Skip to main content

Classroom Management - Bathroom Breaks

I was in a fifth grade classroom just before the holidays and saw a boy put a hand sanitize bottle on his desk with a timer taped to it. I asked him to explain and he said that if they want to go to the bathroom they pick one of the two bottles on the shelf (see second picture), set the timer for three minutes, and go to the bathroom. They have to make it back before the three minutes is up, use the hand sanitizer, turn off the alarm and put it back on the shelf.  

The teacher said that the three minute alarm is her indication that someone might be playing or taking too long in the bathroom. 

Clearly all the kids knew the bathroom procedure. There are two bottles for the boys and two for the girls. Apparently the boys lost one of the bottles before the break and they can only go out one at a time.

I thought this was a clever way to manage bathroom procedures so I thought I would share. 


What a great idea! I have students put a stuffed animal on their desk so that I know they are out. I have a blue one for boys and a purple one for the girls since I only let of each go out at a time. I love the idea of using hand sanitizer and a timer. Thanks for sharing!

Elementary School Garden
Tori said…
That sounds like a great idea! Thanks for sharing! I just started following you!
BeachTeach5 said…
I LOVE this idea! Usually if my students take too long in the restroom, it's because something is wrong. The timer is a great reminder to go check on them. Thank you for sharing!


Elaina Weaver said…
What an interesting idea. I wonder how much time is wasted setting the timer.
Brian said…
I really like the idea. I was just wondering, if the exchange between bottle and then setting the timer is distracting to other students in the class? Do they watch to see if the other student will make it on time?
Bob said…
Love the idea! I teach urban 6th graders, and need to start this (or something similar). I would imagine, the teacher has taught them and given them practice using the timer. Maybe in groups with a project, or science lab. It is a good point, but teaching procedures will save a lot of time. I wonder what happens when they are late? Is there a consequence or just embarrassment? I definitely need to rework my procedures for next year. This will help.
Carissa Peck said…
Interesting. I have a whole blog post about different bathroom procedures ( ), but I have never seen teachers use a timer before! What a great idea!

Popular posts from this blog

Moon Phase Box

I happened to walk into a fourth grade class the other day and they were hard at work making moon phase boxes. They were totally adorable and the kids were completely into it. The teacher very kindly let me take some pictures (thank you Mrs. Parker!) and add to my blog.

Students would need a shoe box and they need to cover the inside and inside lid with black construction paper. Using fishing wire they would hang a ping pong ball in the center of the lid so it is suspended in the center of the box. They then take a flashlight and trace the light end on one of the short ends of the box and then create viewing flaps in the middle of every side (including the one with the light bulb (but that might be slightly off center). It is important that the viewing areas are flaps and not cut directly out (you need to keep the light coming into the box blocked as much as possible).

The teacher used a box cutter to cut the flaps and flashlight hole for the children. I probably would have had studen…

Google Classroom Headers (and Bitmojis)

I recently taught a class on how to use Bitmojis in the classroom to increase student engagement and help with classroom organization and management.

One fun idea was to use them to make custom Google Classroom headers. The idea came from Alice Keeler's blog and she even provided a template for her header.

My computer settings weren't the same as hers so I had to tweak my version.

This got me thinking about how the headers could be changed out frequently, as something new for students to look forward to, when they opened up Google Classroom. In my head I was thinking they could be changed out weekly (38 total headers needed) if time permitted. 

I have several other ideas, templates, and instructions linked in this presentation.

I would love to see other custom Google Classroom Header ideas! Please feel free to post a comment or tag me on Twitter at @techcoachlife.

Cookie Moon Phases

I've seen these cookie moon phases before (click here for a description of the activity on Science Bob's Blog) and wanted to share my "Moon Phase" cookie story.

After seeing these online I thought it would be fun to do it in class as part of our Astronomy unit. I decided to make these at home. They turned out adorable. Then I decided to eat them (justifying that I would let my kids eat them in class :) It quickly became apparent that 8 Oreo cookies was way too many to eat (I definitely felt queasy). I went back to the online directions and found out that I was suppose to use "mini Oreo cookies" (which made much more sense).

A note of caution, the mini Oreo cookies may not be as cost effective with large groups of children (when I taught middle school I had 80+ children). It is definitely cheaper to buy the generic chocolate sandwich cookies. I would just provide a snack or sandwich baggie so the kids could take the leftovers home.