I love the last day of school.  It’s a holiday for teachers and it’s full of happiness and memories.

After teaching as long as I have, on the last day, actually last week of school, I noticed the waste of paper and school supplies that gets thrown away.  Fortunately, in the age of technology and in the district I’m fortunate enough to teach, I have many opportunities to teach my students more than just Shakespeare. 

I am very adamant about recycling and utilizing all supplies and technology.

Here are six recycling tips that I have implemented in my classroom.  They are simple acts, but I have found that simple acts make a big difference.

  1. Google Classroom has not just limited the use of paper, but it allows students to stay connected to their classes when they are absent.  My district provides laptops for students for a very reasonable rental fee.  Students are expected to have a laptop at all times.
  2. Most assignments are turned in digitally.  Unless my AP students are writing an in class essay, assignments are turned in online.  Yes, even research papers.  That alone saves reams of paper….TREES!
  3. Recycle bins set up and labeled in my classroom makes students accountable for recycling.  It becomes such a norm, that they call each other out for not recycling.
  4. Taking the recyclables to the giant bins is a great opportunity for my students to take a brain break and get fresh air. It became a competition between my classes each week, because they love doing it.  The class with the best attendance rate for the week wins.
  5. Refillable water bottles are quite the trend, especially decorating them.  Now, I personally use a Yeti.  My students have so many fun water bottles and they love putting stickers on them.  So, every time they go to the water fountain to refill their bottle, they get a sticker.
  6. Pens and pencils never go in the trash.  I have bins full of pens and pencils that I continue to reuse every year.  There is no reason to throw them away and waste money and supplies.  Students are always needing one and they know where to put them once they have finished using them.

I have found that teaching high school students has given me the opportunity to show them how to be thoughtful about resources and the importance of recycling.  They love the small rewards, but it is more of a reward to me to see them recycle and make the world a better place.

Enjoy your spring and remember to try to lessen your carbon footprint.

About the author

Kellidawn is a widowed mother of three boys .  She is also a favorite of her students and is in her 24th year of teaching high school English in a suburb outside Austin, Texas.  Life is never perfect and Kellidawn shares her unique and uplifting perspective on parenting ,working and how to feel good about yourself every day.  Kellidawn holds two Masters degrees from Louisiana Tech and Lamar University.  While at Louisiana Tech she was the feature twirler and crowned Miss Tech which seems a lifetime ago from her most recent role as Little League baseball Coach.
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