Ian is a S-U-P-E-R S-P-E-L-L-E-R!

Ian + his classmate F
[Ian and his classmate F getting recognized as spelling bee qualifiers at last week's school assembly.]

I'd like to take a moment to brag about my son, the speller. Unbeknownst to us, the students at Ian's school (grades 3-5) took a written spelling bee qualifying test awhile back. According to Ian there were 60 words on the list (apparently they were 8th grade-level words) and they were allowed to miss 12 to qualify for the district spelling bee. There were many classes that didn't have any students who qualified; Ian's class had two qualifiers! In the end, three fourth graders and four fifth graders qualified out of a student population of over 400.

Today was the district-wide spelling bee for grades 4-6, so the qualifiers from Ian's school, the qualifiers from the other elementary school, and the 6th grader qualifiers from the middle school gathered together at the middle school library. There were about 15 kids there and we thought it would take awhile for the spelling bee to finish, but the first round knocked out more than half of them.

Round 2
[Round 2]

Ian moved through the rounds (with a nice, clear voice, which was helpful to those of us in the audience; some of these kids are so quiet!) until it was just him and a 6th grader in round 4.* The word that knocked him out in round 5 (German words)? Rucksack. Not knowing the word or much German pronunciation, but recognizing that there are words in German that use -ch, he spelled it "ruchsach." I looked it up after I got home, but I think the German -ch is a soft sound (if there's anyone proficient in German out there, please let me know).

Even though he didn't win, I think it's pretty impressive that he made it so far, especially since he didn't study or practice at all, except for his usual reading. Rupert and I went into this with the attitude, which we shared with Ian, that this was for fun, to see what a spelling bee is like, and that there will be other years for him to try again (not that I didn't get nervous during the spelling bee!). Still, Ian was disappointed with his mistake and shed a few tears afterward. It was wonderful to have a supportive group of teachers and friends who shared how proud they are of him and his classmate. This was the first year fourth graders participated in the district spelling bee and they did so well.

We're really proud of you, Ian!

Ian with his teachers, classmate, and principal
[Ian with his teachers, principal, and classmate/fellow spelling bee-er after the spelling bee.]

[Coincidentally, the winner's mother? I came in second to her in the fitness challenge two years ago. Weird, huh?]

* Ian did a funny thing in round 4 and asked for the pronunciation of the word "chagrin" and the moderator gave away a huge hint, which I'm not sure Ian heard but a bunch of us in the audience did. I'm not sure it was entirely kosher, to be honest, but the end result was the same, just one round later. Ian should've asked for the definition or the etymology, but what more can you do for pronunciation but say the word over again?

1 comment:

Jared said...

This is great, congratulations to Ian. I went to the district spelling bee in the fourth grade--we drove for an hour to get there and then I got the first word wrong! It was nothing at all like the movie Spellbound.

"Ch" in German is between hard and soft, made in the back of the mouth like in Hebrew. But English usually turns it into a "k" sound, as in Bach. (Japanese is a different story--it took me forever to figure out who バッハ was.)