The Hamburger Method for Writing

Teachers use devices to get kids writing. This is the method I’ve found most useful in my 17 years of teaching. Today’s blog prompt is below.

We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

Source: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well | The Daily Post

As a fourth grade teacher, I teach many things in a given year but the most exciting for me is teaching writing. A lot of kids and adults don’t like writing so this presents a special challenge for me. Not only do I want them to have the tools to be able to write but also the enthusiasm and love for writing as I have. Through the years I’ve gathered some excellent teaching tools. The hamburger method is my favorite for teaching writing.

The key element I teach at the get-go is that the title should be written last. That flies in the face of all chronological thinking but there is sound logic behind it. How can you introduce something that doesn’t exist yet? Doing a hamburger outline helps to this end. You come up with your three paragraphs. For example here is an introduction: Mr. Riley is a nice teacher, smart, and helpful. Then each of those becomes a “patty” on the hamburger. You need only to add reasons and details for each of the three paragraphs.

Your introduction is already written. The conclusion is just the intro restated like, “So, as you can see (insert intro here).” With just a little fill in work, you can make a 1-2 page paper out of this hamburger method. Try it with your kids if you like. We all need as many tricks as possible to be productive writers.

Author: Damien Riley

Damien Riley is a blogger, film reviewer, & podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.blog once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. He married a high-desert princess (now his queen). They have 3 children.

2 thoughts on “The Hamburger Method for Writing”

  1. I certainly agree about the title being last. It’s amazing how titles will come calling when a piece is nearing completion.

    My choice of electronic devices is iPad, using Google DOC and Pages apps. Both apps initially ask for a title but they don’t demand it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed the names of a finished manuscript, but failed to change the filename.

    Using the date as a filename sometimes helps, but not always.

    1. I tell my kids it’s like trying to introduce someone you’ve never met. Once your writing is done, you know and can give it a name more easily. Of course, there are times when it works to name it at the beginning.

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