Thursday, January 15, 2015

Classroom Bathroom Breaks

Do you use bathroom passes? Here are some I *LOVE* BUT I don’t use and I’ll tell you why below, as well as a new solution.

As we return from Winter Break it’s inevitable we will have to go over the rules of our classrooms to remind our students of routines and behavior. One of problems I run into is usually the use of the bathroom. So, read to the end for a twist on some already clever ideas and how to incorporate them into your class.

1. I just LOVE this idea! Students take the hand sanitizer to remind them to clean their hands and everyone knows the bathroom is in use. BUT, in the meantime, where do the kiddos put it? Most kids would place this on the bathroom floor where there’s lots of germs – Yuck!


2. Wrist passes! Awesome and aren’t these cute! I love themed passes, I have some too. BUT, where do these end up when the children use the potty? They get in the way if worn on the wrist or get placed on the floor and sometimes even fall in the toilet because the wristband is too big for their little hands– Yuck again!


3. This seems like a clever idea! Love it. But, does your student bathroom have door handles or hooks to hang it on? Not ours. Again, probably on the floor is where this will end up with lots of germs on it.

4. Another wonderful idea! Love this and have done this too! BUT, for kindergarteners who are small well they need a short string to avoid accidents. And, for those students who don’t like wearing it around their neck what do you do? (For example, students with special needs)

All these ideas are great and with wonderful intentions! I’ve tried them all myself with all those “yucky” things happening to them. And, students have even come back without them and they are then lost forever.

So, how do I keep track of my students and their hygiene?

You’re probably thinking this isn’t much different than the pictures above right now. So, read on to see how this works.

First, I use passes too! And, I like variety so I change them each year. They can be cute and clever ideas just like the ones above, but I added one more thing that makes this idea just a bit different.

I remove the necklace / wristbands first. Then, magnetize the back of the passes and place them on my magnetic whiteboard. You can make cute passes with your favorite clip art or cameo and laminate these too. Next to the passes, I add a large hand sanitizer bottle and it stays put there. Finally the placement of these items are at the front of the class near my whole group direct instruction area along with my guided reading table. This is important to me for awareness.

When a student needs to use the bathroom, he/she simply takes the pass off the whiteboard and places it in the tray below. Now, I know someone is going to the restroom and so do the children if they go to get the pass. (one at a time) When the student returns to put the pass back up, he/she uses the sanitizer before going back to work and puts the pass back up on the whiteboard signaling that the bathroom is available.

Viola! Now, I know who is in the bathroom and out of my classroom and I can quickly ask the returning student if he/she washed their hands and prompt them to use the sanitizer just with a quick glance from my whole group area or my guided reading table. Now, I’ve avoided having students lose my expensive passes, placing them on germy surfaces, and I can make sure their hands are all washed and sanitized just by being alert by the missing pass and sanitizer near me. Another additional plus to this method of only one student out at a time – any messes are much easier to investigate just by being able to be more aware with this method and it also alleviates everyone piling up in the bathroom for some social time!

Do you have any clever twists on this idea? Would love to hear them. You can leave comments here or on my Facebook page!

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