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Monday, August 1, 2016

All Things Brag Tag (Post 1 of a 2 part series)

Happy Monday Everyone!

I'm sure most of you are starting to go back in the classroom to get ready for B2S 2016!  As you begin to think about classroom management and student motivation, definitely consider using Brag Tags.  There are a plethora of blog posts out there on how to implement them as well as TPT sellers creating them, including me. ;)  I used them for the first time in my 2nd grade classroom last year and it was a game changer! It's a super cheap way to celebrate individual student success and change unwanted classroom behavior. Everyone likes to be praised right?!  Brag tags do just that and provide a visual reminder of student successes in the classroom.  Angie over at Lucky Little Learners was my initial inspiration to try them out.  She has some fabulous posts on how to implement them and there is definitely no reason to recreate the wheel over here, right??

Now, in the social media world there seems to be some backlash on using Brag Tags in the classroom because teachers don't want to create students who are "braggers".  Well friends, I called them brag tags all year and never once received any negative feedback from administrators, co-workers, parents, or students.  In fact, EVERYONE thought it was a genius idea and a few other teachers at my school jumped on board to do brag tags too!  HOWEVER, if this is a concern for you there are alternative names for the same tool/product.  Some teachers are calling them Swag Tags, Wow Tags, Fab Tags, etc.  Regardless of what you want to call them in your classroom, they are amazing!

So, how do they work you ask?  Well, that's up to you.  In my classroom I introduced brag tags on the last day of the first week of school.  I put them on student desks before they arrived to create excitement and questions about the tag.  I gave each student a 2 inch binder ring with one brag tag on it that said 2nd Grade Rocks.  As a class we went over how to earn a brag tag and how to be responsible with the brag tag ring.  I never told students which brag tags I had...it was a mystery all year and the students couldn't get enough of the tags.  They never knew when I would pass some out. It was fabulous!!!

As with anything new....I started out simple with brag tags for Daily 5 station behavior. Basically, as we were building stamina each day for the first 6 weeks of school, students were earning brag tags for demonstrating desired behaviors at each station.  Everybody wins!! In Thursday's post I will answer some FAQ about all things brag tag.  :)  My next type of tag I started to roll out was the homework tag.  I surprised the class with homework brag tags the first time I collected homework packets. Every student who turned in their homework packet received a brag tag.  The excitement continued and it was hook, line, sink in all things brag tag.  Once I had everyone's buy in, I began to slow down with passing out brag tags to only a few of the best of the best behaviors each day.  Students worked so hard to be the best of the best and my classroom was pure bliss!  Well, most of the time! ;)  I even had special substitute brag tags my assistant and sub would pass out in my absence.  Every. Single. Sub. LOVED the brag tags and how helpful it was with classroom behavior.  I'm not going to say the tags were miracle fixes, but for the most part it made a big difference in the majority of my student's behaviors.

My Daily 5 Inspired Brag Tags:

Now, lets discuss the binder ring for a minute...I made a point of stressing to the class to be responsible with the ring the very first day I passed out the tags.  They could hook the rings on backpacks, pant loops, keep them at home, or in the pencil boxes at school.  My classroom expectation was that students would keep up with the brag tag ring all year long.  At the end of the year students turned in the ring to me for a beaded chain necklace.  We will talk more about the necklaces and binder ring responsibilities in my post on Thursday.  If you go on Pinterest and search brag tags you will find a multitude of ways teachers display brag tags to give you some ideas if you're not feeling the student responsibility vibe.  I believe in student responsibility.  If you set your expectations high, most students will rise to meet or exceed your expectations.

I hope to have peaked your interest in at least considering brag tags.  Come back Thursday for a follow up post to how brag tags worked in my classroom.  See you then!