Monday, July 1, 2013

Restroom Procedures

I teach at a 3-5 school and last year we departmentalized our 4th and 5th grade. We thought it was more important than ever to exam how we could maximize our instructional time. We estimated that an average class trip to the bathroom took 8-10 minutes. If teachers takes two trips to the rest room a day, that uses 16-20 minutes of instructional time. The math teacher in me says, “20 minutes a day times 5 days in a week is 1 hour and 40 minutes, spent at the bathroom in one week.” We decided to reclaim some of this time by allowing students to go to the bathroom individually on a timer instead as a whole class. We figured that if a student asked to go to the restroom once in each of his 4 classes, he would miss a total of 12 minutes of instructional time daily and 1 hour weekly compared to 1 hour and 40 minute lost by every student when we all went to the restroom at the same time. Each teacher in our school received a little timer like the one pictured. I stuck three pieces of sticky wax on the back of mine and hung it in my classroom above the light switch. My students signaled they needed to go the restroom by raising their hand and crossing their fingers to form the sign language letter “R”. I granted them permission to get up and go to the restroom my nodding my head. They would walk over to the timer, press the start button, clip the bathroom pass to their shirt (painted clothes pin), and then walk to the restroom. More often than not the students were back before the timer went off. If they weren’t, I sent someone to check on them. When my students got back, I had them stand by the timer until it beeped so they could press stop. My timer would automatically go back to the set time after it went off, but not if it was interrupted. We started the year off at 3 minutes per trip, but rapidly decreased our time to 2 minutes because they were so quick. Believe it or not, my students could go to the restroom and back in less than 2 minutes almost every time. At the beginning of the year when we were going over our procedures, I taught them when it was appropriate an inappropriate to signal. I did not let them go during direct instruction.

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing the level of detail we need to think about as teachers. Thanks for sharing!

    The Math Maniac