Saturday, June 05, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1201, June 5th, 2010



This week the big spelling bee is taking place in Washington, D.C. No less a celebrity that ESPN’s Erin Andrews will be a sideline reporter. Even WILK got into the act Friday with John Webster and Nancy Kman being quizzed on various words by Joe Thomas. I talked this week with a former educator and participant in a word bee.
Q: What was your competition like?
A: Well it was nothing like national TV coverage. It was a local interscholastic contest held in one area when I was growing up in the Lehigh Valley.
Q: Were the words hard?
A: For me at age 11 they were complicated. I had to formulate the words and then go from there when I was unsure.
Q: Did participating in the spelling bee help you as a student?
A: Yes but in a strange way. It made learning for me a kind of game. My approach to more complicated subjects like Chemistry and Math was based on spelling. Because to be successful in spelling, you must be aware of the nuances of our language. That’s the reason why I became successful as a student in the sciences because it made me think.
Q: Critics say a spelling bee is just about memory and rote?
A: That is part of it for sure but another area people forget is that it gives students the ability to think on their feet.
Q: What about the argument that failure crushes dainty egos?
A: Kids today need to realize that not every contest gets a prize. That’s why the spelling bees are so valuable as builders of student learning. My only fear is that with the hoopla of ABC this might get out of control.
Q: No hoopla with your contest?
A: Naw, we got ribbons I think and the Morning Call ran a small item.
Q: Have your kids participated in spelling bees?
A: No but my daughter entered a language bee and did very well in the Spanish component of it when she was in school. But there was no pressure, it was like, “okay, I’ll try and do this”. And she did fine.
Q: In your contest did you ever win?
A: Nope, finished third one year. I was 12.
Q: The word that did you in?
A: Vituperative!
Q: Yikes, meaning to censor and verbally abuse.
A: Very good. After that word I was really ready to verbally abuse someone.
Q: Why didn’t you?
A: The judges weren't impressed with my p l a t I t u d I n o u s
p r o t e s t a t I o n s. (Spelling them out).
Q: Show off!
A: That’s me!


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I became aware of John Wooden in 1964 when he won his first of many National Basketball Championships.
He was a Basketball Teacher as was Red Aurebach. One on the College level, the other Pro B-Ball.
Long ago I “learned” John Wooden’s Four Laws of Learning.
The Wizard of Westwood and beyond…Gone at 99.


At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still remember the word I went out on in the 8th Grade Spelling Bee in 1960! I finished second. The word was rythm. Did I spell it right this time?

Old Speller


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