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Lesson Plan

What's the Difference? Beginning Writers Compare E-mail with Letter Writing

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


What's the Difference? Beginning Writers Compare E-mail with Letter Writing

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Julie Wollman, Ph.D.

Julie Wollman, Ph.D.

Worcester, Massachusetts


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Computer with projection screen or overhead projector

  • Chart paper for brainstorming ideas about differences between the samples

  • Available computers and e-mail addresses for students to compose their own letters and e-mail messages and send the messages

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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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  • This lesson assumes that students have already been introduced to e-mail as a form of communication and have basic knowledge of how to create and send a simple message. If students need a refresher on how to compose an e-mail, they can go to the kid-friendly E-mail page from the PBS Arthur site. A Beginnerís Guide to Effective E-mail and Children and Media both offer resources for teachers that would be useful in a review of e-mailing.

  • Prepare the Side-by-side E-mail Message and Letter (or an alternative) for projection.

  • Make copies for all students of the Texts for Sorting Activity about forgotten homework (or create your own examples and copy them). Cut the sheets so that the three messages are separated.

  • Make sure each student has an appropriate e-mail address to send a message to.

  • Choose a topic for the student-composed letters and messages that is relevant and purposeful in the context of your classroom.

  • Make copies of the E-Mail and Letter Writing Rubric, one for each student, to use in feedback on the project.

  • Test the Venn Diagram student interactive and the E-Mail Abbreviation student interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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