And…we’re off! It’s a new year, with some new students and a new book. Here are some things to do the first week of yearbook class that are both fun and educational.
1. Establish Expectations: Review class requirements, grading policies, any planned staff work nights/weekends and the importance of making deadlines.
2. Share Information: Complete a staff directory that includes cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, class schedules, birthdays, parents’ names, etc. Consider creating a gmail account (or other e-mail), facebook page, etc. as a way to relay information between adviser/editors/staffers.
3. Self-Evaluate last year’s book: It’s not always easy, but be honest, and be tough. Did the theme reflect the school year, the population, the events and was it present throughout the book? How was your coverage? What people/events did you miss? What was covered well? Was the design consistent, tight, and attractive? What areas need some cleaning up? Was your copy interesting and engaging? Too long? Too short? Do you have captions for every picture? Are your photographs worthy of publication? Are they good quality action/reaction shots? Are they varied in subject and angles? Did you pay attention to details like folios, spelling names correctly, and consistent margins?
4. Think Through Your Theme: If it isn’t already decided or in the works, discuss theme and cover ideas.
5. Determine Your Deadlines: Finalize and post the ladder. Color code it by deadline and list specific spread assignments, which pages will be sent with each deadline, etc. Indicate which pages are going to be printed in color and/or spot color.
6. Build a Strong Team: Start each day with ten or fifteen minutes of icebreakers/team building activities. You could choose a quote or thought for the day the students respond to as you take roll. This will help students get acquainted and get over any fears, shyness, etc. and begin to become a cohesive team. Look here for short games with a purpose.
7. Sell the Books: The beginning of the school year is the best time to sell books. Remember that parents are the real purchasers, so as you discuss and plan your book sales campaign, have students brainstorm creative ways to reach and motivate parents.
8. Inspire Creative Ideas: Have each staff member bring in five ideas from magazines that could be used in the yearbook. Or, have each student bring several magazines and have a “look for ideas” class session.
9. Develop Your photographers: Have students shoot photos around campus and “discover” who your best photographers are as well as generate examples of the elements of great photography.
10. Delegate Special Jobs: Ask what special contributions/talents each staffer plans to give to the yearbook. From this conversation, decide each staffer’s strengths and what each student’s additional responsibilities will be.
BONUS: Try to plan one outside of class activity. You could go for pizza, go bowling, go roller skating–anything that will allow staffers to get to know each other and just have fun.
Have some other great tips? We’d love to hear them! Happy Yearbooking!