The Next 26

I am an adviser and self-proclaimed mooch of great information, awesome leaders and motivational students who help me grow and strengthen my journalism program. This series of tips was developed as part of building a stronger community of journalism teachers through the exchange of best practices.

The idea is to propose a challenge in increments of 26 with 2 goals: 1) To help high school journalism programs and 2) To give that spark that will help start conversations locally.

Why 26? Sparks need appropriate time to develop and a set endpoint. These sparks may last 26 minutes, 26 hours, 26 days, or 26 weeks depending on the topic and what is most appropriate.

Join me. Your comments, sparks and ideas are always welcomed. This is an exchange of ideas after all. Post or submit ideas to aaronmanfull@gmail.com or find me on Twitter at @manfull.

Have ideas for the Next 26? Email me.

Prepping the Next Group of Leaders

Week 32: Prepping the Next Group of Leaders – I’m entering my final four weeks of school. Today’s talk was all about what I’ve been doing lately to prep next year’s editors. I didn’t talk about everything going on for the sake of keeping the video under two hours, but I did focus on some weekly meetings I’ve been having with next year’s editors to prep them for what’s ahead. I’ve used to help answer some of the early questions next year’s leaders have and give them some things to think about that they’ll encounter sooner or later. We can’t expect students to be great leaders without teaching them how to be great leaders. Most have never had training, yet we assume they should just “know.” Don’t assume. Take a little extra time to help them be as successful as you know they can be.

One Thing

Week 31: One Thing – Today I talked a bit finding yourself in situations that you’re not totally all in for. Last week I signed me and a few kids up for a workshop that I was having second thoughts of attending in the 11th hour. However, I knew it was a good opportunity for my kids and I’m always talking to them about taking advantage of great opportunities. I went in hoping to pull one thing out of the time I had invested, and instead came out with three pages of notes and some great discussions with the kids. So, it was more than worth it. My advice, try to do that and encourage your students to do the same: Go into each opportunity trying to learn one new thing. If you do, you’ll be better off in the long run and string enough of those one things together and soon you have a bag full of goodies you’ve collected.


Week 30: Conversations – In one of my more tired Monday mornings of the year, I, having just returned from a trip to Seattle with 12 students, talked about some of the conversations I had there. Specifically, I talked about one I had with one of my students that will likely lead to a transformation of how things are done in my classroom next year. Essentially, I brainstormed with an 18-year-old for an hour plus and came out of it a better teacher. Don’t pass up the chance to listen and have a conversation that could bring you out better on the other end.

Closing out the Year (Part 1)

Week 29: Closing out the Year (Part 1) – The end is near(ish). We are closing in on the final weeks of school so it’s time to start planning how some of that is going to go down. This week’s installment talked about some of the awards/honors things I do with the staff to close the year out. We’ve got to be thinking about it now so that we can get names in to the appropriate places, plaques/medals printed and certificates set. I toss out a few ideas in the video and ask for any help you all can give me on closing out the year.

Conferences and Workshops

Week 28: Conferences and Workshops – I took last week off due to spring break but came back today recharged and ready for the homestretch. In today’s video I showed off some of what the school collected for the international school, I spoke about the alumni scholarship for seniors and debuted the middle school publication shirt that kids will (finally) be getting today. For the bulk of the video I talked about summer conferences and workshops. I talked about the 3-day workshop we’ve hosted here at FHN since I arrived. I said I’d share a rough schedule of what one of the years looked like (which is typical of all years). You can find that schedule here. I also talked about why I have always pushed summer camps to students. I even talked today about how Media Now came to be and shared a little info on this summer’s workshops which will be held at the University of Missouri and Drake University. You can find more information about the camps at https://medianow.press/.

Four Books to Read

Week 27: 4 Books – Today I talked about four books that I keep close and pull from daily in my classroom. The shortlist: The First Days of School, The One-Minute Manager, Coaching Writers and The Energy Bus. The post actually came about because of a conversation with a friend where he recommended I read “Four-Hour Work Week.” I’m sure there are a million others that would help me, I ask people to share in the video’s Facebook comments other books I should take a look at. Thanks for sharing!

Alumni Funded Scholarships

Week 26: Alumni Funded Scholarships – This week I talk about the FHN Journalism Alumni Funded Scholarships that have been around for 7 years and have distributed more than $11,000 to seniors in the program. You can find more out about the scholarships and see how things are setup at: http://fhn026.com/. We will be continuing the drive for the next couple of weeks. Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions you might have about how to start one of these at your own school.


Week 25: Worknights – In today’s video I talk about how my philosophy on worknights have changed over the years and by giving students less time at worknights, they’ve actually gotten more done. As an added bonus, I’ve had more time to do things outside of school and so have they. Worknights are once a month from 2:30-7 p.m. Happy to answer any questions if you have them after you watch the video. Just reach out and let me know.

Nahead Chapman New American Academy, Scholastic Journalism Week

Week 24: Nahed Chapman New American Academy, Scholastic Journalism Week and the enemy of the American people – I cover a lot in 7:43 this week. It was a busy last 7 days. In this video I talked about a school that’s part of the St. Louis Public School System I visited last week that helps immigrant and refugee students get the language skills they need. It’s an amazing school. This week is scholastic journalism week so my students are busy promoting scholastic journalism and have been busy planning educating their peers on why press rights are important at the high school level and why a new bill running through the Missouri legislature is important. Along those same lines, I talk a little about how I, as a journalism teacher, am planning to talk about the President and his comments about the media he gave over the weekend. Links are all in a comment on the FB video.