We are a few days into our first full week of school and things are going pretty well. Right now I have 27 students (17 boys and 10 girls) and I'm enjoying our time together. It appears that our entire group of new 5th graders is very much against writing. Their 4th grade teachers had such a hard time getting them to do anything that had to do with a writing lesson, journaling, publishing, etc. I am trying to come up with a fun way to get a writing sample from my students. I would like to get a good sample of where they are in writing so that I can see how they are applying writing skills and so I can also begin to prepare activities that will get them ready for the state assessment in Jan./Feb. I would really like to help them become better writers and become more interested in writing. Any ideas on how to get a good writing sample from my students and get them interested in learning more about writing and apply what they're learning?