Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spelling Bee Morocco

Last year a PCV down south ran a spelling bee for his region.  He got local English teachers involved, and ended up having a regional tournament in Ouarzazate for seventeen schools.  MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English) loved it and what started as a small regional tournament for just a few provinces is now a Morocco-wide competition.

My host sisters started telling me about the spelling bee back in December.  MATE and Jim Dana (the PCV) sent out a packet of information to schools across Morocco, including sample lesson plans, word lists and a copy of Akeelah and the Bee.  In January, schools across Morocco held individual tournaments, and last weekend was the district spelling bees.  The coordinator of the district spelling bee asked if my sitemates and I would help out, so last Saturday I was the pronouncer for the Kelaa District Spelling Bee.  It went really well, except for the one teacher who kept complaining about my lack of a British accent (which, sorry dude, I can get the southern out of my voice, but me trying to fake a British accent isn't going to make anything clearer), and I was really impressed by how well-run the spelling bee was and how well the students did.

There were three parts to the spelling bee: the novice team spelling bee (which was limited to ninth grade students), the general team spelling bee and the solo spelling bee.  In the team spelling bee, groups of three had thirty seconds to write down the correct spelling of a word, while the solo spelling bee was a more traditional spelling bee.  The winning word was typhoid, which I can spell, but it was the only one of the final round words I could spell.  The top six solo spellers and the top two groups will go on to the regional spelling bee in Marrakesh later this month, and there will be a national spelling bee in Rabat later this spring.

El Kelaa District Spelling Bee  
Team spelling bee

El Kelaa District Spelling Bee
Solo Spelling Bee
El Kelaa District Spelling Bee
The winners of the novice spelling bee.  They got metals, a trophy and an English dictionary for their school.
El Kelaa District Spelling Bee
All the spellers from the eleven participating schools.  It was a pretty good turn out.

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