So it was mostly for her, but my 9 yo and 11 yo had fun with it too. We opened it up to 6-12 year olds and I only allowed 15 registrations. I had a great response! I could have easily filled a lot more spots but, being my first bee (EVER!) I wanted to just keep it low key.
I think it went really well and we had a lot of fun. If I were going to open it up to more kids I would move it to a larger space, however.
The basics of how it worked:
I used words from homespellingwords.com since they have lists by grades. I had asked each child to give me their self-reported SPELLING grade (not school grade) so that they could each be individually competitive at their own level.
As kids dropped out and our numbers became fewer, I challenged the reaming kids by bumping up their grade levels and giving them harder words. For the last 3 remaining contestants, I started using the challenge words. I had to do that or it would have gone on forever. We had some good spellers! As it was, the actual bee lasted about an hour and that was plenty. I had scheduled 2 hours for the whole experience so we coudl wait for stragglers, have an orientation, then do prizes and food at the end.
I allowed the kids to have one PASS and one NEXT card. These cards allowed the kids to either pass their turn and still remain in the game, or ask for the next word on the list if they didn't like the one they got. I think it gave more kids more confidence to try the bee.
For the kids who were eliminated, I had cleared out my living room and set up a variety of games, puzzles and activities for them to enjoy while they waited. They were also free to play outside with some adult supervision from other moms.
I asked for $2/registration to cover the cost of the prizes, which were awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. My kids didn't place, but I thought we all had a great time and enjoyed the friendly competition.
Our house has 2 sets of stairs, so as the kids advanced to the next round, I had them exit our school room on one side, go down the front stairs, and come up the back stairs where they waited (quietly) in line for their next round. This kept their bodies moving a little bit while eliminating background noise for the speller. Looking back, it would have been more efficient to have the kids line up in order of spelling grade level so that I wouldn't have to do so much flipping and clicking back and forth from list to list.
I got good feedback from parents and kids, so maybe we'll do it again sometime. Actually, I'm thinking next year we will do a Geography bee! I'm already helping my kids study for it :)
|On Deck. The kids on the couch are waiting for their turn to spell. The others waited on the stairs and advanced to the couch one by one. Keep them moving, I say.|
|Using the lap top and white board. I spelled out the missed words for kids who were not advancing.|
|orientation. I explained the rules and handed out the passes.|
|Battle ship! Downstairs the kids played games after they had been eliminated|
|We also had painting set up for kids who were waiting|
|and other stuff to do....|