top of page

Completing Page Spreads

Image the depicts a 5-hour energy bottle edited to be about 5-hour page spreads and having the strength to complete deadlines.  The background is a FedEx driver delivering those page spreads on time.

It’s always easier to get things started but finishing them is a different story. If you look at people’s garages, they’re like a little museum of unfinished projects. That’s how it often becomes with yearbook pages. Kids start pages, they get lost, and then they move on to something else. Sometimes students don’t want to finalize things. They don’t want to let go of the page because once you’re done, you submit it, and it’s over. They tend to cling to pages. The biggest problem here is that the longer you take to make a page, the more difficult it is to finish it in the end. You can forget quotes, memories will start to fade, the people you interviewed will also have forgotten the event, there’s more chances that you’ll misplace files. It's important to try to start and finish pieces as soon as possible. There are a few ways to make complete spreads with the added bonus of finishing them fast.

The first technique is called the 5-hour spread.

Not all spreads can be finished within one day, but you’d be surprised by the work your staff can put in when it’s all hands on deck.

This is a Christmas page spread. Students are sitting side by side in a photoshopped sleigh. The title reads, "Team Yearbooks is Dashing all the way to the Finish Line."

Spreads like:

-Assembly pages (homecoming assembly, winter fest assembly, etc.)

-Halloween page (if you have it)

-Christmas page

When they go in as a team they’ll see how they can most literally get that page done within one day
This is the edit of a 5 hour energy bottle to be about the 5-hour spread. It reads deadline strength at the bottom, along with photos, quotes, story copy, and layouts.

The key to this 5-hour spread is the staff’s participation. Divide the class into 2-3 teams, each composed of 5-8 people: 3-4 photographers, 1-2 interviewers, 1 layout, and 1 manager. Each team is responsible for creating their own spread for this one assignment; it's sort of a competition, but also a way for everyone to experience what it feels like to finish a page within 5 hours. On the day of the assembly, you’ll have the photographers in charge of taking photos. Then, a few staff members will be conducting the interviews. Whoever is working on the layout can have a template done ahead of time. After school that day, everyone brings in their pictures, interviews have to be submitted right after lunch, and within the next two hours they’re done with the spread. There’s power in that experience. The staff may go in thinking that the spread will take three weeks to finish, but when they go in as a team they’ll see how they can most literally get that page done within one day. Of course, there are spreads that take longer, but it’s important for the staff to experience that togetherness. For page spreads that take longer, try doing a FedEx Friday!

FedEx Friday

My staff developed FedEx Fridays as a strategy to get spreads done faster than they thought they could. It came about because some companies implemented this strategy to encourage employees to come up with innovative ideas with the pressure of quick deadlines. Our staff would get together on a Friday morning. After lunch they would have to present something no matter what they had done. Every staff member knew that they would have to deliver and would be graded on the page as it was. Sometimes we would have to split it up into two FedEx Fridays. The first Friday would be the rough draft and the second Friday would be the final draft. It’s not always possible to finish a page spread within one week, but you’d be surprised how much can be done when the staff is given a shorter time span.

Parkinson’s Law:

You’re not doing your students any favors by extending deadlines and giving them too much time

Parkinson’s Law is a good example of why shortening deadlines can actually be a positive thing. Parkinson’s law states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically, the amount of time you spend on a task will expand or contract depending on the amount of time you have to do something. If you have 5 weeks, it will take you 5 weeks, if you have 5 hours, it will take you 5 hours. There’s no guarantee that the 5 week deadline will give you better results, in fact it will probably come out worse. You’re not doing your students any favors by extending deadlines and giving them too much time. That’s when things will get lost or forgotten. You need to contract that time as much as possible. Determine teams, set up who will work on what, and get the spread done!

Contributor: Joon Kim is starting his 29th year as a public school teacher. For the first ten years, he taught English at Bellflower High School, and for the past 18 years, he has been teaching Graphic Design, Video Production, Photography, Yearbook and Journalism at Garden Grove High School. He received his B.A. in English from UC Irvine in 1991 and while his formal education ended then, he is always learning, sharing, growing, and mentoring.

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page