CHEMICAL ELEMENTS

Audio blog post by Dr. Isaacs. Click to listen and read along! The list of chemical elements on the periodic table is a perennial favorite of spellers and word panelists alike. It's an easy list to gather, and it's full of words that run the gamut from very easy to nearly inscrutable. In fact, when Paideia first replaced the first iteration of Words of the Champions in 1995, a list of elements was one of the very first ones to appear in its pages. Here are a few guidelines to…

Read More

WORDS OF THE CHAMPIONS (2.0)

On the morning of August 20th, Scripps released Words of the Champions to unofficially inaugurate the 2019-2020 spelling bee season. It is a far cry from the organization of Spell It - or for that matter, Paideia. In fact, it is arguably even more challenging to spellers than the original Words of the Champions was from decades ago. Here is what I have gathered, having bought the Kindle version on Amazon: There are six lists of words.Three of the lists comprise the school list. Together, they number 450 words, just…

Read More

SIRIASIS

Some spelling bee words are just plain mean. Really mean. In this category, I place the "either you know it or you don't" words...the ones that are specifically on the pronouncer's list just to eliminate a hapless speller...or to differentiate the excellent from the merely good. But the word siriasis deserves more than just membership in this group...it is one of the cruelest words I know. Siriasis has been given at least twice in the bee's history - once in 1989, and again in 2014. I'm certain, though, that given…

Read More

WORDS OF THE CHAMPIONS AND PAIDEIA

A long, long time ago - but much closer than a galaxy far, far away - Scripps distributed a booklet to spellers each year entitled Words of the Champions. This booklet was the predecessor to Paideia, which itself was the predecessor to both Spell It. At that time, Words of the Champions was over 3200 words long. Roughly 1/6th of each year's list were new words for that year. The booklet also included recent National Spelling Bee winning words as well as words that knocked out last year's competitors. And for inspiration, pictures from the…

Read More