The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 7

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will replace with current cover when current cover is done

SPECIAL SECTION THEMED ISSUE

7

Decide about Collaborative Writing or Solo Writing

Whether you choose to write with others or write alone, writing an article is a rewarding and fulfilling process. There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways.

Collaborative Writing

Collaborative writing is the most fun for me for many reasons. Watching the writing grow is like magic. I can freewrite what I know and then see how that writing changes as others add what they know. Some of my first writing partners and I wrote about our writing process in this very journal in 2002 (Teachers Writing Together: A Journey in Collaboration; Hurst, Wilson, & Cramer). I have experimented with several different ways of collaborating that have worked well. You and your writing partners can experiment with what works best for you.

It all begins with you and a teacher friend or two deciding that you would like to write an article together. Brainstorm ideas by talking about different reading and writing practices you have found to be successful and looking for a connection you all have that you could write about. This conversation can happen in person or electronically. Then together you decide which method of writing works best for you. The following are some ideas for ways to work together.

Submitting your Manuscript

One of the hardest parts of writing a manuscript is knowing when to stop. I love E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame’s idea that the secret of good writing is rewriting, so I have a tendency to want to keep rewriting and rewriting. But as one of my co-authors said to me back when the song by Passenger was popular, there comes a time when you have to “Let her go.”

When you are ready to submit your manuscript, go to The Missouri Reader website and read the directions for submitting a manuscript. The directions state to submit your manuscript as a Microsoft Word document email attachment with “TMR Submission” in the subject line to Glenda Nugent, Co-Editor, at

glenda.nugent@gmail.com.

In the email say something like this: “Please find attached a manuscript for consideration for the "Tech Talk" section of The Missouri Reader. It has not been submitted elsewhere.” This last line is necessary because you cannot submit a manuscript to more than one place at a time or publish the same manuscript in two different journals.

When you email your manuscript, the guidelines also state that the you need to “complete The Missouri Reader Submission Form, which includes the category of the submission and other pertinent details.” This form asks for a short bio about you. You can tell where and what you teach, and if you are in graduate school, you can add that too.

Peer Review Process

After you have submitted your manuscript, the next thing you need is patience because it can take a while to hear back about whether or not they want to publish your piece. Each manuscript submitted goes through what is called a blind peer-reviewed process. This means your manuscript will be sent to two reading people in the state who will recommend to the editor whether or not it should be published. The blind part means your name will not be on it. This is to insure fairness. According to The Missouri Reader website, the reviewers will use the following criteria when evaluating each manuscript:

1) relevance and applicability to Missouri educators;

2) clarity of writing;

3) blend of theory and practice; and

4) content – accurate, consistent, and well-reasoned.

The reviewers also make suggestions. These suggestions are invaluable. They offer ideas for how you can strengthen the manuscript. I am always grateful for this feedback because the article ends up being better.

In Conclusion

I hope you have been inspired to write an article for The Missouri Reader. I think you will find it a highly rewarding process. And I know

Collaborative Writing

Collaborative writing is the most fun for me for many reasons. Watching the writing grow is like magic. I can freewrite what I know and then see how that writing changes as others add what they know. Some of my first writing partners and I wrote about our writing process in this very journal in 2002 (Teachers Writing Together: A Journey in Collaboration; Hurst, Wilson, & Cramer). I have experimented with several different ways of collaborating that have worked well. You and your writing partners can experiment with what works best for you.

It all begins with you and a teacher friend or two deciding that you would like to write an article together. Brainstorm ideas by talking about different reading and writing practices you have found to be successful and looking for a connection you all have that you could write about. This conversation can happen in person or electronically. Then together you decide which method of writing works best for you. The following are some ideas for ways to work together.

Set meeting times. Having a set meeting time is a fun way to write together because you each do a little writing on your own, combine your writings, and then meet around a computer (with snacks, of course) and write together. You can have a set meeting time such as after school every two weeks until you finish the article.

● Traveling article. I am working on a traveling article now with a couple of my colleagues. The idea of a traveling article is that we take turns working on the article and pass it back and forth or in a circle if there are more than two authors. We use a tag, you’re it and hot potato writing process. The hot potato concept is like in the game by the same name where the idea is to pass the potato quickly because it is hot. Our intent for this is to keep the article moving. So the pressure is not there to write a lot, but to add something and move it on.

● Choosing technology. You will want to decide as a writing team which method of technology you want to use. Google Docs works well because anyone can access the manuscript at any time and all can see the changes as they are being made. I still like working from a Word document because we change the date on each draft so we are able to pass the document along easily, and we all have access to the old drafts in case we want to refer back to something we had said earlier and possibly changed.

Solo Writing

Writing an article by yourself has advantages as well. It is a real kick to see your name in print and know you accomplished this feat by yourself. It is still nice to have a teacher friend or two to talk about your ideas even though you will be writing the manuscript alone. Colleagues can help you think through ideas and read your drafts for feedback. So even though you are the solo author, feedback from a colleague is an important part of the process.

Formatting Guidelines

According to The Missouri Reader website, the manuscripts “must be written in 12-point font, double-spaced, and follow APA (6th edition) formatting guidelines.” You can see examples of how to do APA on the articles that have already been published. Additionally, the guidelines state “Clear, high-resolution digital images, high-quality videos, scanned examples of student work, and student-made digital projects are welcome to be included in your submission for inclusion in our newly redesigned interactive journal. If you are submitting pictures or videos of students or examples of student work, please include a completed Photo and Video Release Form with your submission.”

Submitting your Manuscript

One of the hardest parts of writing a manuscript is knowing when to stop. I love E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame’s idea that the secret of good writing is rewriting, so I have a tendency to want to keep rewriting and rewriting. But as one of my co-authors said to me back when the song by Passenger was popular, there comes a time when you have to “Let her go.”

When you are ready to submit your manuscript, go to The Missouri Reader website and read the directions for submitting a manuscript. The directions state to submit

.