Monthly archives for January, 2017

Organize the camera closet

“A place for everything, everything in its place.” This old adage is fitting when it comes to camera closets. To provide stress relief, have a system for organizing and checking out equipment.

 

Have an identification system. Whether your school has an ID system or not, it’s essential to have a simple way to ID each camera and lens. Consider specialty camera straps in various patterns or colored Velcro straps. Add the camera type to the color ID to help distinguish bodies, e.g. 70D Red, 60D Orange.

Designate separate areas for bodies and lenses. Preferably, have a separate area marked for each camera and lens, marking off the areas with tape or markers. If you prefer, have camera kits that include the camera bag, body and specific lenses that belong together.

Label each area clearly. This will make it obvious when a camera is not in the closet.

Have a check out system. Have students fill out a check out form indicating what equipment they’re taking and the date. Include a disclaimer on the form that makes clear the student is financially responsible for the checked out gear. Make sure to have them sign and provide their phone number. Have them mark the return date when equipment comes back.

Place staffer name cards in the designated area for equipment used. Write students’ names on magnets, cardstock or clothespins. Place the name card in the empty area to indicate which student has checked out the camera. This will provide a clear visual of who has what equipment checked out.

Bonus tip: A check out form makes it easier to track which student has what camera. Adding the cell phone number also helps when staffers are late to bring back equipment.

JEA selects two Balfour advisers as Rising Star recipients

Two Balfour advisers, John Horvath and Tim Ryckman, were named 2017 Rising Stars by the Journalism Education Association, Thursday, Jan. 26.

The Rising Star award honors student media advisers who have completed five or fewer years of advising and have shown “exceptional promise as an adviser and in service to the profession.”

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JEA honors Balfour adviser with national award

The Journalism Education Association recognized Leland Mallett, Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas as a yearbook Special Recognition Adviser in their Yearbook Adviser of the Year program on Monday, January 23.

Leland Mallett began his teaching career in Big Spring, Texas, a small rural community in west Texas. There his publications won three state awards. After seven years, however, he was offered a position at a new school in Mansfield, Texas that he couldn’t refuse.

Even though he only had four girls in yearbook and six students in newspaper (none with experience), “they had heart and an incredible work ethic,” Leland said. The fresh start paid off, when the second volume of the Legacy yearbook won a CSPA Crown and was a NSPA Pacemaker finalist. “It was the first national award for me and for Legacy,” he said.

According to Leland, whether students are scheduled for yearbook, photo, newspaper or Journalism I, they are contributors. “It doesn’t matter what their schedules read, they are all storytellers. That’s still our motto today.”

After only four years, the program grew to more than 85 students in newspaper, yearbook and photo. Then broadcasting was added to the curriculum. Ultimately, the program needed a second teacher. In 2010, Rachel Dearinger joined the team as the broadcast and Photo I teacher and the co-adviser of the yearbook.

Leland Mallett has been recognized as a teacher and adviser, winning state and national awards: Legacy HS–Teacher of the Year (2010); ILPC–Edith Fox King Award (2012); Texas PTA—finalist for Teacher of the Year (2013); Texas Association of Journalism Educators–Trailblazer Award (2013); Dow Jones News Fund–(2015); Max Haddick UIL–Texas Adviser of the Year (2015); Journalism Education Association—Yearbook Special Recognition Adviser (2016).

In addition to advising the print and online publications at Legacy, Leland shares his expertise by teaching at workshops, seminars and conventions from Orlando, Florida to Sacramento, California. To reach an even larger audience, he has written articles on scholastic journalism and journalism education for Balfour in Elements magazine and on JEA’s digital media site.

Since winning national recognition in their second year, Legacy’s yearbook, newspaper, and its students have accumulated accolades: Silver and Gold Stars from ILPC (Texas), Gold Medalists, Gold Circles, Silver and Gold Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association; All-Americans, Pacemaker finalists, Pacemakers and Best in Shows from the National Scholastic Press Association.

The awards and recognition aside, the students are most important to Leland and he is important to them. Just ask them.

“It’s really awesome that he’s here to teach us what he know,” yearbook staffer Ashton Williams said. “I appreciate how open he is with us as a mentor and a friend. He’s awesome. He’s definitely my favorite teacher. I wish more of my teachers were like him.”

His No. 1 priority, however, is his family: his wife Harmony and his children Ryland (9th grade), Raylee (5th grade), Reese (4th grade) and Riker & Remus (cats). To create an amalgam of home and school, Ryland joined the yearbook staff as a photographer. Follow Leland on Facebook and discover his weekend, summer and vacation adventures with his family.

Leland is always soft spoken but always heard because of his impeccable character, and his professional and personal integrity. Congratulations, Leland, for this well-deserved recognition as a JEA yearbook Special Recognition Adviser.

Plan a picture-perfect club photo day

Dedicating one day for club photos can make your job easier. All the backgrounds are the same, the pictures are similar widths and the names are written down. Give yourself a little time to plan a successful day.

  • Coordinate with the principal, secretary, athletic director and/or theatre tech director for a location and date. A gym is an ideal place because there are built-in bleachers. But often coaches have practice and tournaments so make sure you can use the location. Stages and lecture halls are also good choices if you can borrow the choir or photo company’s risers.
  • Utilize your school photographer to take the photos. They’re used to setting up team photos so they’ll do a great job organizing the students into rows. Plus, they’ll bring lights and they often have risers. If you’re in a real hurry, borrow the SD card at the end of the shoot and copy all the photos immediately.
  • Email all the club sponsors for their preferred time slot. Ask sponsors to set the picture during their conference period to keep students organized and weed out picture crashers. Encourage groups to wear their club T-shirts and provide passes to help the students leave class at the designated time.
  • Promote Club Picture Day around campus. Have the schedule set at least a week in advance. Post copies of it on social media and around the school.

Bonus tip: Have clipboards, pens and sheets to write down names after the picture is taken. Ask groups to hold for a moment and provide a clipboard to each row to go faster. Have sponsors verify names and clarify handwriting issues to avoid any mistakes. There’s an informational page too, to collect officer names and club facts.

Yearbook Resolutions for 2017

Lose weight. Save money. Spend more time with family. We all think of ways to improve ourselves at this time of year. Let’s also take that energy and focus it on our staffs.

 

Take a day and reflect on the fall semester. Discuss what worked well and what could be improved. Ask students to share how they could individually make things run smoother. Here are some suggestions:

  • Start each day with a 5-minute catch up. Let staffers share good news or what they’re looking forward to this week.
  • Meet with editors to go over individual responsibilities and expectations. Praise what they’ve done well. Encourage them in the areas that need work.
  • Assign a staffer to doublecheck name spellings and grades. It’s easy to mess up names, a sore spot for buyers. Having an extra set of eyes ensures there’s less mistakes.
  • Update the list of who has been in the book and how many times. Post it in the room. Compare it to who has bought a book. Encourage staffers to use students not on the list first and be wary of choosing a student who has already been included multiple times.
  • Rearrange seating or pair different students. If you’ve noticed some staffers distract each other, now is the time to play musical chairs. Also, create new pairings of students on spread assignments. They can share the workload and working with a different staffer helps them get to know each other and bond.
  • Don’t put off club pictures, team photos or index planning. It’s never too early to start thinking about those pages. Start doing the math and sketching ideas on paper to make these sections run smoother.

Bonus tip: Weekly self-evaluations make students accountable for their work, track spread progress and provide an additional grade.