Teaching used to be all about laminating EVERY SINGLE THING! But times have changed, and now we are all a little more conscious of the effect laminating has on the environment. It is also important that we as teachers model stewardship to our students.
We are not saying that you need to forget about laminating completely.
If you know it is something that will be used regularly and won’t last long without it, often laminating is the best solution. However, sometimes you discover there is a better alternative to permanently covering paper in plastic which leads to slowly cutting back and that is better than doing nothing at all.
To help you make some small steps in the right direction, or if you feel you can take a larger leap towards no laminating at all, we have put together some alternatives to laminating.
Some of these suggestions still involve plastic, but they are reusable options instead of one-time use like laminating is.
1. Print on thicker paper or cardstock
This is a wonderful alternative if you don't plan on keeping a resource for a long time. Any game we print on paper or card, we often will send home with students who need further practise once we are finished with them in the classroom.
2. Reusable plastic pockets
We picked these up from our local dollar store in the stationery section.
3. Display folder to store games
Using a display folder allows you to group multiple games together according to skill and students can move onto the next game once they have finished or choose which games they want to play.
4. Use a clear clipboard as a dry erase board
5. Paper only versions to display on your walls
6. Write and wipe sleeves
7. Large ziplock bags
The added bonus with this idea is you can store materials for games inside the snaplock bags!
Once you have decided to cut down on laminating or eliminate it altogether, not only will you be doing something to help our planet, but you will have some extra time on your hands as well, which is a win-win!
BONUS Teacher Tip:
Eucalyptus oil is a natural and really effective way of cleaning marker or texta off any of these surfaces mentioned above. It can be found in the same aisle as the toiletries at the supermarket. Antibacterial gel also works a treat (and there is no shortage of that in our classroom these days!)
If you had to start with one of these alternatives, what would it be?
We would also love to hear if you have a wonderful alternative to laminating. We love sharing ideas from other teachers with our community.