It must be spelling bee season, because I see bees buzzing everywhere. The 79th annual National Spelling Bee finals will be in Washington D.C. May 31- June 1. The movie "Akeelah and the Bee" is now in movie theaters. "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is playing on Broadway. And a new book outlining the history of the National Bee ("American Bee'" by James Maguire) just arrived in bookstores. These online spelling bee games are my contribution to the current spelling bee Zeitgeist.
Interesting Things for ESL Students has a huge collection of spelling games, which are also pretty interesting for those studying English as a first language. These games also feature falling letters, but this time you catch them with a paddle, much like the popular arcade game Breakout. Select from word categories (birds, kitchen, body parts), difficulty, level of hints provided, or grade level (such as Dolch site words for kindergarten through third grade.)
Choose the one word in each set of four that is spelled incorrectly, and then spell it correctly. If you get 100% on all twenty problem sets, you can add your name to the Leader Board. Easy level is for elementary grades with words such as "table" and "chair." Hard level is for middle school kids with words such as "mischief" and "shepherd."
Using vocabulary from four popular pictures books ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "Corduroy," "Chrysanthemum," and "Franklin in the Dark") the Word Wizard is my pick of the day for beginning spellers. Be sure to have your speakers on as the narrator reads clues such as "The things that wiggle on your feet" and asks you to pick letters from a scrambled list to spell the four-letter answer. Because this game is so well done, older elementary students will also enjoy it.
"Hey kids, practice your spelling skills with me, the Spelling Bee! Like real spelling bees, you only have one chance to spell the work right." Another great use of audio (don't forget to turn on your speakers) as the Spelling Bee pronounces each word. Confused about what the Spelling Bee said? Use "Repeat Word" or "Definition" to help you. Great fun for upper elementary (or middle school students) with vocabulary such as "igloo," "rotten," and "lazy." When you're done here, be sure to explore the rest of the TVOKids site.