The responsibilities of a teacher in the classroom stretch beyond the education and safety of students. They have to consider environmental concerns to run an Eco-Friendly Classroom. You have the attention of students on a day to day basis; they watch your every move. Therefore, it is important that you implement energy saving practices like turning off lights and recycling products, which sends students a positive message about helping the environment.
Whether it is a big or small change for you, running a greener classroom is easier than you think. Here is my compilation of top tips for recycling in the classroom setting.
Small-scale recycling facilities should always be available in the classroom. Paper and aluminium can waste bins, with clearly visible labelling, should be placed near the teacher’s desk, so that teachers can encourage correct recycling of materials. Why not give a student the job of being ‘class recycle monitor’? This person could make sure that people are recycling correctly and can be rewarded at the end of a week’s service.
It is important that a teacher reinforces the recycling and saving on paper through positive reinforcement. For example, when a student is about to throw out a draft copy of work respond with, “Make sure that it goes in the recycling please.”
With the encouragement to bring a drink of water into classrooms in place, teachers should persuade students to buy a reusable bottle instead of throwing away a shop-bought branded bottle.
One of my favourite eco-classroom tips is to use fabric to cover display boards rather than sugar paper. They never fade in the sun and you can pull the staples out of them easily. The Fabric can be used over and over again, completely removing the paper waste aspect. As these boards often have student’s work on them, ensure their work is returned to them or correctly recycled, instead of throwing it away after it is taken off the display board.
Saving all sorts of items such as toilet rolls, egg boxes, milk bottles, water bottles and boxes can be beneficial to your school’s art class, where there is frequent use of these sorts of materials for making collages and working with papier mâché. Having a large supply of these materials ready to use at a moment’s notice means that no wild and creative idea a student has will go unfulfilled.
Lastly, take your students outside as much as possible. It is said that getting in touch with nature increases the desire to protect and sustain it. Although students may at first seem to be off-task outside, after a few lessons they will become used to it. Alternatively, use the promise of the outside classroom as a reward for good behaviour.
Getting creative with eco-friendly practices in schools is must. By rewarding children in class for their excellent recycling skills, you may well inspire students to take their eco-friendly attitude back to their homes and spread the message to their families.
Do you have a particularly effective way of recycling that can be implemented classrooms? Do let us know!