AJ won the second grade spelling bee for her school yesterday.
I would love to say that it was close, but it wasn't. She went in, prepared, and calmly dominated the whole thing.
She spelled words like "ocean" and "all-star" and then, when it was down to two...
She spelled "gusto" when Kal got it wrong. Then she spelled "marlin" and won.
I am so proud of her!
If you will recall, last year she got second place. This time, I think she was in it to win it from the beginning.
The teacher who served as spelling bee coordinator last year has retired, and things this year were less organized. Third through fifth grade competed last week, as the winner of that bee goes on to district competition. At first, we thought first and second grade would compete together (we were even given the first grade list on one side of the handout and the second grade list on the other side). It seems that at the last minute, first grade decided to wait another week, leaving it down to only second grade for today. Each of the 5 second grade classes sent two representatives, after having classroom bees to determine the top spellers.
The kids lined up, and went in front of the judges to speak. In this configuration, the judges were in front of the parents, so we got to see the children's faces. This was good, as there was no microphone. I did see the potential for cheating but everyone was on his or her best behavior.
All of the students in second grade came to the library to be the audience, which was a distraction, but the kids seemed to do well regardless. There was no broadcasting this year.
There was a practice round (and actually, a demonstration with the first two competitors before that, which AJ took part in, spelling the word "happy"). She was serious-faced, but not scared. She was ready.
Before Christmas break, we had the lists of 150 words. By the time January 15 rolled around, she knew them all.
Sometime over the break, I posted to our PTA Facebook group that kids may need to be studying their spelling bee words over the holidays. Some moms responded with "what words?" so I uploaded the list - I wanted the competition to be fair, even though not every kid is as responsible as Anna June when it comes to bringing things home. There were no explanatory notes sent with the words, and I was hoping a teacher would shed some light on when the event would take place and what the details were. Somewhere in that thread, I posted the following thoughts:
The spelling bee, while I absolutely love it and revere it as an
honored academic tradition, has nothing to do with being "smart." It is
about memorization and recall, as well as being able to perform
under pressure. Practice and preparation are the keys to success. It's a
lot to ask! Some of us rock at spelling, which I do believe is still
very important in this world as a key to communication (see how we are
communicating right now through written words?) but it is totally hard
to spell a specific word on demand in front of an audience. So,
practice, practice, practice, y'all! It may pay off!
So see, I tried to raise the confidence level of the other kids while subtly putting them on notice that AJ would be practicing hard.
In the end, AJ was just the best.
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