I chuckle at the response of 4th graders when I tell them they are going to write poetry--disbelief, groans, cheers are heard! I don't usually start this early in the year, but I think poetry is great for reluctant writers, because poets don't have to follow the conventional rules of sentence structure or grammar.
Last week my students wrote Auto-Biography Poems, using the rough draft template over at Create Teach Share. I loved this activity! It was so successful. Everyone has a poem hanging on their locker. I totally enjoyed reading them, too! I'm going to keep this as an early in the year writing workshop activity.
What have you tried this year that you know you're going to keep for future years?