Syllabus Presentation

What is Yearbook?


Learning Targets
  1. Students will compose pictures using the rules of LBFF and ROT.
  2. Through collaboration, students will develop an effective yearbook theme.
  1. Photography/LBFF and ROT Believe it or not, the hardest part of Yearbook is getting staffers to take pictures. Harder still, is to get really good pictures. All staffers should plan to carry their cameras with them at all times and be prepared to use them. The better our pictures are, the easier it is to write captions, and therefore, the better our book will's just that simple.
  2. Brainstorming - Developing a Theme

Brainstorming....Yearbook depends on it!

Like any creative endeavor, yearbooks thrive on ideas. Designs, photos, articles, themes – all the elements of a yearbook need them.
The thoughts generated from frequent brainstorming sessions are the lifeblood of any publication. It’s crucial that the staff holds these sessions often. Just because the theme has been determined doesn’t mean the need for brainstorming is finished.
What about story topics? What about marketing strategies? The need will be there throughout the year.
Here are some rules and tips to remember about the brainstorming process:
  • Have a clear topic and goal in mind, and make sure it is explained to everybody.
  • Encourage participation from everybody in the room.
  • Do NOT allow criticism of an idea.
  • Start by compiling a lengthy list of ideas. Don’t throw any out.
  • Make sure someone is in charge of writing down thoughts. Use a dry erase board, blackboard or just simply take written notes on paper.
  • Don’t start getting into in-depth discussion about any one idea, or eliminating ideas, until your entire list has been compiled.

Brainstorm Theme/Theme Development

Theme Basics
Developing a theme idea throughout the yearbook not only helps to unify the book, but also adds a special dimension of involvement for readers. There are many theme directions you can pursue.

Consider the following guidelines while working on a theme

  • does it make sense, considering the events, activities and issues of the year?
  • is there a catch phrase that students will be able to relate to and understand?
  • is there a unifying concept to tie the events of the year together?
  • does it allow for both verbal and visual development?
  • does it show a fresh, contemporary approach?

Where to develop the theme idea

  • Cover-theme catch phrase may be actually stated, but at least the cover sets up the mood/tone reflected in the theme.
  • Endsheets-promotes unifying idea, either with color choice or through use of headlines, copy, photos, artwork, captions and/or graphics.
  • Title page-content and design reflects theme idea. Title of book is most important type element and includes year, volume number, school name and complete address (include zip code). Many schools are also including school enrollment and telephone number.
  • Opening section-usually two or three spreads that relates theme to school in general, but with specific facts and details.
  • Divider spreads-show how each section relates to theme idea.
  • Closing spreads-last spread(s) and final page serves as a wrap-up to theme and school year.

Types of themes that may be used

Pride-incorporate pride without actually using the word “pride.”

“Without a Shade of Doubt”
“Classic Formula”
“How Lucky Can You Get”
“Too Good to Keep Under Wraps”
“The Gold Standard”

Anniversary-focus on the year, not the history of the school.

“AtTENtion Please”
“Now Look Who’s 35″
“Black Tie and Blue Jeans”
“Our Forte”

Concept-major theme may be a one or two word concept with section themes taking prominence.


Slogan/Catch Phrase-could be used any year, but is made specific with copy for this year at this school.

“Keepin’ in Touch”
“One Way or Another”
“Caught in the Shuffle"
“In 25 Words or Less”
“Back to Square One”

Double-Edged-can be completely positive or edged with a negative undertone.

“Plus or Minus”
“Rude Awakening”
“Same Difference”
“It was bound to happen”
“Now look what you’ve done”

Theme Gallery

  • Theme Development

  • Yearbook sections

  1. Take pictures of all events throughout the week, including the weekend.
  2. Working in teams, develop a yearbook theme (including sections) to present to the class. Be prepared to explain your theme, if needed.
Learning Target
2 and 3
  1. Students will compose a ladder of Yearbook pages.
  2. Students will develop an understanding of columnar design using InDesign.
  1. Ladder Whether it is an online ladder, or a paper ladder diagram up on the wall, every yearbook staff should make use of the ladder – mapping out every spread. Here are some key points to remember when making proper use of the ladder:
    • Before you write or enter the information on the ladder, compile a list of every topic that you think should be covered in the yearbook – from homecoming and spirit week all the way to portraits and ads.
    • Enter as much content detail in the ladder as you can – topics/story ideas for each spread, and which staff members are assigned to the spread.
    • Utilize the ladder for the placement of color, which is submitted in flats. On a ladder, pages 1, 4-5, 8-9, 12-13 and 16 are shaded one color in a signature, while 2-3, 6-7, 10-11 and 14-15 are another. Keeping color usage within a specific flat is the most cost-effective way to use color.
    • Perhaps most importantly, use the ladder to keep track of deadlines. The ladder is the best way to see the overall picture of what pages are due when. Be sure to mark spreads as done on the ladder as you progress through the year.
  2. Columnar Design/Intro to InDesign
  1. Working in your team, design a ladder that fits with, and supports, your theme.
  2. Working in your team, create a layout in InDesign for each section. Layouts should support your theme.
Learning Target
  1. Students will design a yearbook cover that supports their theme.
  2. Students will propose and present their yearbooks to the class.
  3. Students will critique other team's yearbook presentations.
  1. Introduction to Photoshop.
  1. Working in teams, design a yearbook cover that supports your theme and sections.
  2. Share your yearbook with the class.
  3. Using the rubric, rate other team's yearbook and recommend changes.

Team Mini Yearbooks
Student teams design entire yearbook templates for each section.

Caption Writing

“The functions of captions include adding more detail, giving specifics, especially in the case of sporting events, adding quotes to your stories and helping preserve history,” Lynn Bare, yearbook adviser at Southern Alamance High School in Graham, N.C., said.
Our goal is for the book to appear as though it was written by one person. To accomplish this task, we use the same caption writing formula, as follows:
  • Lead-in. The lead-in is a mini-headline that draws the reader to the photo. Your goal is to write a lead-in that is so good that it draws the reader to that photo first.
  • First sentence. The first sentence is present tense and active voice. This sentence describes the action in the photo and answers as many of the 5 W's and H as possible (see Inverted Pyramid). Use grade level and first and last names when identifying students (Sophomore John Public.....for example).
  • Second and third sentences. Second sentences are required, use third sentences if you have enough information. These sentences are past tense and answer any of the 5 W's and H that were not used in the first sentence (see Inverted Pyramid). These sentences should be about the yearbook page first, then about the student. To make the caption more personal for the reader, use only the first name of the student(s) in the photo.

Basic Journalism

Inverted Pyramid

Think of journalistic writing as an inverted pyramid. The top contains only one or two sentences with the most important information first; this is called the lead (pronounced leed and sometimes spelled "lede"). Next, a little more information is given about the story, and so on, until all of the information has been given. Answer Who, What, Where, When and How to the best of your ability in all captions.
The inverted pyramid principle says you should put your most important point at the top of the article, followed by your next most important point, and so on, in diminishing order of importance.
Many historians say that the inverted pyramid was invented by 19th century wartime reporters, who sent their stories by telegraph. They wanted the most crucial information to get through first, just in case the transmission was interrupted.
But, you say, we don’t send many telegrams today. Ah, but more than ever, we do send messages that can easily be interrupted! Distraction, impatience, confusion, even boredom; all these can keep your reader from finishing those precious words that you’ve written. Busy people expect writers to get to the meat quickly, or they’ll find something else to read.

More journalism basics

Tone: Your job as a reporter is to report facts and the opinions of others and to leave your own opinions out of the story. The term for introducing your own opinion into a story is called editorializing – do not do this!

Multiple Sources: The more people you talk to, the better the article. You can use direct quotes or paraphrase what someone says, but always remember to identify who says what.

Sentence Length: Sentences should have an average of 20-28 words. This is an average, so you don’t need to spend time counting; just be aware that sentences and paragraphs are much shorter than what you’ve been taught with composition.
Terms to Know:

5W1H: Always answer the who, what, why, where, when, and how of the news article.

Lead: The opening of a story, usually a summary of the most important information.

Headline: A title or attention grabber above the body of an article. The author of the story usually does not write the headline.

Angle: A particular point of view or way of looking at a subject.

Fact-checking: Checking that your facts are correct. Amy, Aymee, and Amie are all pronounced the same way and can be easily misspelled. Look up the names of specific people and places and anything else you are presenting as fact to be sure you are stating the truth.

Curriculum Links

Yearbook Effective Habits
What's Hot, What's Not

Be a Trendsetter

Technology and Math in Yearbook
Yearbook is a class that is centered squarely in technology. PHSC's yearbook students use industry standard software such as InDesign CS5 and Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop Elements 8 to layout and design our yearbook, the Picktonian. Students use digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras and their own cameras to capture school related events. We have both Nikon and Canon DSLRs, so students can experience which manufacturer they may prefer.

Yearbook is also a business. Students are tasked with planning the yearbook within bugetary constraints. Students use MS Excel to create spreadsheets that outline which pages will be covered. Students also populate an order data bases to track yearbook sales, senior ad sales and business ad sales. Students are then tasked to write queries resulting in accurate reports that track our yearbook's financial status.

Students will learn the following photography and imaging skills:
  • Photocomposition
      • Rule of Thirds
      • Candid photos
      • Action photos
  • Camera types
      • Single lens reflex
      • Point and shoot
      • Digital image manipulation for production quality
  • Scanning photos
Students will learn the following computer and networking skills:
  • File management schemes
  • Digital camera interface
      • Direct connect
      • Reader
      • Importing digital images to pages
  • Digital camera software
      • Adobe Photoshop
      • Adobe Photoshop Elements
Students will learn the following management skills:
  • Database creation, population and management
      • Orders database
        • Sort data and write queries to capture needed data in report form
      • Sr. Ad Database
        • Sort data and write queries to capture needed data in report form
  • Increasing margin
      • Cutting costs
        • Care for capital equipment
          • Cameras
          • Computers
          • Scanners
          • Printers
  • Sales
      • Business ads
      • Sr. Ads
      • Book sales


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