School Yearbook Ideas from Experienced Advisers

Experienced yearbook advisers share their ideas to help you in your yearbook project.

Adviser Ideas Archive

Ideas for Organizing the Yearbook Project

1. Cubbies for Staffers

I purchased cubbies that serve as a centralized communication location for my staff members. The cubbies are used as mailboxes. When baby ads or business ads are delivered, I just skip over to the cubbies. When I receive emails referring to scheduling ads, or quotes, I print them off and place the correspondence in the appropriate mailbox. Extra cubbies are used to store forms used by the staff, newspapers, extra paper, envelopes, etc. It's fun to watch my staff go straight to their cubbies to check for notes. Every once in a while, I'll leave them a treat! As well, every once in a while, I leave them ultimatums!

- Melissa Babb, Greeneville High School


2. Lists, Lists, and More Lists

As seniors start to turn in their envelopes, we track information in list form. In fact, we use spreadsheets to track just about everything. We have lists for clubs, sports, students, seniours, sales-you name it. The ladder spreadsheet contains all the vital statistics we need to meet our deadlines. We use an all-school list to complete our index, track our yearbook sales, and cross-reference with our school photographers to make sure we don't miss anyone.

- Jolene Conklin, South San Francisco High School


3. Yearbook Timeline of Events

Before both schools start, I draft a document I call "The Yearbook Time Line of Events." This document is structured like a giant chart & outlines all the major events and deadlines for the entire school year. At a brief glance, I can look up when school events are scheduled, what yearbook correspondence needs to be sent out & what deadlines are looming for Lifetouch. The yearbook timeline is the key that helps our committee to keep on track with yearbook activities and sets a great pace to get projects completed.

- Danielle Ingenito, Marlboro Early Learning Center


4. All in One Place

The simplest organization tool I can suggest is a 3 ring binder. Keep all of your correspondence with everyone there and all the papers for the yearbook. If you use a lot of e-mail have a specific folder to keep those e-mails. Knowing where to find something will help in the long run.

- Nicole Horvat, Centennial Elementary School

To organize all of the paperwork that goes with the yearbook, I keep track of all my files on the computer in a folder. The best way to stay organized is to use the ladder diagram and check mark each item once it is completed. I also set up forms for every flyer that I send out, for example, yearbook order form, advertisements, and recognition ads.

- Kimberly Goodner,Garfield Elementary School


5. Theme Leads the Way

Creating a yearbook is VERY overwhelming- especially for the first time. The most important first step is to choose a theme. You don't have to have a theme, but it helps to have a direction that your pages will take. We always choose a Signature Design cover from the Lifetouch Cover catalog, picking one that gives us many ideas for the pages inside. Next, make a list and the amount of pages you KNOW you will need: classroom pages, staff pages, clubs and groups, etc. Most of the remaining pages can be activity pages. Our student council chooses dress-up spirit days throughout the year to go along with our yearbook theme for perfect lunch-time photo taking opportunities. Plan more time than you need to work on your pages, some can take a whole day or longer to put together. I absolutely love creating our yearbook, but all the fun quickly diminishes if we wait until one month before our page deadline!

- Pam Harmon, McDowell Elementary School


6. Paper Mock-Up

My yearbook team first creates a "paper version" of the yearbook to allow easy placement and idea exchange. I also give them a deadline before the actual deadline in order to allow for problems that might arise.

- Russ Miller, Lakewood Middle School


7. Keeping Track of Photos

I edit photos I think I'm going to use and upload them throughout the year, while the events are fresh in my mind. I title a photo library for each page on my ladder diagram. That way when I go to place everything at the end, I don't have to search for disks and through hundreds of pictures. Each time I upload pictures, I look at the ones I've already uploaded to make sure I am getting a good variety of faces. If the same kids keep appearing over and over, I plan to seek out the shyer ones at the next event.

- Joanne Flanagan, St. Pius X School


8. Mock Yearbook

I first build my ladder. I look at my successes from the previous years and calculate how much space to allot for those activities this year. I look at our calendar for this year and add activities that are new. I then carefully go through both the portrait templates and the activity templates and discard those templates that I am positive do not fit this year's book. Finally I fill a binder with page protectors. As I decide exactly what I want on each page, I make my notes and slide those pages into my mock-up yearbook.

- Barbara Mazeika, Pinecrest School


9. Start With Last Year's Book

One thing I found helpful last year when I took over the yearbook for the first time, was to go through the last year's book and make a list of all the clubs, activities and extra social events the previous adviser had covered, it made my job much easier because I at least had a reference and a starting point. Our school is very active and it just helped me sort out my "need to includes" so that I didn't leave anyone out. I made the book my own, but I was sure happy that the previous editor had done such a nice job!

-Cherie Layton, William Beverly Elementary School


10. Team Effort

Early in the school year, my team and I sit down to brainstorm ideas for theme, page layout and a timeline. We outline fundraising, yearbook sales and supplies needed. We set dates for getting all pictures done, class lists organized and actually beginning work on the final product.

- Julie Krivak, Owings Mills Elementary School


11. Covering all the Events

This year I used a list of students and classrooms so I knew how many classes of each grade I had to make pages for. Then I focused my attention on various activities that are special for the kids throughout the school year to devote a page or two to each. Then I listed the number of pages in our yearbook and planned what each page will be about or at least a good idea of what the focus of attention on the page will be. I call our schools at least twice a month to get an updated list of activities and have teachers/secretaries e-mail me with changes or last minute updates. Then I e-mail our volunteer parent photographer list and schedule photographers to photograph events.

- Nicole Hate, Halifax Area Elementary School

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