Create a More Eco-Friendly Classroom

To my family, friends, and even former students, it is no surprise that I am a lover of animals and nature.  This year, I am looking to bring some changes into my classroom that will help to educate my students on the importance of preserving and protecting our Earth.  Take a look at some of the plans I have up my sleeve for this year.

1. Create a "daylight" classroom
"Daylighting" uses windows to capture light into a building.  Not only is this more energy efficient, but studies show that students' demonstrate stronger work habits, increased academic performance, show more resistance to fatigue, and possess a more positive attitude in classrooms that are run by daylight versus artificial light.

2. No Worksheet Wednesday
The dreaded worksheet.  I am not a big worksheet kind of gal to begin with, but this year I am implementing a No Worksheet Wednesday rule in my classroom.  I feel like this will serve as a nice reminder to myself, and also teach the students the importance of reducing the amount of paper they use daily.

3. Create individual student blogs
Please tell me that my students are not the only ones who take three little notes on one whole page of their notebooks...then skip practically 5 pages in between to complete their next assignment?  Then, students are in need of new notebooks by November?! *CRINGE*  This year, I will still be using notebooks, but for many of my assignments, I will be having my students complete them in the computer lab via their own personal blogs.  I started my students blogging in the classroom last year and was super happy with the end result.  It takes some time teaching them how to properly set up their blogs, but I found it to be totally worth it.  Not only does it teach students vital technology skills they will need (typing, how to send emails, learning to navigate the web, the list goes on...) but it also saves me time with grading because I can literally grade their assignments anywhere from my SMARTPhone, but it also cuts down significantly in paper.  We used Kidblog last year.  I found it to be pretty user-friendly and the kids enjoyed that they could upload their own avatars for their profile picture.  We went with the free version which worked just fine, but the paid version will allow more customization for the students.


4. Transfer more data to Google Docs
As a Special Education teacher, I have what seem to be endless amounts of data collection.  I wrote a series a number of months ago about how to better prepare for IEP meetings.  In that series I mention how I started transferring my data collection to Google Docs and eliminating paperwork.  It has been a dream in my classroom.  It saves me time, allows information to be easily shared with colleagues and parents, is organized in one easy-to-find location, and of course, helps to save paper.

5. Cut back on laminating
Ahh, this will be a tough one.  I love a good laminated sign or center for my kiddos.  In the past, I have guiltily laminated nearly anything I could get my hands on.  I love how sturdy lamination makes a resource, how it instantly becomes "protected", and how I can use my dry erase markers for easy writing.  Nonetheless, did you know that lamination stays in our landfills for years and years and years? YIKES.  No thanks.  This year, I will be recycling page protectors for some of my laminating projects.  Although not as sturdy, these guys can still do some protecting of your projects, and you can use dry erase markers on these bad boys as well.

What are some ways you work to make your classroom more environmentally friendly?  I would love to hear your comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!



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