Green Classroom: Make an Eco-friendly Environment in your Classroom

Teaching students to recycle, reuse, and decrease waste, can encourage students to care for the environment. Is your classroom environmentally friendly? Would you like it to be? With a few changes, you can not only turn your classroom greener, but also instill in your students a new appreciation for taking care of their world. Are you a teacher thinking green?

Any classroom can become greener and instill a sense of green in the students. It does not take a great deal of effort. Just planning. That is, planning in a different way. Your classroom will be a little greener just by changing the way you assign and do projects in all subjects. Most teachers consume and use a huge amount of paper. A little effort can cut this usage big. A little effort can turn your classroom green.

Reduce Paper

Teachers use a lot of paper in their classrooms. Much of the paper we use now comes from renewable forests, or recycled paper.

However, it still costs electricity and other resources to produce this paper.

Teachers can, if possible, use only recycled paper in their classrooms. And by cutting down on the use of paper, teachers can make their classrooms a little more greener. Read: Being a More Effective Teacher

Ways to Reduce Paper

Many teachers live and die by the copy machine. Using worksheets for almost everything in their classrooms.

This should be stopped as nuch as possible. Think about teaching all day and using no worksheets. It is possible. Obviously, this works better for the elementary classroom than at the secondary level.

Just because teachers at middle and high schools rely on students turning in individual work. As an elementary teacher, you can reduce your worksheet use by a remarkable amount.

1.) Do a group assessments. Have groups of students do things on one piece of paper to be turned in.

2.) Use the chalkboard or whiteboard more. Put problems and questions on the board. You can ask for students to answer orally, or even come up to the board and do the problems. Creative teachers can come up all sorts of ways to incorporate this.

For example, call two students up to the board at a time and give them a math problem. Make it team competition. Math time is the perfect time for using the boards. For other subjects, write questions on the board and assign one question to each group to be presented to the class. Again, a creative teacher can think of numerous ways to use this technique in their teaching. You do not need to do this at all times. Just as a way to reduce paper.

3.) Give students individual slates or whiteboards. Students can do work on these and reuse them.

4.) Not everything the students do needs to be turned in. If it does not need to be turned in, do not do it on paper.

5.) Use the back as well as the front. If you use both sides for assignments, you can get a 50% reduction in paper use almost immediately. Read: Create High Impact Lesson Plans

But parents want to see what their child has done!

Okay, fair enough. Have each student make a folder at the beginning of the year. All papers completed by the student can go into this folder. The student takes it home on a weekly basis and returns it on Monday. Any papers the parents want, they can keep. But anything returned is put in a paper recycling bin. Remember, we are thinking not only reduction, but green.


Do you leave the room lights on when you leave? If so, turn them off. Do you use a personal refrigerator or other appliances in your classroom? Eliminate them. They are big electricity wasters. In fact, many school districts have outlawed such items because of this reason. If you must use them, such as a refrigerator, unplug it over the weekend. TVs, VCRs, DVD players also draw electricity even when they are not in use. Unplug them.

Does your classroom have windows that let in a lot of natural light? Use it as often as possible. However, you cannot have students do work in dim light. But you can use the natural light as much as possible. Do you have quiet time? Do you read out loud to the students? Turn the lights off during this time. Many classrooms have two sets of lights and switches. Can you function with only half the lights on?

We are not trying to eliminate using electricity, just reducing its use.

Water Bottles.
Encourage your students to bring bottles that are refilled. You can do the same.

Art Projects.

Do art projects that use old or products that would otherwise be thrown away. However, you need to do art projects that will be kept and used for a long time.

Try and avoid art projects that will be thrown away shortly. For seasonal art projects, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., do projects that can be reused year after year. If you must do pictures or other stuff like that, post it up in the classroom. Read: Should Teachers Assign Homework?

In fact, don't by stuff to decorate your classroom. Use the students talent to make things. You can invite parents in to view the pictures and other projects. If the parents want their child's work, you can send it home. If not, recycle it. Any project that requires cutting up paper, be sure and collect all scraps to be reused or recycled.


Teachers can do many things to reduce paper and electricity, as well as instill in their students a sense of green. When students see you reducing paper, electricity, and recycling, they will be happy to share this at home. Don't try and change the world or the school. This article was only for teachers and their individual classrooms. Hope that what you do rubs off on other teachers. All teachers can do something!

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