Nutshell Writing

Time required: Short

Grading: Minimal

Disciplines: Any requiring formal writing assignments

Why:  Clarifying the main purpose of their writing helps students plan and execute higher quality work

How:   After students have picked a topic, ask them to complete the following sentences:

Before reading my paper, my readers will think this this way about my topic:


But after reading my paper, my readers will think this way about my topic:


For example:

Before reading my experimental report, my readers will be uncertain whether 1940s Mickey Mouse cartoons have less or more gender stereotyping than recent SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons.

 After reading my report, readers will see that SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons have less gender stereotyping with a statistically significant level of confidence.

Collect the sentences and comment on them, or have them turned in to a submission folder. Another option is to have students trade papers with 3-4 others in the class or post to a discussion board for feedback from others.  Have the readers indicate whether they would want to read the paper, and indicate what the writer might want to add or think about.

From Engaging Ideas by John C. Bean, p. 41