Recycling Is Not Just for Earth Day!
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
With the onset of the holidays, use this time to have minilessons about recycling and conservation. It's important to teach students about the concepts of conserving and reusing items on an ongoing basis, not just on Earth Day — although you'll find me spearheading an energy conservation night on April 22nd!
As the holidays approach, I try to make it a point in my class to reiterate the need for all of us to reduce, reuse, and recycle for our students. Here are a few ideas:
Holiday packaging and parties make it a prime opportunity to teach students about sorting and reducing waste. For example, when having a party, have students donate a durable set of cups for students to reuse for the month of celebrations. Then, during party time parents can donate a gallon of juice rather than send in a box of juice boxes or pouches. This shows students how they can reduce and still have a great time. Thank you Cynthia Nunez from Walter Zimmerman Elementary for the great idea!
You can also use everyday items that would be thrown away for ornaments or other activities. One idea would be to save the sleeves on coffee cups and reuse them in an ornament for a tree or as a personalized sleeve that mom, dad, aunt, or uncle could use over and over again. The cups can also be saved to make a tree or candle holder that students could put together for a decoration for the holidays.
Make an acrostic poem with RECYCLE that would then be turned into a New Year's Day card that would encourage the card-receiver to recycle all-year 'round. A simple slogan on the card could be "Ring in the New Year with Recycling!"
Have a few tubs in the room to help kids learn how to sort different recyclable items. The tubs can be labeled paper, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. These tubs could be as simple as the boxes that hold copy paper or as fancy as a free bin donated by your state or local recycling agency. Here in Cathedral City there's an Environmental Conservation department that is funded from the city government and offers its assistance for school and community organizations. Last year, the city donated compact fluorescent light bulbs, pencils, recycled bags, tattoos encouraging recycling, and stickers for our Energy Conservation Night.
Great Literature Resources
- Top 5 Ideas for Getting Children to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in Your Classroom
- Clever Ways to Recycle Everyday Items for Classroom Projects
- Put Old Tech to Rest: Teach Kids to Recycle E-Waste
- Why Recycle Paper?
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Lesson (Grade 3) by Joey Savoy
For California residents, go to www.bottlesandcans.com
Thanks for reading! If you have any ideas, please let me know!