Making Over Third Grade!: When They Have to Go: Google Form Bathroom Checkout
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

When They Have to Go: Google Form Bathroom Checkout

I have always hated having to regulate procedures for small things. You know, how to get a pencil, go to the bathroom, any and every reason a student may want to get up out of his/her seat. Several years into my teaching career I stopped regulating most of these things and my life was much easier and my classroom felt more relaxed (not without structure) for everyone. I was still regulating and monitoring when students were allowed to use the restroom. This bothered me. The fact that they needed permission to use the restroom seemed wrong on so many levels and yet it is an established part of every school, and mine was no different.

Two years ago I stopped having kids ask for permission to use the restroom. As long as direct instruction is not occurring they were allowed to get up, sign out on the paper by the door, and leave the door open to indicate that someone was out of the room. When they returned they signed back in. The problem with this system was that several students would forget to write down what time they left and what time they returned to class. (This allowed me to see how long they were gone and how many minutes on average each student was out of the room. It also was required by the school as we were having issues with vandalism in the bathrooms.) Still, I liked the responsibility the students had to determine on their own if, and when, they needed to use the restroom. The only other rule I had (and continue to have) is that students cannot go to the restroom during class just before (10 min) or after recess. This way they will not take class time to use the restroom instead of their recess time to go as needed.

When my class got iPads (though you do not need a class set to make this work for you) I ditched the clipboard and paper in favor for a Google Form. This allows me to continue to give students the responsibility of going as needed but time stamps their check out and check in times. This way I have a precise time table of how often a student leaves the room and for how long. (In the two years I have used this system I have only had 3 students who had abused it and needed to return to the permission to leave system.)
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Implementing this in your classroom is easy as well. First, create a Google Form (you will need to use an add on to create so it is best to do this on a computer rather than a tablet). Mine was simple (see image on left).  We switch classes for intervention and ELD (English Language Development instruction) so if the student isn't in my class they write their teacher's name. Students from other classes adapted well to this system and I didn't have any who abused the privilege.  So you have your questions ready and you have created the form but to make this work you will need to use the add on CheckItOut.  This will create the date and time stamp for each check in/out. Next, just get the live form and either add it to a homepage for students or have them bookmark it/create a shortcut for it (don't forget to make the form public or accessible to those in your domain). That is it! Pretty simple huh? I think so, and as I said, it transformed my classroom.

I did say I used it for accountability. To do that you just have to go to the spreadsheet the form generates and sort the name column in A -> Z order. For those who I am concerned about I just send their page(s) to their parents with a request to discuss the matter. That's it.

I hope that you find this helpful, and maybe even makes you want to try it in your class!
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