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Lesson Plan

E-pals Around the World

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


E-pals Around the World

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.

Lexington, Kentucky


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






Overhead projector and transparencies

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  • Sample Letter (handout and transparency)
  • Blank E-mail Message (handout and transparency)

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1. Log on to the ePals Global Community website. While access to this site is free, you will need to provide some personal information (e.g., the name of your school and your e-mail address) to register your class. Begin a search for a class interested in participating in an e-mail exchange.

2. Complete preliminary communications with the teacher who responds to your request for an e-pal assignment. Pair each student in your class with an e-pal from the corresponding class—it is best to select a class with a similar number of students. Also, obtain the school's mailing address for sending letters.

3. Check with your school's privacy policy in regard to Internet and e-mail access. If needed, complete a parental permission form for each student to participate in an e-pal program. Your technology administrator should be able to assist you with this task.

4. Develop a communication schedule with the teacher you have paired with for the program. What are your expectations for message exchanges? Suggest and agree on a timeline for assignments, such as one written letter every two weeks and one e-mail message every week. Make sure the timeline is agreeable to both parties involved. It can be very frustrating for students to send messages and never receive any response.

5. Reserve class time in the computer lab for students to send their first e-mail message. This will enable you to address any problems that arise initially. After the first e-mail, develop a schedule for students to send future messages using the classroom computers. One suggestion is to place a calendar near the classroom computers with the names of the students written on each day to help adhere to a schedule.

6. Constant communication with the coordinating teacher is very important throughout the project. Once students get to know each other, you can coordinate topics for discussion or collaborative projects that fit in with your curriculum. Some examples include comparisons of cultures, geographic areas, language, collaborative writing activities, and book talks.

7. Write a sample friendly letter to your students inviting them to join this special project. As part of the letter, include an explanation for why they are participating in the letter exchange. You might also include information about the location of their e-pals, your expectations for their participation, and other pertinent information. This sample letter provides the format for a friendly letter and can be revised for your own purposes. Make an overhead transparency of this letter for classroom instruction.

8. Print a blank e-mail message from your computer using a print screen function. If you have a projector that connects to a computer, you can display the blank e-mail message directly onto an overhead screen. Make paper copies for each student to use as a worksheet and a transparency if you do not have the technology to project the e-mail from a computer screen.


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