Thursday, July 12, 2012

MANAGING BATHROOM TRIPS {Teacher Tip #8}

{click to access and print my Managing Bathroom Trips Cards}


Earlier this week I blogged about the importance of planning out all of the nitty-gritty details that need to be taken into account when deciding how you will manage your classroom.  By having consistent and predictable routines, your classroom will run itself.
Except sometimes not everything is predictable.
Like when a kid needs to use the bathroom.
It’s going to come up all day everyday.
While you can’t control the wee little bladders of kids who have sucked down too much Capri Sun at lunch, having a plan in place with prevent both disruptions to your class and accidents.  
The expectation is that nobody uses the restroom when I'm teaching (direct whole-group) instruction, reading a story or during a small group lesson UNLESS it is an absolute emergency.
I’ve found that you need to really define what the word “emergency” means because their go to phrase will be, “I need to use the bathroom. It’s an EMERGENCY.” This phrase will be said with crossed legs while the child bounces up and down for dramatic effect. I explain that an emergency means that if you don’t get to the bathroom immediately you will have an accident. That seems to do the trick. Simply saying “unless it is an emergency” will not. Trust me.
So other than the times listed above, my friends pretty much can go when they need to. I should note that there have been some years that I also apply the absolute emergency rule to independent reading time because some friends will go every day at that time to avoid reading. 
I do only let one boy and one girl go at any given time. I suggest this policy because you will otherwise have social hour going on in the bathroom. They leave the classroom at different times, but mysteriously always return at the same time. Hence, my rule.
To keep track of the whereabouts of my littles and to let the students know if the bathroom is “available,” I created a card system..
As you know, each of my students is assigned a number. 
I print out a set of cards, laminate for durability and punch a hole in the top.
I sort my number cards into boy numbers and girl numbers and put them in numerical order.
Next, I add a colorful cover and attach them all together with a metal ring.  
These cards hang on the wall.
From a glance the students can see if someone is already in the bathroom or if they can go.  They use our classroom hand signal to let me know they need to use it and I can acknowledge them without interruption. The student then goes over to the cards and flips it to the correct number.
This allows me to easily see who is out of the classroom which is especially handy if you have an aide or a student teacher or any other adult who may send a child to the bathroom without you knowing.
The featured printable includes 2 different styled sets of number cards 1-36, a background sign, and 2 different styles of cover. It was created as part of my Blackline Design Product Collection which can be copied onto any color paper to save you money on ink. 
How do you handle bathroom trips in your classroom?

{click to access and print my Managing Bathroom Trips Cards}
 Check out my video explanation and view the completed project:




For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:
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30 comments:

  1. Another great idea! Thanks for the freebie!

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  2. Thank you so much for the freebie! This is a such a great idea. I will be a first year teacher starting in August so any little help I can get, I take! Bathroom procedures is something that has always bugged me, because I agree. The students will ALWAYS think it's an emergency! I will definitely be using this freebie to keep track of who I let go during independent time. Thanks so much!

    Allison
    http://staycalmteachon.blogspot.com/

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  3. Just another great reason I love following your blog! Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah
    http://beyondthegradebook.blogspot.com

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  4. How generous... thank you so much! I will be using this!

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  5. With 18 years experience with various bathroom passes, daily leader/jobs rotations, and behavior charts, last year I said "Enough!" and took a break. I used none of these. On the first day I explained my procedures and expectations, and during the 1st week we established the routines and limits. And everything worked out. My first graders learned self-discipline and responsibility of social choices. BONUS: We had an extra bulletin board for more important stuff. (Of course, each year is different.)(Jo)

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  6. Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  7. That's a great idea! If I didn't like my system so much, I would definitely use this! Last year, I gave each student a (laminated, card stock) bathroom ticket. I used coin velcro to stick it to their desks. Next to the door, I put two coins of velcro. I had the same rules as you; only one boy and one girl at a time and there were certain times they could not leave the room. They were also not allowed to touch or play with their tickets. They didn't have to ask me to use the bathroom, but could put their ticket up on the velcro by the door and I could tell at a glance if someone was out of the room. If someone lost their ticket (it only happened twice all year), they could buy a new one in our class store. I charged a lot for the tickets, so they did a great job keeping track of them! :)

    One thing I do need to do a better job at is teaching them what an emergency is! I need to be more dramatic when demonstrating! :)

    Better Than a Milk Mustache

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  8. First of all I have to say that I love your blog! Your color theme is very appealing! I absolutely love this bathroom idea and downloaded it right away. Oh no -- this is another item to add to my ever growing to do list! I am going to need more summer vacation time just to get all of my projects done! Thanks so much for this freebie!
    Mrs.Egley’sKindergarten

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing all your great ideas!

    How do you handle situations when a mess is found in the bathroom (paper on the floor, the floor is wet, etc.)? I've been teaching a long time and still haven't found an acceptable way to deal with this.

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  10. This is great! I ask my students if it is an emergency. When they say yes, I follow it up with, " Would you stop playing if you were at recess and ask to go?" MANY times, they shake their head no. We both smile and the student walks away with a better understanding of what an emergency is.

    http://wherelearningisfun.blogspot.com/

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  11. Thank you for the great freebie! My bathroom procedures are very similar to yours; except I like having them put their number up when they are gone. Thanks for this additional resource!

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  12. I have 2 bottles of hand sanitizer in the front of the room, one with a girls label, and one with a boys label. I also use hand signals for bathroom use (they show 1 finger, and my answers are 1 finger is YES and 2 fingers is NO). The student simply takes the bottle with them as a bathroom hall pass, and it serves a 2nd purpose, but ensuring they return w/clean hands! I like your numbers too so that we know who is gone though - I may implement that in addition to my hand sanitizer.

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  13. I have 2 bottles of hand sanitizer in the front of the room, one with a girls label, and one with a boys label. I also use hand signals for bathroom use (they show 1 finger, and my answers are 1 finger is YES and 2 fingers is NO). The student simply takes the bottle with them as a bathroom hall pass, and it serves a 2nd purpose, but ensuring they return w/clean hands! I like your numbers too so that we know who is gone though - I may implement that in addition to my hand sanitizer.

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  14. This is frickin' genius! Thanks a million for this idea (and fabulous freebie)! I used to have a "Bathroom Manager" who would be in charge of recording bathroom breaks for students by number. Students were allowed to go 2 times a day because we were so tight with our schedule. This sounds so much better!

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  15. Thank you! I love your black designs. I went black and white with a splash of turquoise and lime green this year. Having way tooo much fun! You rock.

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  16. Thank you for the freebie! I teach high school level but I'm able to adapt many of your ideas for my use. :)
    Kstrn

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  17. I do something similar. I use the ever popular beanie baby toys. I have one for the girls and one for the boys. I put them in a central location, when someone has to go (which cannot be during imp instruction time) they take the beanie baby and put it on their desk. That way with a quick glance, I can see who's gone.

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  18. I do something similar. I use the ever popular beanie baby toys. I have one for the girls and one for the boys. I put them in a central location, when someone has to go (which cannot be during imp instruction time) they take the beanie baby and put it on their desk. That way with a quick glance, I can see who's gone.

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  19. Thank you! I have such a hard time with students and the restroom!

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  20. I love the cards and all your fun freebies! I use something similar in my room. I made cute numbered marble type magnets last year. We use them for attendance in the morning on a metal cabinet sectioned off with electrical tape. They also move their number magnet to the Boys box or Girls box on the same cabinet when they leave for the restroom. I can tell at a glance that someone is already out from across the room.

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  21. No 360 series update today, will we get 2 tomorrow?

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  22. That is a great idea. Thanks! I've also used two stuffed animals. One for boys and one for girls. They put them on their desks while they were out. Sometimes it is is easy to forget which kid is in the bathroom if you have a lot of kids who come in and out through the day, but in an emergency you need to be sure you know which kid is where.

    ✿April✿
    Grade School Giggles

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  23. I love this idea. I only let 1 boy and 1 girl go at a time and they have to wear a special clip-on bathroom pass (same pass school-wide). I have the clips attached to lanyards because the kids would never clip them onto their shirt and they would always come back wet...gross! So with the lanyard, they at least put it around their neck and keep the pass hands-free. (That reminds me that I need to buy fresh, new lanyards for the upcoming year!!) The problem was that I am never quite sure who has asked me to go to the bathroom while I am working in small groups. Sometimes I am so focussed and I give the approval nod and wave towards the door without even looking at who is asking permission. At least this way I can look at the number and know. I do like the sign-out sheet for those frequent flyers, too, but I am concerned about the management of it. I will have to see how my class is this year to see if it is something that will be useful and manageable for me. Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Merci
    aswqergh
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  26. This is such a great idea!! I downloaded the product earlier, but just now watched the video. So helpful!! You are amazingly creative!!

    Thank you!!

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  27. This is a great idea! I use something quite similar. Instead of the cards I post a small white board on the wall with two sided tape. With permanent marker I divide the board in half and write boys on one side and girls on the other. When students leave for the br they write their number on it. When they come back they erase it!

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