Photo by: Marcela Perez

November 6, 2021 / Staff Management

Work, fun can keep yearbook students motivated before the holidays

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Updated by Walsworth Yearbooks

The holidays are approaching, which at most schools comes with approximately two weeks off from school. The anticipation is overwhelming – so overwhelming that it can be hard to keep your yearbook staff on task to make those December deadlines. So how do you do it?

Many yearbook advisers use a mixture of work and fun to keep students focused. Lynn Bare, adviser at Southern Alamance High School in Graham, North Carolina, assigns smaller tasks to keep her staff focused.

“We are trying to tie up loose ends with many of our layouts, so I find myself giving out mini-assignments to help keep the students on task,” Bare said.

“We are also incorporating fun things to help keep the spirit of the season alive,” Bare said. “All the while, we’ll continue with the mini-assignments that will tie up the loose ends in the people section and the sports section.”

A fun idea to keep spirits high could be letting your staff plan a holiday party with a white elephant theme.

One way to play White Elephant is to have everyone bring in a wrapped gift. On party day, everyone draws a number. Number one chooses a gift to open. Number two can either take that opened gift from number one (who then chooses another gift to open) or chooses another gift to open. Go around by number until everyone has a gift. Number one has the last turn. Limit the number of times a gift can be stolen, such as two. Gifts can be small, secondhand, homemade or funny.

“Holiday music has been playing in the classroom. They will also bring in goodies to share and play Secret Santa one day in the week before vacation” Bare said.

In some schools, the reality of meeting deadlines intrudes into the holidays in more ways than one.

“Because I only have yearbook one semester this year, and we have done so much of what we need to do in order to try and be ahead of the game, I’m also having them complete theme packets for next year. It is early but it will be a good exam review of their skills,” Bare said.

So, whether your staff wants to adopt a family, get involved with a charity toy drive or do a white elephant gift exchange, a good mix of work and fun will keep the spirit alive in your classroom and meet your deadlines – which will make for a merrier holiday.

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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.