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Parties, Praise, and Plastic Bottles

Originally appears in the Fall 2011 issue

Have you ever noticed the positive impact young people can have on the world around them when given the opportunity? I have often witnessed adults doing the ‘right thing’ after a child has said to them, “Remember to recycle that can,” or “We need to start using reusable bottles instead of disposable plastic ones.” We seem to listen to young people because we know that it’s our responsibility to model a good example. Throughout my years of teaching elementary school and facilitating our school’s student-led Green Team, I have developed a variety of activities to teach students how to make environmentally-smart choices and celebrate all of the things they do to make the world a greener place. Reusable party boxes, setting a world record, and green recognition bulletin boards are three such ways to get students aged 9-12 involved with environmental stewardship.

Reusable Party Boxes

A reusable party box is one idea that will help students learn the importance of reusing. Most classrooms have several parties throughout the school year during which paper and plastic products are used because they’re easy to manage and clean-up. These products might be easy, but they are far from green! A reusable party box has everything you need in it to have a “green party.”

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Tasha Kirby taught at Discovery Elementary in Sammamish, Washington for eight years before moving to Bozeman, Montana where she now teaches at Emily Dickinson Elementary.