William Laney 2017-08-25 05:20:26
PUT YOUR STAFF IN CHARGE A piece of advice for those becoming yearbook advisers for the first time: trust the kids! Resist the urge - which will be strong - to handle every aspect of yearbook creation. Yes, you want to produce a first-rate product. But try to take the YOU out of the process, and give the reins to your staff members. I am in my sixth year as a yearbook adviser. Previously, the job was passed around every two to three years, which seemed to be the limit most teachers could tolerate. The primary reason I'm not interested in handing The ob off to someone else after five years is because I've been fortunate to work with great kids who love participating in a collaborative environment. They are primarily responsible for building the yearbook. My job is qualify control. The benefits of this arrangement are numerous, for both myself and my students. I win back some of the precious "me time" that being involved with the yearbook tends to steal away. My students learn how to handle multiple responsibilities (the biggest one is meeting deadlines!), find avenues for creative expression and gain confidence by mastering new skills. Here are some suggestions to get you started: • Allow your kids to call the shots on the beginning-of the-year decisions. Which fonts are we going to use this year? How much space should each club/activity receive? What color schemes are we interested in using? Should the page ladder be altered? • Don't worry about naming staff leaders; they will become clear soon enough. Avoid holding a staff election for posts such as executive editor, layout editor, photography manager or section editors. Start everyone off as equals, and let them know you’ll be selecting staff members to take leadership posts based on Their work during the first quarter. • If you’re on the staff, you’re a photographer. Why limit picture-taking to a few students on the “photography staff?” Almost every kid in middle and high school carries a smart phone at all times (and theirs is likely better than yours). Take advantage of the fact that these devices are present throughout the building, and require each staff member to contribute photographs from their classroom activities, social events, after-school clubs and other yearbook-worthy affairs. • Bring ’em back for more. As a middle-school adviser, I lose talented students at the end of each year to high school. Some years, that talent drain is very pronounced. However, most high school students need service hours, and returning to middle school on occasion to help train incoming staff members is a great way to earn them. Your yearbook alumni can help teach younger students how to use Online Design, what makes a good photo, how to lay out a page and other tips to help keep your yearbook moving forward. As you head into this fall, challenge your staff members to take ownership of all the tasks that lie ahead in creating your yearbook. After all, it’s their yearbook. Let them create it! ON THE WEB For more Middle School Moment columns, go to walsworthyearbooks.com/ideafile. William Laney is in his 13th year of teaching and his sixth year advising the yearbook at Brickell Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He assists with professional development in the Virginia Beach City School District and sponsors the school’s Drone Rangers Club. The 2016 yearbook earned Walsworth’s Gallery of Excellence.
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