I recently uploaded a new packet to TpT called: Classroom Management Made Easy! Ever since I finished this packet, I’ve had classroom management on my brain. I’ve really been reflecting on how I’ve done things for the last four years in my own classroom. One thing, in particular, that I’d like to share with you today is how I managed bathroom breaks at school.
Now it’s time to tell you about the emergency bathroom passes. I heart these bathroom passes! They take all the guess work out of trying to decide if your students have to go to the restroom or not. Because that’s just it– we (teachers) can’t decide when our students need to go to the bathroom, because we aren’t them! We don’t know! But wouldn’t you love to know if your students really have to go to the bathroom or if they are just looking for a break? I have had students ask to go to the bathroom, and when I remind them that they’ll need to give me a bathroom pass, they “suddenly” don’t need to go anymore. They’d rather keep their passes than spend them! I also stress to my students that it’s better to use up an emergency bathroom pass than wet their pants at school… they always agree!
*In my classroom, I don’t start using these bathroom passes until we are a few weeks into the school year. I think students need time to adjust!*
How to use emergency bathroom passes in your classroom:
1. Give your students three emergency bathroom passes each Monday Morning (I cut the bathroom pass page into strips of three). These passes will need to last them the entire week. This is where you need to know your students, because you may have some students who truly need to use the restroom frequently and you will need to give them a few more bathroom passes each week. Be sure to be sensitive to your students’ needs and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Have your students quickly (QUICKLY) write their names on all three potty passes, cut them apart, and put them away in their desks. (I make my students do this procedure quick, because bathroom passes aren’t something we should be spending a lot of time on.)
3. When a student needs to use the restroom during class time, they need to follow the rules listed above and give you a bathroom pass (their name should already be on it).
4. On Fridays, right before school gets out, collect all un-used emergency bathroom passes in a bucket and draw three names, or so, from the bucket. These students will get a prize of some sort (at my school, they get to take a special note to the office and get a prize). Then,throw all the emergency bathroom passes away and start all over again on Monday. 🙂
At the beginning of each recess, I always stress to my students that they should go to the bathroom first thing! If I know a student is running low on bathroom passes, then I’ll send them straight to the bathroom when recess starts. I also taught with a teacher who required her students to give her 2 bathroom passes if her students asked to go to the restroom RIGHT after recess. I wouldn’t do this unless something like this becomes a problem.
What if a student runs out of bathroom passes during the week and they need to use the bathroom? Well, that’s up to you. Maybe they need more passes. Are they going to the bathroom at the same time everyday during class? Can you encourage them to go at recess so they won’t need to go at that time anymore? Do they have a water bottle at their desk that they keep drinking (and drinking and drinking), because they are using it as a distraction and so they have to go to the bathroom a lot? There are so many things consider when implementing new bathroom procedures. Basically, just do what’s best for you and your students and always make the necessary adjustments!