4 Ideas to Keep Your Yearbook Staff Motivated

The new year brings new beginnings, new opportunities, and of course, a few new challenges. Like, how do you keep your yearbook staff motivated through the after-the-holidays slump and the winter-time blues? Sometimes it’s just plain hard for students to get back into your page production cycle with the same level of drive and urgency. So here are three simple, fun things you can do to keep them engaged and the motivation high.

1. Yerdy New Year’s Resolutions

Give the staff no more than 10 minutes to each come up with the yerdiest New Year’s resolution they can think of. We’re thinking things like “I resolve never to use two different serif fonts in a headline” or “I resolve to stop naming the fonts used in television commericals–at least outloud.” When the 10 minutes are up, have each student share one or two of their resolutions to the class. It might even be fun to post the top 5 somewhere in the room as ongoing motivation. Goals are good, right?

2. Spread Design Competition

Look over the pages you are submitting on your first deadline of 2015. Find the spread/page that has the most interesting/fun/creative topic (think winter ball, championship game, spirit rally, etc.) and make it a “competition spread.” Everyone gets a shot at designing the spread…from taking the photos, to creating the layout, to writing the captions, copy and any secondary coverage they choose. It can be a team or individual competition–whichever works best for your staff and keep them creatively motivated. Once all the spreads are completed (a few days before your actual deadline), have the staff vote for the layout they feel does the best job of presenting the content. You might even be able to combine elements…photos from one submission, layout from another, and alternative copy packages from a third. Of course, there should be fun little prizes for the runners up or for note-worthy individual elements. Make it a challenge, but make it fun, too.


3. Crazy Photo Competition

Assign a crazy, one day (or week) photo challenge. It can be almost anything, but the more random, the more fun your students will have and the more motivated they will be to complete the challenge. Try one of these challenges, or come up with your own crazy ideas (and share them with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!)

Craziest selfie (we suggest some paramaters with this one)

Crazy Selfie
Crazy Selfie
























Hats (and the people who wear them.)


Crazy Hats

























A single color. 



The alphabet.

Photos can be either 26 things that begin with each letter of the alpahbet or things that look like each letter. Both are fun and usually inspire some great photos.




The possibilites are endless…just get your staff out there taking photos and being creative at the same time.



4. Creative captions/tweets

This can be a 5 minute class assingment each day for a week, or once a week until your next deadline, or just a one-time activity. Show the entire staff one photo (or maybe several if you only want to do this for one day), and have them write a creative, engaging caption or tweet to go with the photo. This is just for fun…no rules need apply (other than good taste.) Check out these sites for examples of fun captioning:

Meet Gary and Elaine. They live in the photos from catalogs. And someone writes about them in captions. Some very funny stuff.



Some very funny captions here. Lots of inspiration to get things rolling.

Shhh trucks















And we saved the best for last:


Quiz Grade


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