Final Touches on Making Your Classroom a Home

Updated: Aug 15

Taking a foundation of knowledge and building it into something lasting.


Students can do what we expect them to do, and more! ... Joon articulated that being a yearbook adviser had been the most challenging and also the most rewarding position of his life.

The final day of the Making a House a Home conference covered advice to equip one’s toolbelt for the purpose of a successful, proficient yearbook class. Of the three days, this day offered the most practical steps using a yearbook curriculum with instructional guides and helpful programs. As in the previous two days, Joon Kim started off the presentation titled “Constructing Your Yearbook”. His presentation instructed advisers to be alert to three areas: different themes, unique issues of yearbook covers, and overall budget constraints. Joon expressed that there are three overall arching themes that grab attention from the start of the yearbook process: 1.) Carpe Diem or Seize the Day, 2.) Celebrate the diversity of students and staff, and 3.) Create a memory. Themes are important to have in order to structure and shape the direction of the yearbook. However, Joon recognized the difficulties with themes when students were too deliberate with a particular theme, each page became too repetitive. On the opposite side, if students did not focus enough on the theme, each page became random and there didn’t appear to be any unity pulling the book together. He aptly expressed the importance of putting just enough emphasis on the theme without being too much or too little.

In the opposite vein, Joon emphasized the necessity of specific attention to the yearbook cover and the selection process. In his class, he structured the creation of the yearbook cover where the designers in the class each create a probable cover for that year. With a methodical process, the yearbook staff narrowed the designs to the top ten, then were drawn down to the top five and then finally the top design. Sharing his knowledge from years of trial and error, Joon explained Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands to fill the time for its completion.” Students will be able to finish their tasks with the amount of time they are given.

Lastly, Joon concluded his remarks with a discussion of time allocation and student progress. Joon has discovered students are far more capable than he initially realized, and can fulfill their goals because they care about their work and their friends. Their giftings are birthed from a culture of caring. Joon explained the need to add more pages to the yearbook in order to highlight more students, but that does not necessarily equate to needing more time to complete the pages. Students can do what we expect them to do, and more! In closing his presentation for the workshop, Joon articulated that being a yearbook adviser had been the most challenging and also the most rewarding position of his life.

Lucy urged advisers to celebrate small victories, celebrate frequently, and cherish each moment of the yearbook creation.

Lucy McHugh’s final presentation directly elucidates what the United Yearbook curriculum has to offer: learning activities, lesson plans, yearbook terminology, customization among many other tools to structure your class. She then gave advice on what to do in the first few weeks of your yearbook class. In her experience as a yearbook adviser, she utilized a large calendar hanging in her classroom where she noted all the events her students were assigned to. In addition to the calendar, she required the students to have an online spreadsheet with due dates, event dates, editorial comments, and each person responsible for a task. This crucial aspect of classroom management, to have organization, keeps in easy view the accountability for each assignment. If a student was unable to attend an event, they contacted their section leader to find a replacement. Everyone was able to see and know who was doing what and when. Lucy, in turn, taught them the importance of organizing and logging each photo into the teacher’s google drive. Students practiced how to upload the photos to the correct place. She also gave instruction on copyright laws and what constitutes a violation.

In addition to classroom management information, Lucy offered practical notes on teaching students correct layout, guiding them back to their cooperation as a team/class, and giving them freedom for creativity. As an adviser, Lucy found personal success in saying “yes” to students as often as possible and limiting the use of “no”. As an adviser, you advise, you do not dictate because the students are creating their book. She offered many activities for students to develop their leadership skills, incrementally helping students gain confidence in their ability to lead other team members. To close, Lucy urged advisers to celebrate small victories, celebrate frequently, and cherish each moment of the yearbook creation.

The adviser plays a similar role to a project manager, as a professional who organizes, plans, and executes projects while working with restraints like budget and schedules.

The last speaker of day #3 of the Making a House a Home UYB workshop, Sarah Y Tse, concluded day three of the workshop, addressing the attendees on the subject of workflow. Sarah said that the adviser plays a similar role to a project manager, as a professional who organizes, plans, and executes projects while working with restraints like budget and schedules. Sarah recommended certain platforms or programs to organize the layout of the yearbook. By combining two platforms such as Photoshop for editing the photos, and In design for their layout, consistency weaves throughout the book. This is crucial because it represents the cohesiveness of your class. She continued offering tips on limiting the font style, repeating templates, and keeping awareness of the margin size. The advisers were reminded that United Yearbook offers many unique, creative options for customization and design. Lastly, Sarah provided her audience with another option in promoting the yearbook by packaging the purchase with other school products, such as a cap and gown purchase.

The closure of this workshop revealed to me the crucial importance of being attentive to each step in the process of yearbook advising. From Day One with information about the advisor role and creating a team, to Day Two how to organize the classroom and build teamwork, to Day Three and tips and tools to use throughout the year, all of it wrapped up in the overarching picture that your “class” becomes a “home”. Truthfully, the amount of advice, knowledge and applicable content was colossal, and difficult to put into these three blogs. Without a doubt, this workshop and the yearbook curriculum provided are all that a yearbook adviser needs to lay the foundation for a successful year and an outstanding yearbook product.


I hope this has been of some help. United Yearbook regularly offers workshops and resources on multiple topics, for both new and experienced advisors. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.unitedyearbook.net.


Contributor: Alexis Anderson is an intern as a brand development managing editor at TSE Worldwide Press. She is a senior at Biola University, studying English with an emphasis in writing, along with a minor in Biblical Studies. Alexis aims to inspire others through her words and character.


Co-editor: Miss Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing via a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former yearbook adviser at Xavier College Preparatory High School. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000. And in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy taught K-12 Art and was awarded the 2001 Nebraska Art Teacher of the Year, and in 2010 she was awarded Nebraska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. Most recently Lucy was awarded the 2017 CA High School Art Teacher of the Year.

Co-editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and live cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as a freelance editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.