By Teachers, For Teachers
One pressing concern that affects all of us is the diminishing condition of the environment. An effective way to get students to become environmentally conscious is to use classroom management to teach them to be so from a young age. The classroom is a wonderful setting to address the growing concerns of our environment, and teach children to adopt an environmentally friendly attitude that can positively affect their lives as well as their community. As teachers, you can use classroom management techniques to inform students about their impact on the planet, and how they can help make the Earth be a more eco-friendly place. Through effective measures like programs, activities, and community service projects, students can make their world a “Greener” place to live. Here are a few suggestions on how you can use classroom management to “Go green” in your school.
A garden is a wonderful asset to any school for many reasons. First, it teaches students about eating healthy, as well how to be responsible, because they are the ones taking care of it. Next, it provides students with the opportunity to use the plants or vegetables they grow to sell for fundraisers to earn money for school trips or community service projects. This would teach students the importance of goods and services, as well as other skills like communication, leadership, collaboration, etc.
Planting a tree on school grounds is another eco-friendly, practical way for students to contribute positively to the environment. Students learn about nature, and the awareness and importance of trees. They also learn how to plant and care for the tree and how it will enrich the environment.
Go paperless! While they may sound like a difficult thing to do, it is possible. The first step to pulling off a paperless classroom is to gather technology. This may take a few days or weeks, depending upon what you need, and what you have access to. If you don’t have a lot of technology, then you can ask for donations. Next, spend a few weeks researching and planning out the apps that you will want to use, as well as any other computer programs or digital devices. The last thing that you will need to do is to create a workflow. You will need to think about how you will carry out your daily tasks without paper. How will students do their homework assignments, and how will you grade them? Once you have all of the information, you’ll be ready to go paperless for a more eco-friendly classroom.
Students can put together and host an eco-cleanup of the school grounds. Or, if you live close to a park or beach, students can walk there and collect the trash.
A Green STEM lesson focuses on the environment based education through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students use their 21st century STEM skills while learning about the environment.
Students can raise money to adopt an endangered animal. If your school has a garden, they can sell their fruits and vegetables and use the money to adopt the animal. To adopt one in your area, contact your local zoo, or go online and visit the World Wildlife Fund for more information.
Another idea to becoming more “Green” in your classroom is to take an environmentally friendly field trip. Students can visit the local organic farm, where they can pick fruits and vegetables, visit an energy plant where they can learn renewable recourses, visit a local recycling center where they can learn how plastic can be turned into park benches, or even visit the local landfill, where they can learn what happens when people don’t recycle. All of these place are a great way for students to learn more about their environment.
Invite in a guest speaker to talk about the environment with your students. Environmental issues are always at the forefront of the news, and a keynote speaker is just the person you need to help inform your students on these issues. Guests such as climate and animal activists, environmental educators, conservationists, and documentarians are all great choices for your classroom.
Think about the amount of paper that you have in your classroom and how much of it is thrown away in the garbage each day. If each classroom had its own recycling bin, then think of the amount of paper that can be reused. Your classroom can start a recycling program where each room in the school gets its own bin to recycle goods. Each day, students from your classroom (or other classes can join in to help) are assigned to a specific area in the school to collect the recycling from the bins. Through the use of posters, announcements, and newsletters, students can spread the word about their recycling program so all can join in.
Start an environmental club in your classroom. This is a great way to get students excited about taking care of Mother Earth. The club can participate in hosting cleanups around the school or community, help with recycling, start a school garden, or even just teach other students about the importance of an eco-friendly planet.
Helping students understand the importance of “Going green” is worthwhile because your students are the ones who will be on the Earth long after you are. Anything that you do that is environmentally conscious, whether it be little or small, will show students the importance of caring for the planet.
Do you have an eco-friendly classroom? What are your favorite classroom management ways to be environmentally conscious? Please share with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.