Today marks the DVD release of the film Akeelah and the Bee. This 2006 film is a drama about 11 year-old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) who overcomes personal struggles to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Directed by Doug Atchison, the film stars Laurence Fishburn as Dr. Larabee, an English professor who coaches Akeelah.
The film is an off-shoot of the 1999 Oscar-nominated documentary and surprise hit Spellbound, which profiled a number of the competitors in the National Spelling Bee. After the success of Spellbound, the Scripps National Spelling Bee was broadcast on network television for the first time in May 2005. The growing popularity of spelling has even entered the adult world with spelling competitions in bars around the country and a senior national spelling bee sponsored by the AARP.
In addition, in 2005 the film Bee Season was released, and spelling even hit Broadway with the 2005 musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Prize Winning Bees
Below are eight of winning word for the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee for the years 1998-2005:
chiaroscurist: 1998 – a painter who cares for and studies light and shade rather than color
logorrhea: 1999 – pathologically excessive (and often incoherent) talking
demarche: 2000 – a move or step or maneuver in political or diplomatic affairs
succedaneum: 2001 – (medicine) something that can be used as a substitute (especially any medicine that may be taken in place of another
prospicience: 2002 – prevision: seeing ahead; knowing in advance; foreseeing.
pococurante: 2003 – Indifferent; apathetic
autochthonous: 2004 – of rocks, deposits, etc.; found where they and their constituents were formed
appoggiatura: 2005 – grace note: an embellishing note usually written in smaller size. (1, 2)
Today’s Challenge: To Bee or Not to Bee
Should schools still hold spelling bees? What are the arguments for holding bees and for eliminating them? Imagine that an elementary school in your city or region is considering eliminating the annual elementary school spelling bee; make your argument either against or in support of this action. In the course of your argument address the relative importance or unimportance of spelling in the education of young people today. (Common Core Writing 1 – Argument)
Quotation of the Day: Spelling Bees are useless and unnecessary competitions. Before Microsoft Word and Google, Spelling Bees had value, but now they are all superflewus. -Jarod Kintz