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How many new words do you teach every lesson? 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:55 am
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Post How many new words do you teach every lesson?
I have a question concerning new words: how many do you introduce per lesson?
Normally, with 5-year-olds and upwards, I introduce 5 new words from one topic (covering 2-3 topics every less) and then add 3-4 next lesson. With younger kids, it's only 1-2 new words during each class. Generally, i try to have around 70% of old material and 30% new. It works fine because the children are not dicouraged by the amount of new things and have time to revise.
What is your strategy? Just curious :)


Last edited by hansi20 on Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:17 am, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:03 pm
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I teach 6-8 new words for children under 6-7 and 10-12 new words for elementary school children. I may go as high as 15 for upper elemetary.

I generally cover the vocabular of each flashcard set broken up over 2-4 lessons. The first couple lessons are vocabulary introduction and solidification and the following lesson or two is using the vocabulary in context and maybe writing or a worksheet in the the last lesson.

So, even though I may introduce as many as 15 new words in one day, we'll be using those 15 words for a few lessons. It also depends on the vocabulary, but that's my general pace.

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Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:14 pm
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yes I also do about 8 per lesson (depending on age and level)


Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:25 pm
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Location: Kanagawa, Japan
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I've read somewhere that the average retention rate for adults comes to 8-10 new words per day. I've always shot for this figure in my classes, with the assumption that students will know some of the pre-selected words but not know some other vocabulary. It all averages out to 8-10 words per lesson.

I recently read about an interesting activity for vocabulary. It had the students circle unknown words from an reading. The teacher also circled words he thought that the students didn't know. The results, according to the article, had only about 50% of the words between the teacher and the students match up. It highlighted that what we think the students know, and what they actually do know, often ends up as different. In many cases, the students had said, "Of course I know that word!"


Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:39 am
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I generally teach 8-12 new words in a class. I don't know about other countries, but in Japan, most of the time at least 2 or more of the vocab already exist as a katakana word. It's just a matter of adjusting pronounciation :wink: . :wink:


Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:20 pm
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I agree with above poster. When I teach the vocab, I dont have a set number at all. I just adjust how many words I teach based on lesson, and what they need to remember for the game we`ll play. The problem I have is getting them interested when Im flashcarding them and trying to get them to repeat.


Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:00 am
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"The problem I have is getting them interested when Im flashcarding them and trying to get them to repeat."

Try showing them only a portion of the card and get them to guess what it is before you teach it. More often than not at least one student knows it.

Review while you're "flashcarding":
hmm, how to I explain this???
Show the first card -listen and repeat, then show the next card -listen and repeat, then go back to the first card and get the students to say it on their own. Then go to card 3 -listen and repeat, the review cards 2 and 1 etc. Put some of the harder cards at the beginning so that they have more opportunity to repeat them.


Repeat each word three times. The first time slowly, the second time normal speed and the 3rd time be creative (fast, high, low, goofy voice)


Chants - put the cards on the board and say them to a rhythm.
clap clap BANANA, clap clap ORANGE
as the get better, increase the speed or point to the cards at random instead of in order -that way they have to think quicker and they aren't just repeating sounds.


What's missing game:
put the cards face down on the board or the floor, ask the student to close their eyes (I say 'go to sleep' so they actually put their heads down). Take one card (or more) away and ask them to 'wake up' and guess which card is missing.


Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:25 am
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Linea wrote:
What's missing game:
put the cards face down on the board or the floor, ask the student to close their eyes (I say 'go to sleep' so they actually put their heads down). Take one card (or more) away and ask them to 'wake up' and guess which card is missing.


I play this game but use it to practice the alphabet. Actually, I played this in all my elementary school classes just today. This game is like a natural high for me to play cuz' I'm always astonished by the kids' memory. I had my 3rd and 4th grade class using the entire uppercase alphabet and was up to erasing 3 letters each round, and their little minds still knew the erased letters within 5 seconds of telling them to 'wake up!'

I especially like, which is kinda cruel, pitting the students against the teacher(s) and/or parents. I know it's kinda cruel but I always seem to laugh at the adults trying to remember but quickly stop when I put myself in their shoes and know I would equally suck at the game.

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Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:47 pm
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Linea wrote:
Try showing them only a portion of the card and get them to guess what it is before you teach it. More often than not at least one student knows it.

Review while you're "flashcarding":
hmm, how to I explain this???
Show the first card -listen and repeat, then show the next card -listen and repeat, then go back to the first card and get the students to say it on their own. Then go to card 3 -listen and repeat, the review cards 2 and 1 etc. Put some of the harder cards at the beginning so that they have more opportunity to repeat them.


Repeat each word three times. The first time slowly, the second time normal speed and the 3rd time be creative (fast, high, low, goofy voice)


Chants - put the cards on the board and say them to a rhythm.
clap clap BANANA, clap clap ORANGE
as the get better, increase the speed or point to the cards at random instead of in order -that way they have to think quicker and they aren't just repeating sounds.


When flashcarding them, I do exactly as you said. However, I do like the hiding portion of the card part. And the whats missing game sounds interesting, I suppose I'll try that out as well.

Still getting all the kids involved in repeating the flashcards is difficult. Monday morning flashcarding is the worst :wink:


Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:03 pm
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I stick the cards on the board and write underneath the words and then get the students to play a make believe game that practices any structure that might naturally occur in collocation with the vocabulary in the flashcard.
e.g. If there are flashcards of clothes on the board I get a student to come to the board and pretend that he has been shopping and has bought one of the items in the flashcards. I write the question on the board:
"Have you bought a shirt?
No, I haven't. I've bought something else
Yes, I have.
The students that is at the board chooses who should ask him the question.
The person who guesses the piece of clothing that the student at the board had chosen takes the turn and comes to the front of the class.

In this way students repeat each item many times and still stay interested, they all want to get to pick the students who should ask the question.

Then I start erasing the words from the board and get the class to call out loud even the names of clothing that are no longer written. Then I get them to call out the names while removing the flashcards from the board.

I have classes of 16-26 students.


Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:16 am
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I teach around 7-9 new words per unit (and all of them are presented at the first lesson, and just revised and practised on other 4 lessons) - kindergarten students; and around 10-15 those aged 8 or 9 (divided on 3 lessons).


Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:21 pm
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Post Re: How many new words do you teach every lesson?
My kindergarten have asked me to teach 23 words and 5 sentences per month to a class of 5-6 year. They have asked me to teach in 3 weeks and then review them in week 4. I told them 9.33 words a week is too much. There’s no real science on how many words in a foreign language a kid can learn. I know in a native language, a 6 year old can learn up to 20 words a day, but we all know learning a foreign language, via flash cards, is totally different. For context, I teach them 3 times per week, 30 mins per class.

For 3-6 year olds. Based on observing the children progress, I’ve always had a rule of 4-5 new words and 1 sentence every two lessons.


Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:41 pm
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