Chat Activity

Things to Do with Chat

Chat is a great for sending messages back and forth with a friend, socializing, and working together on projects.

Remember that being polite on a computer is just as important as being polite when you're speaking with someone. 

  • Be polite. Try not to interrupt.
  • Read through what people are saying before you say something.
  • Don't type in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. This style is considered rude as it is like shouting at someone.
  • If you do not speak the same language as another person it may be difficult to communicate with Chat. Be patient. If you have an Internet connection, you can try going to and type in a phrase that you want to say in another language so you can be friendly online. 


  • It can be fun to make words shorter when typing in a Chat Activity because it is faster, like texting (sending messages) on a mobile phone. For example instead of typing in "how are you?", you can type in "how r u?"

  The following are some ways you might like to try using Chat:

  • Arrange a time to meet friends to play.
  • Organize a community gathering.
  • Bring friends together to talk about doing a group project.
  • Brainstorm ideas (either "fast and furious" or by taking turns).
  • Ask your teacher questions about your homework.
  • Use Chat and write a story with friends online using the Write Activity.
  • Use Chat to practice writing in a foreign language (see if you can find a native speaker to chat with).
  • Organize other Sugar or XO users to meet and learn from each other.
  • Use Chat to communicate with a grandparent or other family member.
  • Interview an expert using the Chat Activity as if they were in the classroom, especially an expert who wouldn’t otherwise be able to visit.
  • Take group discussion notes.
  • Play a word-association game such as typing the first word that comes to mind when your friend types red.
  • Play a role-playing game (for example, have a friend pretend to be a character from a book you are reading, and chat with the role-playing friend).

Use emoticons in Chat

There are ways to tell friends how you feel just by using letters - they can let someone know if you are happy, sad, or having fun. When you make letters look like a face, they are called emoticons.

Some are written so that you read them sideways.

This is a happy face:


This is a sad face:


This is a wink:


See if you can find the keys on the keyboard to make the faces

The two dots are the colon key : and the semicolon key ;

The mouth are the parentheses keys ()


You can also make faces that go across:





Winking (^_~)

What other emoticons can you create with text in the Chat Activity?

Can you draw pictures using only the text symbols on your keyboard? This combination of a symbol and a number looks like a sideways heart <3. "I <3 my XO" means, "I love my XO."


See if you can make an XO Computer:


or a bicycle:

 _ \<,_
()/ ()

What else can you make?

Make Friends

When you are in the Neighborhood View, if you move the pointer over someone, you can see their name, and click Make Friends. When you Make Friends, your new friend appears in your Group View list.

The Group View list helps you keep a list of your friends online who you like chatting with. 

Read a past log of conversations

If you open the Journal Activity to open the Chat in the detail view, you can choose to open the Chat Activity with the Write Activity instead of the Chat Activity window.

Notes for parents and teachers

Chat presents a great opportunity engage children in reading and writing. The natural inclination for children to socialize and express themselves can be channeled in some of the exercises outlined above. (Some children who are by their nature shy and reserved, are more confident speaking up in a chat room.) Chat can be motivating and is an authentic use of language skills, however, preparation and supervision are recommended.

Prepare your children and students:

  • Remind them never to chat with someone they don't know.
  • Remind them to be courteous and never to use language they wouldn't be comfortable with in their oral communication (for example, it's OK to disagree, but not to be disagreeable).

Prepare your chat session:

  • Some teachers prepare questions in advance. They can paste these questions into the Chat session from the Clipboard or Write Activity—this helps them stay on task and keeps the pace of the session lively.
  • Limit the number of students participating in the Chat session; more that 10–12 participants makes a session chaotic.
  • Ask your students to prepare by posing questions in advance.
  • As in any classroom discussion, keep the conversation focused on just one or two topics.