August 30, 2011 / Staff Fun

Start the yearbook staff bonding in September

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Yearbook is hard work. Your staff needs to work well together to get the job done right and on time. It is helpful if your staff can get to know each other so they can understand each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

Spending time together having fun or sharing serious thoughts can lead all staff members to a greater understanding of how they can best work together on this large yearbook project. As school gets rolling in September, consider these activities for bonding.

  • Hold a “name that computer” contest for the computers. Once they are named, have the staff design name tags to post on the computers.
  • Play with Play-Doh on National Play-Doh Day on Sept. 18. Let them play with a bit of it during a brainstorming session, or keep a few cans on hand for an instant break time. Please immediately pick up any dropped Play-Doh, especially if you have carpeting in your room.
  • Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month is a good time to write short notes to these people on your staff, encouraging them for the upcoming year.
  • September is Shameless Promotion Month. Have fun brainstorming ways to sell your yearbook this year, or let the school know how cool it is to be on staff. How about a video?
  • Take some time for exercise during Line Dance Week Sept. 12-17. Learn a couple of line dances that the staff can get up and do when they need a break during a long work session, or even at the end of a weekly staff meeting.

Bonding can even occur over serious subjects. Here are two diverse topics, one is serious and one is solemn.

  • National Love Your Files Week is Sept. 19-23. Discuss with your staff the importance of file management, so that spreads and images can be quickly located. While a good file management plan is important, the key component is that everyone uses it faithfully.
  • This year is the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. While the date is important to all Americans, it is more meaningful to students directly affected in some way. Spend time letting students discuss how the event affected them. Then brainstorm coverage ideas.

There also are activities you can do all year to make staff feel good and give them a quick break. Schedule a Friday Fun activity to let them burn off some energy. Have a different staff member be responsible for planning the activity each week. Also remember to honor staff birthdays every month with a cake or cupcakes. Don’t forget to recognize summer birthdays in May.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career 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.