Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going green in the classroom--supporting a schoolwide initiative

I don't know how it is for every school but at my school the administration has put in place a school wide initiative for recycling.

What this means is that every classroom receives a blue plastic recycling bin for students to place papers and other recyclable materials. Every day one of the janitors will come by and pick up the recycling. Supposedly what will happen is that the materials are weighed and either the teachers compete amongst the grade level or the grade levels compete against each other.

Sounds like a brilliant idea right? Right.

In a middle school brilliant school-wide initiatives rarely work as they are designed. Too many of the children without proper instruction or discipline turn the recycling bin into a second or third trash can in the classroom. None of the material in that bin can be recycled.

Also, many of the teachers have so much else on their plate due to the fact that this is a Title 1 school with many other regulations imposed by receipt of federal money. They do not have either the time or the will power or even the desire to adequately instruct the students as to the proper use of the bin and constantly monitor what is deposited.

Even though I am not in charge of my own classroom yet I can see how easily it would be to just forget about the recycling bin or worse yet actually use the bin as yet another necessary trash can in the room so that the students don't resort to using the floor in that manner. (Trust me. It happens).

I also see the need for forming green habits at an early age. If a child learns the importance of recycling and other green techniques at the middle school level (or better yet in elementary school) then that child will be more likely to carry those habits on into adulthood.

What do you think?

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