5 More Words

17 Jan

5 more words (5 más palabras)

This is my activity that solves the question students always ask when learning new vocabulary (“How do I say _____?“).  It is also great for dictionary practice.  Almost every time we learn new vocabulary I assign the students this activity.  It is a grade in their Spanish journals, not a turn in assignment.  That way they will have the words with them at all times.

This works great with vocabulary where they are given a limited number of vocabulary words such as house, family, pastimes, etc.

These are the directions given to students:

  • Make a list of at least 5 words in English that are not included in your vocabulary that would be useful for this topic.
  • Find the words in Spanish and write them next to the English.  Use dictionaries or your phone. (Sometimes we do this as a portion of our day in the computer lab and they can use the computer).
  • Share your words with at least one more student.  If they have a word you think will be useful to you, copy it with your 5 More.


Word wall:

    I have the kids pick one of their words to make an entry for a word wall so everyone can see the new vocabulary words.  If the vocabulary allows, I tell them that the flashcard should have Spanish and a picture (no English). To ensure that I do not have 25 of the same flashcards on the wall, I tell the students to use the following steps:

  • Choose the word you would like to share.
  • Write the word on the whiteboard in Spanish.
  • If the word is already there you have to pick a different one.
  • Word wall flashcards must be bold and colorful to be seen from across the room.

    I keep an eye on the whiteboard to make sure the word is correct.  I seem to always get the verb “sink” as in ship instead of the noun “sink” for the kitchen….

Sentence practice:

    Have students write a sentence for each of their new vocabulary words.


Please let me know if there are other ways you might use “5 More Words”.



2 Responses to “5 More Words”

  1. cstolztprs January 26, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    I see a couple of problems with this:

    A) if all the kids pick diff words, you’ll have a bunch of vocab that only individuals know, which will reduce how muchthey can talk to each other

    B) how are you ensuring this is high-frequency vocab? If this is not in the 1000 most-used words, it will probably not be oft-repeated, and so not acqured, not useful, or both

    C) word learning in isolation is a problem. Research very clearly shows that memorising lists of words and meanings doesn’t work, because it doesn’t present language normally– as parts of sentences which are in turn parts of eithet meaning exchanges or stories.

    D) why not just tell them the words? That was you save times while they bumble through dictionaries writing down “yo lata” instead of “puedo.”

    E) If I were a student, I could do this almost entirely in English, and I would. How would you ensure that ACTFL’s 90%+ of the time target language be used in class is actually happening?

    • senorahildinger January 26, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Thanks for your questions. I will answer them the best that I can.

      A) The words go on the wall with a picture (word wall style). So, the most frequent words looked up by students end up there for all to see.
      B) When we do things like Word sorts, dialogues, draw & labels, etc. they include their 5 more.
      C) See above, they do use the words throughout the term.
      D) This is what our school calls an extension activity. The kids are going beyond the required curriculum. They choose words that will be meaningful/helpful to them. For example, in the family unit when not everyone has a step-brother, etc. or in the sports unit when someone wants to know how to say fishing. Everything simply cannot be covered with one vocabulary list. For me it really cuts down the “How do you say…?” when we do writing and speaking activities and they want to use something I have not taught.
      E) They are not allowed to just use the English. They list the English and must find the Spanish. They learn a lot about using dictionaries and translators (including what does not work). It is a journal activity to look up the words. It becomes a Spanish speaking activity when they share them with a partner and it does not take an entire class period. Maybe 20 minutes tops..

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