Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Micah participated in his school's spelling bee.
Although he knew he had been chosen to participate before Christmas break (and had been given a list of words to review), he didn't remember until a few days before the competition.
He and I practiced words for the four days we had, but we didn't complete the list. He didn't seem to stressed about it. The words were a little strange. Ipso facto. Dim sum. Ritziness. The first few rounds, no one was eliminated.
He comes from a line of spelling bee champs--Brad back in the Dark Ages, and Tucker, too.
The audience groaned each time their class's representative misspelled. Who would have thought there was so much drama in spelling?

The competition dwindled, until there were only seven remaining.
Then six. Then five were left seated on the stage.
Micah was first to spell. The announcer read the word--"tempera." But that wasn't the word. The judges corrected her, trying to rectify the error. "The word is tempura. Tem poora."

I knew we hadn't gotten that far on the list. I knew Micah had no idea that tempura is deliciously deep-fried Japanese food or how to spell it. I held my breath.

"Tempura. T-E-M." He stopped. "P-O-O-R-A. Tempura."

The bell rang, classroom 21 moaned the collective agony of elimination, #4 removed his placard and found a seat on the gym floor. He was gracious to the contestant sitting next to him, offering him a fist bump and a whispered "good job" before the winner was determined with the word "explosion."

When the competition concluded less than five minutes later, I hugged my speller and asked him what he'd learned.

"I learned that it's hard to spell in front of people, and that I need to study the entire list next time."

I think he learned exactly what he needed to learn.

Better luck next year, #4!


  1. brennan just had his yesterday! he came home and told me he missed the class finals by the last round. spelled "pink" like "pingk". my little phonetic spelling gets trapped with that word every time;)

  2. Sounds like the spelling bee was a total success! Great job Micah - both in endurance and in learning some great lessons!