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6 Ways to Become an Eco-Friendly Classroom

01 Aug 2019
At the moment my social media is full of my teacher friends and colleagues redoing their classroom. I love seeing all their ideas come to life through their displays and classroom organisation. I was having a conversation with a friend recently about creating an eco friendly classroom and showing our pupils how to respect and understand their environment. 

The classroom is a fantastic starting place to model caring for the environment to your pupils and implementing these ideas could improve your effect on the planet as well as contributing to a positive classroom environment.

1. Consider your supplies 
You may not have overarching responsibility for the stationery but you can make small steps towards ensuring the tools you use everyday in your classroom are as green as possible.
  • Buy notebooks made from recycled paper, fill your own pencil case with acid-free and petroleum free products, recycled post it notes, etc.
  • Make sure everything that can be recycled goes into the recycling bin.
  • Encourage pupils to repurpose items which can be used after their intended use e.g. Once a stationary item has been used, use it in a creative way for an art project (Melt down wax crayons, or make 3d sculptures from empty pens or glues.)
  • Research any schemes in your area such as companies who will refill empty glue sticks or pens. 

2. Monitor water usage
  • Encourage pupils to be careful with their water usage- avoid leaving the tap running when hands aren’t under it, use the short flush on the toilet where possible.
  • Set up a water butt and show pupils how we can avoid using drinking water from the tap when not necessary (watering plants, filling paint water cups, mixing for salt dough). Collect rain water where possible.

3. Start a challenge (recycling, travelling, reusing old materials)
  • This could work really well for inter-class or even inter-year group competitions - the class who comes out as greenest wins! It could last a term or even the whole year so the fruits of their efforts can really be seen.
  • The competition could be anything: 
    • Collection: the class who collects the most bottle tops or batteries to be recycled
    • Reduction: the class who reduce the amount of pupils travelling by car
    • Upcycling: the class who bring in the most used items from home and repurposes them the most effectively and creatively wins. 

4. Consider packaging and re-usable materials for snack time or after school activities such as discos
  • When purchasing snack, consider options regarding packaging and try to opt for plastic free where possible
  • Try to find ways to provide daily snack without having to purchase packets or bags (e.g. have the cooking club make foods which can be used as snack and make it last as long as possible. Ideas include healthy pizzas, vegetable sticks and muffins). The pupils are learning skills, saving on packaging and likely saving money too! 

5. Start a garden 
  • If you have any free space on school grounds (or even close by if possible) then could it be turned into a garden? There are schemes available for setting up gardens for schools but with as little as a small area of land, a few tools such as a spade and some gloves and some seeds, you can grow things pupils can use for snack, feed the class pet and even take home or sell at enterprise fairs! 

6. Calculate carbon footprint
  • Take advantage of the cross-curricular opportunities and get pupils calculating their carbon footprint. 
  • Get facts regarding different aspects of pupils’ energy usage and create sums and investigations based on these (If driving for 5 miles emits this amount of Co2, how much would driving for 25 miles emit?)

 How green can you be?

Rose Moss is the Product Owner of Leader's Digest, Twinkl's SLT platform.

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