Using passwords is a joy and a great way to set the tone for each class period, but passwords also yield long-term language results. Last week I  asked the students which passwords they remembered from the entire school year… and as a group, each class remembered them all. Students said them all in Spanish and I compared them to a list I had prepared beforehand from my memory.

They remembered ones I had forgotten. I am giving them this slam-dunk test as part of their final exam this week. I expect most students will score in the the 95% range, because passwords just stick. Here are the level 1 passwords, in English, as they will appear on the test. Tomorrow, the longer and more challenging passwords from my level 3 classes (those students remembered them all too).

Here is what the level 1 test of 45 passwords will look like:

These are the passwords we have used this school year. All of them are useful. Some expressions helped us to build a culture of kindness and respect in our classroom. Others are authentic cultural expressions, and some are handy rejoinders to help you interact with Spanish speakers. Others are silly sayings, tongue-twisters or just for fun. See how many you remember! Write in Spanish.

  1. Very kind, nice, friendly (of you).
  2. With permission / Excuse me
  3. A, E, I, O, U! The donkey knows more than you.
  4. A thousand thanks.
  5. Thank you for teaching us.
  6. What’s happening? / What’s wrong?
  7. What’s happening, pumpkin?
  8. Work hard! 
  9. An interjection with many meanings in Mexican culture
  10. How are you? (formal)
  11. May I? Can I? (Literally: May one?)
  12. Yes, you can!
  13. What time is it?
  14. My house is your house. 
  15. Goodbye, cod fish!
  16. I beg your pardon? 
  17. I am going and I return / I go and I come back.
  18. I wake up at…
  19. I go to bed at…
  20. That is exactly right!
  21. How do I eat? I eat the way I eat.
  22. What’s up? / How are things?
  23. It left me. / I just forgot it. / I forget.
  24. That to you it may go well! / Hope everything goes well!
  25. Are you OK?  
  26. New Year, new life! 
  27. My mother spoils me. 
  28. I am happy as a worm!
  29. Have a good day!
  30. What is that?
  31. Bird is the word.
  32. Seriously? 
  33. I don’t believe it!
  34. Cool! 
  35. You are cool! 
  36. You are still cool!
  37. Cheer up! Look alive!
  38. I don’t know. 
  39. I’m sorry.
  40. Me too. / I also.
  41. Fast run the cars, the cars of the railroad.
  42. Forgive (me). 
  43. Help me!
  44. That’s good! / That’s great!
  45. Leaves from / Goes out of 

You can get my “What’s the Password? “ book, published by Teacher’s Discovery, here