We all remember back to the days of the elementary school spelling tests that we had each week. Ten words, write ‘em down, done and done. But what about spelling in another language?
There are several purposes of a Spanish Spelling Bee as a part of FeriaSCSC. First, to help students expand their vocabulary. Research shows that it is vocabulary, more so than grammar, that helps students read (in any language!). The Spelling Bee is meant to be a fun way to expose students to more words. Second, these words can then be put to use in the Impromptu Speaking and Timed Writing portions of the competition. Nobody wants to talk like a toddler, and throwing in some fancy vocabulary can increase a student’s confidence (and score!). Finally, pronunciation is often an afterthought in many language classrooms, because let’s face it, we have a lot going on! Spelling, letter sounds, and vowel pronunciation can all help a student to have more linguistic awareness as they continue to learn Spanish.
What can you do to prepare? Here are a few ideas!
- Decide on your 16 students that you are taking to FeriaSCSC. Spanish Honor Society members? Spanish Club members? Or maybe you choose a few students from each class? Then set up a plan to practice with these students.
- Spend some time discussing how each letter of the alphabet is pronounced, especially vowels. Pay special attention to letters that are different depending on the situation (for example, the letter g – “gigante” has it pronounced two different ways).
- Use the list of words from FeriaSCSC.org to start! This is the list of words that will be used in the actual competition.
- You could do practice as a whole group using mini-white boards and markers, or have them work in teams to call out words to one another.
- Definitions are not required for the Spelling Bee, but what if you had students work in teams to look some of them up and create sentences with them? Or use ten words from the list in their practice Impromptu Speaking and Timed Writing activities?
- Games! Hangman can be done as a class, teams, or small groups. You can also have students divided into teams, come up to the board, you call out a word, and they race to see who can write it down correctly first.
In the end, you are allowed to send one student from your school to participate in FeriaSCSC. I recommend that you hold your own school-based spelling bee to determine the winner. However, in the prep work, all students will benefit from expanding their vocabulary and linguistic awareness!