We then talk about the correct way to wash your hands (warm water and soap, 20 seconds of scrubbing, etc.) then we do an experiment (just the word experiment gets the kids so excited!). I put the students into four groups and I tell them they're going to represent the four ways my students typically wash their hands. One group will use soap and water and do the correct way to wash, the second group will do a "quick wash" where they run their hands under the water for 2 seconds and then quickly wipe off their hands, the third group will do the "jeans wipe" where they just quickly wipe their hands on a paper towel, and the fourth group doesn't get to do anything to clean their hands.
Now comes the fun part. I have the students come over in the groups and I put some lotion and glitter on their hands. The glitter is the germs. They think it's so cool to have glitter all over them (I do set ground rules before hand saying they have to keep their hands to themselves and sit quietly after they've gotten their hands germy). I then have the groups go wash (or not wash) their hands as we've discussed and we compare how effective our methods were. Here's a picture of the students who got to properly wash their hands and the students who didn't get to do anything. See the awesome difference?!?
Once that's done I do let them ALL go wash their hands the correct way and pass out these coloring sheets for the kids to work on while we're waiting for everyone to be done. You could always extend the lesson by doing a venn diagram or a graph, but because of a block schedule, that's usually where we end the lesson.
How do you remind your students to wash their hands?