Going green tips…yes please! I live and teach in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are total fanatics for clean, green living. If you don’t abide by the high standards for saving mother earth, you will get some…looks. If you have more material in your garbage bin than in your compost and recycling bins around here…that’s a fail. We definitely take pride in being one of the greenest areas to live in the world. Most of my second graders have lived and breathed sustainability since birth, making our classrooms a place where waste is not tolerated.
Here’s a peek at a few ways my class gets educated with sustainability in mind.
STEM Materials (S.T.U.F.F.)
We have an entire corner of our STEM lab dedicated to clean recyclables, called S.T.U.F.F. (Scraps That Are Used For Fun). Students and families deliver clean recyclables to our STEM lab frequently to keep this area generously stocked with materials that are prefect for building.
Each month, my class participates in a Living Classroom lesson. This district wide program focuses on helping young learners make a strong connection with the natural environment. This leads to an appreciation for life cycles, an understanding for how to grow healthy food, and the birth of environmental stewardship. Here’s a peek at our garden where these lessons take place.
Rather than sending paper communication to and from home, our school sends communication digitally. In my classroom specifically, all newsletters are uploaded to Google Drive and shared with parents using Google Sites. More frequent photo updates are shared with parents via Google+ so they can get an actual peek at our learning activities throughout the year. You can grab my Tweets From the Classroom and other editable newsletter templates here.
Number of the Day Binder
Rather than copying or buying daily math warm ups, my second graders work in their Number of the Day binder first thing every morning. Page protectors make these pages reusable every day of the year, giving my students enriching and consistent place value practice without wasting paper.
School Wide Waste Management
All day, we recycle and compost as many materials as possible. Our office staff and custodial crew go above and beyond to ensure students are using receptacles in the classroom and in our picnic areas properly.
Our class environmentalists and recyclers (student jobs) do the same for our class specifically at the end of each day. You can grab my Classroom Job Cards Freebie in my TPT store.
Waste Free Lunch
Many of our students come to school with a waste free lunch. That’s right, not a single item in their lunch bag is trash. They pack their lunch in washable containers and sleeves. Food scraps are composted when the lunch bell rings and everything else is packed away to be washed at home and reused another day.
Reusable water bottles can be found on almost every desk so students stay hydrated without using not-so-eco-friendly plastic water bottles.
Hope you enjoyed a peek at a few of our favorite tips for building a sustainable classroom. Remember…every day is Earth Day!