Today’s Contributor: Raven Reaves
Raven is a 4th grade teacher. She enjoys weekends on the couch, students that like to think for themselves, puppy memes, and teaching like her hair’s on fire.
A few years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to reduce the amount of paper I was using. In my personal world, that was easy… I switched to an online calendar, paperless billing, I even went so far as to get rid of my printer, everything can be viewed on a device anyway, right?
But let me tell you, applying that philosophy to my teaching world felt impossible! We work in a business dependent on paper. So I started small. So long paper calendar, everything is on a Google Calendar now-a-days and I was able to merge it simply with our Outlook calendar. Easy peasy.
Next was my lesson plans. For years, I used books and printed documents to handwrite my daily lessons. Then, a friend showed me planbook.com. I love this planner. It is seamlessly connected with Google Drive and is easy to share with my co-workers and administration. They thought of everything from color-coding lessons, view and copy previous years’ lesson plans, templates, and options to bump or extend lessons as needed. The best part? $12 a year (less than many spiral bound lesson plan books out there!). Did I mention they have a special section for sub plans! This site is definitely a game changer.
So now the big one… worksheets. I know, I know, worksheets are a necessary evil for practice, but my goodness, they are responsible for an insane amount of deforestation! So while I am not ready to reduce our dependency on worksheets, I do think there is a way to reduce the amount of paper we print them on! Enter, DocHub. This amazing website and app in Chrome allows you and your students to EASILY edit and share PDF files. That’s write EDIT and SHARE! They have even recently added a way to upload directly on Google Classroom! Let me tell you, if I can teach 4th graders to use it, you know it’s simple! That means that even my favorite assignments from way back in the day before we had scanner on our “idevices”, I can scan, save as a PDF, upload onto Google Classroom, and have the kids write directly on the document using DocHub! Still not impressed? You can also reorder, rotate, or delete pages…. No strings attached and 100% FREE!
Is my classroom paper free yet? No, but I am closer now than I was a year ago. As devices become more ubiquitous in classrooms, reducing our dependency on paper in the classroom is easier than ever.