Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bragging About Brag Tags

I love brag tags! I've used them for several years, and I can honestly say that they have had a positive impact on my students, year after year.


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All About Brag Tags
You've probably seen brag tags posted on Instagram, or scattered about your Pinterest feed.  And, you've probably thought, "Oh, those are so cute, but what on earth are they?"

Brag tags are a classroom/behavior management tool that allows you to quickly and easily recognize, encourage, and reward positive behavior and student effort.  Best of all, they motivate students to make good choices.  They are little tags that students earn for making good choices, working hard, setting a good example, demonstrating a positive attitude, and so on.

Students collect tags throughout the school year and add them to a chain necklace.   


Why I Love Them
I have found brag tags to be extremely motivating for my students. They love earning these special awards.  Like, love, love, LOVE earning them.  They especially love showing them off to their friends, and they take a great deal of pride in earning new tags. What I'm trying to say is, they have been really effective in encouraging my students to be the best that they can be.  And, what teacher doesn't love that?

I also love that they give me the ability to quickly recognize behavior on the spot.  I can immediately recognize students for their efforts in a significant way.




How I Use Brag Tags
I use brag tags to recognize my students' behavior, attitude, effort, and character.  I firmly believe that when students' behavior, effort, attitudes, and character are on the right track, academic success will follow.  But, the great thing about brag tags is that they really can be used however you want!  Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to use them.  

Introducing them to Students
I don't waste any time when it comes to introducing brag tags to my students.  On day one, I give each student the same brag tag, usually one that marks the beginning of the year, like the one below that reads "This year will be awesome!"  No one earns their first tag, everyone gets one.

There is definitely more to it than just giving the students their first tag, though.  I cover the following in our discussion:
  • I explain what brag tags are.  
  • I explain how the students can earn them (and I make every effort to start awarding them as soon as possible thereafter).  
  • I go over the procedures for when students can wear their brag tags and my expectations for students when they are wearing their necklaces.  Keep reading for these details. ;)


How Students Earn Brag Tags
I hand out tags whenever I see that a student has earned one. I cannot stress enough that in my classroom a student must earn his or her tag.  And, again, they earn a tag based on their behavior, attitude, effort, and work habits.  I do not hand them out lightly, nor do I use them as a form of bribery. 

For example, if a student stands out because they are working especially hard, persevering through a tough assignment or situation, or being super helpful or kind, I would award a brag tag.  And I would make a big deal about awarding that brag tag, which makes it even more special to the student.  It also gets the attention of others and motivates them to work a bit harder, etc.

The Necklaces
Whenever my students earn a new tag, they get to wear their necklace for the day.

On Fridays, all of the students get to wear their necklaces for the entire day.

At the end of the school year, the students take their necklaces home to keep forever!

NOTE: I have a strict hands-off policy. My expectation is that when a student is wearing his/her necklace, that he/she does not touch it, pull on it, play with it, etc.  If a student chooses to play with his/her necklace, he/she has to remove it. I explain this at the beginning of the school year as part of my expectations.  Bottom line, if a student is busy fidgeting with the necklace, they aren't focusing on their learning, and that is why it has to come off.


I've had lots of people ask me where I purchase my necklaces.  I typically buy mine from eBay.  But, if eBay isn't your thing, rest assured, you can also find them on Amazon.

Storing Brag Tag Necklaces
When the necklaces aren't being used, they hang on the wall behind our classroom door.  They are numbered to match the students' numbers, which makes it easy to keep track of the necklaces.

My classroom is extremely small and this space is just perfect for tucking them away, yet keeping them accessible to the students as the same time.

You can grab these number cards HERE for free! :)

Storing Brag Tags
I store my brag tags in DMC floss organizers.  I removed the lids and this gives me easy access to the tags. I need to be able to see what I have, so this is perfect for me.  I store them on the shelf behind my desk so it's really easy to find, and grab, a tag quickly!


I have five organizers full of tags ready to be handed out.  Having a collection of tags this size might seem overkill, but it gives me variety.  I never run out.  During the summer, I take stock of the tags that I need to reprint/stock up on.  I always print my tags on card stock and then laminate for durability.

You can read more about brag tags by clicking HERE.

Brag Tag Resources
I recently made a few sets of tags, and I'm loving them!  What I love most is that there is space above the words and images to accommodate the hole punch.  I want the words to show!  The kids have earned these tags and I hate for the recognition to be punched out and lost.


You can check out my full color brag tag sets here.  I also have a set of full color editable brag tags that allows you to type whatever text you want on each tag (see below)!  This set has been so useful!

 
And, I also have black and white versions of each set available!  Everyone loves to save a little ink, right?  They look great printed on colored card stock!




A Freebie for You
And, if you've read this far, I have a little freebie for you!  You can download the colored brag tags below by clicking here. Don't worry, there is a black and white freebie too.  Keep scrolling!


If you prefer the black and white approach to brag tags, then this version is for you!  Click here to grab the black and white set.  I hope you can use it.  Enjoy!


More Brag Tag Related Posts
I have a few more brag tag posts that you might find helpful:
Brag Tags {Tips and Tricks}
Brag Tags {All Your Questions Answered}
6 Reasons to Use Brag Tags in the Classroom


Brag Tag Resources
Looking for a more complete brag tag collection?  Be sure to check out my resources on TPT.  I have lots of options available.  Click on an image to learn more. :)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Primarily-Speaking-By-Aimee-Salazar/Category/Brag-Tags-color-207771

 I also offer black and white brag tags for those who prefer a more ink friendly option.  :)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Primarily-Speaking-By-Aimee-Salazar/Category/Brag-Tags-black-white-220951


DON'T FORGET IT: PIN IT!





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46 comments:

  1. Love these new additions to your brag tags! So excited to get started using them next year!

    Slainte,
    ☘ Molly
    Lucky to Be in First

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    1. Aw, thanks sweet friend! I'm thrilled to hear that you are excited about using them!!

      Aimee

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  2. I love these! So excited to implement these this year! Great job! Where do you get your necklaces???

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I searched everywhere for the necklaces until Mel from Seusstastic shared that she found some on Ebay. So, that's where I bought mine! :)

      Here is the listing to the last batch I ordered: http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-COLOR-Wholesale-Lots-10pcs-Ball-Metal-2-4mm-Beads-Chains-Necklace-Finding-/371325669352?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item5674bc0fe8

      I hope that helps!

      Aimee

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    2. OH WOW! Thanks a million for sharing! I'm sure my students will love them too! And thanks for sharing the necklaces' link too. I can't wait to try them!!

      Delete
  3. Your brag tags are adorable! I am sure your kids can't hide their excitement when they earn one either! Thanks for the great freebie too.

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  4. These are great Brag Tags!,I am very interested in trying these this year! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you give them a try! Thanks for stopping by!

      Aimee

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  5. I LOVE the new tags! (which I bought immediately!) I used Brag Tags for the first time this past year and the kids LOVED them! I got chain at Hobby Lobby for my necklaces. Thanks for the freebie!!

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    1. Thank you, Lori! The kids really do love them!! I have looked at Hobby Lobby for these necklaces because I've heard reports of people finding them there. Sadly, I've come up empty handed. In which section of the store can they be found? I love the convenice option of picking them up in a store. Thanks!

      Aimee

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  6. So, so, so cute! Thanks for the freebie. I love how you've organized them, too! ;)
    Andrea
    Always Kindergarten

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  7. You should brag -- these are great!
    Sara

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    Replies
    1. Aw, you are seriously too sweet! Day made. ;) Thank you so much!

      Aimee

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  8. These are adorable! What a great idea! Thanks for describing how you store them too.
    Chrissy
    First Grade Found Me

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  9. These are simply adorable, and I just KNOW primary kids in my building would love them. I'm teaching ESL next year....must start thinking of how to incorporate language learning into this somehow!!! Thanks for the cute share! -Emily

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  10. My kiddos have such a hard time getting the clasp open. I'm looking for other ideas this year. Thank you for the freebie, I love you designs!

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  11. Do you have a parent letter that you send home at the beginning of the year to explain what they are to the parents?

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    1. Hi Allyson,

      I don't have a parent letter dedicated solely to the brag tags. In my back to school handbook I have a section where I outline and describe my classroom management system and I include information there. I also explain them at our back to school night event. I've also found that the kids do a very good job of explaining them to their parents because they are so excited about them. Thanks for stopping by!

      -Aimee

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  12. I am so excited about starting brag tags this year.

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  14. Thanks for sharing!! You ROCK! !

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  15. Thanks for sharing!! You ROCK! !

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  16. Thanks for sharing!! You ROCK! !

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  18. I'm an EFL teacher and am soooooo looking forward to using these! They are totally awesome! The kids are going to love them and the simple fact of winning one will have them more eager to learn than usual! Thanks so much for these!

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    1. Yay, that's awesome! I hope your kids do love them. They are a great way to motivate your students. Have fun!

      Aimee

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  19. These are awesome! Do you have a link that shows where I could buy the floss organizers?

    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Brooke! I'm so glad you like them! They are such a useful management tool. Here is a link to purchase the floss organizers on Amazon (copy and paste into your internet browser):

      http://amzn.to/24DBWl6

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Aimee

      Delete
  20. Love these! Can't wait to use next year! I have a couple questions...Do the students accumulate the brag tags through out the whole year or do you do it weekly? Are there weeks where some students may not get a tag? What is the typical amount of tags one student will have by the end of the year? Thank you!

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    1. Hi Jenn!

      Brag tags are my favorite! The beauty of brag tags is that you can address all of the things you've asked about however you'd like. They are very versatile and can be adapted to meet your management style/needs.

      One thing to consider is whether this will be your only means of recognizing positive behavior. You'll also want to decide ahead of time your policy for handing them out. My students accumulate tags throughout the year. On the last day of school, they get to take their collection of tags home. There could be a week where a student doesn't earn a tag, but remember, they have to work hard to earn them. If you hand them out like there's no tomorrow, they will quickly lose their appeal. I also have other ways of recognizing positive behavior in my classroom (requirement), so if a student doesn't earn a tag one week, it's OK because they've probably received recognition in some other way during the week. As for how many tags a student will have by the end of the year, that really depends on the students and your policy. You might want to check out my follow up post about brag tags as well. It has some tips and tricks that I've adopted over the years. You can copy and paste the link in your internet browser.

      http://www.primarily-speaking.com/2016/05/brag-tags-tips-tricks.html#.V2I336KaGug

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Aimee

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  22. Hi. I have just come across these and I think they look awesome! I just have a quick question...do you ever take a tag off a child? I would never normally take a reward off a student once they have earned it however, I have several very challenging students this year and I'm wondering if would work both ways for them??? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Garry,

      Thanks for stopping by today! Once I give a student a tag, it is theirs to keep. Taking them away is not part of my system. I think the answer to your question boils down to using your professional judgement.

      Aimee

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  23. Thank goodness for crafty & creative people like you!! I look forward to using these next year. I have been out of the classroom for 4 years as a reading specialist and now going back to teach 1st. I was so happy to find something new that I think will be helpful with management. My question is do you have any document that lists what the brag tags mean? I know that some of them are obvious but I was wondering about the others. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Lindsay,

      Thanks for stopping by today! I do not have a document that lists what the brag tags mean. The sayings that are printed on the brag tags are designed to cover a broad range of behaviors. Think of them as little shout outs that can be used to quickly and easily recognize behaviors and work habits on the spot. For example, a tag that reads "Picture Perfect" could be used to recognize a student who is working really hard and setting a great example for others (maybe this student is the only one working quietly at that table group). It could also be used to recognize a student who turned in an assignment that meets all of your quality of work expectations, or it could be used to recognize a student who stands out during cooperative learning time because they are working really well with others. It's kind of like those stamps and sticker sheets you find in the teacher stores. The sayings can be used to recognize any behavior/action that you think it fits the saying.

      Aimee

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  24. How many of each brag tag do you typically start the year out with? This is such an incredible idea!!!

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    1. Hi Pam!

      When I print my brag tags, I typically print just one page of each phrase at a time. This gives me 18 brag tags, which will go pretty far. The only time I print duplicate pages is if I know that every single student will get that tag (like the one I give them on the first day, or a special holiday tag). Since I've been using brag tags for several years, I'm kind of at the point where I replenish my supply. By the end of the year I might be running low on certain tags, so I print more. When I first started using them, I printed out the ones that I knew I wanted to have on hand (maybe 10 or 15 pages worth). That allowed me to get started without worrying that I wouldn't have enough tags available to choose from. Over time, I added to my collection to give myself even more options. I hope that answers your question. :)

      Aimee

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  25. In my 18 (going on 19) years in education as a Teacher, Instructional Coach, and now a School Counselor, I've seen many many great ideas/creations by other educators and have bought many of them. BUT I have to say this is one find/concept that STANDS ABOVE most others. What an AWESOME idea! What a AMAZING way for students to have buy-in while learning to self-monitor and take ownership in learning personal responsibility. Tag me as IMPRESSED! WOW!
    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Carrie!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! You are spot on with the buy-in and self-monitoring. Brag tags are a great tool for facilitating personal responsibility. I appreciate you stopping by today!

      Aimee

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  26. This is the best blog I have read on Brag Tags! Awesome!

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    1. Hi Autumn!

      Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! :)

      Aimee

      Delete
  27. I love the idea of using brag tags! Have you experienced using them in upper elementary? I'm wondering if they would be as motivating for 4th graders as it would for younger kids. I'd love your thoughts on this! Thanks!

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    1. Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog! My teaching experience has all been in primary, so I cannot speak from experience when answering your question, but I'll try to give you some info. ;) I do know that some teachers in the older grades are using them. A 5th grade teacher recently shared that she was using them in her classroom and that most of her class "bought into them" right away, but she had a few who were a little reluctant to accept them. With that being said, I think you might run into this with many things with the older kids as they are more confident/gaining the confidence to express their opinions. The teacher previously mentioned decided to have the students store their tags on a special key chain rather than necklaces she originally provided in hopes that this might help the brag tags seem a bit more "grown up" to that age group. Also, once you get to know you're students you will be able to more easily gauge what they might like/respond to. I wish I had a clear cut answer for you, but hopefully this will help guide your thinking/decision making. Have a good one!

      Aimee

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  28. These would make awesome stamps for take home folders!

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  29. Thank you for the detailed instructions of how you use these in your classroom! I teach a 4 day, 4 year old preschool class from 9:00 - 12:30 and am considering using these this year. Do you think that they would work or that they could grasp the concept? I know when I've used stickers for listening, cleaning up, etc. the ones that do not get one at the time, become sad or sometimes even cry. I explain that I "caught" these students doing what they were supposed to be doing and maybe next time they would remember and might get one. What do you think? Thank you!

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    1. Hi Cindy!

      I have had several people tell me that they have used brag tags in their preschool classroom. They did not share the specifics behind their management system with me, but they have reported that they were a useful resource. My philosophy when it comes to rewards in the classroom, regardless of age, is that they must be earned. Seeing others earn a reward is often motivating for my students. If you notice that some of your students aren't motivated to make better choices and struggle to earn tags, you can work with them to set goals toward earning a specific tag. Maybe they work really hard one day/week to earn a tag for being a good listener or following directions. This provides a bit of scaffolding (of sorts) as they learn to make these kinds of choices on their own. You know your age group best, and the beauty of brag tags is you can use them however you see fit. Best of luck! :)

      Aimee

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!