Thursday, April 2, 2009

Green Friday

Most times I have blogged in the past it has been an exercise in personal reflection or something has my dander up. This is different, like an assignment, sort of.

OK, a green classroom/art program.

At first I could not think of ways that that my art class was green. With the number of students I teach we run through quite a bit of paper and the sharpeners on the tables grind through a forest of pencils. But we do have a recycling program at our school so some of that paper ends up in the recycle bin and the kids are not using electricity with the hand sharpeners (plus getting a little exercise).

So I started looking around my room to see what I do that could be considered “green”. First I noticed this pile of cardboard that I pulled out of the dumpster a while back. I used these as part of a descriptive drawing lesson.

Next I saw my buckets of recycled clay. I only buy clay 2 of every 3 years. On the third year I use all the scraps from the previous years. This also helps my budget. I also help my budget by collecting crayons that are broken. Often classroom teacher have boxes of broken crayons at the end of the year that they would throw out If I did not collect them. I always tell the kids that crayons are one of the few things that work just as well broken as whole.

All of the small containers that I use on the tables are recycled. Plastic cups and plastic food containers. All different shapes and sizes. I even have some plastic cafeteria style plates and bowls that I saved when the district stopped using washable dishes and went to throwaway Styrofoam trays.

Many of the tools I use in the art room are recycled. Recycling seems to be a natural part of the creative process, seeing something new in an object. One of my students favorite projects are the Art Rockets. In this project we recycle plastic into rockets that we then blast off.

Our district has gone green with the art curriculum in recommending a digital version of the art textbooks we use. These take up a lot less space and no trees are cut down for them. Just 5 CDs.

On a personal art note this year I am creating a picture a day and posting them on Flickr. 365 images in this project and no paper, film or chemicals are used. I’m not sure how this project will be shown at our yearly teacher art show. But the way technology changes I’m sure by then I’ll have a way to display them.

Now if I could only figure out how to recycle minutes so I would have more time.


Snippety Gibbet said...

Every classroom in my school has recycle paper bins. Children meticulously separate good trash from bad. And then, at the end of the day, the custodians dump them all in one big trash bin together.

= (

You must have a good storage room.


dsgran said...

Great thoughts Chan! For the first time I'm working at a school with a more-than-decent art budget. Unfortunately, that equates to more waste. We have a great roots & shoots program here that looks after wasteful use of materials and electricity, but I feel like the art dept specifically could be doing more to conserve what we use.

craigr said...

Great GREEN ideas, Chan! I'm going to add this to my delicious links to share with my students (future art teachers).

learningIT said...

I was thinking something similar to this last night. I try so hard to use paper wisely and efficiently but at times it's so difficult in an art room. Good post!

punky said...

Hi Chan, as always - you're thinking out of the box! Something we used to do is take recycled paper and cut it into strips to make projects. You can dye them with natural products and go nuts! I think you've already made paper, right? We can discuss more later.

Snippety Gibbet said...

Hey, Mr. Bliss......I need your address for the "pay it forward" swap. You can email me at :


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