What is a spelling bee? Who competes? How many words do you need? Read on to find the answers to these questions, and more!
all the buzz about? Just what is a spelling bee , anyway?
Answer: A spelling bee is simply a contest to find out who can spell the most words correctly.
Question: Is there more than one kind of spelling bee? Must we always follow the same rules for a spelling bee?
Answer: Yes, there is more than one kind of bee. No, you don't always have to follow the same rules. But you do need to make the rules clear to all participants in advance. The Scripps National Spelling Bee uses the format is perhaps most familiar. There are also simpler, less rigid formats that you can use.
Why are there different kinds of bees? How do you know which
kind to use?
Answer: For fun spelling bee in a single classroom, try a Spelldown. For this contest, divide the students into two teams. Read the first word to a player on Team 1. If he spells it correctly, he goes to the end of the line for his team and awaits another turn. If he is incorrect, the same word must be spelled by the first player on Team 2. If that player cannot spell the word, both players remain in the game. The teacher provides the correct spelling.
Note: There are lots of variations that work well with this format.
are the general rules for a more formal bee?
Answer: Usually all players compete against each other. If one player misspells a word, he is out of the bee and leaves the contest at the end of the round. When only two players remain, the rules change slightly. Read my general rules.
How many students should you have in a spelling bee?
Answer: The number is very flexible. You could have as few as 8-10 or as many as 200! But remember, when 1 student is spelling, the other 199 are getting very bored. So I would advise keeping the group size down to a maximum of 40 or so.
For very large groups, it's best to divide the group for separate competitions. Then bring the winners of those groups together for a final spelling bee.
For example, each middle school class could have a bee to determine its
top speller. Then the school could hold an all-school bee where those
classroom winners compete against each other in front of the entire
group of students to find the best speller in the school.
do you know what words to use for a spelling bee? What is a spelling bee word list?
Answer: This is perhaps the most frequently asked question of all. Here at Spelling Words Well, I've compiled several free lists for grades 2-8. Each of these lists contains about 100 words that are appropriate for a certain grade. The lists begin with easy words and end with very difficult words.
I've also compiled some more extensive lists with definitions, sentences, parts of speech and languages. See my store page for more details.
Question: How many words will I need?
Plenty!!! The actual number depends on the skills of the spellers and
the difficulty of your word list. For example, if you have very capable
spellers and a slightly easy word list, you'll need LOTS of words. If
you have average spellers with a very difficult word list, you won't
need nearly as many because spellers will drop out of the bee quickly.
In a classroom bee with 25 spellers of varying abilities, you should have at least 100 words.
words should be avoided?
Answer: Don't use words with more than one acceptable spelling. I also think it's best avoid words with apostrophes, hyphens and capital letters. You won't be short on words if you eliminates these!
Note that in the materials here at Spelling Words Well, we use the American spellings. If you are accustomed to British spellings, you'll have to alter a few of the words.
Question: How can I organize several school buildings within my school district into one big spelling bee final event?
Answer: Often the best way is to hold a series of spelling bees, following these three steps.
1) Ask each teacher to hold a simple spelling bee in his or her classroom to select the top speller in that class. (See info and links above for rules.)
2) Send all the classroom winners to a school-wide spelling bee to determine the top speller in that school building
3) Finally, hold a district-wide spelling bee to find the top speller in the entire school district.
To do this, you will need a lot of spelling bee words: words for the classroom level, words for the school championships, and words for the district finals. You'll want to have some very difficult spelling bee words for those finals, because only your top spellers will be competing.
Hopefully you're no long asking, "What is a spelling bee?" But you might have other questions. Please submit them. We'll try to answer
quickly as possible! See below for more Q/A...
A Canadian speller recently submitted this question. Here is my reply: