Sunday, January 12, 2014

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. 


Jennifer said...

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!

Liz S 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!


elainaann 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!