Spelling Bee Format and Rules


La Costa Meadows Elementary Spelling Bee

Format & Rules

Congratulations to all the class spelling champions! What a special event you are participating in! With determination, this will be a positive, memorable experience for all of you! The following will give you an idea of what to expect during the Bee. If you have other questions, feel free to email our Spelling Bee coordinator, Mrs. Smith at susan.smith@smusd.org.

I've never been in a Spelling Bee. What's it like?

There will be roughly 25 participants from each grade. You will be brought onto the stage in the cafeteria. You will each be handed a name badge with a number on it, which you will hang around your neck. At the start of the bee, you will all sit in chairs in the order of your numbers. An adult will be on stage to direct you.

The bee operates in rounds. What does this mean?

This means that every student on stage will spell a word. That would be what is called the first round. At the end of the round, everyone who spelled their given word correctly moves on to the next round. Everyone who spelled their given word incorrectly leaves the stage. The bee continues in this manner until we are down to two students. The winner of the spelling bee is the last student standing!

What about when it's my turn to spell a word?

When your name and/or number is called, please walk quickly to the microphone. The next speller should be in the ready position. For the speller at the microphone, the bee pronouncer will say your word. You will need to repeat back the word so the pronouncer knows you understand it. Please speak into the microphone and look at the pronouncer. Once you have repeated back your word, you have 30 seconds to spell it.

What happens if I take longer than 30 seconds to spell my word?

If you do not spell your word in 30 seconds, you will be buzzed out. Try not to let this make you nervous. 30 seconds is actually a lot of time if you have studied your words. Try timing yourself at home with words from your list. You will be fine!

On what words will I be tested?
Most words you will be tested on will come from your study lists, beginning with your grade and increasing in difficulty. Some words will be similar in nature but will not come from your study lists. All words have been selected by the Scripps National Spelling Bee Association, from the Webster's Third New International Dictionary.

What happens if I misspell a word?

If you miss a word, that's alright. We know you did your best! Sit back down in your chair and wait until the end of the round. At the end of the round, the bee pronouncer will excuse you from the stage and an adult will be standing by to direct you from the back of the stage to where your class is sitting. You can quietly join your friends or family in the audience.

How do I win the La Costa Meadows Spelling Bee?

Good question! If you end up in a round with just one other person in your grade, congratulations! In order to win the Bee, you have to spell two words correctly, in a row. For example, if you and I are in round 10, and I misspell my word but you spelled your word correctly, that's great, but to win, you must spell your next word (round 11) correctly. Otherwise, I am back in round 11 with you and we go on again. It's a little bit confusing but we will have a judge standing by to keep track of everything. No worries!

Here is a fun YouTube video of the Scripps Spelling Bee Final Round in 2009.


The Final Bees are scheduled for 45 minutes each. What if they take longer?

45 minutes is the scheduled amount of time that each grade will be in the cafeteria to watch the event. We do hope to complete each Bee in that time frame. However, if the final rounds run long, we may break for intermission, send students back to their classrooms and have the finalists finish the bee in a different room on campus. (This way, the cafeteria will be open for either the next scheduled Bee, or lunch). The winner will be announced over the intercom later in the afternoon.

La Costa Meadows Spelling Bee Rules Recap

When you hear your spelling word, you must:

Repeat the word and spell it within 30 seconds

Speak into the microphone and look at the pronouncer

If you have any questions, or if you know an adult who would like to volunteer for the spelling bee in February, please contact susan.smith@smusd.org. Thank you!

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