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.
The competition season for the 2020/2021 Spelling Bee campaign started at the end of February.
The school round was organized from February 20th till March 2nd. Most of the school managed to organize it “in person”, implementing strict anti-COVID measures. At some areas of the country the schools were at distance learning mode and organized online competitions. The school winners and runners-up qualified for the regional round. All participants received certificates and small gifts. The regional qualifiers received a new wordlist with 200 new words to study for the regional round.
8 regional online competitions took part on March 26th, 27th and 28th. The participants were very well prepared and demonstrated enviable English language skills and confidence. All competitions went smoothly, with a lot of enthusiasm and positive atmosphere. All regional competitors got certificates, branded t-shirts and other small gifts. All teacher-coordinators received certificates and especially developed and branded educational materials to use in class room. The national qualifiers received a list with 100 additional new words to prepare for the national final.
The national final was organized online on April 24th in ZOOM. The 23 best spellers in the country were enthusiastic the start the competition and show what they have learned during the long months of preparation. The participants were greeted by The US Ambassador, the president of America for Bulgaria Foundation and the executive director of the Bulgarian American Society greeted the participants and wished them good luck. After almost 5 hours of emotional “spelling battle” the 5th grader Daniel from Gotse Delchev won the title National Spelling Champion. The jury and the official guests were impressed not only by the excellent English language skills of the competitors but also by their ability to stay concentrated and focused.
All participants received certificates, medals and many gifts. Special thanks were extended to their teachers who also received certificates and gifts. The winner and the runner-up received special trophies for their hard work and excellent performance.
The CORPluS Foundation started the Bulgarian National English Spelling Bee 2021 campaign in October 2020.
164 schools registered for the big competition for students up to 7th grade and 67 for Spelling Bee Junior for students up to 4th grade. More than 3000 students from all over the country started their preparation for the school rounds of this year competition.
For the first time individual participants were given the opportunity to register and to compete in the first round of the competition.
After the completion of the registration process the word lists were distributed and the preparation period started. Our staff 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.
This year competition slogan is BEEcause we need them and the idea is to focus students’ attention on bees’ importance to humans.
The school competitions are planned for the last week of February and the regional competitions for March 27th. Currently Bulgarian schools are operating in a distant learning mode and in case this continue in February and March the competitions will be organized online.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic CORPLUS Foundation cancelled the regional and the national rounds of the Spelling Bee 2020 competition, as well as the summer camp.
In order to give a chance to all the school winners and runners-up to show what they have learned we decided to organize Spelling Bee 700+ Challenge 2020 - an unofficial online competition for those who are still motivated and willing to compete. At the end of June 140 students from all over the country registered and participated in the challenge. They had to go through 10 rounds with words from the list and those who successfully passed them continued with 5 rounds with unknown words. 13 students managed to go through all 15 rounds without mistake and received a Spelling Bee PRO award. 15 students passed successfully the first 10 rounds and were announced as Spelling Rising Star.
Due to the cancellation of the Spelling Bee summer camp an on-line camp American Funshop was offered to all the Spelling Bee participants, as well as to all interested students. These were 3 exciting and enjoyable weeks, when they enjoyed assignments and challenges related to American traditions, history, biodiversity, music, sports, arts and crafts, cuisine, etc. Former Peace Corps Volunteers from Bulgaria and Fulbright ETAs recorded videos with concrete assignments and the students had 2 days to complete the assignments and to send us a video, pictures or presentations. The most active participants received special awards. All the assignments and submisions could be seen on the Spelling Bee you tube chanel: bg national english spelling bee
Before the Coronavirus profoundly disrupted our mode of life, learning, and connecting with others, the Spelling Bee 2020 School Competitions were in full swing, with more than 6500 students testing what they had learned during their diligent preparation.
The traditional Kick-ff took place in the "Sts. Cyril and Methodius" school in Kostenets, which has a long legacy as a Peace Corps partner and nine-time participant in the Spelling Bee. This legacy was evident in former students Martin and Evgenia's willingness to facilitate the event and encourage the contestants who awaited the start with trepidation. The special guests were Ivo Bosev from America for Bulgaria Foundation and Matt Hagengruber from the US Embassy in Bulgaria. They both commended the participants on their efforts and briefly relayed their respective organizations' appreciation of the competition as a unique platform for young English learners in the country.
Our team had the pleasure of travelling to quite a few other towns in Bulgaria, visiting some of the 299 schools which registered, and seeing how the enthusiasm of students, teachers, and guests turned every contest into a whole celebration of hard work and good sportsmanship. We could take heart and sometimes partake, in the Spelling Bee traditions that these schools had established: from exuberant decorations to fantastic bee cakes and little jars of honey given to guests as delightful souvenirs.
Many schools also embraced our novel initiative Spelling Bee Junior, whose goal was to include the youngest of English learners. We would often spot some of energetic Junior participants at the regular school competitions, absorbing every bit of knowledge they could and cheering on their older peers.
It was with a heavy heart that we postponed Spelling Bee Junior and cancelled the regional rounds and national final of Spelling Bee 2020. Yet, we can take solace in these instances of perseverance and camaraderie and know that our team's efforts were not in vain.
We hope you are healthy and in good spirits!
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