It still amazes me how useful high frequency words can be. They are just so flexible that students can talk about anything. With a little imagination and practice the range of topics is vast.

There was a school-wide bullying presentation yesterday and many students were out of class. Kids in a Spanish I class asked why we couldn’t do a unit in Spanish about bullying. I showed them the word “matón” (bully) and then asked them what words they knew in Spanish that we could use to talk about bullying. Here is what they came up with:

pide dinero (asks for money)

toma dinero (takes money)

molesta (bothers)

¡No me molestes! (Quit bugging me!)

toca (touches)

¡No me toques! (Don’t touch me!)

se ríe de (laughs at)

empuja (pushes)

grita (yells)

llora (cries)

agarra (grabs)

salta en (jumps on)

le pega (hits him)

tira (throws)

le duele (his … hurts his)

me duele (my… hurts)

¡Ay! (Ouch!)

mata (kills)

se muere (dies)

está triste (is sad)

habla de (talks about)

escribe de (writes about)

no está contento (is not happy)

le dice (says to him/her)

feo (ugly)

tonto (dumb)

gordo (fat)

estúpido (stupid)

malo (bad)

quiere jugar con (wants to play with)

quiere hablar con (wants to talk with)

no puede jugar con (can’t play with)

no puede hablar con (can’t talk with)

no puede comer con (can’t eat with)

no habla con (doesn’t talk to)

no mira (doesn’t look at)

Looking at the above lists it may seem like we have been studying bullying already. But that is not the case. Almost all of these words have arisen peripherally. The only “Need to Know” words for level I on this list are: está (is), puede (can), quiere (wants), le gusta (likes), salta (jumps), grita (yells), agarra (grabs) tira (throws), se ríe de (laughs at), and le dice (says to).