How Do You Say Hello?

Grade Levels: K - 2


Children explore an online resource and learn how to say hello in Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic.


To allow students to appreciate linguistic diversity and learn a greeting in three major languages.


  • Internet access
  • Atlas


  1. Ask if anyone in the class speaks Spanish, Japanese, or Arabic. If at least one does, that child is the expert for this lesson. Then help children locate the countries in which Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic are spoken by using the atlas you brought to class. For Spanish, direct children to Spain, Mexico, and countries in Central and South America such as Guatemala, Bolivia, and Peru (among others); for Japanese, direct them to Japan; and for Arabic, direct them to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Iraq (among others).

  2. Go to a website with foreign language information for travelers. Many websites with information for travelers will have a language translator or a list of basic words in English and the foreign language.

  3. When you get to the language page for your foreign language and their English equivalent, find the word for "Hello." In Spanish, for example, find "Hola." If possible, play a sound file for your students: once so they can listen, and a second time so they can repeat it. Some children may want to perfect their pronunciation, so replay the sound file as many times as you (or they) want.

  4. Repeat the procedure in step 3 for Japanese and for Arabic. Find "Kon-nichiwa" for Japanese, and "Ahalan" for Arabic.

  5. Write the foreign words on the blackboard. Depending on children's abilities, see if they can recognize the written form of the word without your assistance. Or, show them how each "hello" is spelled.

Home Connection

Have children tell family members how to say hello in the three languages. Have children ask family members or neighbors if they know and can teach them "hello" in other foreign languages. Finally, have children report their findings to the class.


Have children go back to the website and find out how to say hello in additional languages. Or have them learn another basic word in Spanish, Japanese, or Arabic.

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