Announcements

Introducing... Community Spelling Bees

The Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee has been an enormously popular feature since we launched it last year, with nearly three million words played thus far. And now we're rolling out a new way to play the Bee. We're introducing Community Spelling Bees, generated from word lists created by our subscribers. You can concoct your own spelling bee from any word list, or test your spelling knowledge of lists of words put together by other members of the Visual Thesaurus community.

Head on over to the main page for the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee and you'll now see two options for playing. As before, there's the Tournament Spelling Bee, where you can compete against other spellers on words that we select to best match your skill level. You'll see that we've spruced up the playing experience for the Tournament Spelling Bee: at the bottom of the page (under "How do you stack up?"), you can watch your rank among all spellers go up or down, depending on how well you do.

The new playing option is the Community Spelling Bee. Try one of the featured spelling bees on the main page to see how it works. For instance, I made a Community Spelling Bee out of a list of 40 German words that have been borrowed into English. As opposed to the Tournament Spelling Bee, which gives you a score from 200 to 800, your score in a Community Spelling Bee is based on the percentage of words you spell correctly, from 0% to 100%. The words from the list are presented in random order, and the game ends when you've spelled all words on the list correctly. If you misspelled any words along the way, you'll get a chance to revisit them before the game ends.

Want to create your own Community Spelling Bee for others to play? If you're a subscriber, just create a word list and save it as a spelling bee. (When you're editing the list, you'll see a pull-down that allows you to save it either as a regular word list or as a spelling bee.) As with regular Visual Thesaurus word lists, you can share Community Spelling Bees and add ones you like to your list of favorites. Each subscriber's profile will list the word lists and spelling bees they've made.

Visual Thesaurus subscribers can even make a spelling bee from any text on the Web by using VocabGrabber. After you've grabbed the vocabulary from a text that you've found, VocabGrabber gives you the choice to make a word list out of the vocabulary. Then, after you've created the word list, you can save it as a spelling bee. Check out this spelling bee I created by using VocabGrabber to select words from Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Now teachers will be able to design custom word lists for their students to play, either by using VocabGrabber on a text or by entering in their own vocabulary lists.

Word lists, spelling bees, and VocabGrabber: we're bringing all of these great features together in a new way. Think of them as interrelated parts of the Visual Thesaurus ecosystem, the ultimate habitat for word lovers.


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Comments from our users:

Wednesday September 23rd 2009, 10:28 AM
Comment by: Betz
I love this new functionality, thank you!
Monday October 5th 2009, 11:30 AM
Comment by: Valencia B. (Yonkers, NY)
I absolutely love this website. I recommended this site to all my friends. It's wonderful for all students, even those who went back to continue their education, like myself e.g. I have this Visual Thesaurus on all my computers as favorites. Keep up the good work.

Valencia B.
Sunday October 25th 2009, 7:01 PM
Comment by: Karen M.
So I created a spelling bee. Now how do other people find it? It doesn't appear in the Community Spelling Bee list.
Sunday October 25th 2009, 7:13 PM
Comment by: Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Karen: I've put your Community Spelling Bee on the featured list. You can also share it with others directly by the URL (like so).
Thursday November 19th 2009, 9:52 AM
Comment by: Anne E. (Indianapolis, IN)
How do I find other spelling bees? there are only a select few listed on the community list and I know there's more than that!
Thursday November 19th 2009, 2:02 PM
Comment by: Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Hi Anne -- This is still a new feature that we're working on, but rest assured we've got some exciting new improvements in the pipeline (including searchability).
Friday November 20th 2009, 7:50 PM
Comment by: Anne E. (Indianapolis, IN)
awesome! thanks Ben. :)
Friday December 18th 2009, 11:21 AM
Comment by: Sheezu S. (New Delhi India)
it's very great

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