Many times my class periods are limited to 30 minutes and I have a lot to do within that short time frame. I try to get in some guided reading as well as vocabulary front-loading and practice, etc. However, we always write, write, write.
We use Writing A-Z and the Write Source for ideas, but every student has a writing journal for their daily writing. Frequently, we use blank composition books, especially with the older students, but I found a great writing journal with prompts for my first grade students. It is called "My First Writing Prompt Journal" from Lakeshore.
What I like about this particular journal is the interesting and child appropriate writing prompt on each page. We read the prompt together and then talk about the choices in the word bank below. After a brief "thinking" time, I direct the students to trace with their pencils over the blue writing prompt words and then finish the prompt with a word from the word bank. I also expect a period at the end of their sentence. After they complete their sentence, then they may draw a picture to accompany their sentence. Each child reads their sentence to me as they complete it and they may tell me about their picture as they draw.
I know the writing prompt journal doesn't allow for a lot of creativity, but my students do other journal writing in their classrooms as well. Using the writing prompt journals in my ESL class time allows me to squeeze in some writing every day. Plus, my students really enjoy writing in these journals and will ask me for them if I forget to pull them out. You can't beat that, in my opinion! I love it when my students have a positive view of writing...whatever it takes.