Earth Day: Reusing in the Classroom and Visual Plans for the Week of April 22nd

21 April 2013

I use a lot of paper with my students and I feel really guilty about that.  One way I have found to be a little more eco friendly is to save all larger scraps of paper.  I do this by placing a little garbage pail in the art center and telling the kids to put their bigger unused scraps of paper in there.   Then at the end of the center rotation, the scraps get placed in one of my storage cube seats. 
I also urge my students how to fit as many tracers as possible on a piece of paper.  My aide actually came up with a great idea: She puts a sample of how to fit all the tracers on the sheet of paper up in the art center.  So let's say, the students are making a groundhog and they need to use all brown.  She will take all the tracers that need to go on brown and trace them on a sheet of brown paper showing the students how to arrange them.  The visual really helps them!   For little things, I try and pre-trim paper so that the students will use the least amount possible when tracing or I have them find a scrap from the scrap paper bin. 

What do I do with all those scraps?   The scraps work great for torn paper projects, like the ones below.  I will save the paper from year to year, if I know I will be using it for a specific project.
(This is from My Seed To Plant Project Packet.)

I even save scrapbook paper in a separate storage cube. 
This little project was inspired by a project in Amy Lemons' I Can Measure Unit.

I am often putting words on my students' word rings.  I usually use the other side of an old word ring word or I use the trimmed off paper from when I make my centers.

I hope all these ideas help you become a bit more eco-friendly in the classroom.  Every little bit helps! 

Here are my plans for the week. 
*This plan book format is called "Erica."  Click here to check it out in Ms. M's A Teacher's Plan Store.
**My visual plans are inspired by DeeDee Wills' visual plans.  I am linking up with her again this week. 

To check out some of last year's freebies from my "y and ie as long I" post, click here

Earth Day Units I Am Utilizing This Week:

My new Earth Day Search/Read/Write the Room (it is only $1!):

Anna Brantley's Earthly Love Packet:
Adorable unit!  She blogs about it here.

Lita Lita's The R's Rules! Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!
I love how easy this craft was to make and the varying levels of difficulty. The price was pretty awesome, too: $1.20!

Earth Day Freebies from A Cupcake for the Teacher:
Teri shares some really awesome anchor charts in this blog post.  I plan to try and recreate them this week.  Did you know that we have met a few times?  She lives in NJ and we have met up in NYC!  She is so sweet.   I love that I get to connect with interesting and cool people through blogging! 

My new, fellow New Yorker, blog friend, Anna of Simply Skilled in Second also has an Earth Day freebie and this really cool Earth Flip Flap book. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Tomorrow evening, I will have a contest up on my blog, so please stop back.  Have a Happy Earth Day!


  1. I feel so guilty too about all the paper we use in class! I have a scrap box, but I like your aide's idea about modeling how to fit everything on one page- in fact, I LOVE that idea!

    Crayons and Whimsy

  2. Love the scraps idea Erica!! I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE the visual plans you always post. Have a great week.

    One Fab Teacher

  3. I am excited to go digging for a scrap box tomorrow! Our school does have really large red recycling bins for each classroom, but they are too big for under the tables... Your little bin is just right!
    Have a great week Erica!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  4. Love seeing you week plans. Thanks so much for purchasing/posting my unit, you really made my day!

  5. Where do you get the cute clipart for your lesson plans (the "kids") Is it just from clipart that you've purchased?

  6. Love all of your ideas...and they lead to great projects! Thanks for sharing them!


    (Whimsy Workshop)

  7. Eee, thanks for the love, Erica!! Let's meet up again soon!! :)
    A Cupcake for the Teacher


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