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Confirmation Emails for youngsters

Many online services require a one-time email confirmation (the service sends an email to the address that the new user provides, and the user has to click a link to activate his or her new account.) For 7th graders and younger, this can present a problem, since we have configured their Google Apps accounts such that they can only send and receive email with other users in our domain. However, as a teacher, if you make a personal Gmail account (, there's a nifty workaround:

1. Set up a personal Gmail account for your school or class; for example, ""

2. Tell your students to sign up for the new service using that email address, with a + sign and their own (the students') first name (or classroom number, or any other name shortcut that indicates which student is using this) after your Gmail address. YOU will still receive the email; but a) you can tell who has registered, and b) your students can each have a unique-seeming email address.

Example: If my classroom Gmail account is, then Adam can use:

And Ashley can use

This allows Adam & Ashley to proceed with getting access to the site – often, the only reason they need access to an email account is to receive the confirming email to complete the registration (which YOU can do, as the ‘owner’ of the original Gmail account and the actual recipient of the email.)

Students can’t use this modified email address to send or receive email to each other. If someone uses to try to send a message to Adam, it will end up in the inbox, where you as the teacher can moderate.

Note: When setting up a school-use gmail account for yourself, remember that students (and possibly parents) will see and use your email name, so choose wisely! Avoid accounts such as or

Also note that this trick ONLY works with an actual "" email address; it will NOT work with our Google Apps domain addresses.

For kids with intra-domain-only email, we have already made exceptions for the services we use widely: Prezi, YoungWritersProject, VoiceThread, DropBox, Apple, So, THOSE kids CAN register for those things as themselves, and will receive the confirmations. This hack would be for a one-time-use service, or for kids with no email enabled at all.

Permission freely given to make copies with attribution for school use
MACUL 2011 Marilyn Western
(modified slightly for clarity by Marion Bates Feb 2014)