You have these brag tags but now what?! Let me give you my top tips to starting the year off right with brag tags.
First, let me congratulate you! Brag tags are going to transform the culture of your classroom. They will motivate your students to make positive academic and behavior choices. Read on for seven tips that will get your classroom management system up and running successfully so you can have an awesome year with your students.
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Prep for the year
It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Print, laminate, cut, and hole punch your brag tags over the summer. Notice the order. There is no need to cut the tags out, laminate individually, and then cut again. Save yourself the time. Oh, and don’t hesitate to recruit some help from loved ones. Notice the slight smile on my husband’s face?!
You have your brag tags all prepped, so what’s the next step? Find yourself a storage system that works for you. I have seen many options used such as the ones below. The one that I highly recommend is the 64 Drawer Brag Tag system that you can get off Amazon. Click below for my affiliate link:
The reason I love this drawer organizer system is because I can get 64 different brag tags to fit and store nicely. I also love that it can be delivered to my front door in just two days. Gotta love Amazon Prime! One question I often get when it comes to my drawer organizer is how I made the drawer labels. Simply cut an existing brag tag until it fits on the front of the drawer and tape it down.
Brag tags can be displayed in many different ways as well. Most teachers prefer to have the kids collect their brag tags on necklaces. Then the necklaces are hung on the wall or on the side of the students’ desk. I use these editable name tag templates for my brag tag display. Some teachers use an assigned number for each student. The necklace chains that I recommend are from School Life. Click below for my affiliate link:
I have also seen teachers use library pockets stapled to a bulletin board, key rings, and pocket charts. So many great ideas!
If you don’t like the idea of necklace chains, pocket charts, or key rings, how about a book? Brag tag books are another great option because they don’t take any of the materials I have listed above, they are portable, and you don’t need to laminate the tags. In addition to those perks, the brag tag book offers 2 brag tag collection pages (1 with journaling lines for the students to write about how they earned the tag), 3 templates for reflection, and 3 templates for goal setting.
Here’s another peek at the brag tag book!
Inform the Parents
I have a letter that I like to send to parents that explains what brag tags are, how we use them in the classroom, and how they can be earned. This clarifies a lot to the families because my students don’t get to take their brag tags home until the end of the school year. Your students will talk about their brag tag necklace all the time at home. You can grab this parent letter for free by clicking here.
First Tag Ready
Here’s a pure gold tip for you. Not only should there be a name tag on the display but there also needs to be a name on the necklace itself. If your student takes off their necklace and forgets to hang it up, the necklace owner can be identified by the name on the first tag. The first tag that I like to use is the Welcome Back or I Love School brag tag. Simply use a permanent marker to write the child’s name on the back of the tag.
Anchor Chart Introduction
On the first day of school we go over this anchor chart. It is a great visual for the kids to see my expectations. Notice how I make a couple of things clear through this anchor chart.
1. At the top of the chart it states that “Your teacher wants to brag about good choices you make!” We elaborate on what the word brag means. I also explain to the kids that I am the one doing the bragging. Not only that but I am the one that is bragging about the positive choices.
2. Another important point to make here is that the kids are welcome to wear their necklaces in the classroom. My students don’t wear them to lunch, gym, or recess. This will keep the brag tags for getting lost or damaged.
3. As you see, I also make it clear that the teacher is the one to decide who and when someone gets a brag tag. You will want to make this very clear or else you will go crazy having kids tell you all about the nice things that they are doing for others, how they picked up someone’s pencil, how they wrote a beefy sentence, how they have been participating extra hard…you get the idea.
4. Taking care of their brag tags is another important point that I make with my students. At this point I tell them that if they are done wearing their necklace, they should place it back on their hook and not leave it laying around.
5. Wear them, don’t play with them. As soon as our brag tag necklaces become a toy, I take them away to be hung up on their hook for the rest of the day. It only takes one time for this to happen. They don’t like having their necklace taken away from them.
6. You get to put them on yourself. Friends can help too. This will prevent you from having to open and close necklace chains all year. Don’t get me wrong. The first few days of school I do have to show them how to open and close the chain. I give them a few minutes to practice this each day during the first week of school. After a little practice I have about 95% of my students able to do this independently. The 1-2 students who still struggle know to ask a friend.
7. Hard work pays off. This is a common theme in my classroom. Brag tags are a reward to motivate those who are working hard.
During the first week of school, I make it a point to get every student a brag tag each day. This is definitely not something that I continue all year. Also, I don’t keep track of who has earned which tag. That’s just way too much work!
The reason I like to start the year with everybody earning a tag every day is because it creates excitement in the system. It also gives the kids something to feel proud about. I think of it like “selling the concept”. I want to show the kids that brag tags are a big deal. Trust me, I don’t know what it is but just the brag tag display with the chains hanging creates quite the excitement! “Mrs. Olson, what are brag tags?” “What are those necklaces for?” “When are you going to tell us about those?”
If you haven’t made the jump into brag tags yet, allow me to send you some free brag tags. Upon signing up for these brag tags, you will receive a couple more emails that give some more tips and tricks along with some brag tag resources. If you already plan to incorporate these into your classroom but still want some free goodies, make sure to sign up!
As you can see, brag tags are a passion of mine. I love them because I have seen what they can do for my classroom. I have created 15 different sets of brag tags in my TPT store. You can check them out by clicking on the links below:
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Here’s a Facebook Live Broadcast that explains them too!