1. GENERAL BEST PRACTICES
- Thoroughly read the rules and guides months before the bee, even before you distribute study materials.
- Using the Pronouncer Guides, plan your school’s spelling bee. (Keep the Pronouncer Guides secure)
- Look at each word, decide of you want to 'throw out' any of the words.
- Mark up the pronouncer guide to indicate where you would like to begin rounds. During the bee wait until a round is completed before advancing to a more difficult level. Once you progress to the more difficult words, do not backtrack.
It is good to have a 'back-up word list' in case you run out of words.
- Recruit your judges, pronouncer and back-up pronouncer months/weeks before the bee.
Send a copy of the Spelling Bee Rules to your judges. Send a copy of the pronouncer guide to your pronouncer.
- Reserve the room, arrange for microphones, chairs, etc.
- Arrange for certificates or trophy.
- Print speller numbers, participant certificates, and program. [Your spelling bee account has a certificate maker.]
2. SPELLING BEE WORKERS
- Registration Helpers
- Media Wrangler, responsible for the lights, sound, and recording equipment
- Pronouncer and Judges: Have a meeting before the bee starts so that each judge knows what to do and is familiar with the word lists and the rules.
Many bees assign specific tasks to each judge: spokesperson/bell ringer; scribe (record each letter the child spells). Some bees have the judges announce the sentences and definitions when requested by the speller. Most bees have the pronouncer do all of those tasks.
- Greeter/Hugger: As the speller exits the stage, a greeter/hugger gives encouragement and acknowledgment of his/her effort.
This helps the speller know how to exit and helps her/him to not feel awkward upon exiting.
3. TECHNICAL ISSUES
ROOM/AUDITORIUM LAYOUT - There are two main ways to lay out a spelling bee.
- Stage/Room option 1
Spellers are on stage in rows that are profile to the audience. The spellers look toward one side of the stage where the pronouncer and judges are located.
One student at a time walks up to the microphone and stands facing the pronouncer.
This layout puts the speller closer to the pronouncer and judges.
- Stage/Room option 2
Spellers are on stage in rows facing the audience. The judges and pronouncer are on the floor facing the spellers, backs to the audience.
One student at a time walks up to the microphone and faces the audience, pronouncer and judges.
This layout looks like a traditional spelling bee but needs more lighting and sound amplification to make sure the speller can understand the word being given.
- Appeals Table: Have a clearly visible table/desk manned by a spelling bee official with forms for appeals.
Place this table away from the judges/pronouncer so it won't distract the spellers.
The bee official assigned to the appeals table should take the form to the judges. Judges can rule on the appeal at the end of the round.
- Make sure the speller can see the pronouncer. You do not want the pronouncer's mouth to be in shadow.
If you choose the layout in which the pronouncer is on the floor and the spellers are on the stage, make sure the pronouncer has good lighting.
MICROPHONES AND SOUND AMPLIFICATION
- Have at least one microphone for the pronouncer and one microphone for the speller.
Auditoriums are usually set up for the audience to hear. So, Make sure the sound system is configured in such a way that the speller can hear the pronouncer and the pronouncer and judges can hear the speller.
- Options for adjusting the height of microphone for students:
- Don't use a stand. Instead, lay the handheld microphone on a padded stool. Each student holds the microphone to his/her comfort level and then lays the microphone on the padded stool when finished.
- Have two stands: one short and one tall
- Have a stand with a flexible neck and let each child adjust as needed.
- Test the system ahead of the bee to confirm that the speller can hear the pronouncer and the pronouncer/judges can gear the speller.
AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDING - If a protest arises, the judges may need hear a replay.
- Tape recorder, digital voice record, or video camera are all acceptable devices.
- If the device is battery operated, have fresh batteries and an extra set of batteries.
- Have at least 3 hours of tape or digital recording space.
- Test the system ahead of the bee to confirm that the device works with the sound system and replays clearly.
4. SPELLER ARRIVAL AND ASSIGNMENT OF SPELLER NUMBER
- option 1 - Numbers are preassigned alphabetically by school name.
- option 2 - Numbers are assigned randomly by drawing numbers as each speller arrives at the registration table.
- option 3 - Spellers select their own numbers as they arrive. Numbers are spread out face up on the registration table. As each speller arrives, he/she picks from the remaining numbers.
5. BEFORE THE BEE BEGINS - Rules, Introductions and Practice Round
- The rules should be read aloud to the participants and the audience.
- Let each child introduce himself/herself and conduct a practice round. This gives the students experience on the microphone, lets them know where to stand and 'breaks the ice'.
- The practice round should be easy...you can even let them know what their word will be when they receive their speller numbers.
- The practice round should also have a bee person show an example of what will happen when a word is misspelled.
6. DURING THE BEE
When a Student Misspells - Announce the correct spelling.
option 1: The pronouncer or judge can announce the correct spelling after the word has been misspelled.
This public announcement helps everyone in the audience to understand the error.
option 2: A greeter can meet the speller as he/she exits the stage and show the correct spelling in the printed competition word list.
Bell or No Bell?
The Scripps National Spelling Bee dings a bell when a word is misspelled.
Many students expect this after watching the broadcast. It isn't mandatory, but many people expect it.
The 'ding' also helps the audience know how the judge ruled if her/his voice is difficult to hear.
7. After the School Spelling Bee is Completed
- Log-in to your Scripps National Spelling Bee account and report your school champion’s information. Please do this soon after your bee but no later than January 17, 2014.
- Download and give a copy of "Spell-It!" to your school champion to prepare for the regional/district bee.
- There are two formats of "Spell-It!: one versions is with graphics and one version is without graphics.
Each contains the same words, but presentation is very different. Please give both versions to your school spelling champion.
- Your school champion will also need to know the 7th and 8th grade study words from the SNSB School Study List.
- Inform your school champion and her/his family about the procedure, date, time, place for the February School District Bee -or- Regional Bee.
- You will receive details about the Regional/School District Bee in January.