Bathroom Breaks - possible plan?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Chas, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I had an idea over this summer that i'm considering using in September. Maybe i can get some feedback from the more experienced teachers here.

    I'm setting a per-cycle (or marking period, whatever) limit on the number of times my students can use the bathroom. I'm planning to go with 3 for the boys and 5 for the girls (i teach 7th grade). I came up with those numbers by determining that i could deal with 3 disruptions per day during my 90 minute class.
    180 days in a school year x 3 disruptions = 540 disruptions during the school year.
    540 disruptions divided by 30 students = 18 disruptions per student in a school year, or 4.5 per marking period. I upped it to 5 for the girls, and reduced it to 3 for the boys. I might further increase the girls to 6 (i repeat, this is 7th grade).

    I was also considering using an extra bathroom break as a potential reward, but i think that will send the wrong message to the students that a bathroom break is meant to be a fun, rewarding experience, so i probably will not do that. I was also thinking of letting students convert their left over bathroom breaks into rewards at the end of a marking period, like a free homework pass for two leftover breaks, for example. I think that would be unfair to the responsible students who legitimately needed to use the bathroom during the school year (plus the female students are automatically at an advantage since they start with more breaks).

    What i do plan to do though, is allow students to "rollover" their left over bathroom breaks to the next marking period.

    Feedback? Criticisms?
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I'll bet 7th graders can really abuse trips to the bathroom. Still, I don't think treating bathroom breaks as a privilege is going to work. I think your plan may be sending the wrong message. It is also likely to start a power struggle extraordinaire. Parents involved, angry parents. Not a good thing.
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Don't they get a few minutes between classes and a lunch period? I don't think that they need an actual class bathroom break if that's the case. The "rollover" idea is a good idea.

    The only thing I would change is to set it to 4 times for both boys and girls. If the girls need to go that often, then they need to start going between classes or during lunch.
     
  5. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    My reasoning for the extra bathroom breaks for the girls is that, at the age of 12, there are certain times where they really can't help it, and many of them are experiencing such for the first time in their lives, if you know what i'm getting at.

    They have no time between classes for the bathroom. They line up as a class and go together to their next class. They do have time during lunch, though. And all that said, i know there is at least one 7th and two 8th grade teachers in my school (one of whom is my mentor) who don't allow ANY bathroom breaks.

    Last year i only had one class of my own, and that class ended up using the bathroom at least 8 times per day when i wasn't keeping track (i got it down to about 3-4 per day when i started recording the trips in my book), including one girl who went every day at exactly 12 noon for two weeks until i caught on. I feel like i need to take a stand this year. This year i am likely to once again only have one class of my own (the administration like me to pull students from various grade levels out of class to work with them individually. I guess i'm happy that my school has such a priviledge/surplus of teaching staff).

    I type a lot. Sorry about that.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Where I went to school (MS and HS), students were allowed 3 bathroom breaks per class period (6 classes daily) per marking period. There was a form in their agenda book. Some students would use other people's agendas, but it was never really an issue for any kids. The kids using other agenda's usually were the hall wanderer types and did not legitamately have to go to the bathroom.

    As for your plan, I think 3 times per week is excessive (and 5 times is way too much). If you do an amount per week, I'd limit it to 1. They are only in your class for a brief period of time. If all of the teachers allowed 1 break per week and you have 5+ class periods, that is an opportunity for each child to go everyday, plus lunch. I think that is enough.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I can tell that you've put a lot of thought into your plan! Here are some things to consider....

    Girls don't really need to go to the bathroom more than boys. They should be able to take care of things just fine during their normal breaks. In the event of an emergency, make appropriate adjustments...but don't start off with an inequity. The boys will be annoyed, and the girls will either be embarrassed or happy to get some unearned special privileges.

    I would caution against utilizing bathroom passes in your reward plan. Don't give extra passes as rewards, and don't issue grade-related bonuses (free homework pass, etc.) for leftover passes. We assign grades to show whether a student has demonstrated mastery of a subject--not to show that they are capable of holding it better than their peers.

    I really believe that 3 passes per quarter is plenty, for both boys and girls.
     
  8. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    It's not per week, it's per marking period. Basically it's the same as it was in your MS. The "per day/per week" thing relates to me; i want to limit the number of total bathroom trips to about 3 per day in my class, which equates to 4.5 trips per student per marking period.
     
  9. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    You make a great point. I really should make the numbers equal for the boys and the girls, and just make adjustments in case of emergency. The only problem is, i just know my girls will discover that they can just tell me EVERY trip is an emergency! Can you help me with how i could make the emergency adjustments without turning the system into a subjective mess?

    By the way, I mentioned the rewards just so those reading would know that i already thought about it and rejected it as a possibility, so everyone would know that this isn't just a passing thought of mine.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't keep track of how many times a student uses the bathroom. It doesn't seem to be much of a problem for me, and I only write 2-3 bathroom passes per week. (I had 150 students last year.) Here's my secret:

    When a student asks to use the bathroom, I say, "No problem. I'm busy right now doing XYZ, so could you remind me again in about 10 minutes so that I can write you a pass?"

    They almost never ask that second time. It tells me that either they didn't really need to go or they missed the rendezvous they had planned at a particular time.
     
  11. dbelmo

    dbelmo Rookie

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    From my experience as a middle school teacher for 10 years, I know that 7th graders (and other middle school students) are just like Pre k students, they are self centered and the world revolves around them. By letting the girls have more than the boys that is just not FAIR in thier eyes.

    Having said that, I allow them 6 times in the marking period to leave my room. They do not rollover, but if they have all 6 left they are able to earn extra points on the last test/quiz of the marking period in that subject.

    dbelmo
     
  12. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Boys have emergencies, too (diarrhea, etc). You will get a lot of bad feedback from the parents of boy students. If a student says its an emergency, treat it like an emergency. If it becomes an issue, you can address the student with real concern. "I really think I ought to talk with your parents. You should really see your doctor. They will want to know that you had emergencies on...." Have emergency dates, times, etc documented for such a purpose. More than one "emergency" should be seen as a cause for concern- three times should be plenty.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.:2cents:
     
  13. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    That was a major issue for us last year! Kids will definitely plan times to "hook up" if they can!
     
  14. adellesmama

    adellesmama Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I just got done taking a grad class in which we discussed a topic very similar (just hall passes in general)...so I'll tell you an idea I took out of that...

    Basically, all students (this was a school-wide endeavor) were given a hall pass coupon book (in their planner, I think) with a set number of coupons in it. Students would present this book, if they wanted to go to the bathroom or whatever. The teacher would sign it, no questions asked, and the student would go on his merry way. The thing was that if students refrained from using their hall passes, each coupon left over got entered into a drawing at the end of the quarter or the end of the year for different prizes (including a Nintendo Wii!). The teacher said that this was VERY motivating for the students and that the hallway traffic and students leaving throughout the class became less of an issue.

    This idea seemed like it could work, but I'm sure that it would have to be adapted if you were to use it in just one classroom instead of as part of a school-wide system.

    And I teach second, so I can def feel your pain when it comes to bathroom breaks...mine do have to go an awful lot at their young age, though some more than others :lol:
     
  15. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Good plan Cassie!


    Something I did during student teaching when I was having an issue with extra bathroom/water foutain/nurse issues (and the fact they would interrupt my during my lesson to ask to leave the room was annoying!!!) was tell my students that they would only be able to go the first 5 minutes and the last 5 minutes of class (my cooperative teacher had this policy in her other classes as well). It cut down the extra trips and the "meeting up" high schoolers like to do.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Weird! I have the exact opposite policy! I don't let students leave in the first 15 minutes or last 15 minutes of class. Students who know that they can get out of class right away are much more likely to arrive unprepared, having spent their 5 minute passing period socializing rather than retrieving supplies from their lockers. Students who leave in the last 15 minutes seem to struggle with finding their way back to my room....

    I only allow students to leave the room during work time. If I'm up at the board presenting a lesson, my response is always, "Now is not the time for that."
     
  17. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    In our school, we're not supposed to send students out of the room during the first 10 minutes of class. If a campus supervisor sees them, they're sent back to the class.
     
  18. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I've never had a problem with bathroom ...

    I do the same as Cassie, "Let's finish this and then you can ask again." Very few remember.

    The one student that had "emergencies" seemed cured when I said I was going to send her to the nurse AND talk to her parents.
     
  19. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    I see your point... Our bathrooms were right across the hall so I could keep an eye on things so I'm guessing that is why we used that particular policy.
     
  20. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I did that in my first year of teaching for about a month. My students remembered to ask again about 95% of the time. I found that, for the most part, the only thing it accomplished was getting the students in question to focus all of their attention for the next 10 minutes...on the clock!

    I'm also anticipating this problem: some students will find a workaround by saying "can i go to the nurse? i have a headache/stomachache/hairache/etc". It would probably be harsh to count this against their 4 or 5, but i may have to to avoid abuse. I know i can contact the parents if a student needs the nurse more than once in a short period of time, but i'd like to find a way to handle it "in house".
     
  21. DaleJr88AmpFan

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    My policy is that they can not go to the bathroom unless it is during worktime. If I am up in the front of the class yapping, then NO they can not go UNLESS it is an emergency. I role play what it looks like to have an emergency... they laugh a bit but understand what I mean. :) And really, if you think about it, even during a 45min period, are you really teaching the whole time effectively. What I mean is that... do you think the students are totally engaged and attentive the whole time?? NOPE... even adults only have a 7 min concentration/attention time for the most part. That means most of you probably intertwine the worktime with their "downtime" so that they can focus later.

    To me, it is not fair to punish a kid for having a weaker bladder. Sorry, but sometimes you just gotta go. Now obviously, you'll have your habitual "pottie-er". To curb it (if they are in fact trying to pull on over on you), mention to the student that you are worried about their urinary tract and would like to speak to his/her parents. Typically that curbs it!

    Plus, I wouldn't want to monitor the "official" number for any student. It would be an organizational nightmare for me. :p
     
  22. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I just had an idea. I'm going to limit bathroom passes to six per semester, and I'm going to have students give me their composition notebooks, which they have to have in class every day. I'll get a Vistaprint stamp that says "bathroom pass" and stamp that in the inside cover of the notebook so there will be a record of their passes. Yay, Vistaprint! :)
     
  23. nayelismom

    nayelismom Rookie

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    When I was in high school, my teachers would give us 3 bathroom passes per semester. If we kept them all (and actually use it during the passing period) we were able to replace a lower grade with a 100. It worked. Most of us would reserve our bathroom breaks for that extra grade!
     
  24. Chas

    Chas Rookie

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    I really want to provide that incentive, but then i see this post and it stops me dead in my tracks:

     
  25. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I find that the more I try to limit students' bathroom time, the more they have to go. My policy is this:

    No breaks 15 minutes before or after an out-of-class activity (PE, music, etc-they can always go on the way to or from that activity).

    Each student can take 1 bathroom break in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. Each student has a clothespin with their name on it. If you have to go, go! Don't ask me, I don't need to know your bathroom habits-just move your pin to either AM or PM, once it is moved, you can't go again unless it is an emergency (I am self-contained).

    No leaving the room or getting a drink in the sink in the room during instruction time. I always set a timer for how much time I'm going to talk, so they always know how much time is left. Pick a good time, go quietly, do your business, and get back to work.

    I've had one student who abused the system-staying in there for long periods of time, until I finally caught on (it was always an "emergency"). I used a bottle timer-he would turn it over when he left, and be back before it was gone. I think it was a three minute timer-and the rr is right down the hall, so that is plenty of time.

    Other than that, I've never had a problem. It's very easy, I don't have to keep track of anything, other than to look at whose pin is where.

    Oh, I take that back. One year, we had a bomb threat written on a wall, so any kid leaving a room had to sign in and out with the time, supposedly so it could be narrowed down if any thing else was written. But the kids did that, I just checked it now and then to make sure they were doing it right.

    Don't make it a big deal, it won't become a big deal. Oh, and I would strongly suggest not doing more breaks for girls. I would have been mortified!
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    As Cassie posted earlier, when we evaluate our students, it is based on how well they have mastered the curriculum expectations--nothing else. We can reward our students in a variety of ways, none of which can be "free" grades.
     

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