Search form

Speedy Spelling Bee

Return to Spice Up Your Spelling Lessons

SubjectsArts & Humanities
  • Foreign Language
  • Language Arts

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Teams of students work together in this spelling bee with a twist.


Students will
  • work in teams to spell words.
  • take turns calling out letters to correctly spell words.
  • earn points for each correctly spelled word.


spelling, bee, contest, game

Materials Needed

a list of spelling words (easy words, current/recent words, commonly misspelled words, or challenging words); see sample lists in Lesson Plan section below.

Lesson Plan

For this spelling game, arrange students into equal-size teams of anywhere from 3 to 10 players. Have students line up or sit in circles; each team should choose a member to be their first player.

Before beginning the game, decide whether you want the words in this spelling bee contest to be words most students should be able to spell without error, current spelling words, commonly misspelled words, or challenging words. (Use words from your school districts spelling program or see the spelling word resources that appear below.)

Choose a team to begin and call out a word for that team to spell; use the word in a sentence so students hear the word used in context. Have students take turns calling out one letter of the word at a time; the first student on the team calls out the first letter of the word, the second person calls out the second letter, and so on. (If the word has four or more letters and the team has only three members, then play returns to the first person on the team after the third letter is called out.) If the team correctly spells the word, they earn one point and play moves to the second team. If the second team spells their word correctly, they earn one point and play moves to the third team

When a team spells a word incorrectly, play passes immediately to the next team. If that team spells the word correctly, they earn two points (the one they earned and the one that would have been given to the first team if they had spelled the word correctly); if the second team spells the word incorrectly, play passes to the third team, which earns three points if they correctly spell the word

At the end of the game, the team with the most points might be awarded a special prize.

After students get comfortable with the flow of the game, you might try the following variations:

  • Place a time limit on play. For example, each team might have 15 seconds to spell their assigned word. If they take more time than that, play immediately moves to the next team.
  • If a player makes a mistake by calling out the wrong letter, the next player on the team might be given the opportunity to correct the spelling error. If that player does not correct the error, play immediately moves to the next team.

Spelling Word Resources


Students will score 70 percent or better on a test of the words misspelled in the contest.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards


See more spelling lesson ideas in the Education World articles, Spell It Out! and Vocabulary and Spelling: Do Your Students Say 'Boring'?

Return to this weeks Lesson Planning article, Spice Up Your Spelling Lessons.

Originally published 10/04/2002
Last updated 02/22/2010