Paper and the classroom go hand in hand, right? Teachers and students use a tremendous amount of paper. And although much of the paper that is used in the classroom of today comes from recycled paper or renewable forests, it still requires electricity and other resources to mill the paper. Cutting down on the use of paper in the classroom can be done by:
· reducing the number of worksheets that you make on the copy machine
· use both the back and front of the paper when making copies
· do group assignments on a single sheet of paper
· allow students to turn their homework in digitally on the computer
Reduce Electricity Usage
The electricity used for each classroom in a school building can really add up and represents expended energy and subsequent carbon emissions. Offset these harmful substances by reducing the amount of electricity your classroom uses. Some tips to get started:
· turn the lights off when you leave the classroom for lunch, breaks, and recess
· turn the lights off in the bathroom when not in use
· unplug all electronics when they are not in use, like televisions and DVD players
· use natural light when possible, such as during quiet time
A good way to encourage recycling and green living among your students is to provide recycle bins within the classroom. Bins for paper, aluminum, and plastic will allow your students to get on the green bandwagon. Be sure to allow students to chart the pounds of paper recycled during specific periods of time, like weekly or monthly, so that they can see what they have accomplished. And relate their milestones to a specific savings, like recycling 118 pounds of paper saves one tree. Some facts you might share:
· If every newspaper in the U.S. was recycled, we could save two hundred and fifty million trees every year. The average person uses seven trees worth of paper and paper products each year, and around a billion trees worth of paper end up in the trash every year, just in the U.S.
· Americans go through 2 ½ million plastic bottles each hour, and 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups each year.
· The energy that is saved from recycling just one glass bottle can power a light bulb for four hours, and a glass bottle that ends up in the landfill will take four millennia (yes, 4000 years or 40 centuries or 400 decades) to decompose.
Students can benefit from green lessons in the classroom to reinforce green concepts. Teach children about the melting polar icecaps, climate change, and about endangered species that are threatened by industrialization and pollution. Have students keep a green journal in which they can write on a weekly topic that has to do with the environment. Suggested topics include:
· How I Can Save Energy at Home
· How I Contribute to the Planet
· Why Recycling Makes Sense
You can come up with (or have students brainstorm for) a fresh topic each week, and include this as a writing lesson or a science lesson.
These are just a few of the ways that you can introduce the green lifestyle to your students. Be creative; there are tons of possibilities for making the earth a better place to live, one change at a time.
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Article Added on Sunday, October 23, 2011
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