Wednesday, February 11, 2009

R U a Spelling B champion?

Last night, I had the privilege of being the pronouncer for our local county spelling bee. I believe we had about 24 students from 4 area county schools, from grades 6,7,8.

I've never done this before, so I was probably as nervous as the contestants. One of the neat things the organizer did was to use words from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird as their practice words. This was because our community will soon be involved in a community reads program (MarionReads) and we will be reading/watching/discussing that book. I so appreciated her including that for us.

As I said, I've never done this before so I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing, other than pronouncing. It seems I needed to announce the end of each round and would the students who misspelled in the round please leave the competition area? I also indicated if they pronounced it correctly or not. And at the end, I was to announce the winner. Had I known this ahead, I would have been better prepared for my duties and made sure the students received the appropriate recognition.

The words were interesting and I am grateful I knew most of them! I was asked at times to repeat the pronounciation, to give a definition and/or use it in a sentence.

I was amazed at the words the students spelled and they varied from fairly easy to more complicated with each turn. I used an offical guide that included the pronunciation and the definition and a sentence. Fortunately, we didn't use the 300 words I was given, because I wasn't sure of some of them myself. Being a pronouncer certainly gives you a reality check for your own knowledge!

After 45 minutes and quite a few rounds, a winner was declared; a 7th grade young lady from Ridgedale. The winner and runner-up each got trophies; others received gifts cards and medallions and there was a nice reception afterward. As a bonus, it was recorded to be broadcast on a local TV channel this coming Saturday. If I can find a TV with cable, I'll check and see how bad I look from behind and how well I sounded pronouncing. Our local newspaper photographer was there snapping pictures. I hope he missed me!

I enjoyed this experience and look forward to doing it again, if asked. Now that I know how it sort of progresses, I will be better prepared next time.

I encourage you to get involved with or attend a local spelling bee. You'll gain an appreciation for what you were taught (or maybe regret that you didn't pay better attention in English class when you were learning vocabulary!)

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