Photo by: Kahlil Duarte
Equip Your Yearbook Classroom
Written by Shiloh Scott
There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new school year. The clean classroom, the eager crop of new students and – if you’re lucky – new equipment.
If you have the means to stock your classroom or you have a little bit extra in the budget, here are some items that could make you and your entire staff’s lives easier. Don’t have the budget? Put it on your wish list! You never know when a community member might want to donate to the program.
1. Sticky Notes
Sticky notes have so many great uses. They’re great for reminders, for editing yearbook proofs, for brainstorming and more! Plus, they’re so cheap you could even get a set for every student on your staff.
Did you know see-through sticky notes are an option now? Becky Tate, CJE, the yearbook adviser at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, recommends them.
“My yearbook editors asked me to purchase some clear post-it notes in addition to the regular post-it notes I already purchase for the classroom,” Tate said. “Fast forward to the end of the year, and I’ve really appreciated these. We place them on the proofs and then make comments. It’s especially helpful on pages that have dark backgrounds that make marking on the page difficult. I love it when the kids know just what we need – and we needed these. I just didn’t know they existed.”
2. Writing Utensils
You’re going to need to take notes and make edits this year, so make sure you stock up on markers (permanent and dry erase), pens and highlighters in plenty of colors. Don’t forget metallic markers for writing on dark surfaces. Save money by ordering in bulk when possible. These make great editor gifts too!
Show yearbook pride with stickers! Walsworth sells yearbook-themed stickers in the Advisers Market. If you want something unique to your yearbook staff, have one of your designers create something. Many companies print custom stickers for a reasonable price.
4. Press passes and lanyards
Reduce stress for your staffers, administrators and yourself with press passes. Students can wear them when they’re out taking photos or conducting interviews so everyone knows they’re on official business. It also improves recognition for your yearbook.
5. SD Cards and Readers
Unless you’re able to do a Scrooge McDuck-style dive into a pile of SD cards, you can probably use more. There will always be situations where a student misplaced it or the normal SD card is full and the ceremony you need to photograph starts in four minutes on the other side of campus. Assigning each student their own, plus keeping a spare in the camera bags, will help avoid the “oh, no!” moments. And if your classroom computers don’t have slots for the SD cards you use, pick up a couple of SD card readers too.
6. DryErase Boards
“My favorite purchase this year was a really large dry erase calendar for the wall,” Jill Davis Gunter shared. It’s a great way to track upcoming deadlines, school events and staffer birthdays.
Mini whiteboards are a great way for your staff to participate in games, do team-building exercises and take notes.
7. Anchor Charts
Anchor charts provide a helpful way to visualize classroom rules, style guide snippets and mini-lessons related to photography, captions, editing, interviews and more. A bonus is that your admin immediately notices what you are working on as a staff.
Consider upgrading to the anchor chart paper with adhesive on the back so you can stick it on the wall, but you can save money by ordering without it.
Customers can download our entire Yearbook Suite curriculum for free at yearbookhelp.com, but if you work with a different publisher or want a printed workbook, the curriculum can be purchased at walsworthyearbooks.com/yearbooksuite. The 12 units cover everything from staff management to interviewing to design to photography and more.
Walsworth customers should take advantage of all the extras available on yearbookhelp.com as well. From PowerPoint presentations for teaching to quizzes and answer keys (also available as a Google Form) to an assortment of related Class Starter videos and assignments, you’ll find resources to make teaching your class easier.
9. Celebrate Your Staff
Have some fun and celebrate your staff! This could be something as low-cost as kudos drawn on construction paper, going all the way up to a pizza party to celebrate making a deadline. You know your students, so pay attention to the little things they find meaningful. Whether that’s fidget toys, fun stickers, a paper crown to wear for a day, kudos on trophy note pads, or something else, taking the time to celebrate their good work will be a morale boost.
10. Marketing Materials
The more books you sell, the more cool stuff you’ll be able to buy for your classroom! Marketing materials run the gamut of prices, so you have a lot of choice.
Want marketing flyers you can print on your own? If you order through Walsworth’s Customized Marketing form at walsworthyearbooks.com/customizedmarketing, we’ll send you the PDF for free!
There are lots of ways to do some marketing on a budget. You could market your book with something as simple as sidewalk chalk. You could also get more fancy with something like the hand fans Kathy Beers’ yearbook staff hands out to parents at football games. The fans include the annual football schedule and a reminder to purchase the Timber Creek yearbook. They’re a hit during the hot early season in Texas.
Justin Turner, from Sheridan High School in Arkansas, recommended Walsworth’s “Buy Your Yearbook Here” signs. “It was so nice not having to make a new poster every time we got the sales table out.”
Those yard signs cost $16 for two signs at walsworthyearbooks.com/advisersmarket. You can even place them near the school pick-up line so parents are reminded to buy a yearbook while they’re waiting for their student.
11. Studio Equipment
Give your group and portrait photos a more polished look with a standard background. You could even go all-out and get a backdrop with your school colors and branding. Investing in lighting equipment will take photography to the next level. Choose the price point you can afford. Ring lights are fairly affordable and can make a huge difference.
12. Journalism Organizations
Annual membership to the National Scholastic Press Association is $129 for high school yearbooks and $99 for middle school and junior high yearbooks. Benefits of an NSPA membership include being able to enter your publication into their annual Pacemaker Award competition.
Membership dues for the Journalism Education Association are $65 for a teacher or adviser. That membership comes with access to JEA’s curriculum, their mentoring program and the ability to apply for Certified Journalism Educator status.
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association has three different tiers of membership. Only CSPA members can participate in contests like the Crown and Gold Circle awards. Their highest tier of membership is $279 per publication for one year of membership ($319 if it’s a digital/print hybrid) and includes a detailed critique, Crown judging and 30 free Gold Circle entries.
Be sure to look up your local and state scholastic journalism organizations as well. They likely have a lower price point and events that are closer to your school.
13. Workshops and Events
The Fall National High School Journalism Convention is Nov. 2-5 in Boston. Registration is charged per person, depending on when you register, not including travel or lodging expenses. Walsworth will be at this convention, so be sure to stop by our booth if you attend!
Walsworth holds Elite Weekends throughout the Fall season. These workshops bring yearbook staffs together with some of the best yearbook experts in the country. It’s an intense, three-day workshop that helps staffs take their yearbook to the next level. In-person Elite Weekends cost $200 per person and don’t include travel or hotel expenses.The virtual weekend, held Oct. 13-15, is $350 per school. Your state journalism organization may have specific workshops as well. Ask your Walsworth Sales Rep about training opportunities near you.
14. Classroom Printer
This is a big-ticket item, but it’s enormously useful to be able to print out spreads and proof them at close to their full size. Unless you’re an incredible bargain finder, you probably won’t be able to find a printer that can print 11” x 17” for less than $200. Prices can easily run in the $1,000 range depending on the features you want. Please note that most school districts make you order through their IT department to stay on top of warranties and maintenance. Discuss any large purchases with your administration first so you follow school policy.
If you have the budget, a big screen will make proofing easier. If you don’t already have enough computers for all your staffers to comfortably work at the same time, it’s something to consider saving for. Purchasing tablets means you’d be able to use drawing apps like ProCreate ®. Or maybe you want specialty software like Adobe Photoshop ®. These big ticket items can serve as great motivation for your staff to increase their sales, thereby bringing in more revenue for your program. Once again though, you may need to order these through your IT department.
Remember, no matter your budget, the most crucial items you need for a successful yearbook — dedication and creativity — cost nothing. Don’t stress about what you don’t have, but we hope this provides some ideas for your classroom.
Want to read more timely topics related to yearbook? Take a look at the fall Idea File magazine online to see different stories focused on how to make your yearbook the best it can be.