Add Stimulus Materials to Your Utah Compose Prompts!

June 10, 2015

When creating prompts in Utah Compose, you have the option to attach stimulus materials. You can attach either a file, such as a Word document or PDF, or a link, such as a YouTube video or other website. 
Students can access these materials before and during their writing. The variety of stimulus materials that can be attached is endless! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Stimulus materials for all students:
  • Give students a pair of headphones and let them listen to some calming or inspiring music while they write. Attach a link to music on YouTube or SoundFuel.
  • Provide a link to an online thesaurus that can be used when focusing on word choice.
  • Upload the assignment requirements for a book report or other project to keep information organized in one place.
  • Want students to use a specific graphic organizer for a prompt? Download the printable version of one of PEG Writing’s graphic organizers and attach it to the prompt or attach your own pdf. file.
Stimulus materials for English language learners or struggling readers:
  • Make a sound recording of you or another student reading the prompt out loud. This allows students to start writing after hearing the prompt, rather than struggling to read it! Try the Online Voice Recorder. You can also attach recordings of articles, stories, and other stimulus materials.
  • Provide a word bank or vocabulary list for students to refer to while they write.
Stimulus materials for cross-curricular prompts
  • Do you have a specific content-related scoring rubric? Upload the file so students have easy access to it.
  • Attach a file containing specific content standards to remind students, parents, administrators, and yourself what content the prompt addresses.

Some subject specific prompt and stimulus material ideas include:

Mathematics Prompts

Provide a list of formulas or definitions that students will need to address the prompt.

Upload a link to an online calculator or virtual manipulatives.

Science Prompts

Provide a link to a video recording of a science experiment and encourage students to write about the results.

Upload a link to the periodic table or other scientific resources.

Social Studies

Attach news articles with differing points of view or opinions. Students can compare and contrast the articles. 

Provide a link to a recording of a speech given by a historical figure. They can use the speech while writing a biography or argumentative piece.


Upload images of works of art that students can write about.

Send students on a virtual tour of an art museum! Students can tour the National Gallery of ArtMOMA, or even the Louvre! Have them write about a specific piece, gallery, or their overall impressions.


Provide a link to recordings from composers or musicians. Students can either write about the pieces or just listen to them while they write.

Allow students to compose their own music and write about the experience. Provide a link to a site such as Sound Junction.


The options for stimulus materials are endless! Upload something new and watch your writers thrive!

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