Beautiful Waste

Busy Minions

Green Timbers Elementary
  • Grade 2
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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My students were wasting a lot of paper in class. Even after multiple reminders about the importance of reusing paper or the option of using the back of a paper if they made a mistake, there was a lot of waste in our recycling bin. In order to give them a better understanding of recycling and inspiring them, I read them the book Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. That week instead of emptying the recycling bin we kept the paper and each student was given 2-3 papers from the bin. They had to figure out ways to reuse that paper and make something beautiful out of their ‘oops’. This activity engaged the students (shown in pictures) and they put in a lot of effort and creativity into it. We also watched videos and the students learned about how our garbage ends up in landfills and how much garbage is generated and how it is harmful for the environment. They also learnt about recycling and small steps they can take to contribute towards waste management and the philosophy of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. In continuation of this learning and to further reinforce these habits in school as well as at home, students were instructed to bring some recyclable objects from home. This project aimed at creating art from waste material (shown in pictures). They had to create something with the things that they brought from home. After brainstorming together as a team, they came up with the idea of creating a small town with the card board that they had. The whole class worked together in creating the different components of the town. They made flowers, houses, cars, people etc (shown in pictures). The aim of the project was to create awareness about reducing waste, reusing some of the waste that is generated to create something beautiful and lastly understand the importance of recycling to minimize the garbage that goes into landfills. The whole class was very involved in this project. We took it outside in our school playground where students cleaned the school playgrounds. The best thing was the students were this learning at home at teaching their siblings and parents about it. This was evident when one of the parents came to me and told me that their child went to grocery shopping with them on the weekend and said we should buy big box of coffee pods instead of small ones because otherwise we are wasting money and increasing garbage because of packaging. In future, I will continue to refer to this in class when students want to get a new paper instead of reusing when a small mistake happens. Also, during snack or lunch time reminding them that we need to throw the garbage in right bins so we are containing the focus on making waste management a habit rather than one off project.