Lesson plan

E-etiquette and Digital Dialogue

Do your students need guidance in online peer conferences? If you need to teach your students how to collaborate in an online writing conference, then this lesson plan is for you!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use electronic devices to participate in peer writing conferences. Students will be able to participate in an online dialogue about their writing, using good etiquette and staying on the appropriate topic.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students the following opening questions: What is a dialogue? How do would you describe a productive dialogue during a writing conference?
  • Lead the students in a class discussion and if needed, explain to the students that a dialogue is communication between two individuals, usually in the form of a spoken conversation. Tell the students that etiquette is the polite behavior of individuals who are interacting with each other. Explain that most of the time we think of etiquette as a person’s polite behavior, but online etiquette (as expressed through published text online) is just as important.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning more about the best way to communicate, when participating in writing conferences online.
(10 minutes)
  • Using a sample digital document (such as a Google document), demonstrate how students can make comments on the side.
  • Model an appropriate comment, using correct English and no text abbreviations or substitutions. Tell the students that the way we “talk” during informal text conversations is very different from formal writing online. Express the expectation of academic writing instead of informal texting.
  • Show the students an example of using all capital letters and tell the students that using all capital letters can convey a different meaning and can come across as speaking loudly or being rude.
  • Remind the students that comments should be specific, helpful, and constructive. There should be no insults or put-downs of other students.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the following text in a Google document, along with a table immediately below that has one cell/space for each student: “Yesterday was a great day. I had a lot of fun playing with my friends at the park. We started playing together in the morning and spent the day together. It was a lot of fun!”
  • Ask the students to click on their designated box and write a helpful comment for the student. Remind students to use formal writing (not texting talk) and to be considerate of how the message is delivered.
  • Give students about five minutes to type their comments and suggestions.
  • Once students have finished typing their responses, discuss the responses and guide the students in how to make their responses even better.
  • Give a non-example, an example of how students should not respond. For example, you might show the students the response “U SHOULD NOT WRITE THIS WAY” and explain that this would not be a good comment because all capital letters are used, the word “you” is shortened to “U,” and the feedback is not specific and constructive.
(15 minutes)
  • Pair or group students and ask the students to share their written, typed documents with their group members.
  • Invite students to comment on each other’s work, making suggestions, as practiced as a class together.


  • Have students create a virtual “screenshot” of constructive comments that someone might see on a piece of work.
  • Ask students to brainstorm other ways that comments could be improved.


  • If students need additional support in creating constructive comments, have them practice rewriting comments on the Techy Etiquette worksheet.
  • If students are having difficulty producing constructive comments, have the students write them on a sticky note or on a piece of paper before typing them online. Check students work before they type their comment online.
  • Have the students take screenshots of their comments. Invite the recipients of the comments to share the comments with the class, if desired. Give students the choice to share comments about their writing helps prevent embarrassment.
(5 minutes)
  • Spot check the comments that students have posted on one another’s writing.
  • Ask students to write an example of a helpful comment on an index card.
(5 minutes)
  • List two examples of comments on the board. Invite students to compare the comments and to think/pair/share with a neighbor. Which comment is most beneficial and why?

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