50 ways to use my app 1-4-0 in class

I have been meaning to put this blog post together for a long time. Just before Summer, Alan Peat and the team very kindly turned one of my ideas into an app.

The 1-4-0 app.

My main focus when it comes to using mobile technology is trying to get teachers and pupils to see themselves as creators and focus on apps that allow students to create, demonstrate, express and share their learning.

A lot of schools are still stuck using app that just focus on consuming and using the tech. Don't get me wrong, there are some brilliant consumer apps out there: some great maths games and English word games. My worry comes when schools are only using technology in this way and therefore not being creative through the technology.



I like to think of the 1-4-0 app as a creative app that allows students to create content. The app, however, has a focus on providing constraints which further promotes creativity. For a number of years I have been using and adapting some of the ideas Alan Peat shares on constraints, including his book - 50 ways to retell a story and his work on OULIPO.  I love using constructs as it does force creativity. You only have to look at the social media platform vine and how 6 second videoIt led me to create some of my own constraints in the classroom such as:




It is the twitter idea that has been the main driving force behind the app. I am a massive fan of using twitter, not just for the CPD benefits, but the way it encourages me to play with language. This is because you can only get your idea or message across in 140 characters. A character can be a letter, space or punctuation mark. I decided to use this as a writing constraint with my class. A simple 10 x 14 grid would give them 140 characters to play with. The problem with this low-tech version was the children focused far too much on the counting and not the content. This is where the technology helps. The app does all the counting for you.

Added into the app are different options: Write a tweet (140 characters,) write a mini saga (50 words,) write a drabble (100 words) and choose your own (you decide the character and word limit.)

Once you have chosen your challenge, you will have a text box which will allow you to type into and the counting will be done automatically. The app will then stop you if you go over the limit. There is the option to save a picture of the screenshot or with the Twitter challenge you can turn the text box into a tweet screenshot. Here you can add an image, username and handle to create your own tweet. With the choose your own challenge option there are endless possibilities for how to use this app. So to get you going here are a few I've come up with. First here is a video of some ideas I shared at a recent teachmeet:




1-4-0 app

  1. Spooky 6 word stories - Set your own challenge to six words and challenge your students to create a chilling 6 word story.
  2. 6 word blurb - Same as above but write a blurb for a book.
  3. 6 word review - Review a film/song in 6 words.
  4. 6 word headline - Using a recent news story try and create a headline for the story in 6 words.
  5. Tweet book review - Write a book review in 140 characters.
  6. Drabble book review - Same as above but in 100 words.
  7. Mini saga book review - Same as above but abstract to 50 words.
  8. Tweet book synopsis - Rather than review a book, write a summary of the story in 140 characters.
  9. Mini saga book synopsis - Same as above but in 50 words.
  10. Drabble book synopsis - Same as above but in 100 words.
  11. Retell a fairytale in a tweet - Choosing their favourite fairytale or traditional tale, write a new version in 140 characters.
  12. Retell a fairytale in a Drabble - Same as above but in 100 words.
  13. Retell a fairytale in a mini saga - Same as above but in 50 words.
  14. News story in a tweet - Choose a recent news story and sum up the story in 140 characters.
  15. News story in a Drabble - Same as above but in 100 words.
  16. News story in a mini saga - Same as above but in 50 words.
  17. Create a twitter account for a historical figure.
  18. Write a short biography of a historical figure as a drabble.
  19. Write a short biography of a historical figure as a mini saga.
  20. Have a discussion between two historical figures in tweets. Ask your pupils to creatively retell an historical even through a series of tweets.
  21. Create a twitter account for a story book character.
  22. Retell a story through a character's perspective in a series of tweets.
  23. Retell a story through a character's perspective in a drabble.
  24. Retell a story through a character's perspective in a mini saga.
  25. Summarise a chapter of the class reader in a tweet.
  26. Summarise a chapter of the class reader as a mini saga.
  27. Summarise a chapter of the class reader as a drabble.
  28. Predict what will happen next in our class reader as a tweet.
  29. Predict what will happen next in our class reader as a mini saga.
  30. Predict what will happen next in our class reader as a drabble.
  31. Create a Rashomon story in a series of tweets.
  32. Write the scariest story in a tweet.
  33. Write the scariest story as a mini saga.
  34. Write the scariest story as a drabble.
  35. Write a description of a picture in a tweet.
  36. Write a description of a picture as a mini saga.
  37. Write a description of a picture as a drabble.
  38. Write a persuasive advert for a new product in a tweet.
  39. Write a persuasive advert as a drabble.
  40. Write a persuasive advert as a mini saga.
  41. Explain the findings of a science investigation in a tweet.
  42. Enter the 100 word challenge.
  43. Describe the weather in a tweet.
  44. Ask the children to write a recount of their weekend in a tweet
  45. Ask the children to write a recount of their half term in a tweet.
  46. Give peer to peer feedback on another student's work in a tweet.
  47.  Give the children a story opener for them to continue in a tweet.
  48. Re-write an emoji sentence in a tweet.
  49. Evaluate their learning of a topic in a tweet
  50. Create fake celebrity tweets with SPaG errors for children to correct.

As you can see I started to get bored repeating the same idea three times but you can see there are a wealth of short writing activities that get children playing, thinking and experimenting with words and language.

The app provides the perfect extension activity if a child finishes a writing task early. Ask them to take their last two paragraphs and rewrite it as a tweet, Drabble or mini saga.

For just 99p it is a great go-to resource to support writing in the classroom. Download it here. 

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