Will has written several of these for her Minecraft Homeschool class, and they're pretty brilliant. She's a reluctant typer/handwriter (her fine motor skills ARE improving, so I no longer *despair*, exactly, but nevertheless... sigh), but that two-paragraph limit is somehow short enough that she will willingly do the work without complaint.
Two paragraphs are also plenty of space to create some pretty sophisticated compositions. Here's an example from her first week of class:
The instructor generally gives them the topic for each paragraph (for this one, obviously, they were to write facts about their Wonder in the first paragraph, and then explain why they chose that Wonder in the second paragraph), but all of the information, of course, as well as the structure, transitions, and authorial voice, are crafted by the student.
The class also provides its own resources, via a written lesson and links to documentaries on Youtube, and Will has become quite adept at looking back at these references as she writes, rewatching specific scenes from the documentaries and rereading specific paragraphs from the lessons to find the information that she wants. It's not note-taking, but nevertheless, that kind of recall ability is a great research skill to have.
Although these short essays don't require Will to practice introductions and conclusions--there simply isn't enough room--I'm finding that I quite like the way that they're structured, regardless. It gives Will a chance to practice a few very specific research and composition skills, so that when she does write longer essays for me--well, that's a little less that she'll have to work on then!