Sending Email (K-2)

How do you connect with others through email?

Students explore how they can use email to communicate with real people within their schools, families, and communities.

After discussing the different ways they can send messages to other people, students observe an email exchange between teachers on paper. Students then participate in an imaginative role-play that helps them envision how messages are transmitted between people over the Internet.

Students will be able to ...

  • understand that the Internet provides a means of communicating with real people.
  • describe how email messages are sent and received.
  • demonstrate an appreciation of how real people send messages to one another on the Internet through a role-playing activity.


Materials and Preparation

  • Copy the Emails in Print Student Handout, one for every two students, or conduct a brief email exchange with another teacher at school and print out a string of at least three messages to show to students
  • Paper, blank labels or nametags, and markers or crayons
  • Access to school email network


Teaching Plans


Warm-up (10 minutes)

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term message.

ASK: To whom do you send messages? Who sends messages to you?
Encourage students to think about relatives who may live far away, as well as friends from school that they sometimes talk to when they are at home.

ASK: What kinds of messages do you need to send other people?
Students may mention making plans, sharing news, talking about homework, or wishing someone a happy birthday.

ASK: What are some ways that you send and receive messages?
You may wish to reinforce students’ understanding of the terms “send” and “receive” by writing a short message on a piece of paper and having them pass it around the classroom. They can practice saying the words “send” and “receive” as they hand off the message. Sample responses:

  • Written notes passed by hand
  • Written letters sent through the mail
  • Telephone calls
  • Cell phone calls
  • Text messages


  • Have you heard of email?
  • Do you have an email account?
  • Do other members of your family have an email account?
  • Have you ever sent or received an email?
  • How do you think email works?

​DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term email, and encourage students to discuss the idea that email is one way to send and receive messages.


teach 1

Sending a Message (15 minutes)

DISCUSS the idea that an email is a message that travels through the Internet. It travels from the computer of the person who sends it to the computer of the person who receives it. Have students describe how they might like to use email to connect with other people they know.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term Internet.

CREATE an area of your classroom that is distinct from other areas – a rug area, or an area you set off using floor tape or other barriers.

ARRANGE students in small groups and distribute paper, blank nametags, and markers or crayons. Have one group make a sign that says Internet and place it in the rug area. Have other groups make sets of nametags with each of the following words: "send," "receive," and "email." There should be enough sets for each student in your classroom to wear one nametag. (For example, if there are 24 students in your class, you should have eight nametags with each word.)

CHOOSE three volunteers and complete the following steps.

  1. Present two of the students with the send and receive nametags and have them stand just outside the Internet area, on opposite sides. Tell them to imagine they are in different classrooms.
  2. Instruct the “send” student to write a brief message (which can be as simple as “Hello”) for the “receive” student.
  3. Present the third student with the email nametag. Have that student pick up the message from “send” and deliver it to “receive.”
  4. Ask the “receive” student to read the message aloud.
  5. Repeat the activity with new volunteers. Invent new scenarios for the role-play, such as the following (or invite students to come up with their own):
  • Sending a message to a family member at home
  • Sending a message to a friend about an after-school plan
  • Sending a message to a relative in another town or country

PRESENT students with the following scenario: I’d like to tell (name a teacher in another classroom) some important news. I can’t go and tell him/her now, because I am teaching in this room.

ASK: How will I get the message to her/him?
Students may suggest using a cell phone to call or text, or sending a student with a written note. They may also suggest the computer or email.

ENCOURAGE students to discuss how through email you can use a computer to send the news to your colleague when he or she is somewhere else. Using email, you can send messages to people without being in the same place, and without seeing them or talking to them on the phone.


teach 2

Traveling the Internet (20 minutes)

DISTRIBUTE the Emails in Print Student Handout, which shows an email exchange between two teachers. Read aloud the exchange between the two teachers.

ASK: Which message was sent first?
Point out to students that when they view a series of email messages, the most recent email message appears first, while the first message is at the bottom.

ASK: Who sent the third message? Who received it?
Direct students’ attention to the different elements of the message headings, which show who sent the message, who received it, when it was sent, and the subject. Help them see that Mr. Gray sent the third email and Ms. Brown received it.

INVITE students to watch you type a brief email message to another teacher, fill in the recipient and subject information, and click the button to send it.

ASK: How could I send a message to a different teacher in our school? To our principal? To the nurse?
Guide students to recognize that email messages can be sent to all of these people as long as they have access to a computer.

ASK: Can you send a message to a family member at home or at work? Can you send a message to a friend who lives in another town, or even another country?
Help students understand that email messages can be sent all over the world, to anyone who has a computer. Remind them that they should always ask a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult when using email. Adults can help them create and send messages.



Wrap-up (5 minutes)

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives.

ASK: What is an email?
A kind of message that you send using a computer. 

ASK: What happens when you send an email?
It travels through the Internet to the computer of another person, who receives it.

ASK: Who should you ask before creating and sending an email?
A trusted adult, like a parent, family member or teacher.

Extension Activity

Explain to students that they can send the same email message to more than one person at a time. When they send it, the message travels through the Internet in two or more directions. Have students draw pictures of themselves sending a message to two other people (a friend or teacher at school) and someone outside of school. The drawing should visualize the email traveling through the Internet. Have them label the drawing with their own name as the sender and the names of the two recipients. You may also want to have them label the drawing with the words "send," "receive," "email," and "Internet." Invite volunteers to share their drawings with the class and explain how people communicate through the Internet.

At-Home Activity

Remind students that the Internet connects people all over the country and all around the world. Have students think of a friend or relative who lives in another town or another country. With the help of a parent or family member, have students compose an email message to that person. If students do not have computers at home, they can compose their message on a sheet of paper and write the person’s email address at the top of the message. They can bring their messages into school and send them from a school computer, with help from a teacher.


Alignment with Standards

Common Core & NETS•S
Common Core State Standards Initiative ©2012 & National Educational Technology Standards for Students ©2007, International Society for Technology in Education

Common Core:

  • grade K: RL.1, RL.4, RL.10, RI.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4, W.2, W.5, W.7, W.8, W.10, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.2, SL.3, SL.4, SL.5, SL.6, L.6
  • grade 1: RL.1, RL.4, RI.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4a, W.5, W.7, W.8, L.6
  • grade 2: RL.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4a, W.2, W.7, W.8, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.1c, SL.3, SL.6, L.6

NETS•S: 6a