Teaching Yearbook: Digital Escape Room

Group of high school students collaborate on solving emoji puzzles for the yearbook escape room

Unlock the mysteries of yearbooking with this classroom-ready lesson plan. We designed this yearbook escape room to kick off the school year or to serve as an informal assessment. With yearbook vocabulary at the core of this activity, students progress through a task to “unlock” another. When all four keys are complete and correct, they unscramble the final code. Cue crowd cheering noise.

Escape Room Activities

Students progress through the following four activities to stretch their knowledge and application of yearbook terms. 

Task 1: Yearbook Lexicon

Find words related to yearbook terms within the jumbled letters horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. After finding all 21 words, the unused letters in the grid will spell out a hidden message which will unlock the next stage of the escape room.

Here’s a hint: You’re going to want to know these.

Task 2: Emoji Combinations 

Analyze the emojis’ meaning in the context of yearbook-related activities and concepts. After entering all the words, students will find a three-digit code used to unlock the next task.

Task 3: Yearbook Riddles

Solve six riddles based on the who, what, and when of yearbook creation. Once solved, a hidden word will reveal the next clue.

Task 4: Identification Station

Examine two yearbook spreads and identify the elements of design and yearbook hierarchy. Students’ answers will produce the last three letters needed to unlock the final puzzle. 

Yearbook adviser gives hints to his students about solving yearbook-related riddles.
As an adviser, you can be as involved as you choose with two delivery options.

Teacher Instructions

This electronic escape room works best in student pairs. Students enter their responses on a self-checking Google Form to advance through the activity while collecting letters to unscramble for the final code. (This also works well if you have a sub covering your class and want to leave a low-prep, meaningful activity.)

Because you know your class best, you can hand out tasks one-by-one or distribute them in a packet. Both require the trifecta of teamwork, collaboration, and content knowledge to be successful.

To use the yearbook escape room, 

  1. Download the task cards; print one copy per group of 2-3 students
  2. Share this Google Form with your students via Google Classroom or email. 
We recommend groups of two-to-three for optimal participation. (No limits on how many may celebrate!)

When the Escape Room Is Finished

Determine the goal: completion and material mastery or friendly competition? Based on the desired outcome, you may want to have directions ready for one of the following activities. 

  • Yearbook spread critique: using the vocab, identify elements of design on an in-progress spread. Determine three areas of improvement. 
  • Interview a classmate on the experience; build a module for your academics section on the yearbook class

By extending this yearbook-related activity, students can further develop and demonstrate their skills in communication, utilizing technology tools, and applying visual arts principles. Extension ideas include creating layouts, capturing and editing photos, and using digital tools for design and presentation.

Another consideration is how, and if, you will grade the escape room activity. Some teachers award points for completion and bonus points for the first, second, and third-place teams.


The yearbook-related activity can meet several national standards. We’ve listed some below; please note specific standards may vary depending on the framework or guidelines followed by your educational institution or state. Your district curriculum or CTE coordinator might help you align your usage of the yearbook escape room with the appropriate standards and objectives in your specific context.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) – Communication:

  • Standard: Apply verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual communication techniques to create, express, and interpret information and ideas.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) – Technology Operations and Concepts:

  • Standard: Use digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  • Standard: Use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

National Core Arts Standards – Visual Arts:

  • Standard: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
  • Standard: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
  • Standard: Reflect on and evaluate artistic work.

Remember, our primary goal in creating this escape room is to foster collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills within your yearbook students. Collaborate, listen, enjoy the adventure, and be sure to tag @treering on Facebook and @treeringcorp on Instagram.

More Yearbook Curriculum

Yearbook editor stands in front of his team and goes through the class agenda. Yearbook Curriculum
Why You Need an Agenda Slide for Yearbook Class
Read Article
Group of yearbook editors posing in piggyback New Ideas
Yearbook Job Descriptions
Read Article
Student in class reflecting on advice he received to start yearbook class. Writing
Teaching Yearbook: 60 Bell Ringers
Read Article
Yearbook Debriefing: A Summer Reflection
Read Article