Save a Tree: 7 Ways to Go Paperless for Arbor Day

Save a Tree
7 Ways to Go Paperless for Arbor Day

Claudia Pesce
by Claudia Pesce 14,693 views

Did you know that recycling 54 KG of newspaper will save one tree?

This means that every ton of recycled paper saves about 17 trees. And did you know that the United States uses approximately 68 million trees every year to produce 17 billion catalogs and 65 billion pieces of direct mail? There are hundreds of facts like these that you can share with your ESL class, and there’s no better day to do this than Arbor Day.


Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, and it’s a day that is usually spent planting trees and teaching how to care for them. But just as important as planting new trees is protecting the ones we already have. By going completely paperless for at least one day, you can show your ESL class, that there is plenty we can do save paper and save our precious trees.

7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day without a Single Sheet of Paper

  1. 1

    Class Discussion

    Class discussions are a great paperless activity and for this special day, make the discussion totally relevant to the topic at hand. What can we all do to reduce the amount of paper we use? Have students brainstorm ideas and write them down on the board.

    • We can choose to receive bills by email or pay them online, instead of receiving paper bills in the regular mail.
    • We can use mobile apps, like Evernote, to jot down things we have to do or buy.
    • As a class, we can write stories or assignments in a class blog instead of notebooks.
    • Etc…
  2. 2

    Choose an Electronic Format for Assignments

    Present your class with several options to submitting written assignments on paper. You may be able to use GoogleDocs, a WordPress blog or simply email. Discuss with your class the pros and cons of using each and which they would feel most comfortable using. Finally, put it to a vote!

  3. 3

    Watch The Lorax

    Unless someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going to get better...It's not.” The Lorax

    Dr. Seuss’ lovable Lorax is the defender of trees and the ideal character to introduce to your students on Arbor Day. You can watch the 2012 feature film The Lorax, the 1972 TV special, or even read the book!

  4. 4

    Save the Trees!

    Seussville offers a great, little online game you can play with your class. Students have to catch Truffula seeds. Plant them and see what happens!

  5. 5

    I love trees!

    Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab offers a great listening exercise for advanced students called I Love Trees, which comes complete with pre-listening, listening and post-listening exercises that students may complete online. For something that is a bit easier to understand, but still on topic, try Saving the Earth.

  6. 6

    Play a Whiteboard Game

    Who needs paper when you have a whiteboard (or chalkboard!)? There are so many fun activities you can do with you class. Now, because the idea is to celebrate Arbor Day, try to adjust them to create a fun-filled but educational lesson. First, read about how paper is recycled. Don’t forget to introduce key vocabulary before reading. Next, set up a fun whiteboard game you can use to review the concepts learned. For instance, you can play Tic Tac Toe – each team has to answer a question based on the reading correctly in order to get the X or O.

  7. 7

    Take It Outside

    If the weather allows it, take your class outside – read a story or play games. You will probably have more space – have a race to save the trees! Stand at one end of the school yard and have students line up in two teams at the other end. Extend both of your arms out, palms up. After you say, “Ready…Set…Go!” one student from each team race to slap your hand first. Whoever reaches you first has the chance to name one thing we can do to reuse paper or use it less. If the student is correct, the team gets a point. Continue playing until everyone has had a chance to participate. They must come up with new ideas. No repetitions allowed!

Every tree provides oxygen enough for 3 people to breathe”. Give your ESL class a fresh breath of oxygen and show them that with the technology we have at our disposal today, sometimes we don’t need to use any paper at all.

Naturally, we can’t have a completely paperless classroom every single day – worksheets and paper-based activities are vital to our teaching environment. But what if we were to introduce a couple of paperless activities per day? You can rest assured that in the long run, your class will be saving plenty of trees.

Have you ever had a completely paperless day in class?

Which are your favorite paperless classroom activities? Share below!

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, please help spread it by clicking one of those sharing buttons below. And if you are interested in more, you should follow our Facebook page where we share more about creative, non-boring ways to teach English.

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