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Creating a fun director position on your staff


Students will research other media staffs around the country to see how they make time to have fun and bond in their programs. They will interview other staff members and compile a list of pros and cons from that staff’s point of view and then analyze from their own point of view.


  • Students will interview peers from around the country.
  • Students will examine the pros and cons for different fun activities they discover.
  • Students will write a job description for a staff fun director and determine a list of motivational and fun activities they think will work best for their staff.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


Two 50-minute classes and one to two weeks for independent research


Class set: Current “fun” activities you do as a staff (if you have one)

Class set: Sample job descriptions for other editors and other “fun directors” you’ve discovered

Access to computers for research (1:1 if possible)

Rubric: Fun director presentation

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Explain to students that today they’ll begin a research project to find how other high school media staffs around the country motivate their staff members and do fun bonding activities.  The purpose of doing this research is to see if you can create a similar position in order to balance the hard work with some lighter, more fun activities to enhance the team concept.

Explain that students are going to find another school, make contact with the student editors at that school (possibly through their adviser), interview the student editors and/or advisers, create a list of fun/motivational activities those staffs do, and describe what the editors/advisers you interviewed feel are the pros and cons of those activities.  In a separate analysis, students will evaluate what they feel could work for our staff and what they believe will not work for our staff.

(Hand out a list of any motivational/fun activities you currently do. Do all students realize this is the way you operate? What do they think is working well or not working well now?)

2. Think-pair-share — 10 minutes

Next, group students into groups of three. Allow students to pick a task (reader, writer, speaker). Instruct all students to look over the list and to write down their individual thoughts as to what is working and what isn’t. Then, the group members should spend a few minutes discussing their notes. The writer should keep notes on the group’s ideas.  Finally, the group should come to a consensus about what it thinks is working and what is not working and prepare to present to the entire class.

Brainstorming Ideas for activities that could be organized by a fun director:

– staff movie review

– staff restaurant or food review

– goodies in staff mailboxes

– staff Christmas/holiday exchange

– Secret Santa or secret Easter Bunny

– Valentine’s Day party with boxes for exchanging valentine’s

– staff formal dance

– staff trip to an amusement park

– staff trip to a corn maze or fear forest

– staff trip/coverage to a county fair

– staff retreat to a ropes course

– staff trip to the beach

– staff cruise

– staff golf tournament

– staff picnic in a park

– staff movie night

– staff pool party

– staff board game night

– staff video game tournament

– staff volunteering day

– staff shopping trip

– staff cookie, cupcake or gingerbread house decorating day

3. Present — 30 minutes

Have each group explain its pros and cons to the class (the speaker talks – one writer can write on whiteboard all pros and cons that are suggested.) See what ideas all groups had in common and discuss as a class what they feel is working/not working and why it is important to see what other schools are doing.

4. Independent research — one week

Each student will be responsible for finding another similar publication staff from somewhere else in the country. (Use resources like the publications you exchange with; a list of similar publications that have won awards like Pacemakers, Gold Crowns, Gallup Awards; a list of high school publications found on, etc.)

Students should contact the adviser at the school they choose to make sure they are willing to be interviewed and have time to share info about how the fun/motivational activities are managed on their staff.  Students should also try to get contact information for the editors at the school they choose.

Students should develop a list of interview questions to prepare for their interview and decide how they will conduct the interview. It might be good to conduct a series of interviews so that some rapport can be developed between staff members.

As an end result, each student should create a list of the fun/motivational activities that the staff they have interviewed use each year. A written report should include the job descriptions of a “fun director” and a detailed description of the favorite activities he or she organizes each year.

The written report should also include the pros and cons of the activities based on the comments gained in the interviews. A distinction should be made between comments of an adviser and those of students.

Finally, the written report should include an analysis by the author of what could work for our staff and what might not work for our staff.

5. Individual presentations to class — one class block

Each student will present their research findings to the class by providing us all with a copy of the fun/motivational activities they have discovered from the school they researched, describing briefly the results of their interviews, listing the pros and cons as reported by the students/advisers at that school, as well as the analysis of their findings and how they might work for our staff.