The first portion of the academic school year may soon be over, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t convert your classroom into an environment-friendly haven if you haven’t already done so. Not only can adding some green practices into your classroom reduce your carbon footprint, but it might also save you some money along the way. For some easy ways you can encourage sustainability without much effort, read on.
Go Digital, If Possible
The easiest ways to save money is to cut the amount of paper that you use. This can be done in a variety of ways. For example, a “big” project idea would be for your class to adopt e-textbooks— but this is often easier said than done since students would need to buy costly e-readers and get approval from board directors.
While e-textbooks may be far-fetched, that doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust your lessons to go digital in the classroom however. For example, instead of printing out worksheets you can display instructions/assignments on a projection screen or chalk board—perhaps even post assignments and instructions on the classroom social media page so students can access it at home. Homework can be submitted via email. Interactive assignments and virtual field trips can be done in the lab or within the classroom via a TV with Ethernet connections or a projector—this will help save on fuel emissions and costs associated with “real” field trips.
For assignments that do need to be printed on paper however, make sure to use double-sided print settings and encourage your students to use the fronts and backs of their notebook paper when taking notes.
Decorate with Plant Life
Adding some fresh plants to your classroom can instantly beautify your surroundings and promote cleaner breathing air since plants helps absorb toxins wandering in the atmosphere. If you wish to make a lesson plan out of it, your students can even help plant seeds into potters and watch them grow over time or they can decorate potters before planting small, fully grown plants when learning about plant life.
Hire Weekly “Monitors”
Another easy way to encourage your students to be more eco-conscious and is to give students various eco-friendly “jobs.” For a real job you can use job search sites. Each week you can select a different student to have a specific duty. You can dub someone as Recycling Deputy for example. Responsibilities would include sorting recyclable materials and placing them in appropriately labeled recycling bins—scraps of paper and magazines can be repurposed for various craft projects. Someone could also be the Energy Consultant. You can find more job titles at a job site. Responsibilities could include making sure faucets are turned off correctly and electronic devices such as computers are turned off when not in use.
Jillian Terry is an education writer for Teachingdegree.org. When she’s not teaching current or future teachers how to make green initiatives in the classroom, she can be found playing with her two dogs. Comments are welcomed.