Aimee Buckner was teaching at a local school when I first met her. Little did I know she would grow up to be an amazing force in the world of Writing Teachers. I mean now she gets to hang out with Ralph Fletcher and Stephanie Harvey (Nonfiction Matters) now. I'm so happy she has done well, but it was never a doubt that she had awesome talents in teaching writing.
One her best resources is the book, Notebook Know-How in which she sets up her strategy for launching the Writer's Notebook with your class. After she gets them started, she goes through ways to help them maintain their personal adventure journals. I am currently working on instituting Daily Pages with my class.
Daily Pages are an assignment for your class to complete a whole page in their writer's notebook. Ms. Buckner suggests that you not limit their creativity by telling them what to write about on these pages. She suggests that you let them pick the topics and run with it. They can write about anything such as song lyrics, a recipe, a rundown of the newest Despicable Me film, or even some more heavier topics such as the death of a pet.
She warns you to be prepared at the beginning for them not to manage a whole page. A lot of them aren't going to know what to write about, or think that they don't have anything to write down. But as they get used to the process, they will start planning on things that they can write about and then there's no stopping them.