One thing that I use in my classroom, pretty much everyday, is a writer's notebook. In the beginning of the year, I have students bring in photos, pictures, and other mementos - and I supply scrapbook paper - for them to decorate these important items.
One thing I do to stress the importance of the writer's notebook is show them mine. I actually had to make one as an assignment as an undergrad, and I'm glad that I was forced to do it. You can see the front cover and back cover of mine below. Mine is getting a bit beat up, and the colors in the black & white photos have faded to blue a bit. But you get the idea.
I also glued a ribbon into the back of mine to use as a bookmark, which I will do for them, as well.
I also share an entry with my students. The first entry that I did was a list. It is titled, "Random Things That Make Me Smile." I read the list to my students and then explain that in my writer's notebook, I use this list to brainstorm ideas for writing topics. Sometimes writing about small, simple things can lead to really powerful stories.
This is just one thing I do to set the tone for my Writer's Workshop early on in the year.