What To Do With All Those Damn Scraps Of Paper

dscn3043.jpgIf you’re like me – and I wish you luck if you are – you cut up a lot of paper for your classes. You might even use the fancy paper cutting method I mentioned here…or you may be able to perform the feat listed as #3 of The Top Ten Clues You Might Just Be An EFL Teacher.

The biggest problem, I find, is not actually cutting the paper though; the challenge is dealing with it later, after you’ve used it in class. Your co-workers will kill you if you regularly leave a bunch of scraps of paper lying around the classroom. You can carry around the trash can and ask your students to toss the papers in, but who likes throwing things out (or carrying around the trash can)? I’ve been told before that I’m on the sensitive side, but I also just don’t like giving students something to work on and then directing them to throw it out.

Probably the most practical idea is to ensure you have some appropriately-sized paperclips on hand and save the scraps of paper, for future use with other groups. For this to work you need to make sure you have all the cards in each set – try to make sure students don’t drop pieces on the floor or swipe a few for personal use (though if they want a set to take home, I most definitely let them…suffice it to say this isn’t very common). Save yourself the hassle and the risk of mixing things up by having your students stack and “straighten” their scraps nicely before turning them over to you. If you ask nicely they might even get in the habit of this.

If there is a community atmosphere in your teachers’ room, you may also decide to pool your paperclipped slips of paper together, and root through to see if what you need is there before cutting up a new set yourself. I also usually keep a few sets of fun scrap-of-paper activities in my bag for down time.

Other options include, of course, recycling the paper, or using it as confetti or packing material when you sent packages home.