It’s 2020, and I am determined to help make classrooms more environmentally friendly each and every year. With so many people having access to the internet and devices (computers, smart phones, and tablets) in and outside of school, cutting the paper has become easier with each passing year. Of course, there are some tasks that still work best with paper, and I am cognizant that not every school has 1:1 capability or web access at home. That being said, many of these tips will work for a lot of teachers to cut the paper and go digital for the 21st century learner!
I used to send home student surveys and paperwork to share with parents. This posed three problems. First, some students struggled to bring the papers home let alone back to school. Second, it wasted paper! I had to make multiple copies for students or parents that lost the original. Last, the paper took up space. In many classrooms (like my own), space is at a premium. Files are precious, and I like to save shelves and bins for manipulatives, books, and other materials my kids use.
I now send Back to School forms with Google Forms to collect student info. I then input all the information from parents into my digital back to school forms, which are included as a resource in my Teacher Masterclass. This not only saves me time, but it sends the information directly to parents’ inboxes! If you have parents of ELL students or parents that speak a different language, you can translate the Google Form to make sure receive the same quality communication.
If you have a parent that needs paper copies or does not have access to the internet, that’s more than fine! However, think of all the paper (and time) you’ll save having all your student information accessible via Google Forms and Docs!
I also love using digital newsletters to send to parents! I use digital newsletters to communicate weekly or monthly classroom happenings, homework, list important information, and volunteer or supply requests. All these paperless ways to communicate with parents make my classroom more organized and environmentally friendly!
Digital Lesson Resources
As I mentioned, there are some lessons that require paper. Digital art is fun, but sometimes your students just want the paper manipulation. I still enjoy using paper interactive notebooks. Also, practicing letter formation on paper is important. However, many lessons work so well as digital resources on Google Classroom!
To start the school year, I introduce a digital Growth Mindset interactive notebook that helps my learners set goals and get ready for the school year. This is something that can be revisited easily throughout the year because, you guessed it, it’s digital! This resource can be shared on your Google or Microsoft platforms. Some teachers tell me they love using this resource on Seesaw! Then parents can easily access and see their student’s goals and understanding of growth v. fixed mindset in action.
Here’s to being environmentally friendly as well as saving time and using tech in your classroom in 2020!