Save time? Yes, please!
Bathroom passes were once a huge time suck in my classroom. It never failed that I’d be away from my desk, in the back, helping another student when someone asked for a bathroom pass. So, I’d walk all the way back to my desk (I had a big room), check my list to see how many passes this particular student has already used and then write the pass. If I was lucky, by the time I got back to the student I was originally helping I didn’t forget what I was saying! Bathroom passes were a frustration to say the least. I have a simple change that could help you stream line bathroom pass procedures for your classroom.
Why I write passes
In many schools you can use any old thing as a bathroom pass. I have seen teachers use hubcaps, pieces of wood, and simple laminated signs as bathroom passes. Being a science teacher I was always partial to my faux urine sample that I made out of an old specimen cup! Eeeeewwww!
Alas, administration decided that they wanted every teacher to hand write individual passes for each student that included the date, time and destination. This made less likely that students would end up were they weren’t supposed to be. But, all that writing takes a lot of time out of my instructional time each day. Another thing they wanted us to do was limit the number of hall passes that each child was allowed to cut down on kids in the hallways unsupervised.
Besides the time it took to write these passes, it was often inconvenient to walk to my desk for a pass and the list of students and the number of passes they used each time I had to write a pass. (just look at that big classroom) If only they could ask when it was convenient for me!
Last school year I brainstormed ideas to handle bathroom passes and I have to say, it worked great this year! Now, my kiddos are high school kids and were capable (mostly) of keeping track of their cards. This probably wouldn’t work so well for elementary students. So what did I do?
I had cards made up (business cards) that had the rules, a place for students names and enough check boxes to correlate with the amount of passes you decide to allow per student for the semester/year. As an alternative you could also print cards out on cardstock and cut them apart. This photo below shows the cards that I used this year in my classroom.
The beauty of this method is that the students are responsible for for keeping track of the amount of passes that have been used. Each student receives a card at the beginning of the semester and an explanation of the rules. Then, each time they choose to use a bathroom pass they must present the card so that I can mark off one of the check boxes and then write them a school approved bathroom pass. I keep a stack of bathroom passes in my pocket at all times so that if I am in the back of the room helping another student I don’t have to run all the way up to my desk for a pass.
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I began wearing a little hip purse like this one and carrying the passes in there, along with a pen and sticky notes.
I encouraged students to put their cards in their purses/wallets or tape them to the inside of their notebooks and binders. That way they don’t lose them and always know where they are.
What are some of the craziest things you have used as a bathroom pass? I would love to hear so leave a comment below.
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