Evvvvvery August, I, like thousands of other teachers, find myself searching Pinterest for ways to make my classroom run more efficiently. One aspect of classroom management that I never felt like I had the perfect solution for was restroom sign-out. We are required to keep a log of student name, date, and time, for anyone who leaves the classroom to use the restroom. With 20ish students, this adds up and can eat up a lot of instructional time.
I have used a binder; kids took forever to write their names, figure out the time, and -oops!- the pencils need sharpening. I have written down the info myself; I had to stop whatever I was doing to write down a name and sometimes I would be too wrapped up in what I was doing to actually remember to do it. I have done QR codes and Google Forms; loved being able to do it virtually, but it took up just as much time as writing it down.
Then, I had an epiphany.
I had finally ditched the clip chart in favor of Class Dojo (I know, I know) and I was loving the immediacy of adding student points. If it took the students literally 3 seconds to give themselves a point, why not use this as a restroom sign-out tool? I had to make sure that it still fit the requirements of documenting each student name, time, and date. I also wanted to be able to log the length of time that they were out of the room. Class Dojo to the rescue!
So here’s how it works:
- Add a new skill called “Restroom,” or whatever you would like it to be called.
- Set the point value to zero. This way, kids aren’t being awarded points for using the restroom. Can you imagine?!
- When students leave the room to use the restroom, just have them tap their name and select the restroom skill.
- If you want to be able to see how long they were in the restroom, have them do the exact same thing when they return. I initially set up both “Restroom – Out” and “Restroom – In” skills, but found it to be unnecessary.
It’s seriously so easy.
Let’s say I want to look at who left the room that day to use the restroom and for how long they were gone. You will use the reports feature in Class Dojo and scroll through your list of students. I wish that Dojo had the option to filter by skill, but that is not currently available (despite my many emails and messages.) So here I can see that Hugh left for the restroom at 9:49 am and returned at 9:52 am. I can also print these reports should I need to submit them to my principal.
In my classroom, I like my students to add/subtract their own Dojo points. They use an iPad or the Smartboard to do this throughout the school day. This means I don’t have to do anything to sign them out or in from the restroom. If you use Class Dojo and like to be in charge of student points, you can still implement this system. You will just have to be the one signing them out. The few seconds that this takes is still way better than writing anything down or using a Google Form.
Ok, so let me blow your mind with some other advantages to this system. Recess duty. There are always a handful of kids who ask to use the restroom during outdoor recess. My teammates and I all have access to each other’s classrooms on Dojo. This means that I have the ability to record any student from the entire grade level who goes inside, what time they left, and what time they returned. All from the Dojo app on my phone in a matter of seconds.
In addition to keeping a detailed record of who is out of the room, the reports are also fabulous as a discussion tool with parents. Have a kid who magically has to use the restroom for 15 minutes every day during math class? You can print out a spreadsheet to show mom and dad the exact time that their child is leaving the classroom and for how long. If you have a student who needs to visit the nurse for daily medications, this would also be a great way to log his or her trips.
Class Dojo is such a fantastic platform – don’t even get me started on digital portfolios! I hope you find this restroom sign-out tip helpful. Even if you do not use Class Dojo as a classroom management tool, you can still use this for restroom sign-out! I can only imagine the time that I am saving every single school day by not having students waste time with a traditional restroom sign-out sheet. Let me know in the comments below what other non-traditional ways that you use Class Dojo in your school!