Clever Copy: Include Student Stories in Your Elementary School Yearbook

Elementary school students love telling stories. Let them put some in the yearbook.
Image source: Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Yearbooks are a piece of our history that we treasure forever. Even though the photos and design are the stars of the yearbook, you want the writing to stand out and remain timeless over the years, too. The stories can take your already great yearbook over the top.

Unfortunately, elementary school yearbook copy can often take less of a priority in its overall completion, and understandably so. Obviously, a third grader hasn’t built the necessary skills to interview the principal and superintendent on the latest budget cut crisis to draft a flawless 3,000 word expose. And as a yearbook advisor with a lot on your plate, you might not have the time or resources to do so, either.

But just because the students in elementary school can’t keep up with Shakespeare just yet, you shouldn’t be overlooking them as a valuable source for yearbook copy. Anyone who has ever sat at the dinner table with one knows that kids in elementary school and middle school have a ton of stories to tell. A lot of them are pretty good at telling those stories, too.

So why not use some those stories in the school yearbook?

The stories kids tell in the yearbook are sure to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
Image source: Flickr user robotpolisher

WHAT MAKES KIDS GREAT WRITERS

Young kids might not have the technical tools to write for the New York Times, but they have an innocent voice and they’re honest. They can tell a story from a perspective to which their peers relate and adults find endearing. There’s a reason that the Bill Cosby show, “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” was so popular – because it’s true: kids say things that most of us never expect to hear and we love it. Parents especially love it and will be thrilled to be able to flip through all the stories in their second grader’s yearbook.

Elementary School Yearbook Stories From Students

Give your student creative writing prompts and exercises to capture their unique voice in the school yearbook.
Image source: Flickr user Alexandratx

HOW TO GET THE STORIES

First, decide if you want the yearbook classroom assignments to be mandatory or voluntary. If you want all of the students in the school to participate, you’ll have to go around to all of the teachers and ask them if they would be able to work in a writing assignment based on your chosen topic for the students to hand in by a specific date. As a voluntary project, you ask teachers to give each of the students a yearbook handout that will explain the details of what you’re looking for and lets them know that their story could potentially end up published in the school yearbook for all of their friends to read.

A mandatory writing assignment works because you will receive a large amount of submissions from which you will be able to take your pick. The downside to this method is that you’ll need to be able to get participation from as many teachers as possible and you may be overwhelmed with the volume of submissions you receive.

A voluntary writing assignment is also great because you’ll have fewer submissions to sort through, taking up less of your time. Fewer applicants also means fewer hurt feelings of anyone who doesn’t get their story put in the yearbook. The downside to voluntary is that you’ll have to stay on top of any student who is doing it and get them to stick to the deadlines.

The choice is yours based on what works best for your needs.

Elementary School Yearbook Story Ideas

There’s a story to be found in everything. Ask and the students will give you theirs.
Image source: Flickr user ohioholly

IDEAS FOR ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARBOOK COPY

Selecting the topic (or topics, if you will be using multiple submissions) is important, especially for an elementary school yearbook. Not only will it help students streamline their ideas, but you will be able to mold the stories around the theme of the yearbook.

Here is a list of 10 writing prompt ideas for students:

  • What (School Name) Means to Me
  • My Favorite Summer Vacation
  • If I Were President…
  • If I Could Bring a Character from a Book to Real Life, It Would Be…
  • My Favorite (School Name) Memory Is…
  • What I Think Teachers Do All Day
  • When I Grow Up, I Want to ___
  • How I Would Make the World a Better Place
  • My Best Day Ever
  • If I Got Stuck Inside a Book, I Hope It Would Be Inside ____

Have your students written interesting stories that you know would make great yearbook copy? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear them!

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