Yearbook Advisers: Mastering the Art of Backup Plans


Every yearbook adviser needs a backup plan.

Life happens. Plans fall apart. Rain pours from the sky for four days, the baseball fields flood and the annual Powder Puff Game is canceled. Right before spring break when yearbook deadlines loom, and publishing blank pages is not an option.

Experienced advisers have a backup plan of quick and easy yearbook spread ideas. Plans that can be put into action at a moment’s notice.

  1. A Day in the Library – or the band hall, or the commons, etc. You get the idea. Pick a busy place where students hang out and activities are held. Choose a place close to your room if possible. Send two students, a photographer, and a reporter, before school, during every class period, and after school. Doesn’t have to be the same photographer and reporter all day. Send your students. The photographer frames the shots – two eyes, one ear, action, and emotion. The reporter asks questions and takes notes. What’s your name? What grade are you in? What are you doing? Tell your students to get back to the classroom in time to download the photos and type up the notes before the bell rings. At the end of the day, your editors have everything they need to create a spread.

  2. My Life in Six Words – Send your staff out to ask three students each to describe their life in six words. Be sure to get names and grades. Use a shared Google doc to save time. Assign an editor to choose the best ones and write them on Post-it notes with a sharpie. Cluster the post-it notes on a blank wall leaving room for a person. Then select one of those students, and place them in front of the wall with the post-it notes. Stretch the photo across the entire spread, add a headline, and you’re done.

  3. One Question; Multiple Answers - Ask a random selection of students the same question. Get them to write their short answer on a chalkboard or dry-erase board. Take a photo of each student holding the board close to their face. Questions could include: What do you want to be in when you grow up? What will you miss most about this year? What was the highlight of this year? Arrange the photos in a grid, add a headline in 1-3 boxes, put a stroke around the photos, and line everything up. Voila! You’re done.

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