How to have a ‘greener’ classroom

How to have a ‘greener’ classroom

Environmental sustainability and protecting the planet has become one of the most talked about topics around the world today.  As we watch the inspiring activism of young people like Greta Thunberg draw attention to vital issues, it is more and more evident that working together to save the earth should be part of our daily lives. Here in the UAE, the government is actively pursuing more sustainability initiatives, including in their Vision 2021 strategy and at the upcoming EXPO 2020.  As individuals, families, communities and schools we can take action that can contribute more positively to the environment and safeguard the earth’s future for the generations to come.

It can be easy to image that small efforts won’t have much of an impact, but in reality, even little changes can make all the difference. If everyone in the world was able to improve their environmental credentials by just a tiny bit, the overall knock on effect would be enormous.  If you have been looking for ways to inspire your students into more green-fingered activities, then we have put together a quick guide of things you can do to make your classroom more mother-nature-friendly. 

Start the conversation

Whilst the subject matter is more relevant in some lessons than others, there are numerous ways in which to tie in environmental considerations into your classroom.  One of the best things to begin with is sparking a conversation.  Talk to your students about the environment, climate change and how they feel about it.  Do they know how it works?  Do they know the ways in which we can damage or protect the planet?  Do they recycle at home?  Would they like to do more?  This way you can gauge their level of understanding and tailor your response accordingly. 

Make it fun

Here at TELLAL we understand more than most about the evolution in learning techniques to approve retention.  We constantly strive to discover new methods for engaging students and helping them to grow their skills.  One of the ways in which lessons can be absorbed more effectively is when they are fun! That is exactly what you can do with recycling and sustainability activities.  Depending on the age of your students you could have a competition for who can recycle the most or who can come up with best ideas to save the planet. English teachers and tutors could set creative writing topics that tie into sustainability and have kids imagine a different world and how we could achieve that.  Art teachers could set a challenge to produce posters or paintings that celebrate greener endeavours and the beauty of nature.  Younger students could respond well to recycling games, like this one from We Are Teachers. 

Set the example

Try to make your classroom a vision of recycling inspiration.  Build your own recycle bins (although your school might already have some) and give rewards for people who use them. Encourage students to use recyclable water bottles and to ditch plastic as much as possible.  Use scrap paper and recycle paper as much as possible.  Talk to the school leadership about using energy saving light bulbs.  With a younger audience you can repurpose plastics and objects into craft projects or art pieces.  Did you know markers can be recycled into paint?  Perhaps there is a space in your school that your class could plant a tree or start a garden?  A little bit of green-fingered gardening is great for expanding their experiences and protecting the planet. 

You can also share recycling and sustainability tips with your students that they could use at home.  Get them started with a list and then encourage them to come up with their own. You could include:

  • Walking more and using the car less
  • Recycling plastics, paper, cans and glass at home
  • Cutting out plastic straws and plastic cutlery
  • Avoiding take outs and cooking more as a family
  • Consider cutting down on meat and having a more plant based diet
  • Growing herbs and vegetables at home, which can even be done with just a balcony
  • Saving vegetable cuttings to make stock that can be frozen and used to make home-made soups and stews

Let us know how you get on and share any amazing tips you have or anything creative your students come up with!

Katie Hart
Manager – Teacher Leadership
How to have a ‘greener’ classroom
Katie joined TELLAL from her position as Vice Principal at GEMS Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, and in 2013, was awarded the prestigious GEMS Core Values Award.
How to have a ‘greener’ classroom

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