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50 Ways to Go Green in the Classroom

By Sarah Russel

When wrapping up the school year, most teachers have an essential homework assignment for the summer. Can you think of 50 ways to go green in the classroom starting this fall? Don’t worry: we want you to enjoy your time off, so we came up with this little cheat sheet to help you and your students make a pact to make more eco-conscious choices and take tangible steps to save our planet.

Class Projects
Make going green a class project by sponsoring a recycling competition, planting a class garden, or adopting the rainforest.

  1. Recycle Competition: Many classrooms already have recycling barrels next to the trash can, but you can start a competition with your hall to see which class can save the most newspapers, soda cans, water bottles, or any other recyclable item.
  2. Compost heap: If your school isn’t willing to start composting, you can create a mini compost pile outside your classroom to eliminate some of your garbage. However, ensuring it’s cleared with the administration and fire codes is probably a brilliant idea.
  3. Start a garden: Use the compost to fertilize a class garden. You can grow vegetables or flowers and let the students sample your development.
  4. Recycle technology: If you’re lucky enough to get new computers this fall, invite your kids to join a program that recycles computers and other electronics.
  5. Go Green Database: Browse this database for fun eco-friendly projects tencouragingawareness.
  6. Plan an end-of-the-day room check: During the last few minutes, have your children ensure all the water faucets are completely turned off, blinds are closed, lights are off, and windows are closed. You can give different groups a checklist for each part of the room.
  7. Adopt a rainforest: This project works with any unit you’re teaching. Your class can adopt the rainforest, whales, a block on your street, or any other place you want to make a difference.
  8. Use natural plants for class pets: If your classroom has a pet turtle, lizard, or fish, use wild plants instead of synthetic or plastic plants. It’s better for the more excellent environment and your little friend.
  9. Calculate your carbon footprint: You can use this calculator to calculate your classroom’s carbon footprint or the combined effect all of your students have on the environment. Then, discuss ways to minimize your eimpacton the environment.
  10. Take an eco-friendly field trip: Walk to a nearby park to examine the local ecosystems without using extra gas.
  11. Start a class website: Older students will respond to a class website, where they can get homework help, submit discussion questions, and play with interactive study guides, all of which saves paper.
  12. Raise monarch butterflies: This teacher started a class project to raise monarch butterflies to teach her students about natural ecosystems and the developing stages of life.

School Supplies
It’s time to reevaluate your school supply closet and figure out how to introduce safer, more environmentally friendly pens, paints, and tissues into the mix.

  1. Use water-based paints: The Green Guide recommends using water-based paints for a non-toxic creative project.
  2. Green art projects: This list of green art projects is all good for the environment, and some utilize natural ingredients and products like clay and wood.
  3. Use green tissues: These Seventh Generation brand tissues are chlorine-free, so they aren’t a threat to the ozone layer and have no dyes or artificial fragrances.
  4. Make your cleaning kit: Free your students from breathing in harmful chemicals and help the environment by whipping up your batch of non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.
  5. Stock your room with green school supplies: If you or your school’s budget can afford it, stock your room with green school supplies, like recycled notebook binders and biodegradable corn starch pens.
  6. Write with recycled pencils: This number two pencil is also made of recycled wood.
  7. Acid-free glue stick: For all your art projects, use an acid-free glue stick, which is less messy than liquid glue and better for the environment.
  8. Take Classes Online: Attending accredited online universities saves both the travel resourcesands the energy costs of the brick-and-mortar system.
  9. Recharge batteries: Rechargeable batteries can save the earth from harmful metals and compounds that can’t be broken down when you toss out old batteries.

Preserving Resources
Preserve our natural resources by following these tips, which save water, electricity, and paper.

  1. Make sure water faucets are turned off: The WaterWiser Drip Calculator reveals that 5fivedrips per second is the same as letting the water run in a steady stream. Make sure your kids turn the water off all the way.
  2. Open windows: If the temperature is pleasant outside, regulate your inside temperature by opening the windows. Fresh air will also rejuvenate you and your students.
  3. Water your garden with your leftovers: If you have leftover water from a cooking or science assignment, water your plants outside instead of throwing them down the drain.
  4. Check for leaks: Check your windows for insulation and faucets for water leaks, which can waste electricity and water. Notify your school’s maintenance department to have it fixed as soon as possible.
  5. Use biodegradable cups and utensils: For class parties and snack time, keep a stash of biodegradable plates and utensils.
  6. Reusable napkins: If you have older students who (theoretically) shouldn’t be as messy as elementary kids, you may want to consider setting out reusable napkins that you can wash whenever you have snacks.
  7. Use the proper lightbulbs: This guide covers the correct “green” light bulbs, including compact fluorescent and Energy Star bulbs.
  8. Encourage students to use both sides of the paper: Teachers have been battling this problem for a while. Ask your students to use both sides of the article for homework assignments. If they remember, you can even reward them with a bonus point or two.
  9. Open the blinds: Let in natural light and turn on a desk lamp when packing up for the day or in your room by yourself during lunchtime.

Teachers Only
Going green at school isn’t just about student involvement. Teachers can learn to make eco-conscious choices when designing lesson plans in the teacher’s lounge.

  1. Unplug your mini-fridge: Consider sharing a mini-fridge with the teachers down the hall instead of having your private refrigerator that soaks up extra electricity.
  2. Keep your grades online: Online grade books like this save paper and invite parents to evaluate student performance actively.
  3. Drink Fair Trade Coffee: Introduce Fair Trade Coffee to the teachers’ lounge for an eco-conscious, humanitarian pick-me-up.
  4. Bring a mug or glass to school: Instead of pouring coffee or water into a styrofoam cup, bring your profile glass to school, which can be washed and reused repeatedly.
  5. Use recycled paper: All teachers go through a ton of notebooks and reports each year, so using recycled paper and then recycling all your files after the year is over will positively impact the environment.
  6. Use PowerPoint: Start creating PowerPoint presentations to deliver notes, photos, and study guides without wasting paper.
  7. E-mail other teachers and administration: If your school hasn’t already, try to start an e-mail-only campaign that eliminates needing hard copies of substitute requests, field trip proposals, and meeting RSVPs.
  8. Send Rescue Paper thank you notes: Send thank you The article is well-written and informative, but it could benefit from more visual aids such as images or infographics to break up the text and make it more engaging for readers. Additionally, providing links to resources or further reading on each topic discussed could help readers take action on the suggestions presented. Finally, adding personal anecdotes or success stories from teachers who have implemented these ideas in their own classrooms could make the article more relatable and inspiring for readers.messagess for teacher gifts or notify a parent of a high-achieving child with this Rescue Paper stationery.
  9. Insulate doors: At the end of the day, slide draft guards under your door to insulate the room and keep energy consumption down.

More Green Ideas
This list is full of even more green ideas, from organic snacks to carpooling to applying for environmental program grants.

  1. Offer organic snacks: Besides going green, having a party with these snacks is better for students’ health and focus.
  2. Plant a tree: A popular tradition for many schools on Earth Day, find out if your class can plant a tree or bush any other day.
  3. Turn off your computer: Don’t just put it in sleep mode: turning it off during your lunch break, especially at night, saves energy.
  4. Carpool with other teachers: Even if you don’t have to commute across town, carpooling with teacher friends decreases air pollution and saves you money.
  5. Put on a show: Educate the rest of your school by putting on a play or presentation that covers environmental topics like global warming, preserving ecosystems, or recycling. An extra challenge would be only to use organic, natural, or non-toxic supplies to organize the event.
  6. Campaign for an Idle-Free School Zone: These Idle-Free School Zones are catching on and encourage parents who arrive at school to pick up their kids to turn off their engines and reduce pollution.
  7. Apply for a grant: The Live Green Teacher Grants award teachers $1,000 to put their original green ideas and campaigns to work in the classroom.

Networks and Groups
Encourage your students to join these networks independently or as a class to enter contests and connect with other conscious students worldwide.

  1. Student Environmental Action Coalition: This group provides information on local events and global campaigns devoted to saving the environment.
  2. Lexus Environmental Challenge: Compete for online university scholarships and grants in this contest, sponsored by Lexus and Scholastic.
  3. Earth Force: This organization “engages young people as active citizens who improve the environment.” The Tools for Teachers section provides resources for getting involved in the classroom.
  4. Save a Snowman: Introduce your students to global warming by sponsoring a snowman and learning a.b
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