I always begin with the book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.
I shared some memories (happy and sad) I had with my students. Then they shared their memories. We created a Heart Map with topics they can write about. They'll begin using this during writing time.
We wrote about mom and dad this week. I read the big books below and had the kiddos read along with me. Then I modeled how I would focus in on one idea and stay on topic.
Here are a few examples.
I also introduced Informational Writing. The kids wrote about their field trip to the apple orchard. I showed them that some informational books have borders. They created one, added pics, and wrote.