Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thrify Thursday: Bathroom Passes

One challenge for all teachers to tackle no matter what age they teach, is bathroom breaks. You would think that a student leaving the classroom to use the restroom would be a simple task... but boy are you mistaken. The first problem you are faced with is how many students can leave the room at a time. My classroom rule is that two students may be out of the classroom at one time (one boy and one girl). Once the students get in the routine of things they will know not to ask to go to the restroom until they see that their bathroom pass (boy or girl) has been returned.

In the past, I have used a few different styles of bathroom passes and my colleagues have use even more. Target is a great place to get a bargain on teaching supplies, including pesky bathroom passes (something you definitely don't want to blow the bank on). I wait in anticipation all summer to see what great thing will show up in the dollar section of Target. This week they had their emphasis bathroom passes. Each pass is only $1 so you can buy one of each or even stock up for a set to switch out come Christmas break (to avoid the germs) and you will spend a max of $4. These passes cost an average of $5 each at teacher supply stores.
These are the passes from Target that I used a year ago.
I realize after my first year of teaching that my classroom bathroom passes were nothing short of destroyed. I didn't want to pick them up with my bare hands much less a tissue. The problem with passes such as the ones above is that no matter how hard the students try, they end up touching the passes with unwashed hands (or in my case the pass ends up in the toilet!) So this past year I found the fix.

I came across a bag of close pins in a cabinet in my classroom and a light bulb went off. I wrote on each close pin what the pass was to be used for: boys bathroom, girls bathroom, office, councilor, errand, principal, library, computer lab, etc.
My passes are in my classroom currently so I couldn't post a picture
I placed the passes a pocket hung by the door and taught my students that they were to clip the close pin to their shirt sleeve where it could be seen but not touched. This way the pass was kept clean and there was no question about where the student was to be. Plus, I spent less than a dollar on a supply for the year!
What do you use for bathroom passes?

With Germ Free Hands,
The Penny Pinching Teacher


  1. I just found your blog and I was reading old posts. I teach high school science and my bathroom pass was a pair of safety goggles. They work great because I can wash them and they can be worn so that no one really has to touch them. They work great.

  2. Cute! I have my students just use a piece of paper but they give it to me before they leave the class. Our school doesn't require bathroom passes outside the class, so I am OK. Here's more on how I do it (and some other ways):