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Planning an end-of-year staff banquet


Students will plan the different components of an end-of-the-year staff celebration and then host the event.


  •  Students will plan a budget for a banquet.
  • Students will research what other staffs do to celebrate at the end of each year.
  • Students will organize a banquet and create a script for the evening.
  • Students will create the content to be presented at the banquet.

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.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Two 50-minute classes


Copies of a recent staff banquet program

Handouts: Research from other staffs about how they celebrate at their respective banquets

Rubric: Staff banquet presentation

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Explore with students the reasons to have a celebration at the end of the year.  Allow them to suggest the importance of such an event. Research how other schools conduct their banquets by contacting advisers/editors around the country and getting a detailed description of what they do.

2. Group brainstorming — 30 minutes

Decide what you want/need to include for your banquet. Consider:

  •  Invitations – who will design?  Who will receive them? How many can we invite? What school officials will be invited? Community members or advertisers?
  • Food – who will cater? Will it be pot luck? Will you go to a community restaurant or rent a space to have it? How much will it cost per person?  How will we pay for it?
  • What do you want to be on the menu?
  • Will there be any music? Entertainment? Speaker? If so, will you have a theme? Will any of that cost money?
  • Will there be any decorations?  Centerpieces? Favors? Placemats? How much will this cost? Who will set up and clean up? Who do you need to see to sign up for a space?
  • What awards will be given?  Who will give them? Do you need plaques? Certificates? How much will awards cost?
  •  How will you recognize seniors who are leaving?
  • How will the accomplishments of the year be recognized? Multimedia presentation? Continually rolling slide show?
  •  Who will write the script for the evening? Who will be the emcee?
  • Will the Quill and Scroll Induction be a part of this ceremony if you have a chapter?

3. Develop an Action Plan for each committee — 10 minutes + next block (50 minutes)

Divide the class up into committees to help plan the banquet.  Committees will include:

a.     decorations

b.     food

c.     awards

d.     program/entertainment

e.     invitations

Have each group select a chairman, a secretary and a budget director.  The chairman will do any reports to the entire class, the secretary will keep minutes/notes of each group meeting and the budget director will keep costs of all items to make sure they stay within the publication’s budget and are reported to the adviser.

4. Follow-up exercise — homework

Students will research the costs of their particular area and will report back to the group so that a staff budget for this event can be created.

After a budget is created, the adviser will purchase necessary materials to plan for the banquet and the students will make any necessary items.  They will also develop a plan for carrying out the banquet.

Upon completion of the banquet, students can write a self-evaluation and can create and distribute a satisfaction survey for attendees.