Getting a feel for how different teachers handle the situation gives me great insight into what I might want to do in my classroom one day.
Here are a couple methods that I have seen. I'll give you the pros and cons along with grade level.
Keep in mind some of these are just additional as classes still take breaks together (more frequently in younger grades)
1. Sign Language- (1-3..could go higher though)
- doesn't take away class time.
- if accompanied with pass, you can see how many students are out
- can even use in small groups when the littlest students would often want to ask!
- easy and costs nothing to implement
- could use more signals for drink, question, etc... and easy for students to remember
-not everyone coming into your classroom would know what was going on
- establish rules for how many people can be gone at one time
- no visual reminder of how long someone is actually in the bathroom
2. stuffed animal (younger grades K-1)
- stuffed animal on desk when you leave room and only one person leaves at a time
- this keeps everyone from leaving and following one another to the hall, which is a huge deal in the younger grades!!!
-easy to keep track of who is gone at what time
- it's cute and students want to use it
- you do have to buy or donate an animal
- have to set up routines/procedures to make sure students know when this is acceptable.
- this is EASILY abused but can work if limitations are established.
3. Passes (upper grades)
- # of passes per student per day that they can "cash" in at any time (they would usually know the times)
(click the picture to be taken to this FREEBIE! from classroomfreebiestoo!)
- no paper system to keep track of
- some have magnets and they leave them by the door so you know who is gone at any moment.
- popular and anyone coming into class would know what is going on.
- can be abused or people could keep passes and reuse.
- losing passes is ALWAYS a concern :(
-passes need to be replaced or some students need limitations on use.
I would LOVE to hear how you deal with this in your classroom!!