skill belts

Skill Belts

Establish visible levels of achievement so students can be Recognized for gaining skills while you Reinforce your goals with Skill Belts.

Activity Goal: Recognize yearbook students

Materials: Bulletin board, colored paper, labels, name cards

Submitted by: The Renaissance Community



  1. Make a bulletin board or other display showing the “belt” colors (inspired by Karate belts) and a name card for each staffer.
  2. Once you select a Result (below), have editors help define the criteria for earning each color. If necessary, the adviser should make the final decisions based on the needs of the program.
  3. Post the criteria so staffers can see how to earn the next level.


Focus on one of the four following Results (goals). Consider using some or all of the criteria in that column for earning a belt. 

Meeting Deadlines 
  • WHITE BELT: Approved template on spread

  • YELLOW BELT: Attended event for photos/quotes

  • ORANGE BELT: Did three interviews

  • GREEN BELT: 30+ photos available for spread

  • BLUE BELT: Uploaded photos & copy

  • PURPLE BELT: Photos selected for spread

  • RED BELT: Captions / quotes on page

  • BROWN BELT: All photos and copy on spread two weeks before deadline

  • BLACK BELT: Approved tweaks made to spread based on leadership feedback

  • ORANGE BELT:  Photo of one “ghost*” student taken, uploaded and tagged

  • GREEN BELT: Photo of two “ghost” students taken, uploaded and tagged

  • BLUE BELT:  Photo of three “ghost” students taken, uploaded and tagged

  • PURPLE BELT: Quote from one “ghost*” student collected, put on page and logged

  • RED BELT: Quote from two “ghost” students collected, put on page and logged

  • BROWN BELT: Quote from three “ghost” students collected, put on page and logged

  • BLACK BELT: New idea for coverage incorporated into yearbook

    *Ghost students are those who have not appeared in the yearbook 

Selling Yearbooks
Quality Matters
  • YELLOW BELT: Created a social media post

  • ORANGE BELT: Texted 10 students on the non-buyer list with instructions on how to buy their book

  • GREEN BELT: Worked parent/teacher conferences/Open House yearbook table

  • BLUE BELT:  Worked table at football/basketball attendance gate yearbook table

  • PURPLE BELT: Made two social media posts

  • RED BELT: Organized and oversaw staff service project (indirect sales, good PR)

  • BROWN BELT: Business ad sold/book donated by community partner

  • BLACK BELT: Created three social media post

  • YELLOW BELT: Created quality social media post

  • ORANGE BELT: Inclusive coverage – did spread featuring double-digit students

  • GREEN BELT: Exemplary photography incorporating multiple composition techniques

  • BLUE BELT: Journalistic writing in the form of a story or extended captions anchored by quality quotes

  • PURPLE BELT: Completed design following staff’s quality control guidelines (properly cropped photos, correct spacing, typography and color plan, et al)

  • RED BELT: Edited student work (writing, photo, design) and coached a staffer to improve

  • BROWN BELT: Edited and corrected proofs and re-sending for final submission

  • BLACK BELT: Organized and led the staff (staffer should submit a paragraph explaining leadership role)


  • Have some kind of public acknowledgement (even a quick “hip hip hooray!” by the class) when students achieve the next belt and move their name on the chart.
  • Do a social media post every Friday or Monday of the “Book Belts” or “YRBK Karate Kids”
  • Celebrate black belts with an extra treat or prize, and share on social media.



If you are a Jostens customer, use code YRBK2024 to set up a new account on here. We recommend that you establish your account using the same login and password you use for YearbookAvenue access.

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