Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spelling bee

So I watched Spellbound yesterday. And it got me thinking, why do we have spelling bees? I mean not only do we now have spell-check on the computer, but before computers they had dictionaries didn't they? So what is so great about being able to say that you can spell better than someone else? I can't really spell and it hasn't held me back. And it's really the luck of the draw during the spelling bee isn't it? You could know all the words that the folks ahead of you spell, and then get up to the mike and not know the word they give you. Months and months of studying out the window, just like that. And they give such ODD words, words we probably don't even have to know how to spell!

And why is it called a spelling "bee"?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jerry's sequel should be "Spelling Bee Movie." They could spell words about nothing!

Is it "Svengali" or "Sven-jolly"?

Only eight months till Festivus!

Felda, Jerry Seinfeld's Biggest Fan said...

Great point! :) Now who are you? Reveal yourself man! :)

BE said...

But...but...being able to spell well is awesome! It was something for which I have always been very well-respected! Don't take that away from me...sniffle...

BE said...

Also, dismissing the importance of spelling "because it hasn't held me back" leads us down the slippery slope. Let me elucidate: you're right. There are, in fact, many things that don't hold people back, but really should. Such as the ability to construct a decent sentence. So you have doctoral level people writing things like, "Teacher's please make sure your "ready" for parent conference's we want are school to look it's "best" we are comited to "exelence"."

So there. Start by dismissing the importance of spelling, end up writing stuff like that. Hell in a handbasket, I tell ya!

Felda, Jerry Seinfeld's Biggest Fan said...

Point taken BE, point taken. :) And I didn't want to take anything away from you (unless of course it's some Thai curry, mmm yummy ;) ). I'm with you totally on the grammar thing. Writing is not one of my greatest strengths but at least I know the grammar basics and can make my writing sound professional. But spelling? We can look words up unlike easily being able to look up grammar rules. But yes, there is something to be said for having some ability to spell otherwise it's not efficient to always be reaching for the dictionary. But overall, you do have to admit it's an astute observation on my part about spelling and spelling bees. :) hee hee...

BE said...

"But spelling? We can look words up unlike easily being able to look up grammar rules." True. I wish more people would do so...but then again, it's like you don't know what you don't know. If you've been misspelling a word for years and you don't know you have been, why would you look it up? And I think the same principle applies to grammar. But I'm old-school like that. ;-)

"But overall, you do have to admit it's an astute observation on my part about spelling and spelling bees." Well, I don't have to, but I will. ;-)

Heat said...

spell checkers only fix words into words that they know, not necessarily the right words.

actually, the odd words make it that much more impressive. most of those kids are able to spell them because they know their roots and can spell the component parts.

why do we award doctorates for people going to that much college? it's really just people who are able to put up with school that long.

why do we have sports competitions? it's just people hitting/throwing/kicking a ball.

and really, every skill is stupid and useless if you break it down far enough.

i don't think spelling bees are any sillier than any other academic competition.

Heat said...

be:

"Such as the ability to construct a decent sentence."

Not a decent sentence. In fact, not a sentence at all :)

BE said...

"Not a decent sentence. In fact, not a sentence at all :)"

When judiciously used for effect, fragments are acceptable. Indeed, that was not a sentence, let alone a decent one; however, it was an awesome fragment.

"and really, every skill is stupid and useless if you break it down far enough."

This may be true; even if it is, I view spelling and grammar as areas that require attention to detail and a keen eye. I appreciate those qualities and believe they are of value in the professional world. When those who "should" know better put forth public documents riddled with typos, lack of wordsmithing, and shoddy sentence fluency, it reflects poorly on the organization--especially if that organization is a school.

Heat said...

I agree that spelling and grammar are important, and it drives me crazy when there are mistakes in documents that are from professional places. And it happens on a very regular basis, unfortunately.

Our literacy coach posted a poster that included the following:

Are your student's crying out for a break?

SHE'S THE LITERACY COACH!!!!!

{steps off small soapbox}

Archangel Gabrielle said...

Personally, I have always thought my above average spelling skills were crucial in my efforts to make people think I am way smarter than I am. Alas....