You’ve got these brag tags, the students respond well to them, but for some reason their brag tag collection isn’t growing as fast as you’d like it to grow. Trust me, you aren’t alone. Here are 13 surefire (and practical) ways to help remember to hand out brag tags in your classroom.
Do you carry a clipboard down the hallway or around the classroom? Attach a few brag tags to the clip board as a visual reminder to yourself.
Most teachers are expected to wear an identification badge. If you wear yours on a lanyard, attach a few brag tags to that. The benefit of having them on a lanyard is that the students see these and it is a visual reminder to them to keep their behavior and work habits in check.
A morning message is very common in classrooms all over. When students walk into the classroom, the first thing they look for is the morning message. I like to attach brag tags around the morning message and sometimes the brag tags are part of the message itself.
Teachers refer to their lesson plans several times throughout the day. Why not lay a few on the lesson plans themselves. For example, if you know that guided reading groups tend to be a time in the day that can be a bit of a challenge on the management end of things, choose the Hard Worker or Making the Right Choice brag tag. Tell the class, prior to starting guided reading groups, that you will be handing out 3 brag tags to students who can show that they can be on task, giving 100%, and showing their best effort. (just as an example)
Students and teachers are constantly checking the schedule throughout the school day. Why not place a brag tag or post it note next to the schedule during times of the day that are a little trickier for students. For example, during writer’s workshop, sometimes students can lack the effort or quality in their writing. Place a Best Selling Author brag tag near that part of the schedule. It will benefit the teacher as a reminder to hand it out and it will motivate the students to strive to meet or exceed your expectations with their work.
Alarms on cell phones are great for many purposes. I use them as reminders to send students to intervention groups, go to specialists, writing or math work time, center rotations, and yes, even brag tags. Here is a 1 minute and 28 second video tutorial of a quick set it and forget it brag tag alarm that I might do.
Build into Routine
One part of my day that happens every Friday is their spelling tests. When a student earns 100% on a test, they earn a 100% or Super Speller brag tag. This has become part of our weekly routine. Therefore, the students come to expect that brag tags will be given out every Friday for this purpose. Every other Friday we rotate checking the students’ AR goals and math fact fluency goals. Again, this routine lends itself nicely to distributing these brag tags on a consistent basis.
Is there a part of the day that you dread because it’s always a battle to manage? For me, this part of the day is our writing time. I don’t get it. Kids come into second grade not wanting to write more than three sentences. Brag tags have changed this for my students. At the beginning of those tough assignments, tell the class that they have a chance to earn a certain brag tag and even write your expectations on the board or on an anchor chart so they know EXACTLY what they need to do to meet or exceed your expectations. It works. My students’ favorite brag tag for this purpose is the Writing Wizard brag tag.
The hallway is a place where students are expected to follow a lot of rules. Some of my rules include stand in a straight line, face forward, lips zipped, and hands and feet to self. This poster can be hung by the door and to review before leaving the classroom. Mystery walker is a quick and practical way to reward someone for demonstrating this. Here’s how it works, place a Super Strider or Quiet in the Hallway brag tag in your pocket or on your lanyard. Tell the kids that you have the name of a mystery someone in the class that you are going to watch. If that person is demonstrating the hallways rules they will receive the brag tag when the class arrives at the final destination. If they don’t, no brag tag is earned. No, you don’t tell the class the name of the student if the brag tag isn’t earned.
Involve the Specialists
If you work with a supportive specialist teacher, ask him/her if they’d like to use a few brag tags during their time with your class. They may thank you for this!
Give Students Control
Giving students some control over the brag tags can be very beneficial. Brag tags can serve as bucket fillers. I have outlined exactly how to do this HERE.
One thing that I like to do is give students the chance to nominate a classmate to earn a brag tag at the end of the day. Right before dismissal, ask your students if there is someone that comes to mind who did something kind or helpful. There is so much power in this. It puts the students in control and it encourages kindness.
There is a common theme with all of these practical tips. It’s all about strategic placement. When brag tags are placed in spots that cross your “teacher path” throughout the day, you will be more likely to remember to hand them out. Place them in a read aloud, on calendar boards, or even tape them to anchor charts. They not only help the teacher but the kids notice them right away too and they are responsive!
All of these ideas are practical, especially if done as you are going through your routine checklist to get set up for the day. For example, when I get to school in the morning, it is my routine to write the morning message, choose the morning work activity, fix the schedule, go over my lesson plans, set out the materials, and strategically place brag tags in my path.
If you are looking for some brag tags to add to your collection, here are the links to some you can find in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Feel free to pin the image below if you’d like to save these ideas to your Pinterest board.