Hindsight is a wonderful thing apart from when it makes you feel a bit daft. You know those times when something happens and you think ‘Yes, I should have thought of that!’.
Well that has happened over at 100WC.net. As you will know if you visit, we showcase some entries each week as a way of providing even more kudos to the children. Now that the 100 Word Challenge has its own blog, we also have a Special Showcase where one piece is published in its entirety with some additional information about the school. Last week was Showcase #6.
Sadly, you won’t see it if you go to look. It has been taken down. The reason? Plagiarism.
You may think that is rather farfetched given that the challenge is for children under 16. Last week the 100 WC shared the same prompt as it’s grown up counterpart 100WCGU. It had been at the suggestion of the adult writers who hoped to be able to comment on the children’s post and vice versa. Both challenges are all about developing an audience that can aid improvement in writing.
The copy was of one of the adult contributions and by some fluke, that was the one that was chosen as the Special Showcase. The school concerned has been contacted and hopefully the child in question has had it explained to them that copying is not appropriate when it is someone else’s work. It is a hard lesson for some, I am sure, but I do hope that teachers will explain to children that it is not the way to proceed.
The 100 Word Challenge is for any child to have a go. There is no standard to reach to enter. Entries from lower ability children are showcased in the same way as the high flyers. I am saddened, but perhaps flattered, that this child was so desperate to enter that they chose to copy someone else’s work. I am sure they had no idea that it was actually ‘cheating’.
I am very grateful to all the staff for the support they give 100WC both in promoting it to their classes, posting entries and then moderating comments. I know that some classes set the challenge as free writing but can I appeal to you all that you explain to the children that it has to be THEIR work? You know what your children are capable of in terms of their writing so if you see something that is a little surprising, please have a chat with them to make sure it is genuine and they have not been helped too much.
It is a good lesson to learn for me and the youngster concerned!