I want to emphasize that anything written is a great beginning. In fact, this “anything written” might be, in some cases or for some students, a great ending as well. A simple list of words expresses the writer’s personality, and when read carefully, the writer’s voice can be heard.
Because writing is difficult for or completely new to many students, it is a good idea to follow the developmental writing model of starting with single words, then moving to phrases, sentences, paragraphs, essays, and papers. Some students will never get beyond one level, while a few will insist on skipping levels and writing long papers. The way to encourage writing is to accept anything the student can create. A list of isolated but related words is a creation since the student chooses the words. With a little bit of guidance and some exposure to poetry those students who can write, or speak as you record, little more than words and phrases may be able to create their own tone poems.