Today I attended my sons' school Spelling Bee, in which eight students each from grades 3, 4, and 5 participated. My son was a third grade participant and had studied the spelling lists a fair amount but not assiduously. He was confident but not overly so.
The Spelling Bee was being held in the school gym at 8:30, and I walked the boys into school in time for the 8:15 bell and then went to wait in an empty gym. Chairs were lined up against the wall and I was told I could have a seat there. As I sat, I wondered if we'd be allowed to move our chairs into the center of the room, in front on the stage, where the spellers would be sitting. As all classes of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders started parading into the room, I realized we would have to stay where we were, on the fringe. Once everyone was seated, instructions were given, and the audience was informed there was to be absolutely no talking. As hard as it is to believe for kids this age, there wasn't any. It was completely silent in the gym during the spelling. Well, except for me and my ongoing whispered commentary to my husband...
In the first round, my son spelled 'canary' correctly, and stayed in. In the second round, he spelled 'powwow' correctly and was one of only five students remaining (four of them third graders). He misspelled 'finale' in the next round, and at the end of the round it was down to the last two kids--both third graders. After an exciting round of head-to-head spelling, with both boys misspelling about a third of their words, a winner was finally announced. My son is happy to be able to say he beat out all the fourth and fifth graders, but happy too, I assume, that spelling practice is over for the year. He has high hopes for next year.
I have to admit, my favorite misspelling (by a fifth grader) was the word 'tutu', which she spelled 'toto'. Second would be 'goatee', misspelled as 'gotique' (I think that's what I heard).
As I left the school through the front office, one of the office workers asked, 'How was it?' I answered, "Riveting," and the mom behind me said, 'Well put.' It occurred to me after I'd walked out that I should have said, "Riveting, r-i-v-e-t-i-n-g." Or maybe I'm just a geek.