Writing Workshop Question

    For the past several years I have started Writing Workshop
    by having the kids write in journals about something that
    really happened to them. We do small moment stories and
    talk about picking one part etc. I usually do this for a few
    months, then we do personal narratives with a
    beginning/middle/end and then move into other genres-
    research, poetry, letter writing and persuasive.
    My kids just LOVE the other genres and most are kind of
    blah about writing yet another story of something that
    happened to them. I think part of it is just that we spend so
    much time on this one genre.

    I was thinking about starting the year with "Writer's
    Notebooks" instead of journals, and exposing the kids to
    different genres even at the beginning of the year. For
    example, when teaching labels, the kids could label a
    picture of something that happened to them, and then later
    that week label a picture of a pumpkin after we read a
    nonfiction books about pumpkins. Something like that.

    Does anyone do anything like this? I'm just trying to figure
    out if it's a good idea, if it would increase writing
    motivation, if it can be organized in a logical way...