Over the years, I've attributed much of my students' writing improvement to consistent journaling. Writing often helps them develop fluency and voice. This product includes 30 prompts that will get them thinking and writing.
I have found that journal writing is most successful when students are not graded on grammar or spelling, or even on the quality of ideas. Instead, the goal of writing, and the emphasis, is to write continuously for the time allotted, and to do it regularly.
Students grade their own journals, or each other's, and I occasionally collect at random to check and enter scores.
Grades are based on an estimated word count, striving for 180 words per 5-7 minute writing period. Many will not start there, but with practice, they can get there, and most do. Writing becomes a ritual, and even something most of them look forward to, rather than something intimidating and paralyzing. Ultimately, over time, journaling helps them learn who they are and what they think. It also helps them improve their ability to express themselves more clearly and easily.
These topics are great for discussion, too. Student can share their ideas after they write, expanding on the concepts and building speaking and listening skills.