The Pocket Instructor: Writing - Guidelines

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  1. Word Limit: 1,000–1,500 words.
  2. Formatting: Word document (.doc or .docx), double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins
  3. Title: Short is preferable. Can be creative or straightforward—whatever captures the spirit of the exercise and will be easy for people to remember.
  4. Tagline: Beneath the title, please provide a one-sentence overview (or “tagline”) that introduces the exercise to the reader. What is the exercise best for? What does the exercise help students learn or do? In short, what is your objective?
  5. Keys: There are six keys that will help readers navigate and find exercises (see Keys and Models for more information.) Please include, at the top of your submission, the answer to each key.
  6. Writing Style: Clear, engaging, informal.
  7. Structure: Exercise/Reflections

    1. a. Exercise

      Begin by noting any “prep work” involved (for the teacher and/or the student). Then proceed to step-by-step instructions. Keep in mind that new teachers with little to no classroom experience, along with even the most experienced teachers, will want to know exactly how you do your exercise. If your exercise requires homework, please include the assignment.

    2. b. Reflections

      Next, reflect on the thinking behind your exercise: its conception and reception, its planning and execution, its merits and possibilities. Please mention specific texts that work particularly well with the exercise. And don’t forget to show readers your exercise in action. Some questions to guide you:

      1. 1. What goal(s) were you trying to achieve, and what skill(s) did the students learn?

      2. 2. Do you have recommendations (general and/or specific) on when, where, how—and why—your exercise works best?

      3. 3. What was it like to teach this exercise? (The personal or anecdotal touch is welcome!) How did the students respond? What did they learn from the challenge placed before them? What did they like best (or least) about the exercise? You can quote your students and describe how they performed or what they discovered. Give readers a peek inside your classroom.

      4. 4. If your exercise is embedded in a discipline, how might instructors in other disciplines transfer the core writing lesson to their own contexts?
  8. Illustrations: Some exercises may be accompanied by illustrations or diagrams. If your exercise would be well served by a specific illustration or diagram, please include a mock-up with your submission. If your exercise is selected for inclusion in the final volume, you may be responsible for providing camera-ready copy and (if necessary) permissions for any approved illustrations.

E-mail: The Pocket Instructor: Writing