Bathroom Pass System for the Classroom

Minimize lesson disruptions with this easy tracking method

toilet paper
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Covering all of the points in a planned lesson often takes every moment of class time. Students who interrupt you to ask for permission to use the restroom throw you off your tight schedule and disrupt their classmates' attention. You can minimize the distraction with a bathroom pass system that allows students to excuse themselves, giving them some limited autonomy. You can discourage unnecessary breaks by enforcing a number of allowed trips.

Take time at the beginning of the year to explain your rules about appropriate and inappropriate times to use the restroom. Remind students that they have the preferred time before school, between classes, and at lunch to use the bathroom.

Materials

  • Plastic index card holder
  • 3x5 index cards, one per student

Set Up Your Bathroom Pass System

At the beginning of the school year, pass out 3x5 index cards and ask students to write their name, address, home or parent's cell phone number, schedule and any other information you want to keep at hand on the lined side of the card. Then have them divide the flip side of the index card into four equal areas. In the upper right corner of each quadrant, they should put a 1, 2, 3 or 4 to correspond to the four grading quarters. (Adjust the layout for trimesters or other terms.)

Instruct students to label a row across the top of each area with a D for Date, T for Time and I for Initial.

In a column along the left side of each quadrant, they should then enter the numerical sequence for the number of bathroom trips you allocated to each student for the period, for example, 1, 2, 3.

File the cards alphabetically in the plastic holder grouped by class periods and find a convenient location near the door to keep it.

Explain Your Bathroom Pass Tracking Method

Let students know that your system allows them to excuse themselves from class for a few minute when they really need to go. Tell the students that if they want to use the restroom, they should quietly retrieve their card without interrupting you or their classmates and enter the date and time in the appropriate quadrant. Ask them to return the card to the holder in a vertical position so it stands out from the others; you will go through after class or at the end of the day and initial them.

Tips

  • Include trips to the locker, other classrooms, etc. in these passes.
  • Tell students they should not take the index cards out of the classroom with them. If your school uses physical hall passes, keep those near the card file so students can grab one on their way out of the door.
  • Consider rewarding students who don't use any passes during a quarter.