Producing the yearbook is the ultimate group project, yet, the work of each individual journalist needs to be celebrated as well. A single journalist contributes many components to the yearbook, but, with the exception of a small byline or a shout out in the colophon, this work does not get much individual acknowledgement.
One of the strategies I use to celebrate the individual accomplishments of each staff member is to have him/her create a portfolio of all of the pages completed for the yearbook. As a class, we wrote a generic cover letter for the portfolio, with the intended audience as the journalist’s parents. Each student filled in the letter with specifics about the stories written, favorite photos and some of the things learned throughout the process of constructing the yearbook. This cover letter is the top page of the portfolio and attached to it is a copy of all of the pages the student has worked on throughout the year.
The portfolio goes home for the parents to review and sign. This year, when my students turned their signed portfolio in to me, they commented on how rewarding it was to share their work with their parents, something that isn’t done much at the high school level. As the adviser, the portfolio serves two additional purposes for me. The first is that I have an additional chance to provide positive feedback on the work the student has done. The second is that I can review the portfolio for the journalist’s strengths as I decide leadership positions for the upcoming year. Win, win!
James Madison (VA) HS
As a Cleveland native, and a Browns fan, I have learned to be an eternal optimist.
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