Looking for a way to encourage pupils to write by providing them with a supportive audience outside of their own classroom?
How does it work?
The 100 Word Challenge is “a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. This should be posted on a class blog and then linked to the 100 Word Challenge blog. The link is usually open from a Sunday and closes the following Saturday. 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. One of the special things about 100WC 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 we have seen a real improvement in some writing that has come from suggestions from other children. It also provides another teaching point for teachers to show children how to comment constructively.”
Teachers and their pupils can view the writing produced by other children each week, and this can also provide helpful inspiration for pupils.
100 words too much for your pupils?
For children who may struggle with 100 words there is the option to use the 5 Sentence Challenge – “the prompts for this are thematic and the link is open for two weeks giving more time for discussion and posting. The children should create 5 sentences about the theme. These can be as a list of 5 or as a piece of prose.”
The site provides a guide for teachers in how to take part, including a video tutorial.
Teachers don’t need to take part in the challenge every week – they can simply use the site when it fits with what is happening in their classroom. Also there may be some teachers who would like to use the idea of prompts for writing but in a more private environment for just their class or school – such as a school intranet or class page with access restricted to a class or school community. This would only have the restricted audience of the pupil’s own class or school peers to make comments, though still providing a wider audience for providing feedback to the pupil.
So to get that audience for the writing of your pupils just visit the 100 Word Challenge and 5 Sentence Challenge now to find out more, and help get your pupils writing!