: The Plum Tree
Trend task
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Approach:  Station Level: Year 4 and year 8 
Focus: Writing a story ending
Resources: Video recording on laptop computer
Click here for exemplars


This activity uses the computer.

Click The Plum Tree button to play the video.

The story has not been finished. Write an ending for the story. If you already know this story, try to think of a different ending.

You have about 5 minutes to write your ending.

Plum video
A beautiful plum tree grew in our street.
But all the children in the neighbourhood were really scared of the person who owned that plum tree. That’s why we used to call her Nanny Scary.
Every morning, when we were on our way to school, Nanny Scary would come out of her front door. Then she would shout at us,
“Oi! You kids, you’ve been stealing my plums! I’m going to get you!”
One day when we were playing a game, our ball landed right in her plum tree...

% responses
2006 ('02)

(follows appropriately from reading)

62 (55)
86 (80)
34 (34)
13 (20)
does not follow storyline
4 (11)
1 (0)
Achieving closure:
(rounding out the story)

very cohesive, satisfying ending
10 (9)
36 (25)
quite cohesive, most elements pulled together
29 (21)
38 (41)
some sense of completion
41 (46)
19 (27)
story not completed
20 (24)
7 (7)


high creativity
9 (3)
24 (15)
moderate creativity
44 (39)
57 (57)
low creativity
47 (58)
19 (28)
Total score:

13 (8)
40 (27)
20 (10)
28 (29)
16 (25)
13 (18)
19 (17)
10 (12)
32 (40)
9 (14)
Subgroup Analysis:
Year 4

Year 8

Many students managed the basic elements of this task well but only 13 percent of year 4 students and 40 percent of year 8 students achieved a strong conclusion to the story. There was a moderate improvement in performance at both year levels between 2002 and 2006. At year 8 level, 17 percent more girls than boys achieved the top performance level.

YEAR 4:     
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“Oh no” the children said and ran
away and hid. After that they came
out of their hiding places. Soon
the children had picked up courage
and had started climbing it. A child
reached our their have when...
“Hey” said Nanny scary get down
from there so the children did.
First they grabed the ball, and
sneaked a plum or two.
A few hours later the childeren
were playing happily.

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The children come to get their ball they
Were so scared that they didn’t make one
single sound they got over the fence and
one of the children climbed the tree
then suddenly When he neally got the ball
the branch broke then the lady heard
something she came out and she saw
the branch on the ground and
heard someone sniff and said who was
that you little Boy what are you doing
in my plum tree hurry get out of
there before I get you. The little Boy
said I was only comming to get my
Ball please let Me. the other kid said
please, please, please. Then the ladie said
fine I’ll let you get your stuid
ball Down but you have to promise
you will kick your ball over someone
elses fence and the little
kid thankyou so much and lived
happily ever after.

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We couldn’t grab the ball. We
are so scared of Nanny Scary.
She will say we are stealing our
her plums. Then one day she went
for a ride with her aunty.
Then every one tried to get their
ball back but they never could.
Then they saw some one very
tall and aksed him to get
the ball down he got it down
but the lady saw him and said
you’ve been stealing my plums.

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and we did not want to go
over because she is scary said the
2 boys. Then Nany scary came out and
said what are you doing in my plum
tree she said. Wwwwe are getting our
ball she said. Well then I will get
it for you. That was the first time
they herd her say that. She got
the ball and said here you go then
they were best friends with Nany

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“Go away or else” so the kid’s
ran away and went home.
Then they told their mum
about their day. The
mum asked if they had been
bothering nanne scarry they liad
and said “no.” Then they ran
to their rooms. They started playing
and they never bothered nanne
scarry again.

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We didn’t know what to do so we went up to her
front door and knocked. She opened the door
and shouted “You kids get out of my yard or I will
hit you” we ran away till we couldn’t hear her anymore.
We had to think of a new plan to get our ball back.

So that night we snuck out of hour houses and met
by her house. We were both scared but we built up enough
confidance to get it back we snuck through her fence
and climbed up the plum tree untill we reached our ball
we go it and we picked as many plumbs as we could
carry. Then we ran back to our houses as fast as our legs
could carry us then incase she woke up. The next day
we were walking to school and the plum tree was bare
and thats how we got our ball back from the old
Nanny scary.

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So we went over to the plum
tree and started to climb it
the ball was right up the
tree. It took us a while to
get the ball and finally I
got it when we reached the
bottem Nanny Scary was waiting
for us She growled us then
she told me that all we
had to do was ask for some
plums and that we should have
asked if we could our ball
so from now on we call
her Nanny Nice because she
was really nice but we never
knew it.

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“Oh no” I said. “This is bad” said Jhonny.
We knew we had to get the ball
out other wise nanny scary would
be mad. Jhonny, being the stupid one,
decided to try and climb up the
tree. He jumped over her fence and
started climbing up the tree. I stond
on the road watching him. About half
way up he stoped and picked a plum
of th tree. “Holy moly theese are the
best plums ever” he said. “Thats nice Jhonny
but your ment to be getting the ball”
I said slightly frustrated. He kept on climping
until he could reach the branch that the
ball was in. He shook it and
the ball fell... down onto
nanny scarys roof. It hit with a
thump. I just ran. I don’t know what
happened to jonny though. I haven’t seen
him since.

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When that happened one of
the kids were forced to go
over to the house. One kid went
there. Suddenly there was a
scream the kid ran out and
they never got it back. So they
decided to face their fears. They
all went over there are climbed
the tree. They got the ball. Then
came the old women nanny scary.
They got a good look at here
face. They weren’t scared. So they
took plums from the tree and
ate them with great relish. So
nanny Scary moved out.

YEAR 4:    
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oh no We siad how are we
ment to gwet our ball Now I know
said one of the boys And he told them
the plan. One of the boy picked
a Plum the lady ran after him
why [while] he was doing that the
other boy climbed up the tree
and got it back down
we have our ball back he
shoulted and then they both
ran home why [while] the other boy
gave her back the plum when
they were home the boy who
got the ball gave everyone
a plum and the laghg [laughed] good
job everyone he siad.

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we didn’t wnat to go and
get our ball because nanny
scary would growl us. We left our
ball in the plum tree but when
we were walking to school one
day we climdbed the plum
tree to try and get our ball
but then nanny said get out of
our my plum tree well I tryed to
get down but I couldn’t but when
I was up there I got some
plums to take home. I heard
the bell go and I was
late to school. When I got
down it was lunch time and
I was hungry so I went to
school. I had a big lunch well
I had a plum That I got
of the tree for lunch to.
I had a scary time up in
the tree but I got the ball.

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We went through her gate and looked up
It was nanny scary! She stomped on our ball
and it popped!! We ran out of her gate
and ran home She yelled “Im going to get
you “. We called all the kids in the neighbour-
hood, We need a meeting! Nanny Scarys
plum tree is bugging us all!! “I want to
make some delicious plum juice” one kid said.
Another kid said “I want to make a huge
tree hut” everbody was shouting
and arguing some girls started scream-
ing. The next day we went over and
talked to nanny Scary we offered to
make her plum juice and we would
scoop up all the rotten plums that fell
on her lawn. She said yes! So now
nanny scary is nanny happy and we
have yum plum juice and a cool
tree hut!

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One of the kids was to scared to
go into the old laddies bac yard but
the other boy was a bit oldere older
and braver so he quietly slipped
into the old ladys yard climbed up
on to the first branch and “bang!”
the old ladys door swang open
as soon as she got outside she
spotted the boy in the tree
She was so angry her face went
bright red then in the tree the
boy was really scared he climbed
even more up the tree and his
head hit the ball and the ball
fell out of the tree and the
other was gone the boy who
was still in the tree had no branches
to hold on to he fell out and ran
Loading ImagesScattering a dozen of the juicy red fruit
on the soft grass. One of us dodged over
the short wall and scampered up the
bright trunk, as lithe as a squirrel.
I held my breath as he returned to
my side, laughing uneasily. We hid behind the
wall, but Nanny Scary didn’t come. My
over-confident best friend, Shay, let out
a deep hearty laugh. “Well, old Nanny Scary
is a bit slack on the job now, isn’t she?”
Shay sniggered. “How about I fetch us some
lunch?” I nodded half heartedly, then gasped
in alarm as Shay swung himself over the
wall and ducked down behind the tree,
hastily scooping up plu luscious plums. He
tossed one to each of us and pulled
a face at Nanny Scary’s window.
Most of us kids started munching our
plums, but we all grimaced at how sour
and bitter they were. The juice inside was
brown and gungy, and half the kids
gagged or choked. Soon there lay a
pile of half eaten plums at the base
of the wall. Shay was still in the garden,
with his back against the tree and a
smug expression on his face. He hadn’t
noticed how what we were doing. Soon
we heard a gentle snore and we realised
he was asleep. Suddenly, the door opened
and Nanny Scary poked his her gnarled
face out. I rushed in to help Shay as
she marched over to her plum tree.
I had never seen her this close before!
Her crooked nose was like a dagger pointing
out of her frowning face. Her eyebrows
sliced downwards towards the beginning
of her nose. “So you’ve tasted my plums,
have you?” she growled, picking one herself
and biting into it. I grimaced as I watched
the foul sludge running down her chin.
“Perhaps you’ll treat me with more respect
after this!” She woke Shay and forced him
to eat ten of her ghastly plums, as he writhed
in agony. No child even glanced at the tree again.

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Nobody was brave enough to
go and get the ball from Nanny
Scary’s plum tree, so they
all decided to go home. Except
for Jack. He wanted his ball
back, so he jumped over Nanny
Scary’s fence and ran as fast
as he could to the plum tree.
The ball was caught in the fork
of a branch which was too high
for him to reach. He hung of a
lower brance and shook it with
all his might. A few plums fell
down, but no ball. So he pulled
himself up onto the branch and
made his way to were the ball
was struck.
He climed through branches and
leaves stained by plum juice and
bird poo, but his eyes remained on
the ball.
He almost fell out of the tree
when he heard:
“Oi! Get out of my plum tree
you theif! You’ve been stealing my
plums haven’t you!”
He leaped down the the branches,
grazing and cutting his arms and
legs, jumped the fence again and
bounded home, eager to leave that crazy
old Nanny Scary behind him.
Once every fort-night on a Saturday
Nanny Scary picks her plums, probably
for some evil witch potion.
Someone had got another
ball and they were playing cricket
while Nanny Scary was gathering her
fruit. Jack saw her holding holding the
largest plym she’d ever seen, when
she bit into it. Realizing that it was
no plum, the ball came out of her
mouth with her false teeth stuck in it!

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We didn’t know what to do. We knew that if she
found our we’d be doomed. So within minutes
we ran home to try & figure out how we
were going to solve this problem.
“How about spray painting the ball the same
colour as the plums?” Someone suggested.
It was a good idea, until one morning
when Nanny Scary picked the ball up
thinking it was a plum.
“Why, this isn’t a plum!” she exclaimed
as she bit into the hard rubber
ball. Her face lit up in a red hot fire
colour as she stompped outside of her
house glaring us all in the eye.
“You kids have been messing with my
tree again, wait till I tell your parents.”
Nanny Scary had a long discussion with
all our parents in the street, when it
finally finished
. that went on for hours.
It was weird what Dad &
Mum had told me that night.
“You kids destroyed Nanny Scary’s plum
tree & stealing the plums from it. All you
had to do was ask her for one!”
I sat on my bed listening to Mum in
silence. “What’s going to happen now?” I asked.
“Nanny Scary is moving to a retirement
home... as well as the plum tree!”
All of us kids had a mini meeting after
we all heard the news.
About a week later Nanny Scary moved
the tree. We were all gutted no more
ripe juicy plums to steal.
The for sale! sign went up the next
day. We all crowded The ‘sold’ sign
went up the day after. We all crowded
around to see who our new neighbours
were. An old couple probably in their
70’s. We all watched to see them
move in with all their valuables.
A grand piano, garden gnomes, big wooden
wardrobes. Not bad & an apple tree...
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