The 100 word Challenge

| February 4, 2012 | 10 Comments 

Have you tried The 100 Word Challenge yet? The weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age, is a simple but really motivating concept for writers of all abilities to tackle. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words & the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece.

By setting a limited word count with a focused theme and a guaranteed audience beyond the class teacher, children have far greater motivation for writing. Those who are reluctant writers feel safe with only 100 words to write, whilst those more advanced writers can really extend themselves with the word restriction.

(Those first two paragraphs were exactly 100 words long, by the way, & getting it like that WAS…a challenge).

One of the special things about The 100 Word Challenge is that those entering a piece are encouraged to visit other blogs and leave a constructive comment. Peer ‘talking’ to peer is very powerful and can create some real improvement when children respond to suggestions from other children.

It also provides another teaching point for teachers to show children how to comment constructively.

The 100 Word Challenge has been used for homework tasks and up leveling practice as well as a regular writing activity. Teachers have found that this has helped with their workload. It certainly helps drive traffic to a blog which in turn helps the motivation for blogging in general. The Quadblogging phenomenon has been able to use The 100 Word Challenge for a shared activity. This of course provides an international audience.

Above all – it is fun! Children feel challenged and then really rewarded when they see the comments. Go for it!

Well done Julia Skinner, @theheadsoffice, for a great idea.

Category: 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (10)

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  1. As regular contributors of this wonderful challenge, I have seen my children’s engagement and belief in themselves as a writer grow with each challenge they enter. Julia and her team leave such wonderful and encouraging comments for the children, helping to encourage them in more ways than I (as their class teacher) could. Leaving comments for other children has also helped make their peer assessments more effective and focussed. Enter your class in this challenge and watch their enjoyment and enthusiasm for writing grow.

  2. Tim says:

    Thanks for this Cherise
    I have read what you and your children have written – great stuff
    Keep up the “challenges”, and the reflective comments, because you are right- they are both very valuable
    It is amazing how peer review seems so much more “important” isn’t it?
    All the best
    Tim

  3. Tricia Gilbey says:

    Tim,

    I think it’s a great idea, I’m just slightly worried about directing children to a site which has links to all sorts of blogs. What are the checks in place to make sure nothing gets on there we wouldn’t want our children to visit? I noticed Julia directed children towards the grown ups area. Is this a good idea? I wondered what Cherise’s thoughts on this were. It’s a fab idea…audience and purpose are everything to a writer and I love the peer review aspect. I just feel cautious about it.

    Tricia

  4. Tim says:

    Hi there Tricia
    I understand your thoughts
    You might want to approach Julia, directly, and see what her thoughts are on this
    I am not sure what safe guards are put in place but I am sure it something that is considered.
    Get back to me if you get some feedback
    Cheers for now
    Tim

  5. Many thanks Tim for a super post that celebrates 100WC. The posts come via a class blog that has been moderated by the teacher and the sites themselves house a variety of school directed work posted by the children.

    I understand Tricia’s concern regarding the ‘Grown Ups’. I have been blogging with all these folks for a while now and know that their blogs do not contain anything unsuitable. I doubt that the children would go beyond commenting on the specific post with the same prompt as theirs. The rules for entering 100WCGU is that it is suitable for a PG certificate.

    I am always looking for folks to join Team100WC which is a group of volunteers following guidelines for commenting on 100WC. It is these & other comments that make it so special for the children. If anyone would like to join please contact me.

  6. Tim says:

    Thank you for clearing a few things up there Julia
    I know that you take safety, respectful writing and commenting seriously, so it is also good to hear of your aim to get others to join your team too.
    Keep up your great efforts.

  7. I’d just like to make a comment about Tricia’s comments.

    As far as protecting pupils from visiting linked blogs, we forget that out pupils go home to an unfiltered internet. Should we stop them using Google because they ‘could’ find links to things they shouldn’t? For me, the internet is indeed a web, unfortunately within the web are spiders. It’s up to us to educate our pupils on how to deal with these spiders as and when they come across them. I can’t see the issue with allowing pupils to explore the links on the 100WC blog. I’m sure they’d be more change of pupils finding spiders by Googling ‘School Blogs’ than searching through the links on the 100WC.

    David Mitchell

  8. Tim says:

    I agree with you Dave. The web internet is a wonderful wilderness of remarkable beautiful experiences. There are dark and dingy corners. If we don’t use the wonderful empowering experiences because of the potential for the less savoury elements, we are not fulfilling our professional duties, and we’re creating a false sense of security too. Filtering is not enough. We need to teach our children skills for aspects such as knowing what to do when they encounter things that disturb them.
    The 100WC can not be infallible in terms of links, but it is a becoming a community that is building positive connections, peer review and experience of the desire to polish up writing because of an audience who encourage and offer building critiques.
    Alongside the opportunities of Quadblogging, we need to be diligent about guidance and awareness of potential problems, but we need to keep an eye on the huge potential first.
    This is not the end of this conversation as there are many complex issues to consider.
    “Courage comrades. We have a powerful tool for change within our grasp. Tread carefully. Tread bravely”.

  9. Tricia Gilbey says:

    My instinct is to agree with you, and thanks for the reassurance. I agree with Tim’s comment re the web offering so many wonderful opportunities for learning, and to provide an audience for children’s writing is a powerful thing.I think it’s good that people are discussing these issues.

  10. Gerry - The Alton says:

    Your 100WC is really good Tim. It is really interresting.

    (Please visit our blog. http://altony6.schoolblogs.org/. THanks)

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