It’s different: there are no grades, no minimum enrollment requirement, and no mandatory, as in state-mandated attendance, slot in the schedule. While running a yearbook club is going to look different on each campus, we hope these tips from other club leaders help you grow your program.
Offer Incentives for Club Members
Everyone starts with “What’s in it for me?” so add value to their hard work. Your students don’t get paid to work on the yearbook outside of class–heck, most of us don’t get paid to create the yearbook! We’re saints. That said, we’re the only ones who get it. Make a big deal of your students. Your yearbook club deserves to be celebrated, at a minimum, in your classroom.
Consider the perks:
- Free yearbooks (that they receive before the student body)
- Pizza work parties
- Club shirts (consider coordinating these with your yearbook theme)
- Press passes (aka yearbook IDs for lunch and free periods)
- Free game and dance admission when they’re “working”
Yearbook Hero Janet Yieh from San Francisco suggests setting up a rotation at larger events, such as the spring dance. Photographers compose their pictures differently and, with middle schoolers, you’ll probably receive different samplings of friend groups too.
Three Ways To Organize Your Yearbook Club
Successful club advisers know their budding journalists and designers need direction. We can build a structure in which they’ll thrive.
1. Schedule Regular Meetings
Two meetings a week is what most advisers told us works for them. In the beginning of the year, the first meeting can be focused on all the how-to instructions with more and more independent work scheduled as the year advances or it can have a specific focus, like photography. (See what we did there?)
Sandy Violette from New Milford, CT spends time building a ladder before assigning pages. Then she sits with each student and uses the notes space in the Treering app to collaborate on an action plan for each spread.
2. Set Up a Google Classroom for Yearbook Club
Breaking down the yearbook into manageable chunks is one way to make it appear more doable for student volunteers. In order for these parts to become whole, communication needs to be consistent and in a form with which they are familiar.
Janet uses her Google Classroom to keep track of homework assignments, do event sign-ups, and post open jobs, such as tagging, that need to be accomplished. She also holds 1:1 coaching sessions because she knows, inevitably, students will have questions they won’t ask in class.
3. Do the Grunt Jobs Yourself
Advisers should coordinate picture days (portrait, sports, and clubs) and flow the portraits. They should run the index. These are two tedious, yet critical jobs when it comes to accuracy.
Does the Honor System Work in a Yearbook Club?
Both Violette and Yieh agree: students show up and get their jobs done. They said there will be minimal issues if you set the expectations early and follow through. Communicate early. Communicate often.
If the need arises, revisit the expectations your student and their parent agreed to at the start of the year.
- Address issues early
- Follow the model: revisit the agreed-upon expectations, identify what went wrong, and document what will happen next
- Always leave it open for reconciliation
Yearbook Club is a vital record-keeping entity on your campus. Thank you for making it happen.