Spelling Bee and Listening Bee
This lesson can be adjusted for all levels and ages.
A Spelling Bee is a great ESL game for ESL students of all ages, not just kids. The reason is, it is very easy to come up with simple English words for young, or novice learners, and scale up with the increasing level of ESL student. You can also use a spelling bee to reinforce phonics and phonemic awareness in students which you may have just taught in an ESL lesson.
For example, perhaps your ESL Lesson was contrasting the /b/ and /p/ phonemes, and your goal is to get students to understand and recognize when each is used or heard.
Simple Novice Listening Bee
- Ask students to answer with either “B” or “P” depending on what they hear.
- Prepare a list of words and write each on a small piece of paper
- Make two teams from the class
- Pick one team to start and choose the student
- Pick a piece of paper at random from the words you prepares (put them in a hat or box, so you can see what you are picking) and read the word and give the student 2 seconds to choose /b/ or /p/, if he is wrong his team loses its turn, but let them continue until they get one wrong
- If he doesn’t answer within two seconds, the other team gets a chance, if they are right, they keep going.
Minimal pairs can be based well upon the following first letter variations:
- P / b
- L / r
- F / v
- D / t
- S / z / j
- G / k
- And so on..
Part II – spelling bee
You can now easily recycle this activity into a spelling bee by using the same word list you just had your listening bee with.
Tips: Remember, you can make this as easy or as complex as you need to in order to challenge, but not shut down your class and students. You can use simple 3 letter words such as pan, ban, pat, bat, or longer words and advanced phonemes such as /ph/ and /f/ in the spelling bee. You can even use those examples in context and have students pick the phoneme; example. Phil said that he had his fill of seafood last evening at the dinner party. (which came first, the /ph/ or the /f/?)