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Why is Email Etiquette So Important?

High school students are entering a world where everything is digital. Their college applications, job applications, even their social lives are based online. As they’ve gone through school, it’s likely they’ve developed many bad email habits. While emails to friends can be littered with abbreviations, contain no formal email structure, and be sent at two in the morning, this is not how students should format a follow-up for a job interview. As students get older, it is important to teach them the do's and don'ts of email, as well as other online etiquette, to prevent these avoidable faux pas.

Here is an example of a Do’s and Don’ts storyboard for student, formal, and business email etiquette. In half of the cells, we see a "don’t" illustrated clearly and in the other half, we see the proper way to send the same email. This storyboard covers skills like conciseness, using proper English, and sending personalized (rather than chain) emails to friends and family.

Storyboards are an excellent way to learn and discuss proper email etiquette. By utilizing characters and scenes, as well as text, students will grasp how their emails affect the people who receive them. Email formatting often seems like a chore for no reason, but, give students the ability to show how poorly written emails are perceived, and they will grasp the importance of eloquent emails.

In addition to helping students imagine the impact of their emails, these storyboards give teachers a way to instantly assess and redirect students in real time. The easy-to-understand nature of storyboards means you will be able to see immediately if a student has mastered the concept. You can correct him or her right away, and they won’t need to wait days to receive feedback on graded homework.

Ideas For Email Etiquette Storyboards

  • Have students create a "Dos" and "Don’ts" storyboard. Let them think of their own or give them specific guidelines to include.
  • Create a storyboard that helps students understand what types of emails are likely to contain viruses, and which are safe.
  • Create storyboards that demonstrate when to "BCC" or "CC", and when to "reply" rather than "reply all".
  • Ask students to create a storyboard of "non-ideal" emails. For example: emails sent in the middle of the night, emails sent when angry, or emails with inappropriate content.

Formal Email Worksheets

If you want to give students a template to help guide them through the format of a formal email and help them pre-draft important emails (without worrying about accidentally sending an unfinished version), you can customize email worksheets! Students can complete them digitally or fill them out by hand, and this is perfect for helping them see structure and take their time practicing without staring at a blinking cursor.

How to Teach Email Privacy and Security


Introduce the Importance of Email Privacy and Security

Begin by explaining to students why email privacy and security are crucial in the digital age. Discuss potential risks and consequences of sharing personal information or falling victim to email scams.


Teach Email Privacy Best Practices

Educate students on best practices for maintaining email privacy, such as using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly updating their email account settings.


Identify and Avoid Phishing Attempts

Teach students how to recognize phishing emails and educate them on common red flags, such as unfamiliar senders, grammatical errors, urgent requests for personal information, or suspicious links and attachments. Encourage them to verify email requests through alternative channels before responding or providing any sensitive information.


Protect Personal Information

Instruct students to be cautious about sharing personal information via email and remind them to only provide sensitive details on secure websites or through encrypted channels. Emphasize the importance of never sharing passwords, social security numbers, or financial information through email.


Discuss Email Safety Measures

Teach students how to utilize safety measures within email platforms, such as marking suspicious emails as spam, blocking unwanted senders, and reporting phishing attempts to the email provider. Demonstrate the process of flagging and reporting suspicious emails to protect themselves and others.


Foster Responsible Digital Citizenship

Emphasize the importance of responsible digital citizenship by encouraging students to think critically before clicking on links, downloading attachments, or responding to emails from unknown sources. Encourage them to report any potential security threats or concerns to a trusted adult or school authority.

Frequently Asked Questions about Email Etiquette for High School Students

What is email etiquette?

Email etiquette refers to the set of guidelines and norms that dictate the proper way to communicate through email. It includes proper formatting, tone, and language to use when writing emails, as well as rules for sending and replying to emails. Good email etiquette helps to ensure clear communication and avoid misunderstandings or offense.

Why is email etiquette important for high school students?

High school students are entering a world where everything is digital, and their college and job applications are based online. It's important for them to know how to write professional emails that convey their message clearly and politely.

How can storyboards be used to teach email etiquette?

Storyboards can be used to illustrate the impact of poorly written emails and to help students understand proper email formatting and language. They can also be used to assess and redirect students in real-time.

What are some ideas for email etiquette storyboards?

Dos and Don'ts storyboard, storyboard for safe email practices, storyboard for when to BCC or CC, and when to reply versus reply all, and storyboard for non-ideal emails such as those sent in the middle of the night, when angry or with inappropriate content.

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