Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee

by CORPluS Foundation
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee
Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee

The promotional campaign for the 13th Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee started at the beginning of the school year in mid-September. After 3 challenging years, this school year started with normal conditions and all students present at school.

The registration for Spelling Bee and Spelling Bee Junior was open from October 15th till November 10th. 272 schools registered for Spelling Bee and 190 for Spelling Bee Junior. There is a serious increase in the number of the registered schools for both competition and this is a sign that things are getting back to normal after the COVID challenges.  Some of the schools which didn’t participate during the COVID period return to the competition and a lot of new schools joined the Spelling Bee family. The registration for individual participants from schools which were not registered for the competition was open on November 15th and it will be open by the end of the month.

After the completion of the registration process, a pre-test was sent to the teacher-coordinators for the Spelling Bee competition in order to check the entry level of knowledge of the participants before they start studying the words from the competition list. A post-test will be given to all the participants after the end of the school round to measure the progress of the participants and their knowledge after 3 months of preparation.

The word lists were distributed after the completion of the pre-test and the preparation period started. CORPLUS developed a lot of materials to assist the teachers and to provide the participants with additional resources. Quizlet and Spelling city are the educational apps used during the preparation. Flash cards with all the words from the list were also prepared and are in use.

The students will have 3 months to prepare for the school round which will be organized at the last week of February.

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Spelling Bee National final
Spelling Bee National final

The competition continued with the national finals for Spelling Bee and Spelling Bee Junior.

The Spelling Bee national final happened on April 16th at the big hall of the American colleagues in Sofia. All 24 national finalists and their teachers arrived the previous day and at the dinner the students got their competition numbers and were acquainted with the rules and logistics for the final.

It started with greetings from the main partners – representatives of America for Bulgaria Foundation, The US Embassy in Sofia and the Sofia Regional Education Inspectorate. The acapella choir of the American college presented a few songs and contributed to the high spirits among the competitors and the audience.

The competition was very emotional and all the participants demonstrated good knowledge of English and the ability to stay concentrated for long hours. After more than 20 rounds of serious “spelling battle” the 7th grader Teodor from Markovo won the competition and became the 12th National Spelling Bee champion. All participants and teachers received certificates, trophies and gifts. But the best award for all of them was the opportunity to participate in a week-long Spelling Bee summer camp in July.

The national final for Spelling Bee Junior was held on May 14th and gave the opportunity to the 22 national finalists to demonstrate what they have learned during the preparation period and after the first 2 rounds of the competition.  The 4th grader Iva from Botevgrad proved that she deserves the victory and won the competition. She spelled correctly the word psychology. All the participants and their teachers were rewarded for their efforts and received certificates, trophies and gifts.

The summer camp for the Spelling Bee national finalists and their teachers was held from July 3rd till July 9th at Godlevo village, near Razlog. The program was very intensive and diverse and it aimed to satisfied the needs and the interests of all the participants. 5 Spelling Bee alumni served as camp counselors and demonstrated dedication to the Spelling Bee cause, as well as great organizational and presentation skills.  They often say:  "Once a bee, always a bee".

The 4th of July was celebrated with a trivia game about US followed by traditional American outdoor games. Around the camp fire the participants had the pleasure to make and try s'mores and sang American songs.

The agenda included also sessions on Internet culture and literacy, emotional intelligence, negotiation and cooperation, being grateful, as well as a lot of games, sports, hikes, etc. The teachers had the chance to share best practices with their colleagues and built a professional network for sharing resources and ideas.  

The camp was instrumental for building long term friendships among the students, professional network among the teachers and added a lot of new members of the big Spelling Bee family.

Spelling Bee Champion
Spelling Bee Champion
Spelling Bee Junior final
Spelling Bee Junior final
Spelling Bee Junior Champion
Spelling Bee Junior Champion
Summer camp 1
Summer camp 1
Summer camp 2
Summer camp 2
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School round in Gorna Malina
School round in Gorna Malina

After the long preparation period the Spelling Bee competition entered its active phase at the last weeks of February.

The school competitions were held from February18 to March 2, 2022.  Several schools organized 2 school competitions due to the big number of registered participants. 220 school competitions took place during that week for the SB and 155 for SBJunior. The school competitions were organized “in person” and only 5 of them were online due to local quarantine requirements.

CORPluS staff visited schools in Sofia and the area which participate for the first time and provided support and guidance.  All participants in the school competitions and the teacher-coordinators received certificates and small awards in appreciation of their efforts and hard work. 50 schools took part in the photo contest and sent pictures from the school competitions in 3 categories – “BEEs are better together”, “BEEcause we love yellow”, “We are a BEE school”.  The results of the competition will be announced in April.

As every year, we offered all registered schools an opportunity to take part in an additional campaign under the slogan “Search BEEyound the obvious”.  It is focused on the media literacy of the students and our efforts were focused on development of the critical thinking of the students, searching for information and analyzing it, team work, solving problems, creation of positive and high-quality digital content and safe online communication. The campaign is organized in partnership with Media Literacy Coalition. 2 trainings were organized for the interested teachers and 28 took part in them. They had the opportunity to work on the development of their own lesson plans on media literacy topics and also had the chance to create a network and exchange the materials they created.

The first two students from each SB school qualified for the regional competitions and studied 200 additional words. The school champions from SBJ schools also qualified for the regional competitions and had to study 100 additional words.

On March 26th and 27th eight regional competitions took place in 7 cities around the country – Sofia (2), Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Sliven, Varna, Razgrad and Lovech. CORPluS Foundation identified and trained volunteers to help with organizing the regional events. All the announcers were native speakers (Fulbright ETAs) with a teaching experience in the country and they contributed a lot to the success of the competitions. Former Spelling Bee finalists were also involved as judges and helped with organizing the competitions. They served as role models and many 7th graders already asked how they could get involved as volunteers in Spelling Bee events. This practice is very well appreciated and demonstrated that the Spelling Bee alumni still belong to the big Spelling Bee family. All participants at the regional competitions and their teachers were awarded with certificates and prizes for their achievements.  The 3 best spellers from each regional competition qualify for the national final which will happen on April 16th in Sofia. The best 24 spellers received additional100 words to study in order to prepare for the final.

For the first time the school champions from SBJunior participated in regional competitions. 7 Spelling Bee Junior regional competitions were organized online on March 28th and 29th. The young spellers demonstrated impressive English language knowledge and skills, as well as a lot of enthusiasm and ambition. The first 3 spellers from each regional competition qualify for the national final which will be on May 14th in Sofia. The finalists received a list of 50 additional words for the final.

The preparation for both finals is underway and the results will be reported in the next report.

School competition in Gurmen village
School competition in Gurmen village
School competition in Smilyan village
School competition in Smilyan village
Some of the winners at the regional round
Some of the winners at the regional round
Regional competition in Razgrad
Regional competition in Razgrad
Regional competition in Plovdiv
Regional competition in Plovdiv
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This year’s campaign of the Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee started with a proactive and well organize promotional campaign. Its goal was to attract new schools to register for the competition and to encourage old partners which didn’t participate last year to join the Spelling Bee family again.  

The registration was open through the whole October and 213 schools registered (165 last year). There is a serious increase in the number of schools registered for Spelling Bee Junior - 140 schools (68 last year). For a second year individual participants had the chance to register and 23 participants will take part in the competition.

After the completion of the registration process the word lists were distributed and the preparation period started. CORPLUS developed a lot of materials to assist the teachers and to provide the participants with additional resources. Quizlet, Spelling city, Wordwall are some of the educational apps used during the preparation.

As every year, CORPLUS offers to all teachers and students an opportunity to work on additional projects. This year's campaign is under the slogan "Search beyond the obvious" and it's main focus is media literacy. We partner with the Media Literacy Coalition and organized a training for the Spelling Bee teacher-coordinators. A media literacy handbook was presented and the participants had the opportunity to develop their own lessons based on the handbook and adapted to the specifics of their schools. 

The school competitions are planned for the last week of February and the regional competitions for March 26th. CORPLUS has developed protocol for organizing all the rounds “in person” or online. Depending on the situation related to COVID pandemic in February and March, decision will be taken on how the rounds will be organized.

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After the end of the competition season CORPLUS foundation focused on providing professional development opportunities to the Spelling Bee teacher-coordinators. CORPLUS is registered at the Ministry of Education and Science list for organizations which could provide professional development training to teachers.

In order to help teachers to be more effective in their work, the topic of the offered training was chosen to give them the chance to get acquainted with new applications and platforms. They could make the teaching process more interesting and adequate to the specific needs of the current situation related to the COVID restrictions.

The online “Multimedia presentations for implementation, evaluation and creation of learning content” training provoked a serious interest among the teacher-coordinators and 30 of them signed up for participation in it. A very skillful trainer facilitated the sessions and shared valuable experience on integrating technologies in classroom for diversifying the foreign language teaching.

The participants were introduced to “Seesaw for teachers”, Genial.ly (interactive multimedia presentation), Bamboozle (active learning with quizzes and flashcards) and a few video editors (for fast and easy ways to make a video lesson).

The participants were given time to practice the main features of the applications under the supervision of the trainer and managed to learn their main functions. At the end of the training, they received an assignment – to develop a presentation, teaching resources or  video lessons using one of the introduced applications.

During the summer the CORPLUS staff continued to disseminate useful resources which could be used by the teachers to prepare for the new school year.

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Organization Information

CORPluS Foundation

Location: Sofia, Sofia city - Bulgaria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Dimitar Tsekov
Sofia, Sofia city Bulgaria
$8,820 raised of $10,000 goal
 
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