three students sitting at a table and looking at a pile of yearbooks

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Jill Chittum

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middle school

Students readily understand the power of having a camera in hand. They see that it can make people do one of three things: hide, mug, or go on with their business but direct their activity to the camera. I teach my students that with power comes a responsibility to be above reproach at all times. To this end, my students are given lessons in manners and protocol when out of the class and on assignment.

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It does not behoove the modern yearbook adviser to exercise extreme control over the middle school photographer. Granting permission to shoot the scenes as they see them can afford fantastic results. Better still, encouraging artistic license will ensure a yearbook that is thoughtful and exciting for the consumer.

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Middle school students are scary, to put it mildly. Turning them loose with digital cameras, computers and the internet could turn into something from a bad horror film. Beyond all that could and did go wrong during the fifth period communications class, the staff did publish a yearbook last year. We made a ton of mistakes, left in a few too many typos, but ensured that everyone’s picture showed up in the book at least one time. For a 72-page book with a first-year adviser, things went well.

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September 29, 2004 / Fall 2004 / Staff Management

SO, YOU’RE THE ADVISER FOR A MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARBOOK. THE HARDWARE AND THE SOFTWARE MAY BE IDENTICAL TO WHAT YOUR COMPATRIOTS ARE USING AT HOME TOWN HIGH SCHOOL, BUT YOU KNOW THE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN THAT HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM DOWN THE STREET OR ACROSS TOWN ARE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE 11- TO 15-YEAR-OLDS POPULATING YOUR MIDDLE OR JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS.

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