2017 NSB CHANGES: RANDOMIZING SPELLING ORDER

Hello to everyone from the bustling city of Tianjin, China! Tianjin is a huge city just two hours southwest of Beijing by car, or 30 minutes by high-speed train. It has over 15 million people, or over twice the population of New York City (the most populated city in the US) spread out over about 4500 square miles – nearly the size of Connecticut. I’m here as the academic director for the Spelling Bee of China (SPBCN). In less than a week, we will hold the second annual SPBCN National…

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PANDA SPELL

Since 2011, I’ve enjoyed plenty of success as a spelling bee coach, with many students working with me. A fair number of them have qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. A handful ended up among the semifinalists – the top 50 spellers in the nation. A few even qualified for the coveted finals. And one speller I’ve worked with even became a co-champion: Vanya Shivashankar, in 2015. Needless to say, this has been a great experience. Just as I loved being a speller years ago, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping…

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2017 DENVER POST SPELLING BEE

This Saturday, March 11th, was the 2017 Denver Post Spelling Bee. This is the spelling bee that would cover all of Colorado. However, Boulder County holds its own spelling bee as well, so Colorado gets two representatives at the Scripps National Spelling Bee instead of just one. I consider this progress. When I first went to the national bee in 1987, I represented all of Colorado...and all of Wyoming. It sounded impressive, but there just wasn't a sponsor in Wyoming at the time. But by 1989, Wyoming finally had its…

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WORDS WITH VARIANTS AND NEW WORDS

In the past, words with variants were seen as words to avoid when studying for the spelling bee, since they would not appear in a bee. I'm not sure of the original logic behind it, but if I were on a word panel, I would have rather kept the bee as fair and simple as possible by ensuring that all spellers received a word that had only one correct spelling. This would ensure that 1) all spellers had the same chance to get a word right, and 2) the judges…

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