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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.

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