Motivation, Fun Year Round


Your theme’s chosen, spreads are designed, and everyone knows the drill. Excitement was high those first few weeks, but now your staff has settled into the routine. That initial exuberance has tumbled into the daily doldrums.

Keeping your yearbook staff motivated is as important as meeting deadlines. A bored, listless class lacks the “spark” they need to fill pages with exciting photographs, sparkling prose and a willingness to change things up when warranted.

Include fun, team-building activities in your lesson plans. Here are a few suggestions that won’t take a lot of class time, but they’ll rejuvenate a sluggish staff:

Reward Achievement (1)Reward achievement. Choose a “Staffer of the Week.” This is someone who went the extra mile, covered a rainy football game or helped someone with their spread. The editors write the staffer’s name on a pre-cut star and why they’ve been chosen. Take the staffer’s picture with the star, post to your social media account and then tape the star to a classroom wall. By the end of the year, you’ll have a whole galaxy of shining stars!

Constructively Complain (1)Constructively complain. Have a “Salty Day.” Everyone brings in a bag of something salty – chips, Fritos, etc. and dumps them in a big pile on the tablecloth. As they fill their cups, tell them the “salty” insults stay on the table. If your staff is creative, have them create a salty meme and post those in the camera room.

Balancing Act (1)Balancing Act. Using sandwich cookies, divide the staff into teams. One person bends their head backward while another person stacks the cookies on their forehead. Remind them working on a deadline is always a balancing act. Best stackers win a certificate and the cookies!

M&M Toss (1)

M&M Toss. Give each staffer a bag of M&M’s. Tape a plastic drinking cup to one end of the table and the staffer stands at the other end. See how many M&M’s they can toss into the cup. Top three tossers get a certificate and their M&M’s!

Spontaneity (1)Spontaneity. Shake things up a bit – have staffers dance out of the room on a Friday to “Celebrate” or “Happy.” This includes you! On a nice day, go outside for the staff meeting. Find a silly nose and tell the students if they have a complaint, you’re happy to listen if they can keep a straight face while you wear the nose.

Quick Ideas. Have a “Finish the story” activity. You start with “I was walking down the street when…” Each person adds another line to the story – see how silly they can get! See how well they know pop culture. Give them a line from a movie or song and see if they can guess where it came from. If you’re game, play “Finish the Lyrics” with old-school songs.

Keeping a staff energized and motivated is key to completing the yearbook with happy memories instead of stressful ones.

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