How to bring green into the classroom

School teachers, listen up! This is a call for help. You are one of the first lines of defense in the environmental movement. In a few short years, the upcoming generation will decide the fate of this planet. And when it comes to how to teach children science, math, and geography, you're the best at it. The interdisciplinary skills they learn today will be the planet-saving skills they enlist tomorrow. Now, we know that's a lot to bear on your shoulders, so we've put together a guide that will help you in the classroom--and outside it, too.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to help children develop a connection to the environment, through both learning and experience. We know that most of you go back-to-school in September, and we have it on good intelligence that some teachers are spending their summers traveling and golfing, rather than working out lesson plans. We certainly don't take issue with that, and we have a handy cheat sheet to going green for school teachers.

From hands-on projects to personal responsibility, the tips, projects, and concepts outlined in this guide take a community-based approach to learning about environmental issues. You may not be able to implement a school-wide recycling or composting program, but you can teach the principles of zero-waste within the domain of your own classroom. And while you may not be able to get the janitorial staff to swap out for greener cleaners, you can show kids how to make your own eco-friendly cleaners from vinegar and water. Greening your school doesn't have to be about getting grants for solar panels and building a rain-water collection system. Those things are great, but it can also be as simple as opening the eyes of a child to the native plants just beyond the playground, or helping a student calculate the carbon footprint of his trip to school. Whether you're in an urban, suburban, exurban, or rural location, and no matter if you're a public or private school employee, you can choose this call to arms. Regardless of budget or setting, there's a lot every teacher can do to inspire his students to make the world a little greener.

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