In the beginning of the year, have students create a giant, personal list of topics for writing that they can refer to all year. Help them by slowly asking these questions as they write. Give them time to think and answer—it may take more than one class period to complete this activity. At the end, most students will have a long, meaningful list of topics they know a lot about, and they will be ready to embark on writing workshop. Have students store the list somewhere safe and accessible. Throughout the year, when a student says he or she has nothing to write, refer them to the list he or she created. The file contains 22 questions and many more sub-questions that you can use with your students to create their lists.