Ignite!

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IgniteU, is a week-long journalism camp held at Pepperdine University.  Many different schools attend and begin their yearbooks for the upcoming school year.  Usually schools bring a few students from their yearbook staff and begin planning their pages and designing their spreads.  There were also a few students and advisors who came solo to get ideas and experience with creating yearbooks in order to take back tips and tricks to make their production go smoother throughout the year.

I traveled to IgniteU with two other advisors, Amy and Matt, along with one student Zoe, thanks to our awesome representative Jeanne Unger.  We immediately hit it off and all became good friends! Amy is a communications director in Middleton MD, Matt is a first year teacher in Baltimore City MD, and Zoe is a sophomore at a school in Washington D.C..

Pepperdine University is in Malibu, California…one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  The university is gorgeous, nestled in the valley of mountains right on the coast line.  Every morning it was a little chilly and breezy but by the afternoon the sun was directly ahead and shining so nicely on us.

Our sessions started on Monday after an exciting general session.  We played team building games and were able to network with other schools from all over the country.  We were the group from the furthest away. One of the games was a scavenger hunt which gave us a chance to really explore the campus!

After the general session, we were able to choose break-out sessions to attend which would benefit us the most.  I went to many Theme track sessions as I wasn’t yet sure what our theme was going to be. We have a lot of things happening new at our school this year, and I wanted something to cover each of them!  It was exciting to see schools with large groups of students working hard on beginning their yearbooks.  I was able to listen in and even get feedback from them in order to help find a great theme for our book.

Most of the schools there were high schools, I wished there were more middle schools that attend because it is different as you get into high school.  The books become more journalistic and less picture book style.  I am excited to bring back a few things to really step up our yearbooks game this year.  Make it a little more sophisticated and have more opportunities for the students to really build a book they will cherish forever.

The camp registration included a session with a cover artist to begin working on ideas for the cover.  We even created a final rough draft of a cover design.  Here is the one we came up with:

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The theme I choose was “Our Journey…” since this year we have a new principal, a new digital initiative (all 6th graders in our school will have devices to use) , as well as a new logo and mission statement.  We are really on a whole new adventure and we must journey through it all together in order to come out on top.

I had the opportunity to create a few layout spreads which will really assist me in teaching my students how to use the software Balfour Studioworks. We will really be focusing on taking our own candid and organizational photos and adding names to all of our images.  This is an exciting change, which will be more student centered rather than having Lifetouch come in and photograph for us. Students will also learn a little more about photography and how to take captivating photos instead of the just simple snapshots. I learned a new term called “iphonography” which is the use of your iPhone to take quality photos.

Pepperdine University did a wonderful job hosting us! A wide variety of choices were served for breakfast, lunch and dinner were delicious.  We stayed in the dorm rooms, which had no air conditioning, however the breeze from the ocean was more than enough to keep us cool all day and night.

Overall my experience was very rewarding and I am able to go back to school with new insight, plans, tips, and excitement for the upcoming school year and our new book.

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