I instituted this procedure in my classroom to reduce time off-task and to give students responsibility. I found that when I took whole-class restroom breaks three times a day, it was very disruptive to the flow of the day and that many students didn’t need to go at the assigned times and would ask to leave at additional times during the day. I explain to my students that I believe they are mature enough to decide when they need to use the restroom, so I am going to give them the freedom to choose when they need to go. With that freedom, however, comes responsibility, so we discuss the procedure and expected behavior. If individual students choose to abuse this freedom, they lose the privilege.
- Place a chart of student names on a clipboard (download reproducible below).
- Clip two clothespins (one for boys and one for girls) to the clipboard.
- When students need to use the restroom, they simply clip the clothespin over their name before leaving the room and remove it when they return.
- Only one boy and one girl permitted out at a time.
- Students may not leave during a teaching or testing time.
- Students may not sign out 15 minutes before or after a whole class restroom break.
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