Encourage students to use analogies, similes, metaphors, and adjectives, but remind them to search for the word or phrase that most accurately describes what they are experiencing. Also remind them that they don't have to say: "I am in my living room. I see a brown, hard chair in the corner. Next to it I see a mirror." It is more natural (and also more sophisticated) to write, "In my living room a brown hard chair sits in the corner. Next to it is a mirror."
The students should pick a question on any topic from the significant (what do you want to be when you grow up) to the frivolous (what's your favorite food) and ask 15 people for their opinions. Most important, that they should follow up and find out why each person feels the way they do. Please make sure they understand that we don't want one word answers, they should be taking notes and come away with full quotes from people. The students should then write an article based on the information they've gathered. The story should reveal both the data and the reasoning behind it.
For more advanced students, they can be encouraged to also interview people who know their subject.