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Arizona English journal
Calls for manuscripts  

FALL 2024: Cultivating community & Connection

Community and connection are the cornerstones of learning, and yet, too often, discussions around learning primarily focus on content. In this issue of Arizona English Journal, we will explore the roles of community and connection in English language arts and literacy education. From book clubs and literature circles to professional learning communities, social connections are a vital aspect of learning. Both students and teachers benefit from strong community and relationships. In fact, recent research shows that “social connections, community, and strong relationships have been associated with increased life span, improved mental health, and improved physical markers" (Hyman, 2023). Despite the busyness of the school day, it is important that we find time to slow down and connect with one another.


Linda Christensen, in her book, Reading, Writing, and Rising Up, shares, “In order to create an authentic community in my classroom, I develop lessons to help students see the humanity of their classmates” (4). She writes about teaching Name Poems and Forgiveness Poems as ways to “build community out of chaos” and facilitate authentic connections between students. Creating learning environments where students can find authentic community and relationships is a critical aspect of teaching ELA. Jaleel R. Howard, Tanya Milner-McCall, and Tyrone C. Howard come to similar conclusions in their book No More Teaching Without Positive Relationships. The authors argue that relationships must be at the forefront of teaching, writing, “Although ensuring students’ academic achievement is an essential part of our job, it is not all of it. And although we are responsible for students leaving our class with transferable skills and knowledge, are we grounding those skills and academic knowledge in authentic relationships so that students see how those skills and academic knowledge facilitate a successful, fulfilled, and joyful life?” (3-4). Cultivating connections with and among our students, as well as with our colleagues, provides invaluable support for every individual in the classroom.


In what ways are community and connection complementary to the content you teach? How do you cultivate a classroom community of supportive writers, readers, and thinkers? How have professional communities sustained and supported you as a teacher? Share your stories in our next issue!

We also welcome general interest manuscripts in every issue. We ask for general interest manuscripts that offer insight into important issues for English Language Arts teachers at all levels of instruction. Through reflection, inquiry, narration, or a call for action, we hope to hear your stories and learn from your work. As a practitioner journal, AEJ articles foreground classroom experiences, provide vivid details, and offer exemplary storytelling while grounding content in current research and discussion.

Manuscript Submission Deadline: March 31, 2024

Column, Poetry, and Artwork Submission Deadline: July 31, 2024

Publication: September 2024




This column opens space for the discussion of how equity, justice, and inclusivity looks in our classrooms. Modeled on the NCTE English Journal’s #disrupttexts column and the work that Lorena Germán, Julia E. Torres, Dr. Kimberly N. Parker, and Tricia Ebarvia are doing to bring  BIPOC+ voices to the classroom and to re-envision the literary canon, this column will make space for BIPOC+  educators to speak on the ways they are bringing inclusive voices into their classrooms. 


How do we use literature and writing to amplify those voices that have historically been erased from the formal ELA curriculum? 

In the 


This column spotlights essays and articles discussing the best of classroom life. It offers teachers a space to share what is working in their classrooms, lesson ideas, reflections on teaching and learning, pivotal moments, and meaningful memories.

Teaching Journeys

This column is a place for teachers to share their experiences as they navigate teaching and the teaching life. Submissions may explore insights teachers have gained through their role in the classroom, as well as tensions that have come up personally and professionally. 

O N G O I N G  

F E A T U R E S 

Poetry: Limit to two poems per submission.

Original artwork: High resolution (300dpi) images of artwork. Please include a short 150 word artist statement (see author’s bio).

Original photography: If students or families are pictured, please contact us for a photo release upon submission.


Submission Guidelines (in accordance with our larger organization, NCTE): 

  • Manuscripts should be double-spaced throughout (including quotations and Works Cited page), with standard margins. Please save copies of anything you send us. We cannot return any materials.

  • Please remove all identifying information from the manuscript; we use a double blind review process. 

  • Manuscripts should be no more than 6,000 words (not including citations). Number all pages of the manuscript.

  • Columns should be no more than 1,000 words.

  • Use in-text documentation by following the current edi­tion of the MLA Handbook. Where applicable, a list of Works Cited and any other bibliographic information should also follow MLA style.

  • Provide a statement guaranteeing that the manuscript has not been published or submitted elsewhere.

  • Ensure that the manuscript conforms to the NCTE Statement on Gender and Language.



Email submissions to:

Example below:


Subject: “(Last Name): Manuscript for Fall 2021” 


Dear Editors, 


The attached manuscript, ______, is about _______. 


In sending the attached file, I give Arizona English Journal my permission to publish this work. I understand that the editorial board may make minor changes to this document according to house style. I confirm that I have not published or submitted this work for publication in any other venue. 


Author Bio: 


Carrie Deahl is a National Board-Certified Teacher in Phoenix, AZ where they have taught English for 22 years. Deahl also teaches Creative Writing and some of their students have placed at the regional level in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Recently, Deahl had an article published in NCTE’s English Journal and has been interviewed on Phoenix’s local NPR affiliate, KJZZ for their work with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Deahl was the proud recipient of the NCTE’s 2018 High School Teacher of Excellence Award; the Arizona English Teachers Association English Teacher of Excellence Award, High School Level, and has been recognized by former Arizona State House of Representative Tony Navarette as a community leader and educator committed to academic excellence. Deahl currently resides in Phoenix, AZ with their dogs, Huckleberry and Syvlia and a sassy cat named Rilke.  

Photo attached:

We want to feature Arizona students' original artwork in the Arizona English Journal

In every issue, we feature artwork from local Arizona students; we would love to showcase the work and talents of your students in the upcoming September issue.


We encourage students to submit their original artwork (on any subject) to AEJ. Teachers are also welcome to submit on behalf of their students (with permission, of course). Please email submissions to by August 20, 2024.

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