Seven Yearbook Staff Motivation Ideas

blue cheer duck
Yearbook staff motivation cheerleader.

It’s January, and that means it’s time for a little yearbook staff motivation. With all the cold weather, the stress of finals and/or the start of a new semester, the holidays-are-over-blues, and looming deadlines, sometimes yearbook staff motivation is a bit lacking, and staffers just need a little help keeping their yerdy excitement high. Here are a few of our favorite ways to keep your students motivated and engaged in the yearbook process through the winter and beyond:

  • Celebrate staff birthdays and 1/2 birthdays (for those students born during the summer months.)
  • Institute a “Staffer of the Month” award with a small token of recognition: a crown or scepter for the day, a Staffer of the Month certificate, a perpetual plaque or poster on the wall. Throw in a cake, cupcakes, doughnuts or cookies, and you’ve got a great 10-minute celebration!
  • Plan a theme (think The 80′s, Pirates, Disney, Valentine’s Day) for each deadline week or deadline work night.
  • Decorate the room/yearbook office each month with your deadline theme and institute Fun Fridays. Have students bring theme-related food each Friday and build a play-list of theme-related music. Are you thinking “Ain’t nobody got time for that”? You’ll be surprised at how much work gets accomplished when fun is in the air!
  • Play a couple of team building games. These games are great for starting out the year so students get to know one another and understand the importance of working together. The beginning of second semester is the perfect time to reinforce those elements of the yearbook classroom. Search for a great selection of educational games, or try one of these to get started:


Sit the staff in a circle and give everyone a piece of paper and pen.  The students write their name in the middle of the piece of paper, then pass it to the person to their left.  Each person then writes at least two positive characteristics about the person whose name is at the top of the paper. After 30-60 seconds, everyone passes the pieces of paper around to their left again.  This continues until everyone gets their name paper back to them. Depending on the make up of the group, one option is to have people read out their own list. Done well, this is an incredibly affirming game and can be an activity that people literally remember for years to come. Potential variations include making space on the classroom wall to hang the papers and encourage students to continue adding positive words. You could also have the students make a word cloud from their lists.


Spend a class period playing a series of Minute to Win It games. Many are really easy, inexpensive, and hysterical to play or watch. Get a full list here:

  • Plan to attend a Spring journalism convention. Check out Columbia Scholastic Press’s annual convention in New York City and Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association’s spring convention in San Diego.

How do you keep yearbook motivation high on your staff? We’d love to hear your staff traditions!

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