Contact parents, teachers, and students via Gmail


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Compose an email message
  • Send an email
  • Attach a picture to an email message
  • Enable offline Gmail
  • Translate an email message


The following scenarios show examples of how educators use Gmail in their classrooms.

Make Department Announcements

Ms. Sarah Bartlet is a teacher at an independent secondary school in the UK. She is the head of the mathematics department. Her school has been so successful they are opening up another location starting with only one year of students the first year. Ms. Bartlet has been asked to be the chair of the mathematics department for both schools since the new school has only one mathematics teacher. However, the new teacher is in a different location from the other mathematics teachers.

Additionally, sometimes the only time she has access to a computer is a time when the Internet is not working. Even though she does not have an internet connection, Ms. Bartlet sends announcements to all mathematics teachers via Gmail. When her computer goes back online, her announcements are sent. She uses offline Gmail to tell teachers about upcoming meetings, and she also attaches excerpts of the new mathematics curriculum as well as photos of the new math building for the new school.

Inform Parents

Mr. Singh teaches at an international school in India and he often sends notices and announcements home with students to give to their parents. Sometimes students lose the papers. Sometimes they forget to pass the papers to their parents; other times, they might not want their parents to know.

Since his school came online, Mr. Singh now emails the parents directly to tell them about upcoming meetings, grade reports, as well as any challenges he is having with the students. He also emails parents a copy of notes from parent-teacher meetings and, using translation, emails with parents who do not speak the national language.

Alert Students

Mrs. Ewusi-Mensah, the year-five science teacher, sometimes has trouble reaching students quickly. The last time she had a tutoring request from a year-two student asking for science help from any year-five student, she had to call individual students one-by-one.

This afternoon, during her last class, she receives a request from a year-two student for tutoring help after school tonight. Knowing that many of her students check their email often, she sends one email to all of her year-five science students. Within 30 minutes, she receives 4 offers for help. She chooses one and connects the year-two students with that year-five tutor. Mrs. Ewusi-Mensah likes Gmail for student communication so much that she also uses it for announcements, quick alerts, and notifications of course changes.


Compose and send Gmail

To write and send a message:

  1. Click Compose in the top left of the screen.
  2. Write your message in the empty box.
  3. Add a parent’s email address (or teacher’s or student’s email address) in the To field. To send it to more than one email address, add multiple email addresses in the To field. Separate the addresses by a comma.
  4. Write a subject for your mail in the Subject field.
  5. Click Send.

Attach a picture

To attach a picture to a message:

  1. Search for a picture on the web.
  2. Right-click on the image.
  3. Select Save image as.
  4. Name the picture and click Save.
  5. Open a new tab and open your Gmail account.
  6. Compose a short mail that describes the assignment.
  7. Add a subject.
  8. Add the email addresses of your students in the To field.
  9. Click the paper-clip icon to attach the picture.
  10. Choose the file from the appropriate location on your computer. Click OK or Open.

Enable offline Gmail

To view your Gmail when you are offline:

  1. Click the Settings link in the top-right corner of Gmail.
  2. Click the Offline tab (available only if Offline is enabled for your domain).
  3. Select Enable Offline Mail for this computer.
  4. Click Save Changes and follow the directions from there.

Translate a Gmail message

To translate a message into another language:

  1. Click on a message you have received that you wish to translate.
  2. Click the small triangle More that is next to the reply arrow.
  3. Click Translate Message from the drop-down menu. Gmail will now give you the option to select the source (the language the email is in) and the destination (the language you want to translate into) languages. If Gmail detects that your message is in a foreign language, it will automatically display the words Translate Message.
  4. Your message is now translated.

Classroom connections

You and your students can use the information you have learned in this lesson in the following ways:

  • Send summaries of class work to students via email.
  • Send class newsletters to students and parents.
  • Hold virtual discussions with Gmail through Google Groups.
  • Collect data or distribute surveys via email.
  • Connect with peers, students, parents and school administration through email.
  • Converse with parents who do not speak the same language - this will require parents to have Gmail and be shown how to use the translation function.
  • Organize your inbox more efficiently with priority mail.
  • Ask students to submit assignments via email. You can insert your comments in the assignment and reply to the student’s email with your feedback.
  • Quickly view attachments with Gmail’s Google Docs viewer.
  • Contact organisations in other countries to support student work. For example, if the students are researching a particular country it would be useful to be able to email.
  • Contact teachers in other parts of the world - share best practices without language being a barrier.
  • Communicate anytime with peers and teachers including those in different countries who speak different languages.
  • Submit assignments electronically.
  • Contact and connect with experts.
  • Exchange and collect regional, ethnic, and urban folktales from various parts of the world.
  • Introduce yourself through email to gather information to develop a biographical sketch. You can draft, edit, revise and finally share your completed autobiography with new learning partners.
  • Plan a fictional trip to visit their "ePALS," analyzing best routes and modes of transportation and the amount of money needed, identifying sites to visit when they arrive.
  • Share stories, poems, and other creative writing with one another, regardless of language. Students in one participating class start a story. Each story-starter emails the “story” to a predetermined class or partner, where students add a new section to the story. Stories rotate to the different classes/students until reaching the original class/student sender at which time the story might end or continue.
  • Improve research assignments by being able to converse with organisations in other countries.

Learn More


Part A. Enable offline Gmail, then send and translate a message

If you have not already done so, enable offline Gmail.
Then send a message to The email must have the following requirements:

  • Subject - The subject should be Lesson 1.6 Email for Teacher MOOC
  • Attachment - Attach an image or a document

You will receive an automated message back in a non-English language. (Please remember that sometimes there is a delay.) Translate the message to English or your native language. If the message says "Success" or something similar, then you have finished the activity.

If you did not receive a response, or the response does not say that you successfully completed the activity, then check the email address to which you sent it, your subject, or your attachments. You must send it to the correct address, exactly quote the subject given above, and make sure you attach an image or document.

Part B. (Extra Credit) Forward a message

Forward the original, one-word, non-English email you received from back to Check the Help center for instructions on forwarding an email message. You will receive an automated message saying that you successfully completed the activity. (Please remember that sometimes there is a delay.)

If you did not receive an email response, or the response does not say that you successfully completed the activity, then check the email address to which you sent it and check which email you forwarded. You must send it to the correct address, and you must forward the email that says you successfully completed Part A.

Part C. (Extra Credit) Practice labels and filters

  1. In your Gmail inbox, practice creating labels and filters.
  2. Create a filter that places the label TeacherMOOC on any email coming from
  3. Create a second filter that places a label Complete on any email from that contains the words successfully.
  4. Send an email to
    • Subject - the subject should be Filter Test 1.
    • Body - In the body of the email write This is a test.

Check to see that the automatic reply email has two labels, a TeacherMOOC label and a Complete label. (Please remember that sometimes there is a delay.)

If you did not receive an email response, or the response does not say that you successfully completed the activity, then check the email address to which you sent the email, the subject, and the body of the email. You must send it to the correct address, use the exact subject, and include the exact sentence in the body. If you do receive a response that says you have successfully completed the activity but it is not labeled, check the filters again to make sure they are set correctly.

Part D. How will you use Gmail in your classroom?

Please answer all questions in order to receive credit for this project.

Please answer all questions in order to receive credit for this project.