Bear Branch Elementary School

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Academic UIL

Spelling Club

Mrs. Rollins and Mrs. Murphy

Fridays at 7:45 a.m. in Room 225

The spelling contest is designed to give students in grades 3, 4, and 5 exposure to a wide variety of vocabulary words. It is not a contest of memorization. For the most educational value, preparation for this contest should include instruction in the rules of the English language, meanings and definitions, and root words. In addition to learning to spell proficiently, contestants will learn to write clearly and to capitalize words properly.

Students will write down words given by the pronouncer on their paper at a rate of approximately five words per minute.

(A) Grades 3 and 4: 50 words; tiebreaker, 15 words.

(B) Grades 5 and 6: 80 words; tiebreaker, 20 words.

The tiebreaker is given to all contestants immediately following the initial test.

Tests will be fully compatible with the Merriam Webster's Intermediate Dictionary 2004 and subsequent editions.

Number Sense

Mrs. Culberson

Mondays at 7:30 a.m. in Mrs. Culberson's Classroom


Individuals are called upon every day to use their ability to make quick mental calculations to make decisions. The development of such abilities should be an integral part of the math curriculum. Concepts covered include, but are not limited to: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, proportions, and use of mathematic notation.

Students will be given a 10-minute, fill-in-the-blank test which they must complete without doing calculations on paper or on a calculator. Erasures and mark-outs are not permitted.

Music Memory

Mrs. Nelson

Thursdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m., Music Room


The focus of the Music Memory contest is an in-depth study of fine pieces of music literature taken from a wide spectrum of music genres to expose students to great composers, their lives and their music. In the course of preparing for the contest, students should be given the opportunity to describe and analyze the music, relate the music to history, to society and to culture, and to evaluate musical performance.

The selections for the Music Memory Contest are new for 2014-2015. See the link below.

Students will listen to approximately 20 seconds of up to 20 musical selections and identify the name of the major work, selection and the name of the composer.

To receive full credit for an answer, all information about the music selection must be complete as shown on the official list. Spelling and punctuation are considered in the grading of this contest.

Chess Club

Mrs. Tollenaere

Fridays at 7:30 a.m., Room 202 (5th Grade Hallway)


The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teaches problem solving, hones concentration and encourages analytical and strategic thinking. Chess can be a lifelong pursuit.

Chess puzzle competition is very different from tournament chess play. Contestants in a chess puzzle contest receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. Questions are based on analysis of material or possible moves in each given diagram. See links above for sample tests and other resources.

A chess puzzle event provides an avenue for chess participation that does not require the time and resources of actual tournament play. The fixed time limit makes it practical to include in a district meet schedule, and the availability of free resources allows any school (including those that do not currently have chess programs) to include chess puzzle in their slate of A+ events at minimal cost.

Maps, Graphs, and Charts

Mrs. Miers

Thursdays, 3:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. in Mrs. Mier’s 5th Grade Room

The maps, graphs & charts contest is designed to help students learn to get information from a variety of maps, graphs and charts including world maps, pie charts, bar charts and local area maps. The objective test will measure skills such as using a reference book to locate information, making comparisons, estimating and approximating, using scale and interpreting grid systems, legends and keys.

Students will be given an objective test containing approximately 75 multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions which must be answered in 45 minutes.

Mrs. Frost

Ready Writing

Meeting Dates: 

November 11

December 2 &16

January 13 & 27

at 7:45 a.m.


Texas has put a great emphasis on writing skills at all levels of school and all levels of state-wide testing. Ready Writing, a contest for students in grades 3,4,5,6,7 and 8, builds upon those skills and helps students refine their writing abilities. In particular, this contest helps them to learn to write clearly and correctly a paper that is interesting and original.

A standard dictionary or thesaurus may be used during the contest

Contestants are given a choice between two prompts which defines the audience, and provides the purpose for writing. Students should be encouraged to analyze the prompts for the purpose of writing, the format, the audience and the point of view. The format may be, for example, a letter, an article for the newspaper or an essay for the principal. Various writing strategies may be stated or implied in the prompt. Some of these include:


1.    description to inform -- describe the happening or person/object from imagination or memory;

2.    narration -- write a story;

3.    persuasion -- describe and argue just one side of an issue; describe both sides of an issue then argue