Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tips on Managing Student Bathroom Sign Out Sheets and Boys' and Girls' Restroom Passes

If the kindergarten or first grade classroom that you teach in has its own bathroom, you are among the fortunate! You don't need a boys' or girls' bathroom pass. You don't need a sign-out sheet either unless you are documenting frequency of use.

If you are in the "Bathroom-less Classroom" group, you will need to create a management system on how trips to the restroom will operate from within your class.   It's best to start your system on the first day of school.

There are two things that you will need in order to manage your students' bathroom trips. The first thing is a sign-out sheet. The sign-out sheet provides the educator with documentation about the students' frequency of bathroom trips during the school day. If you have a student that is constantly making trips to the restroom, you might need to investigate the reason for this. The sign out sheet provides you with a written record of the child's trips to the restroom throughout a period of several weeks. The toileting habits about an individual child can be transcribed onto a student record sheet such as a calendar template. This is a powerful tool to take with you during a conference in a situation when bathroom trips need to be discussed.

Look at the two comments below:

"On September 8th Luke went to the restroom 5 times throughout the school day." 
"On September 9th Luke went to the restroom 6 times throughout the school day." 

Contrast the two statements above with this vague comment:

"Luke uses the bathroom a lot during the school day."

Regardless of whether you are having a parent-teacher conference, or a staff-to-staff conference about the child, saying, ". . . uses the bathroom a lot . . . . " does not provide enough specifics.  The person listening to your comments does not know what "a lot" means to you.  Providing data indicates that you were concerned enough with what was taking place inside of your classroom to document it.  The best part of this documentation is that the students are creating it for you!

There are 2 pitfalls that occur with bathroom sign-out sheets when working with kindergartners and first graders.  I have discovered a way to avoid these pitfalls and would like to share them with you.

Pitfall Number 1:  "Tick-tock-tick-tock!"  Time is wasted when students are writing their names on the sign out sheet.  Kindergartners and first graders don't write their names down in a snap.  Writing their names on a sign out sheet takes time away from instruction.

The FREE sign-out sheets that I created eliminate name writing.  The teacher makes one copy of the sign out sheet.  He/She then writes the names of the students on the sheet.  This is his/her master sheet.  He/She makes multiple copies of the master sign out sheet.

The order of the names could be an alphabetical listing but it is not necessary.  It is important to keep the listing consistent throughout the school year.  For instance, if "Emma" is number 7 on the list in September, she should also be number 7 in October and throughout the school year.  This helps "Emma" quickly find her name on the list.  Don't switch gears with "Emma"! 

The students mark an "X" to the right of their names when they take a bathroom trip.  For each additional trip to the restroom, another "X" is added.

Avoid confusion with dates by using a new sheet for each school day.  The copies of the master sheets that were printed can be dated in advance.  The sheets can be stacked in sequence on a clipboard.  At the end of a the school day, the sheet is moved to the bottom of the stack.  The new sheet's date reflects the next day that school will be in session. 

Use a different colored marker after lunch time to have a general time frame of when bathroom trips occurred.

Pitfall Number 2:  "Tick-tock-tick-tock!"   Students in kindergarten and first grade are not proficient at reading time to the minute.  In fact, it's not even one of their math standards!  The Common Core Standard for reading time to the minute takes place in third grade.  There is little point in having first graders struggle to record the proper times for bathroom breaks.  If your school division or administrator require a time notation, you might be able to make a successful appeal for an accommodation at the younger grade levels.  This could be based on the fact that it requires a skill level which is above their grade level.  If you need a rough time frame of when trips are taken, you could change the pen color for marking the "X".  In the photo above, the purple marker was used to record restroom trips in the morning.  After lunch, the marker was changed to an orange color.

A simple sign-out sheet that only requires an "X" will save instructional time.  At the beginning of the school year, young children will have difficulty tracking the horizontal line to mark the "X" within their own row.  Therefore I would not use the sign-out sheets from the first two weeks of school for documentation purposes.

I have provided a sign-out sheet that alternates between shaded background and white background rows.  This will help some children stay within their own rows.  (They learn to identify their row as gray or white.)

If you have special needs students in your classroom, you could also provide an accommodation for tracking the horizontal line.  This could be done by assigning the child the first row (number 1) on the list.  Another child could be given the bottom line within your class list.  If you create a random listing of student names on your sign out sheet, no one will be aware that you have beautifully woven this accommodation into your sign out sheet.  The child will inconspicuously have his/her need met.

In addition to a sign out sheet, you will also need bathroom passes.  You will need bathroom passes if your school requires students to have a hall pass when they are outside of your classroom.  If this is not a requirement at your school, you might want to use bathroom passes to limit the number of students away from the classroom.  When a pass is missing, students know they must wait for another child to return to class before leaving the room.  I recommend that the passes have the ability to be disinfected.  Paper passes can be laminated which will allow them to be wiped clean.  I created some FREE hall passes which can be printed and laminated for classroom use.  I was blessed to get an "Oh-So-Lovely" Dragonfly Creative Kit from Krista Wallden.  She has generously given me permission to create my hall passes with this clip art set.  Should I mention that her dragonfly clip art set is still FREE???  I LOVE the dragonflies!

Get your hall passes ready by starting with these 4 steps:  Print, cut out, laminate, and cut out again.

Cut out.
Cut out again.

When you have finished the steps above you have a few more options.  One option is to make your passes magnetic.  Adhere magnets to the backs.  This way, you can display your passes on your teacher's desk, file cabinet, steel door, or anything else that will attract magnets.  Adhesive business magnets can be purchased and office supply stores.  They will fit on the passes!
I used a pink dragonfly for the girls' bathroom pass and a blue dragonfly for the boys' bathroom pass. 

Adhesive business magnets can be positioned on the backs of the passes.
No tape.  No glue.  No MESS!  Magnets are the best!
The magnetic method is my favorite but here are two more ideas:

A hole can be punched into the top center circle. 

 Then you can put a ring on it.

The last idea is the "Mug Method".  My hall passes are thin enough to fit inside most wide-mouthed mugs.  The "Mug Method" is great when you have surface space (desks, tables, and deep ledges) but wall space is limited.  The mug can easily be placed on a desk.  Plus, you can store other items in it such as paper clips, pens, & pencils.  The mug also makes a great paperweight!  You will want to limit the number of passes in one mug to three.  If you have more than three passes in one mug, students will lose time as they sift through the passes looking for the one they need.  Another disadvantage of the "Mug Method" is that more students are handling all the passes.  Hence, there are more germs exchanged.


I hope that you've enjoyed reading this ideas on how to set up your restroom sign-out sheet and hall passes.  You can get the FREEBIE by clicking on the image below.

If you would like to learn more about classroom bathroom procedures, read this post:  Bathroom Procedures

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

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