The children relished the challenge and had my new app. 1-4-0 to help. The app allows children to write a story or text within a grid of 140 boxes. The app has a word counter and a character counter to make sure children keep to the constraint. This is an idea I have previously blogged about and share on my training to actively encourage pupils to play and experiment with words and language. What I love about the idea of using twitter as a constraint is that a character can be a letter, a space or a punctuation mark. So children will actively muck about with the use of different punctuation marks to help reach the 140 goal. The idea was inspired by all the constrained writing challenges featured in Alan Peat's books.
To make sure the app enhance what can be done on paper, alongside the character and word counter, there is the option to turn the message into a fake tweet. This is a great teaching tool, as teachers can use this to create fake tweets from celebrities with deliberate mistakes for the children to spot and correct.
The children had to tell the story as a character through 5 tweets of 140 characters exactly. It was a tough task but one the children enjoyed. They worked brilliantly, trying ideas, changing words and phrases to make their story fit.