Gmail: Undo a Sent Email

Are you using Gmail with students, parents, or co-workers? If so, it’s helpful to know how to undo a sent email. This is an easy tip that allows you to “take back” an email even after you click “Send.”

We’ve all experienced the sinking feeling of sending an email that has a mistake in it. As an English teacher, I feel immense pressure to make sure my messages are as close to perfect as possible. In an earlier blog, I mentioned using Grammarly to minimize errors, but there is nothing quite like a “take back” when it comes to emails!

Here is how you set it up:

1. Log into your Gmail and click the cog symbol in the upper right-hand corner of your screen then select “Settings.”

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2. Once you are in your settings, click “Labs” and scroll down until you see “Undo Send.”

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3. Click “Enable” Undo Send and “Save Changes.”

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Now when you send an email using Gmail, you will see the yellow message box at the top of your screen that reads “Your email has been sent.” Next to this message box, you’ll see you have a new “Undo” option. Default settings will give you 10 seconds to undo a sent message.

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Need more than 10 seconds? You can change the default setting by clicking on the cog symbol in the right-hand corner of your Gmail, select “Settings” and view the “General” settings page. Scroll down until you see “Undo send” then you can select up to 30 seconds before the “Undo” option will disappear.

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Teachers looking for more on Google should check out the following blogs:

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Shakespeare Soundtrack Project

In my last blog post “Don’t Just Read Shakespeare, Perform It!”, I encouraged other teachers to have students perform Shakespeare’s plays instead of simply reading them. I want students to enjoy Shakespeare, but I also want them to think about why the situations, themes, and characters in his plays have remained popular for hundreds of years.

Since we perform the play in class, students don’t have reading for homework. Instead, they complete an ongoing Shakespeare Soundtrack Project. Each night they take the scenes we’ve performed in class and pair each scene with a song. They have to write a paragraph analyzing how the song fits the scene. I encourage them to think about the following questions:

  • Is there a theme present in the song that is also developed in the scene?
  • Does the song describe a person who reminds you of a character in the scene?
  • Are the emotions in that particular song reminiscent of the emotional state of the characters in the scene?
  • Does the song mirror the action in the scene?
  • Does the pacing of the song match the pacing in the scene?

Students must include quotes from both the play and the song (if there are lyrics) to support their analysis of how the song fits the scene. Instead of collecting their soundtracks on paper, I use my Schoology site and students post their analytical paragraphs to a shared discussion thread. This makes the activity more social and exciting because they can read and comment on each other’s song choices.

Below is a screenshot of our soundtrack project for the Prologue in Romeo and Juliet.

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Most students love music, which makes this project a fun challenge for them. I love that they are analyzing the play and supporting their statements with textual evidence. It’s a win-win!

Click here to view a Google document with a description of the project and some fun extra-credit ideas. If you have a Gmail address, simply log into your account then click “File” at the top of this document. Select “Make a copy” and it will automatically save in your Google Drive.

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Don’t Just Read Shakespeare, Perform It!

Shakespeare’s plays are a staple in high schools across the country. Unfortuntately, when most students hear the name “Shakespeare” they react with a mixture of dread and anxiety. They worry they won’t “get it” and chances are they won’t get a lot of it. I think that’s okay. Do I understand every line of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets? No. Does that mean I don’t enjoy them? No. Shakespeare’s words are beautiful and his plays are captivating, even if I don’t understand every turn of phrase.

So, when I teach a Shakespeare unit, my goal is to make sure my students enjoy it! I want their first experience with Shakespeare to be a positive one. Hopefully, one they will remember.

In class, students get roles, rehearse outside in the quad with peers and perform on our makeshift stage. Although some students are initially nervous, most end up loving the physicality of actually moving, gesticulating, and interacting with peers as they perform.

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I’m not a drama teacher, but I know enough about acting to guide my students. Before assigning roles and giving them time to rehearse, I remind my students to do the following in their acting troupes:

  1. Read through your lines and talk about what is happening in your section of the scene.
  2. Figure out who you should be talking to and looking at.
  3. Identify the emotional undertone of your lines.
  4. Practice your movements, gestures, and intonation.
  5. Face your audience and stay in character even when you aren’t speaking!

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The result of asking students to put themselves out there and perform is that they are more likely to really think about what is happening in the play. To bring a scene to life, they need to understand the characters…their fears, their motivations, and their relationships to other characters.

There is also an element of “making” in this approach to teaching Shakespeare. I am not telling the students what to do or how to tackle a scene. Instead, students work together to build a scene. Often they construct basic props to help the audience follow the action in the scene. It is exciting to see them get into character and have fun with it. I’m amazed by how willing they are to take risks. I believe that is a direct result of the safe space we’ve created in our physical classroom.

Here are some short clips of my students’ performances!

My next blog will be about the creative soundtrack project my students complete while we read Shakespeare!

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