App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
Spelling Bee
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Spelling Bee

Functional flashcard and quiz tool links to impressive video library

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
4–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Video resources unrelated to spelling are a gem.

Cons: No way to customize lists or save scores.

Bottom Line: Hard level words make excellent SAT vocab practice, but look elsewhere for more targeted practice.

Teachers could take a quick look at Spelling Bee and determine if it's worth keeping on their device or not. If some of the videos would be relevant to their instruction, this free app is worth the space. Teachers teaching students preparing for the SAT or ACT may want to include it as a recommendation for students to use to study words in preparation for the test.

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Spelling Bee is a quiz and study app for practicing challenging spelling words in English. The study function is flashcard-like, giving a word and definition along with the audio of the word's pronunciation, delivered in chunks of 10 words per study session. Users can choose among four levels: Beginner (with words like whole, country, quite, and whose), Easy (including artificial, calculate, and accomplish), Medium (featuring brilliance, irrigation, and rectitude), and Hard (testing kids on words like disseminate, supererogation, recrudescent, and defenestration). Each level includes about 50 to 100 words, with words repeating at random during the quizzes. Correct answers are verified in green, while incorrect answers are corrected and shown in red. After the quiz, the time and percentage correct is shown, and students have the chance to review the words covered in that quiz.

Users can also link to an online library of videos that cover a wide range of age level and subject matter. This collection of video links includes a wealth of education-related content, from counting and alphabet videos to clips about math, science, and literature. 

Since teachers and students can't control which words are included on any study session or quiz, this isn't the best tool for regular spelling practice. While the skill-and-drill method of teaching spelling and vocabulary may not work best for younger students, the words and easy review methods of Spelling Bee's hardest level are good for SAT prep. The best added value here might be the videos, which cover a wide range of subjects. Though they're mostly unrelated to spelling, these linked clips cover such a range of material that teachers may find a few gems worth sharing with their classes. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Simple, straightforward design has no bells or whistles and no customization. Flashcard-style review and quiz-like assessment is functional but not so fun.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Four levels of words offer a broad range of challenge, but there's no way to customize lists or choose words to repeat or focus on.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Intuitive interface lets students instantly see correct and incorrect answers and their overall quiz score, but scores aren't saved or shareable. Don't miss the extensive video collection.


Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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