Adviser Resources

Beyond the AP Stylebook

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

Beyond the AP Stylebook

I love the AP Stylebook. I drive my students crazy with stressful games, long worksheets and emphatic tirades about using AP Style. But even 503 pages of rules is not enough for me. I needed to create the Style Booklet.

style booklet coverIt’s two pieces of 8×11 paper formatted on InDesign to create a foldable 8-page booklet. It features a 9-pt Palatino or 8-pt Avenir Condensed text to make everything fit. I put a date on the top because it is constantly updated, and then I clip it to the copies of the AP Stylebook that sit between each computer.


The first section contains 38 entries in the same style and tone of the AP Stylebook because sometimes

  • I want to disagree with the AP Stylebook (our school priest is Father Matthew Nagle on first reference, not the Rev. Matthew Nagle)
  • I want to add to the book (spell it St. Teresa’s on first reference, not Saint Theresa’s Academy or other variations)
  • I want to emphasize common mistakes by pointing students to pages in the AP Stylebook.

After the 38 entries, I include a list of all 900+ students at Aquinas. We have a Student Council member named Elizabeth, but everyone calls her Itsy. She’s even listed in our school handbook as Itsy. Her campaign posters call her Itsy. But her Twitter handle is Elizabeth. It would be perfectly understandable and excusable for one reporter to call her Elizabeth and another to call her Itsy. But I don’t want that. So the staff sends an e-mail to all students and asks them how they would like to be known in all instances in the newspaper and yearbook. We don’t get a reply from every student, but at least we can say we asked. If they do not reply, we go with their official enrollment name.

And finally, the Style Booklet lists the 80 or so staff members with their official job title.


My entries

Your list will be much different than mine, but The Shield & Medallion style booklet makes an exception or a clarification in the following instances: 5A, administrative titles, Blue Valley/Olathe/Shawnee Mission high schools, Catholic, championships, coaches, the commons, course names, dances, Dr. / doctor, drives (charity), Eastern Kansas League, high school, Johnson County Community College, junior varsity, Kansas City, Mass, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Spirit Shop, St. James, St. Teresa’s, Source said, Student Council, teacher, teams, Treat America Food Services and WPA.


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The “Reverse Psychology” of Interview Questions

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Adviser Resources | 0 comments

The “Reverse Psychology” of Interview Questions

One of my favorite things about being a journalism teacher is the fact that we’re all so willing to share, and I know that is particularly true of my Blue Valley colleagues.

At our last PLC meeting, the fabulous Debbie Glenn of Blue Valley West gave us this idea for when we’re teaching our J1 students how to write good interview questions — the idea of “reverse psychology.”

In order to develop skills as an interviewer, a reporter must understand what questions to ask and how to ask them. So, after you discuss direct, indirect and partial quotes, give your students this worksheet to help them identify what kind of quote it is and consider what the question might have been in order to get the quote provided in the article.

Here are the files I used with my students. Feel free to borrow steal them!

Reverse Psychology – PDF     or     Reverse Psychology – InDesign

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The Ultimate Commitment

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

The Ultimate Commitment

Looking for a way for your staff to really bond after training or a tough week or just because? Have a wedding! It sounds a little crazy, but the kids love it and remember it throughout the rest of your year.

Some of you who were at KJI this year may have already heard my pitch for why a wedding is the perfect way to start off your school year, but for those of you who weren’t there, here it is again… because it is just SO much fun!

I serve as “officiant” (download my script here) and have students write their own “vows” within the ceremony (i.e. “I vow to bring food to every food day, make deadlines, be nice, etc.). We post ours on a bulletin board afterward to remind us of what we have committed to. When it comes to exchanging of the rings, we use Ring Pops. At the conclusion of the “ceremony” we blow tiny bubbles (get them at Dollar Tree) and eat wedding cake. Editors give toasts. This year, we even had a lip sync battle (after the obligatory Cha Cha Slide dance) in maestro groups.

– Dollar Tree has tons of cheap but fun wedding decor, utensils, plates, balloons, Ring Pops and bubbles. We even throw the bouquet!
– Make it even more fun with traditional (or non-traditional) wedding music playing, girls dressing in wedding dresses or everyone wearing white (or a wedding color).
– Before the wedding, do a round of “speed dating” to get to know each other better before making a committment.
– After Winter Break, “renew your vows” and help students recommit to another semester!

I know other schools in the KC area do something like this, so feel free to post comments or pictures of your staff weddings! It really is the “perfect day.”

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