being a Zero-Waste Teacher

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linguafreak linguafreak
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being a Zero-Waste Teacher

I am going to school to become a teacher. (Both in the classroom and online). I am also a parent who has two kids in school. The teachers send TONS of papers home (homework, newsletters, etc.) When I become a teacher I want to be as close to zero-waste as I can without sacrificing productivity AND without relying on computers/internet so much either. (Not all kids will have access and some parents, like myself, heavily restrict computer use.) I was thinking maybe having kids use personal desk chalk/dry erase boards for in class work, as well as very limited computer work (especially for youngsters...to much screen time not healthy). This goes for supplies, art projects, etc. Are there any teachers out there trying to be zero-waste teachers? Or does anyone have any ideas on how to balance waste with technology?  
Jane Jane
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Re: being a Zero-Waste Teacher

I teacher A-level students and would also love to be a zero waste teacher! There's a lot of coursework involved in my course and students are forever printing things to be proof read then recycling. The department also makes each student present their work in plastic wallets!!

Additionally students are given many task sheets etc. We must be the worst department for paper waste :(

Please help? I am going to discuss this with the head of department but it's difficult when it's not upto me how the department runs.

Any ideas from other teachers would be fab!
Trish Trish
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Re: being a Zero-Waste Teacher

In reply to this post by linguafreak
I teach high school and went mostly paperless this year.  All of their assignments are online, they submit written work and graphs online, I correct them online, and they see my feedback online.  I can see how you wouldn't be too keen on having little ones with that much screen time, though.  We also do a lot of labs which require materials.  I am pretty good about keeping waste to a minimum.  We use a lot of reusables for projects--sculpting  parts of the human body, or the parts of a neuron, etc from clay that doesn't dry out and can be used year after year. I also save non-recycle able trash or shop at thrift stores for art supplies.   I use white boards a lot for formative assessment.  I suppose chalk boards would be better to avoid the markers.  I collect used paper from the recycling bins to use a second time,and keep a stack of it in a tray for the times when students need to write something down.  We play a lot of games like jeopardy,  which can use very few supplies.  I would imagine with elementary aged kids you would use a lot of library books.  With the new common core requirements students should be reading a lot of non- fiction, then you could use white boards or play games to answer questions about what they read.  You could make a big set of numbers and letters out of card board for math activities or spelling.  For science, you can do all kinds of things with baking soda, vinegar, eggs, cornstarch, water, cabbage juice indicator, and other non-toxics, or get out and collect leaves or dissect the parts of flowers.