So, how do I remove the negative from our bathroom breaks? By changing my expectations! I can't expect this year's kiddos to be able to do everything previous year's classes have done. Instead of trying to get them to stand still and be quiet, I had to give them something to do and focus on. Since our bathroom breaks are so long it helps that this is educational too.
Fry's Phrases on poster boards. I chose phrases from the first 300 and wrote them on the ghostline posters. I taped these to the walls in the foyer outside our bathroom. Each time we head out for a bathroom break we bring a pointer from the classroom with us.
Now instead of saying "Please keep your hands to yourself." or "Remember, our voices are off in the hallways.", I say things like "I'm looking for the antonym of short." or "Find a word that ends in a digraph." or "Can you find a silent e word?". The beauty of this is that I can make this as difficult or as easy as my kids can handle. I have some CVC words on the posters so my lowest kiddos have a chance at identifying those, but I can make it super challenging for my higher level kiddos by asking for them to identify words with blends or multiple syllables etc. We look for verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs as well as punctuation too.
I hope this idea helps some of you who are having problems with hallway procedures. Sometimes it's helpful to have that reminder that expectations need to be realistic and can change to reflect your class. I'm not saying to lower your expectations, but if a procedure isn't working you have to see if there are other ways to get the desired result - in this case a class that didn't disturb others while waiting for the bathroom!
Be sure to check out all the other Bright Ideas from this month: