Either laminate the following task cards so that you don't have to do them for each class; OR print enough for all the classes you teach. Then cut them apart and hand them one to each student as they enter the door. Allow student 10-20 minutes to create a paragraph about the task given them.
On a separate sheet of loose leaf paper have the student write a ONE PARAGRAPH (4-8 sentences, in ink) answer to the card they are given. Tell them that there may not be a right answer so you are only grading on the fact that they did come up with and answer and did explain the answer to the best of their ability.
Over the years I have told my student that history is full of "history questions" that may go unanswered by today's standards. But I love these types of questions because it makes them 'THINK' which is just what I love having them do.
I also included a blank set of cards for your on use.