Ideas for Creating Student Yearbook Class Assignments

Yearbook class is a unique experience for students, as it provides an opportunity to learn and practice soft skills that are relevant to the professional and college world. Both of which your students will soon be joining. For you, the leader, by creating yearbook class assignments early, you’ll set your students up for success.

I asked Ryan Novack, at San Francisco’s George Washington High School, to tell us how he goes about creating yearbook class assignments for his team. He provided the following, detailed account. Enjoy!

Create A Yearbook Company

In order to achieve the goal of preparing my students for the real world, I organize my yearbook class as if it was a company. This structure allows for the students to practice skills such as collaborating, communication and organizational skills. In addition to these soft skills, organizing your class like a company allows the students to participate in the way that they are most comfortable and, hopefully, in a way that keeps them engaged.

In this “company,” my students will each have two jobs:

1) The production and editing of the book. With this job, I break each student up into groups and each group is in charge of editing the section to which they are assigned.

2) The promotion and selling of the yearbook.

For this yearbook ideas post, we’ll cover the aspects of producing and editing the yearbook.

Organize By Editor Type

In my class, I broke down responsibilities by two different editor types: Chief editor and staff editor.

Chief Editors

For the Chief Editors, I recommend two Design Editors and two Text Editors. With this structure, each editor will have a partner to work with and collaborate with. Any more than two students and the tasks get a little crowded and the work is harder to manage.

Design Editors (2 Students)

Edit pages for design accuracy and consistency.

Maintain a consistent design and theme for each page as they are turned in.

Text Editor (2 Students)

As each deadline comes up, the text editors ensure each page is submitted and then edits them for language usage, sentence structure and tone.

Staff Editors

For each group of Staff Editors, I recommend no more than four students. For instance, if there are four Sports Editors, two students can be in charge of taking photos and formatting the design for the pages and two students can be in charge of writing the text for the page. These four-person teams allow for an organized collaborative group. Each group is responsible for organizing the calendar of events, attending the various events to capture photos, stories and results, communicating with their respective groups and finally, creating the pages and text. Here are the types of staff editors on my team:

  • Sports Editors
  • Class Editors
  • Activities Editors
  • Club Editors

As you can imagine, the class will need certain systems and structural organization in order to achieve the goals they are assigned. Teachers understand that you can’t just tell a student to be “organized about things” and then walk away. You’ll need to spend time with your team setting up systems and discussing the importance of calendars and communication, and saving relevant documents and setting up deadlines.

Nurture Your Team

This requires some nurturing, but it provide the opportunity to teach the students those soft skills we mentioned at the beginning of this post. In addition to teaching the students these skills, you can show them the importance of using certain technology platforms they will encounter in their adult lives as well. If they are going to save documents, they should make it a reflex to save their documents on Google Drive, for instance. If they have a smart phone, it is important to show them the benefit of using their calendars. If they do not have a smart phone and prefer a journal or paper calendar, the same value of writing down deadlines can be reinforced.

Give The Students Ownership

Once instructions are provided, the systems are in place and the students have begun their work, you will see that your yearbook will develop into an organic, student-driven project. Putting the time into this organization will pay off in the end and, most importantly, will make your students more successful.

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