Why I Taught My Fifth Graders to Write a Polite Email Step-by-Step

The world has evolved tremendously when it comes to communication, and email has become the most common means of correspondence both personally and professionally. Despite its prominence, it’s surprising to see how many people lack basic email etiquette. As a teacher, I believe that it’s my responsibility to prepare my students for the real world, and that includes teaching them how to write a polite email. Here is my step-by-step approach to teaching my fifth graders how to draft a respectful and professional message.

1. Understand the Purpose of an Email

The first thing I taught my students was the purpose of an email. We discussed how emails are used for various reasons – from casual invitations, school updates to professional inquiries and job applications. With this understanding in place, they realized that their language and tone had to vary based on the type of email they were sending.

2. The Subject Line

We started our lesson by focussing on one of the most important aspects of an email – the subject line. My students learned that an eloquent subject line should not be too long or too vague – people should understand what the email is about without having even read its content. We practiced writing short and concise subject lines that accurately conveyed the essence of their emails.

3. The Greeting

Using proper greetings in an email sets its tone and shows respect towards the recipient. My students learned that using simple greetings like “Dear [Recipient’s Name]” are essential in beginning a polite email. Moreover, we practiced how to address someone with their formal titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms.

4. The Body

In this part, my students were taught how to clearly present their thoughts in a coherent manner. They practiced writing organized paragraphs, dividing information or thoughts into separate sections, and ensuring logical flow throughout the body of their emails.

During this step, I also emphasized the importance of using formal language and avoiding slang or abbreviations. They learned to be mindful of their tone, maintaining politeness even if they are requesting something or expressing a concern.

5. The Closing

Closing an email is like ‘saying goodbye’; my students learned that it is essential to acknowledge readers by thanking them for their time and attention. We discussed different types of closings such as “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” and “Yours truly,” and practiced using them in conjunction with the tone and purpose of their emails.

6. Proofreading

Lastly, we covered the importance of proofreading their emails before sending them out. My students understood that everyone makes mistakes, but a formal email should be as professional and polished as possible. We practiced checking for spelling errors, grammar issues, and inconsistent formatting.

Teaching my fifth graders how to write a polite email step-by-step has equipped them with important life skills that will not only benefit them academically but also in future workplace situations. Moreover, it reflects upon us as educators to ensure our students leave our classrooms having honed not just academic knowledge but real-world abilities as well.

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