Transforming stimulus materials for Directed Writing.


The same detail will transform in different ways depending for the style you will be writing in.

Take this detail: superstitious times in a village whose oldest inhabitant could remember the plague, carried by vermin, which had wiped out three quarters of their population.

Look how it changes depending on the style…

News Report: Only 80 years ago, 75% of Malsam’s population was killed in a similar plague,it was also spread by rodents. The oldest inhabitant of the village, Jenny Jackson 96, has now witnessed both disastrous events.

Letter: How terrible! This is the second time such a disaster has struck. Old Jenny so gloomily told us how, when she was a child, three quarters of the town was killed by an almost identical disease. Three quarters! Can you imagine living through two such experiences?

Speech: It is undeniable this is a tragedy. I accept that. But, it is a tragedy we can conquer, it is a tragedy that our ancestors in Malsam have conquered before. Three quarters of our people were struck down years ago. One quarter rebuilt this town. One quarter grew strong. They made us what we are today. Jenny here is living proof of our survival. Can we not repeat this positive? Are we not strong like they were?

Interviewer: How does it feel to be watching history repeat itself?
Jenny: It’s….it’s…unimaginably hard. You see some things so terrible. You lose so many friends. You only expect that to happen once, you know?
Interview: It is so hard.
Jenny: Malsam is a good town, with good people. The Duvalls seemed kind, but…


Diary Entry Example.


Anne Frank’s Diary

Dearest Kitty,

Yesterday was a very tumultuous day, and we’re still all wound up. Actually, you may wonder if there’s ever a day that passes without some kind of excitement.

The first warning siren went off in the morning while we were at breakfast, but we paid no attention, because it only meant that the planes were crossing the coast. I had a terrible headache, so I lay down for an hour after breakfast and then went to the office at about two. At two-thirty Margot had finished her office work and was just gathering her things together when the sirens began wailing again. So she and I trooped back upstairs. None too soon, it seems, for less than five minutes later the guns were booming so loudly that we went and stood in the passage. The house shook and the bombs kept falling. I was clutching my ‘escape bag’, more because I wanted to have something to hold on to than because I wanted to run away. I know we can’t leave here, but if we had to, being seen on the streets would be just as dangerous as getting caught in an air raid. After half an hour the drone of engines faded and the house began to hum with activity again. Peter emerged from his lookout post in the front attic, Dussel remained in the front office, Mrs van D. felt safest in the private office, Mr van Daan had been watching from the loft, and those of us on the landing spread out to watch the columns of smoke rising from the harbour. Before long the smell of fire was everywhere, and outside it looked as if the city were enveloped in a thick fog.

A big fire like that is not a pleasant sight, but fortunately for us it was all over, and we went back to our various jobs. Just as we were starting dinner: another air-raid alarm. The food was good, but I lost my appetite the moment I heard the siren. Nothing happened, however, and forty-five minutes later the all-clear was sounded. After the washing-up: another air-raid warning, gunfire and swarms of planes. ‘Oh gosh, twice in one day,’ we thought, ‘that’s twice too many.’ Little good that did us, because once again the bombs rained down, this time on the other side of the city. According to British reports, Schiphol Airport was bombed. The planes dived and climbed, the air was abuzz with the drone of engines. It was very scary, and the whole time I kept thinking, ‘Here it comes, this is it.’

I can assure you that when I went to bed at nine, my legs were still shaking. At the stroke of midnight I woke up again: more planes! Dussel was undressing, but I took no notice and leapt up, wide awake, at the sound of the first shot. I stayed in Father’s bed until one, in my own bed until one-thirty, and was back in Father’s bed at two. But the planes kept on coming.

Example Conversation.


Topic: Should domestic cats be eradicated?

Emine Saner: Do you think owning a cat should be made more difficult?

Tom Cox: All cats should be chipped. A cat licence could work, definitely.

Emine Saner: The study in the US published this week showed stray and feral cats were the bigger problem than domestic cats, although these contributed to the killing of birds and mammals, too. Gareth, are you concerned about domestic cats as well?

Gareth Morgan: For me, it’s all cats. I would love New Zealand to have no predators at all. Well, that’s a bit extreme – what I mean is no non-confined predators. I’m fine with dogs on leashes. I’m happy with cats as long as they’re confined. Our cat population is exploding, and it is ferals and strays who are free to roam.

Tom Cox: It’s that question about what nature is. You could say it’s not natural for cats to be here killing so many birds, but that’s part of nature in itself – the fact that, however many thousands of years ago, we realised cats were good at hunting rats and mice, and it’s evolved into this thing where they’re now wonderful companions to people. It’s part of the question of what is natural.

Emine Saner: Cats are responsible for the deaths of wildlife all over the world. Do you think other countries should consider getting rid of their cats?

Gareth Morgan: That’s not for me to say. That’s a national conversation. I did this to spark the national conversation in New Zealand – I didn’t expect it to go all around the world.

The problem is that you get swamped with the numbers of cats, that’s the issue. Let me put this another way – we do this with stray dogs, but not with cats. Why the discrimination? I think it comes down to the strength of the cat lobby.

Tom Cox: There’s the cliche of the crazy cat lady, and people who don’t like cats say cat-lovers are weirdos. That’s not true – cat lovers are mostly people with a lot of compassion, but there is a minuscule percentage of people who are a little bit over-the-top about cats. I imagine that would be a challenge you might face, Gareth. Have you ever had a cat?

Gareth Morgan: Absolutely. We have cats in the family now – my daughter has one. But it is confined, and that’s the issue, really.

Emine Saner: Could you see a point where cats become indoor-only pets?

Tom Cox: That’s never the way I’ve lived with cats, apart from a short period when I lived in a flat in London. I didn’t feel they were happy. Sometimes I feel, when I meet some people’s indoor cats, they seem a bit dopey, like they’re not properly having the life they should.

Gareth Morgan: I suppose I’d put it another way: do we wait until all our endemic species are extinct and then wonder what we’ve done? That’s up for the public to decide. There is a trade-off here. I’m asking for them to be confined. We’re at a tipping point in New Zealand. We have the highest rate of cat-ownership in the world – 48% of households have one or more cats. It’s a different situation elsewhere, which is why I’m reluctant to translate the New Zealand experience anywhere else. What I’m advocating, policy-wise, for local councils is to trap wandering cats, and if they’re chipped, they go back to the owner. Whether they fine the owner or not – that’s none of my business. I’m not talking about any euthanasia of owned cats.

Emine Saner: But you have said that people shouldn’t replace their cats when they die naturally?

Gareth Morgan: There are people who would find it far too hard to confine them, either physically, or they wouldn’t feel right about it. In those instances, I’m saying make this cat your last, because you owe it to the New Zealand fauna not to let your cat roam.

Example of Editorial.


Editorial: Lessons to learn from Bangladesh

With the death toll from the collapse of a factory building in Dhaka last month now topping 1,000, the incident has become the worst industrial disaster in South Asia since the Bhopal gas leak in 1984.

Primarily, the blame lies squarely with the owners at Rana Plaza. Not only were basic building regulations not observed, but cracks appearing in the walls of the building were ignored, as were the repeated warnings that it was unsafe. Worried workers were even allegedly threatened with the sack if they failed to turn up.

The Bangladeshi government is also culpable: for failing to enforce planning codes, of course, but also for the often shambolic rescue operation and for the rejection of assistance from the international community. More lives could, perhaps, have been saved.

Finally, international clothing companies, while not directly liable, must bear a share of the responsibility nonetheless. A number were buyers at Rana Plaza, and two of them – Primark and Canada’s Loblaw – were swift to offer compensation to victims and their families.

Compensation is not enough. And such measures as there are in place to ensure basic industrial good practice are clearly insufficient. Whatever the British high street’s appetite for cheap clothes, even the most price-conscious shoppers baulk at such appalling collateral cost.

Nor is the answer simply to pull out of low-cost markets such as Bangladesh. The involvement of Western companies can be a force for good – providing much-needed investment, jobs and, in theory at least, a prod towards better working conditions.

It is this last that must now be the priority. Sad to say, so many Bangladeshi politicians are linked to the $20bn-a-year garment industry that meaningful reform is unlikely to come unprompted. For the same reason, though, Western buyers have real leverage. They must use it.

That means not just paying closer attention to their suppliers’ conditions. It also means putting pressure on corrupt or inept governments to enforce regulations. Otherwise, there will be more Rana Plazas and more lives lost. A fractional rise in the cost of a T-shirt is a price worth paying.

Narrative Composition Example


Below is James’ narrative from the prelim exam.

She was gone longer than she was supposed to and she walked back as fast as she could.

“What took you so long?” I questioned out of aggravation.

“I’m sorry dad, I guess I drank too much lemonade!” she jokingly exclaimed.

“Stop it Olivia, I need you to focus and be quiet. I’m teaching you how to hunt and I want you to take this seriously.” I clarified as she nodded submissively.


We trekked deeper into the white forest as the morning sun rose and chased away the clouds. The winter snow was unforgiving as the biting cold numbed our bodies. We struggled to find a good spot to plant the bait as the ghost-white snow clung on to our boots like icy-fingers, holding us back. Olivia stayed close while I led the way. The air was filled with an unnerving silence as we halted and scanned a small clearing in the middle of the forest.

“Olivia, hide behind those bushes while I place the bait. Hold the hunting rifle and remember, keep silent.” I instructed as she made haste.

The bait was set and all we had to do, was wait. The garish sunlight shone upon the bait before us as we waited for some unfortunate animal to arrive. Mist started to float above the ground, ethereal and ghost-like. We sighed in irritation and worry. A frosty zephyr moaned through the lifeless snow-covered trees as the fluttering of feathered wings broke the silence.

We ducked behind the bushes and laid there in anticipation.

“Olivia, remember what I said, control your breath and hold it before pulling the trigger, you can do this.“ I whispered with assurance.

The sound of snow being displaced by feet were audible. The sound got closer and closer, louder and louder. There it stood with its four-monstrous legs, jet-black coat of fur and blade-like teeth. It devoured the bait in an instant and the beast gave off a thundering roar that shook snow off the branches of dead trees. Olivia whispered to herself repeatedly

“Aim small, miss small.”

I leaned closer to her ear and instructed, “Now.”


An eerie hush fell upon the hallowed forest. I could hear her heart pounding furiously as she panted with exhilaration. We heard the mournful cry of the black beast behind the shrubs across from us. We hurriedly followed the trail of crimson blood that tarnished the white snowy ground. We then found the beast laying on the snow-covered ground as it breathed heavily. We closed in on it and told Olivia to finish the job.

In a brief moment, the bear-like beast rose and regained footing. It was absolutely livid as it swiftly charged at my daughter. Olivia was petrified, frozen by fear as vines of terror rooted her into the ground. She cringed in intense horror as it approached her. The grotesque beast knocked her down and came for me. It held me down and attempted to maul me to death. I offered him my left arm as I shouted

“Olivia! Shoot him! NOW! SHOOT! HELP ME!”.

She did not move. Her face was etched with fear and I felt a frosty chill in the pit of my stomach. I had to do something. I went for my hunting knife that was strapped to my pants. I drove the blade through its throat, piercing its tough hide. It dropped dead.

Its body lay lifelessly on the cold ground. Olivia was still frozen. I looked at her with deep regret and disappointment.

When will she be ready?