How many times a day are you asked that dreaded question…”can I go to the bathroom?” For me, it is quite a few! In my classroom, I only allow one boy and one girl out of the classroom at time. More often than not, my response is “when so-and-so returns, you may go.”
To alleviate this problem, I have tried many different things. I don't like to do bathroom passes where the students bring the pass to the bathroom with them. My school doesn't require that and I think it's kinda gross. Last year, I created these Pinterest-inspired hand sanitizer passes.
The students would put them on their desks. That way, I would know exactly who was out, the kids would know if they could go and they could clean their hands again once they got back! I did like them for second grade a lot. In fifth grade, I have so many students and classes in and out of my room that it would just not work quite as well.
As an alternative, I have created Stop and Go signs for both boys and girls. I got the idea from a week-long field trip that I went on last year to Nature's Classroom. These signs are meant to be hung in your classroom, preferably near the door or wherever your students can see them.
Here’s how they work: When a girl leaves the room, she flips the “girls” sign to red. When she returns, she flips it back to green. Easy as pie! It’s a great visual for students and requires less talking on my part.
This photo shows the larger signs. There is a girl out, but no boys out.
The whole set - 2 small signs, 2 large signs and a bathroom sign-out sheet
I do have a conversation with my students at the beginning of the year about appropriate times to use the bathroom (i.e. not when I am teaching). They are also required to sign out on the bathroom sheet (included) so I know where they are in case of an emergency.
I recommend printing the signs on cardstock and laminating them for durability. The signs can be hole-punched and then hung from a hook with string. You could also add a piece of Velcro (or a magnet) to each side and a piece to the wall so then the students can just flip and stick!
You can grab your own set in my TpT store or by clicking on the picture below!