very well be the great equalizer – the leveler of playing fields everywhere – that helps all our students stay competitive and competent in school.

How can you get e-mail for YOUR students?  I love Gaggle.net (http://www.gaggle.net).  They have a free version and a paid version.   We also use Google Apps for Your Domain (Education Edition).  Even though you can just use the Gmail accounts that come with that, Google also works with Gaggle (I know, it sounds funny) to use my filtered Gaggle e-mail accounts in conjunction with Google Apps, in which I have the e-mail option switched off.

Some other ways of getting e-mail to use with your students are:

ThinkQuest from Oracle: http://www.thinkquest.org

ePals: http://www.epals.com

Turns out I had some great data to share with those adorable sixth graders a couple of days after that quiz on chapter three: the kids who handed in the completed reading guide averaged a B on the quiz; the kids who did not hand in the reading guide averaged an F.

Lesson learned? Read your e-mail.

 

 

Image “I must be getting old…” from Flickr user idogcow, some rights reserved, Creative Commons.

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No, Really, Read Your E-mail


candy heart on keyboardI recently had to teach my sixth grade students a slightly painful lesson.  It went a little something like, this: “The school provides you with an e-mail account for a reason.  Use it.”

 

We have a new textbook, just for my sixth graders, this year.  (FYI: I teach grades one through eight technology classes.)  I have the students take a quiz on each chapter of the book.  This most recent chapter covered the World Wide Web (maybe you’ve heard of it), and I gave them a reading guide to help them grasp all the most important concepts in the chapter.  You know, the stuff in boldface print.  You know, the stuff that’s on the quiz.

 

So, there I was, a full NINE DAYS before I wanted them to have completed the reading, working on a Sunday as I sometimes do.  I made the reading guide and e-mailed it to each and every one of my darling sixth graders.  I also put it in the files section of my class page.  And I made reference to this fact in an assignment posted on the same class page.

 

Fast forward to quiz day.  Only nineteen of my forty-one Grade Six angels brought the completed reading guide to class as requested.  I heard some great excuses:

 

“My Internet didn’t work.”  For NINE WHOLE DAYS?  And you didn’t tell me?  You see me twice a week and my Internet works just fine.  No excuse.

 

“Our printer is out of ink/broken.”  And when in the past NINE WHOLE DAYS did you come see me about this issue?  My printer works just fine.  Plus, I had several students read the worksheet on-screen and write their notes on a sheet of binder paper.  (They are included in the nineteen I mentioned earlier.)  No excuse.

 

“My Mom e-mailed you . . .”  STOP right there.  Your Mom e-mailed me LAST NIGHT while I was attending my online classes.  I responded.  It doesn’t change the fact that you had this document in your e-mail Inbox for NINE WHOLE DAYS.  No excuse.

 

My students first get their e-mail addresses in third grade.  I expect that by sixth grade they are checking their e-mail at least twice a week.  And I tell them so in the first week of school.  I love e-mail.

 

Whenever I am feeling like the most awesome, helpful teacher EVER, I e-mail my students all the information and materials they need.  Well in advance of any related due dates.  And before you worry about my students having access to e-mail, please be comforted by the fact that only 2% of my middle school students report having no Internet access outside school.  58% have access on a shared computer in the home, and 36% have Internet access in their own rooms!  I have my computer lab at school open twice a week after school for any student to come use.  Therefore, I accept no excuses.

 

E-mail is a very powerful tool, and I think it’s safe to say that my private school students in Silicon Valley can look forward to a future in which they will be expected, by the people who sign their paychecks, to read and respond to their e-mails.  With the widespread of availability of Internet access in public libraries these days, e-mail could very well be the great equalizer – the leveler of playing fields everywhere – that helps all our students stay competitive and competent in school.

 

How can you get e-mail for YOUR students?  I love Gaggle.net (http://www.gaggle.net).  They have a free version and a paid version.   We also use Google Apps for Your Domain (Education Edition).  Even though you can just use the Gmail accounts that come with that, Google also works with Gaggle (I know, it sounds funny) to use my filtered Gaggle e-mail accounts in conjunction with Google Apps, in which I have the e-mail option switched off.

 

Some other ways of getting e-mail to use with your students are:

 

ThinkQuest from Oracle: http://www.thinkquest.org

 

ePals: http://www.epals.com

 

Turns out I had some great data to share with those adorable sixth graders a couple of days after that quiz on chapter three: the kids who handed in the completed reading guide averaged a B on the quiz; the kids who did not hand in the reading guide averaged an F.

 

Lesson learned? Read your e-mail.

 

 

Image “I must be getting old…” from Flickr user idogcow, some rights reserved, Creative Commons.


Print Friendly

No, Really, Read Your E-Mail

I recently had to teach my sixth grade students a slightly painful lesson.  It went a little something like, this: “The school provides you with an e-mail account for a reason.  Use it.”

We have a new textbook, just for my sixth graders, this year.  (FYI: I teach grades one through eight technology classes.)  I have the students take a quiz on each chapter of the book.  This most recent chapter covered the World Wide Web (maybe you’ve heard of it), and I gave them a reading guide to help them grasp all the most important concepts in the chapter.  You know, the stuff in boldface print.  You know, the stuff that ‘s on the quiz.

So, there I was, a full NINE DAYS before I wanted them to have completed the reading, working on a Sunday as I sometimes do.  I made the reading guide and e-mailed it to each and every one of my darling sixth graders.  I also put it in the files section of my class page.  And I made reference to this fact in an assignment posted on the same class page.

Fast forward to quiz day.  Only nineteen of my forty-one Grade Six angels brought the completed reading guide to class as requested.  I heard some great excuses:

“My Internet didn’t work.”  For NINE WHOLE DAYS?  And you didn’t tell me?  You see me twice a week and my Internet works just fine.  No excuse.

“Our printer is out of ink/broken.”  And when in the past NINE WHOLE DAYS did you come see me about this issue?  My printer works just fine.  Plus, I had several students read the worksheet on-screen and write their notes on a sheet of binder paper.  (They are included in the nineteen I mentioned earlier.)  No excuse.

“My Mom e-mailed you . . .”  STOP right there.  Your Mom e-mailed me LAST NIGHT while I was attending my online classes.  I responded.  It doesn’t change the fact that you had this document in your e-mail inbox for NINE WHOLE DAYS.  No excuse.

My students first get their e-mail addresses in third grade.  I expect that by sixth grade they are checking their e-mail at least twice a week.  And I tell them so in the first week of school.  I love e-mail.

Whenever I am feeling like the most awesome, helpful teacher EVER, I e-mail my students all the information and materials they need.  Well in advance of any related due dates.  And before you worry about my students having access to e-mail, please be comforted by the fact that only 2% of my middle school students report having no Internet access outside school.  58% have access on a shared computer in the home, and 36% have Internet access in their own rooms!  I have my computer lab at school open twice a week after school for any student to come use.  Therefore, I accept no excuses.

E-mail is a very powerful tool, and I think it’s safe to say that my private school students in Silicon Valley can look forward to a future in which they will be expected, by the people who sign their paychecks, to read and respond to their e-mails.  With the widespread of availability of Internet access in public libraries these days, e-mail could very well be the great equalizer – the leveler of playing fields everywhere – that helps all our students stay competitive and competent in school.

How can you get e-mail for YOUR students?  I love Gaggle.net (http://www.gaggle.net).  They have a free version and a paid version.   We also use Google Apps for Your Domain (Education Edition).  Even though you can just use the Gmail accounts that come with that, Google also works with Gaggle (I know, it sounds funny) to use my filtered Gaggle e-mail accounts in conjunction with Google Apps, in which I have the e-mail option switched off.

Some other ways of getting e-mail to use with your students are:

ThinkQuest from Oracle: http://www.thinkquest.org

ePals: http://www.epals.com

Turns out I had some great data to share with those adorable sixth graders a couple of days after that quiz on chapter three: the kids who handed in the completed reading guide averaged a B on the quiz; the kids who did not hand in the reading guide averaged an F.

Lesson learned? Read your e-mail.

Print Friendly