We did journals last year in the format of letters back and forth from me to the students, they would write all week and I would respond on Fridays for them to read on Mondays and then we'd start over on new topics.
In the beginning of the year I started by asking simple things about them including their family life, etc.
One little boy wrote "I have a mom, a dad, a stepdad, 3 sisters, and a dead brother who I didnt like anyway."
This wouldn't be funny, of course, if it were true. However, not only did this student not have a dead brother, he didn't have a brother at all! Once I talked to parents at open house about this, and they informed me of the real family set up, I was amused/concerned.
As the year went on, this student wasn't demented or anything, so it was okay