Idea File - 2017 Spring

Rev Up Your Staff With A Workshop

Rhonda O’Dea 2017-03-07 01:48:12

In the midst of creating this year’s yearbook, it’s hard to look ahead and get motivated to start next year’s book. However, the best yearbook years start well before the first day of school. Early preparation starts with more than just idea generation. In fact, it begins with identifying and training new and returning staff as well as teaching and practicing yearbook sills. It’s advisable to do a full one-day workshop, like an in-school field trip, or a series of classes using workshop lessons that accomplish the same thing. REASONS TO DO AN IN-SCHOOL SPRING WORKSHOP • Identify your talent - You likely know who your current staff is and what their strengths and weaknesses are. But holding a workshop that includes next year's staff, or those who have expressed interest in next year, will allow you to identify the early standouts. Who will be the best leader, the best designer, the best writer and the best photographer? • Identify your slackers - Who doesn't show? Who gives last minute excuses? Did they prioritize yearbook? Who shows but is a goof off? It's better to know now, before it's too late to get them out of your class or off your club roster. • Get some big picture tasks done - The long list of early decisions can be made with the help of the experts! If you or your yearbook rep can work with your students to nail down a great theme, then work can begin on the visual package that will showcase it. You can start your cover design, create modules to complement it, and even set styles for type packages. This time of year, no idea is a bad one; it's time to collect them all and start making some decisions. Find your group's aesthetic and help them define and design it! • Look at yourselves in the mirror - They say when reflection happens there can be real growth. You can only eat this yearbook elephant one bite at a time, so reflecting on what w ent well this year and what did not will help you narrow the list of what you'd like to improve. After putting it all out there, find three to four things you can reasonably improve upon in the coming year. Starting with a list at this point allows you to make training decisions and find a depth of resources to make real, lasting changes. • Practice skills - In major league baseball, spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. In yearbooks, spring training can be the same thing! So, what must the yearbook staff practice? Writing - Learning to create good captions and copy Photography - Recognizing good photography and knowing how to do it Staff building - Identifying your leaders and helping them find their place Theme - What will it be? What will it look like? Goal setting - When a staff wants to improve, determine where to start RESOURCES Once you've made the decision and planned the time and location of your event, you need to gather your resources to ensure you accomplish real progress. This brief list will help you get started: • Your yearbook rep - He or she can help you plan, prepare and teach the skills you want your students to develop. • 2018 Workshop Workbook - This workbook will help your staff brainstorm and will walk them through theme development, colors, fonts, page design, coverage development, and options to round out the book. There are even pages for sketching. • Yearbook Suite curriculum - Engage your students using this 11-unit curriculum with collaborative learning activities available as printed student workbooks, an a p p or online versions. A comprehensive Adviser Edition guides you through the lessons. Learn more and download the “ New Advisers Field Guide to Yearbook" PDF atwalsworthyearbooks. com/yearbooksuite. • Idea generation sites - See recent, trendy media at; check out other awardwinning yearbooks in the Design Showcase at; follow some yearbook gurus on Pinterest such as Mike Taylor @Taylormjc. • Games/activities for bonding, motivation and fun - Start with the “Staff Management Through Team Building" unit of the Yearbook Suite curriculum, which helps staffs learn to work together. Then search for icebreakers and games. Search the Internet, too. Be sure to celebrate birthdays, milestones such as getting a driver's license, and deadlines. Never forget food as a reward and motivator. THE ACTUAL EVENT Every great workshop has energy! Whether you are in your yearbook room, the library or someplace else, bring the tun! It's not hard to do, but the devil is in the details. You d o n 't want them to feel like they are in the world's longest yearbook class. So spice it up! • Music - Have a laptop or phone set up with speakers to play music. Let your current staff pick some fun tunes and maybe play a couple of warmup games that use the music. • Student presenters - They learn best from each other. Give this year's editors some real responsibility for teaching basic skills to the newbies. • Pacing - Organize your agenda around the fun. Remember, you're building the foundation tor a long, challenging year. Woo them with the fun stuff now! Interject music and games and lots of positive vibes! • Teamwork - Whenever possible, team up your newbies with a veteran staffer for small group critiques and training. Send them out together to take photos, have them write captions and copy together, and even work on spread design basics together. "Having yearbook as a class, I have found that working on next year’s theme in early April makes a lot of sense. I schedule an in-school training workshop with our rep, which is extremely valuable. Many times, students are focused on layouts, but they have a hard time coming up with how to develop the layouts into a cohesive yearbook. Meeting in the early spring at a workshop gives the staff a great start and then several months over the summer to get it ready to go for crunch time in the fall. I have found that my yearbook students are involved in more activities than ever, so getting the theme developed early can be essential to the yearbook production process." Jonathan Bickel, adviser Eastern Lebanon County High School Myerstown, Pennsylvania The value of one-day workshops in the fall and even a longer summer workshop experience should be noted as well. They serve distinct and unique purposes. Summer workshops - Who doesn’t love a good summer camp?! Full immersion summer workshops are available for yearbook staffs and for advisers alone. This kind of multi-day experience can really bring your planning down to the “ it’s getting real now” level. With early planning and the right support from administration, parents and yearbook staff, you can get your students to a yearbook camp - the positive effects of which will be felt all year long. To find a workshop, see Workshop Central at One-day fall workshops - Often available via your yearbook reps or state journalism associations, these events serve as a great re-motivator. Similar to a field trip, early planning will be necessary to secure the appropriate permissions and transportation for you and your students. The effort is well worth it, however. We all need to be reminded that although this is a tough job, you do not need to go it alone. Look for a workshop where you can connect with other advisers and your editors can do the same. Collaborate on theme and early challenges and commune with others who are sharing your experience. To find a workshop that is right for you, talk to your yearbook rep, check Workshop Central at, and contact your local scholastic press association. ON THE WEB To find a workshop, go to Rhonda O ’Dea, CJE, is the West Area Sales Managerfor Walsworth and lives in Southern California. Before working with Walsworth in both the Northeast and West Areas, Rhonda was a yearbook adviser and frequent judge and presenterfor CSPA and NSPA/JEA.

Published by Walsworth Yearbooks. View All Articles.

This page can be found at