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Monday, August 31, 2015

Brag Tags

Since I discovered brag tags, my life as a teacher has taken a positive trajectory that I could never have envisioned.  Using them in conjunction with a behavior clip chart has proven to be epic!

I created forest friends brag tags to compliment my forest friends clip chartThere are 3 categories of tags: behavior, academics, and events. Because the primary purpose is to reward positive behavior, the majority are behavior brag tags. 

Academic brag tags are included to encourage and reward hard work and scholastic success. 

Event brag tags recognize just a few events that are important to children. 

Common holidays are not included because I feel awarding brag tags for them just undermines the power of the system. You don't earn a holiday, after all. I included 100th day because it is such a milestone for primary grade children.  Also included are tags for birthdays, 1/2 birthdays (as a summer birthday girl, I have very strong feelings about including summer birthdays), losing a tooth at school, student of the week, and surviving testing.

Every student gets a ball chain necklace that hangs in the classroom. The day I introduce the behavior chart and brag tags, I have each student add a forest ranger badge to the necklace so there is no question about necklace ownership. To get things started, I also give everyone a brag tag to start their collection. It welcomes them to the forest.

Initially, it is important to catch the kiddos being good. Because everyone likes instant gratification, I will interrupt everything to heap praise, award a brag tag, and invite the recipient to move his/her badge up on the clip chart.  

Obviously, this practice cannot continue.  So I begin weaning the class by waiting to handout brag tags until we are in a transition period, such as before lunch, after a specials class, after recess, before dismissal, ... Eventually, brag tags are given out only before dismissal. By second semester, we hold an awards ceremony on Friday mornings.  Then the students can wear their necklaces all day. Well, not ALL day. Necklaces cannot be worn to recess, P.E., or lunch. EVER. 

So, what do we do with the necklaces the other 4 days of the week? They are on display in our classroom. My favorite place to display them is at the front of the room under the white board. That's unused real estate otherwise. Moreover, the necklaces are where everyone can see them and where students are least likely to fondle them. (I teach small groups at the front of the class and it's all about proximity!)

Join me next time for some nuts and bolts info about brag tags.

You may like these other forest friends products:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Clip Chart + Brag Tags = Happy Class

Do you use a behavior clip chart in your classroom? I have just personalized my behavior plan with a clip chart and brag tags to compliment my Forest Friends classroom theme. And I just have to share it with you.

All of the students will start each day on the middle sign, "On the right trail." Each one will have a Forest Ranger badge to clip to that sign.   

Then, depending on the choices they make, their badges may move. Those making good choices will move up to "Caught being good." Continuing to make good choices can elevate them to "Flying high" or even "Soaring with the eagles."

Conversely, those who make poor choices may move down to "Taking the wrong path." More poor choices will earn them a spot on "Danger Ahead! Turn Around!"  Finally, they may find themselves "Lost in the woods," and in need of parent contact to find their way back.  

Behavior clip charts are sooooo much better than treasure chests, in my opinion.  Not only does a chart save me from buying all that loot, but it moves the students closer to finding intrinsic motivation.

Couple the behavior chart with brag tags, and you will have a good chance of achieving classroom bliss!

I'll talk about brag tags in my next post. In the meantime, you may want to check out my clip chart for your own classroom.

Other forest friends products you may like:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to School FLASH FREEBIE!!!!!

It's about time, teachers, for a ---

I am offering Back to School Poetry Possibilities for FREE! But just for today, 8/23/15. 

This is a collection of 20 poems about going back to school and the changes associated with autumn.  Each poem is accompanied by a teaching point about poetry. But, that's not all! Also included are activities, skill lessons, and writing prompts. These "possibilities" for teaching through poetry range from reading skills (phonics, parts of speech, syllables,...) to writing prompts (text innovations, types of poetry,...) to math activities (graphing, ordinal numbers,...). This product even includes a stand-alone literacy center:

If all of that is not enough, this product is appropriate for ALL elementary grade levels. As the literacy coach for my building, I developed this unit in response to my teachers' request for help in teaching with poetry. Thus, the skills and activities encompass a broad range of levels. Just choose the possibilities that are appropriate to the age and stage of your students.  

This offer expires at 10 p.m. CDT. Grab it while you can!