Green tips for teachers
Visit our virtual school to discover eco-friendly tips and tricks that will help make your teaching ways greener! There are ways of lessening your ecological footprint in each room of this school. Give them a try!
Is your school green? Click on the map to discover green tips for your school.
The 3 R’s
Many schools offer green programs for their pupils. Here are some practical and easily enforceable ideas for each room in your school. Use them to set an example for your students! Enjoy!
For a start, don’t forget that it’s preferable not to buy an item or material, whatever it may be (Reduce). It is also smart to think of a way to Reuse an item for which we no longer have any use before acquiring a new item. And once you are done using something, develop the reflex of Recycling it.
Recycling paper is already a well established practice in schools. We must now make the extra effort to recycle plastic, glass and metal.
We suggest placing a small green bin on school floors. That way, other recyclable items such as metal, glass and plastic will be more easily removed from classrooms. Children could be responsible for these bins, just like they are for the ones meant for paper.
-Pots of paint can be reused by students at home or brought to your local waste collection branch for making new pots of paint.
- Ask arts and crafts and music teachers what they could use in their classroom. It might surprise you that certain non-recyclable materials, such as cork, Styrofoam plates, and certain kinds of paper or clothing can be used for original projects.
- Use empty yogurt cups for poster paint. Empty cereal boxes can also be used for arts and crafts activities.
- Steer clear of prepared meals because they are sold in disposable containers. If, in spite of this, you have one of these meals as your lunch, think of placing it in the refrigerator in the morning, then take it out come lunchtime. That way, it won’t be as frozen and won’t take as long to heat up.
- Buy your desserts in bulk (pudding, yogurt, preserves, etc.) instead of individual packaging. You can just transfer the desired portions to separate plastic containers, which you can wash and reuse.
- Avoid purchasing cookies or any other foods in packets, in order to reduce waste.
- Make your own desserts that’s even better!
- Leave the blinds/curtains open. Sunlight is sometimes sufficient, allowing you to leave the lights off.
- Ficuses, ferns, gerbera, and orchids are plants that absorb and clean the air. Depolluting plants such as these should be placed in classrooms.
- To reduce waste, evaluate the amount of garbage produced in your classroom in a given week. Come Friday afternoon, simply mark the fill-height on the garbage can. The following week, explain to your pupils that this mark must go down. That way, they can directly and positively impact the environment by choosing more eco-friendly snacks thus avoiding filling up the classroom garbage can.
Reinvest in reading:
- Heighten your pupils’ awareness of the environment by suggesting related reading material, movies or projects.
- Instead of buying your students low-priced presents from faraway countries to reward them, why not just ask people you know to give you small items they no longer need or buy inexpensive gifts from rummage/garage sales.
- Another inexpensive and fun way of rewarding students is to make them a homemade snack or treat them to a food they are not used to seeing on their plate.
- Go for practical gifts, such as ecological school supplies, like metal pencil sharpeners, rubber erasers, pens made from corn, wood pencils. Avoid plastic!
Ecological pencil cases:
- Empty tissue paper boxes can be reused as cases for wood/colouring pencils.
- If drinks/snacks are served during staff meetings, it is preferable to provide employees with reusable glasses/dishes. It is also a good idea to have a team in charge of doing dishes.
- In classrooms, we recommend that you have as many utensils as there are students. They’ll come in handy for snacks, at birthdays, etc. You‘ll also need a small container for placing utensils that need to be washed.
- You can buy dishes for the staff room at rummage/garage sales or even better, ask friends and acquaintances to make a donation by looking into the back of their cupboards! This way, you’ll be reusing instead of buying.
- Use paper made from 100% recycled fibres.
- Place a box for “scrap” paper that can be used for arithmetic exercises or informal activities amongst pupils. Once sheets have been used on both sides, you can either place them in the recycling bin or hand them over to the arts and crafts teacher.
- Some schools use paper from recycling bins for various artistic projects. If you have a space available in which to set up a small paper mill, you can make new sheets of paper.
- Set up a cardboard collection corner near the photocopier so that teachers can reuse cuttings.
- Think of photocopying on both sides of pages. That way, you’ll use less paper for photocopying. Pick up the habit of writing on the board. Children can answer directly in their exercise books.
- If there is a winter carnival and you give out hot milk chocolate, think of using recyclable cardboard cups! And if you build a stand, reuse material collected from previous years.
- Add a bin in the school yard or at school entrances for recycling school children’s snack containers.
- Add trees and plants to the school yard with help from pupils.
- With help from your local Éco-quartier, you can even collect compostable materials from meals. The following Web page explains how to go about composting (in French):
- You can make mealtimes friendlier by forming a group of 5 teachers. You’ll each take turns in providing one meal per week.
- Take the opportunity to eat cold or meatless meals. You’ll save time and be more environmentally-friendly. Avoid packaged items and choose seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Name one person per day for doing dishes. That way, you’ll save water and soap.
Speak with the person in charge of purchases:
- We recommend using ecological dishwashing soap. Some stores even allow people to bring their own refillable container in hopes of reducing garbage.
- Buy reusable coffee filters and spoons.
- Buy sugar and milk in bulk, not in individual portions.
- Buy fair trade coffee.
- Install two bins: one for recycling paper and cardboard, the other for discarded items that cannot be placed in regular bins. That way, batteries, cellular phones and other ill-assorted products can be taken care of by the school’s green committee.