I know, I know-you're tired of hearing that 5-letter word! :) I am very passionate about writing in my class and have several different kinds of journals that we implement throughout the week-math, poetry, reading response (some years), social studies, science and what I call "Rigor" Journals. We ask for composition books in our supplies, but I have a hard time using them with the kiddos right away. Most are at the stage where they are drawing a picture and dictating their sentence-the lines in the comp books just don't match that skill. Plus having them copy the question takes forever and I really want parents and the students themselves to be able to go back and see what they were writing about; so I just type it out at the top of each page, print it out and make copies.
For the "Rigor" part--since I use Kaplan's icons for Depth and Complexity regularly in our lessons, I make pages for each that we use in Kinder: perspective, patterns, ethics, over time and rules. Sometimes I ask them to write about one specifically (write about the rules for being a snowflake) or we will use a story/theme concept and write using all of them (over the course of a week).
For example, if we are doing monsters in October, over the course of a week: I would ask them to write about the rules for being a monster, ethics of monsters (how are they right/wrong), pattern in Where the Wild Things Are, their unanswered questions from the story, how monsters change over time (or how the monsters in the story changed) and to write from the perspective of a monster. I like being able to make those connections across a theme or book. Take patterns for example, many students come away from math lessons thinking patterns are just AB or red/blue--I want them to be able to apply that concept to science, social studies, art and reading.
These are some pics I found of the ones from last year. I didn't take many for some reason, but it can give you an idea:
Plant life cycle as a pattern-applying the pattern concept to science.
Unanswered questions-sometimes coming up with good questions to ask is harder than coming up with answers!
Perspective of a groundhog.