August 12, 2010 / Staff Fun

Help your yearbook staff bond as school starts

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Staff bonding can facilitate the completion of your yearbook. Bonding is beneficial because it will enable staff members to work through conflicts, share the workload and improve attitudes. Work just goes more smoothly when people understand and even like each other.

Most schools open again in August or September. On the first day, or in the first few weeks, it might be fun to have a kick-off activity for your yearbook class or club, or do one or two fun activities to help the staff bond. Here are ideas for both months.

When conducting  research, I noticed that different websites would claim different days for designations, such as National Banana Split Day. This means you can conduct your own research and celebrate these occasions when it is convenient for you.

August

  • No celebration is complete without food, and August has several days designated to honor frozen treats. National Creamsicle Day is Aug. 14, Soft Ice Cream Day is Aug. 19, Spumoni Ice Cream Day is Aug. 21, National Banana Split Day is Aug. 25, and National Cherry Popsicle Day is Aug. 26. Celebrate by bringing the appropriate food to school or to a staff picnic before classes start.
  • National Trail Mix Day is Aug. 31. Have staff members bring in different varieties to share.
  • Honor staff birthdays every month with a cake or cupcakes. It only takes 10 minutes. Don’t forget to recognize summer birthdays if you did not in May.
  • As school is starting, make sure you have several stress relievers in the classroom. Let the staff take out their frustration with tension balls, Koosh balls, bubble soap and wands, a couple of stuffed animals, magic wands and a Crazy 8 ball.
  • If your staff wants to play music, you can rotate radio stations or who brings the CDs – or get a small audio system so they can share the music on their iPods. If you have students who like Keith Urban, Lady Gaga and Drake, then they are getting a music education course for free in their yearbook room.
  • Parents need some fun, too. Create a Parents of Publication Students (POPS) group. Have them meet five times a year. The group can bring food to work nights, and can even use themes for the food and decorations, such as Mexican or Italian. Then, have the parents stay and proof pages.

September

  • Apple Month can be celebrated any day in September and throughout the fall, and cooked and served in a variety of ways. September also is Better Breakfast Month. Set up a potluck breakfast one day so you know students will get a good breakfast that day, or, serve breakfast for dinner on one of your work nights.
  • National Chocolate Milkshake Day is Sept. 12, International Chocolate Day is Sept. 13 to honor Milton Hershey’s birthday, and National Cream-filled Donut Day is Sept. 14. Bring in one of these goodies during this week, but do not bring in all of them on the same day. The sugar rush may be too much.
  • September is Self-Improvement Month and Self-Awareness Month. Have staff make lists of their strengths and weaknesses, and file them until you hand them out in May, and discuss how they have changed.
  • Citizenship Day, Sept. 17, honors the day the U.S. Constitution was approved in 1787. Have staff wear red, white and blue, and discuss why and when the Bill of Rights, including the freedom of speech, was added.
  • National Play-doh Day is Sept. 18. Let them play with Play-doh during brainstorming sessions, or to relieve stress.
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sept. 19. This could be meaningful for schools with this mascot. Check out talklikeapirate.com for more information.
  • For International Student Day on Sept. 20, interview the international students in your school for coverage.
  • Find out if you can go to an elementary school to read to some of the students on Sept. 28 for Read a Child a Book You Like Day.

As always, we do not guarantee the authenticity of any of these dates, but here are some of the fun sources:

http://library.thinkquest.org/2886/foo.htm; http://hubpages.com/hub/Food-Holidays; http://www.mahalo.com/national-soft-ice-cream-day; http://www.brownielocks.com/month2.html; http://www.holidaysforeveryday.com/calsep09.shtml

Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the editor of Idea File magazine. She has been a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 10 years, writing articles for walsworthyearbooks.com and marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. She has taught at Adviser Academy. Her career has included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.