Sunday, June 26, 2016

4 Reasons I Use Brag Tags in Upper Elementary


I think there is a widely held misconception that brag tags are just for the lower grades. People see them as an alternative to the treasure box and therefore attribute them to younger children. Many teachers think that brag tags are just for the little guys who can easily be fooled into thinking that a little piece of paper is cool. WRONG! Yes, brag tags are great in lower elementary. Yes, brag tags can be a replacement for the expensive junk  prizes in the treasure box. But brag tags are so much more. Big guys think they are cool too! Let me show you how brag tags can efficiently be used in upper elementary!


Brag tags are earned in my class when a student meets an academic or behavior goal. Every student will NOT receive the same tags! This is not like the sports team that gives every kid the same trophy.  When I meet with students during guided small groups or writing conferences, we work together to set goals. For example, every student doesn’t need to focus on improving classroom behavior (or at least I hope not). The students who have behavior goals will be the ones working to earn the behavior tag.


That means, the sweet girl who never gets in trouble may not earn the behavior tag. It doesn't mean she has a behavior problem. It means that behavior is not a goal she is currently working on. She may be working on teamwork or organization. When students are focused on individually tailored goals, the reward is much more meaningful.


It doesn’t matter where you start. It is all about working hard to grow. The sweet student who reads on a 6th grade level on the first day of 5th grade will not automatically receive the Remarkable Reader tag. She has to grow. Maybe she needs to work on her reading response or she needs to read more genre varieties. So the high or well behaved kids don’t just get all the tags. Even they will need to work for it! 


However, my low guys have a chance too! It's not like a behavior chart that only rewards the top kids. When the 4th grader finally masters his 3rd grade sight words- he can have a tag! And he may be the kiddo who has almost never received an award for his academics. Just picture the smile on his face! Are you starting to see how it can be more than just a piece of paper?


Everyone likes to be noticed for their hard work! Even adults! My husband gets a daisy pin from his boss when patients write positive reviews of his work. It’s just a pin! And it has a girly flower on it! But he likes earning them because he feels that his hard work has been noticed.


Kids are no different. They want to know that you noticed their extra effort. When you have a student who is still struggling with basic math facts and he works hard all year- he will be so proud to wear the Mastering Math Facts tag! Can you just imagine that sweet beaming face! It is a constant reminder for him of how hard work pays off. And you better believe that he will keep working at those darn math facts!


I have to teach a lot of standards. The state says so. However, some of the most meaningful lessons that I get to teach are those that help students to be a person with good character. I take this part of my job very seriously! I choose a character trait to focus on each month. I issue challenges to my students and watch as they practice being responsible, optimistic, confident, etc. When I notice a student truly showing the character trait- I reward them with a character trait brag tag!


They encourage kids to put in that extra effort until it becomes a habit that they do without a reward. The reality is that life is much more than spelling words and raising your hand before you speak. Brag tags help me to reward my students for the character traits that count.

As you can see, brag tags aren’t just for the little guys! I love using brag tags in upper elementary! If you want to read more about how I use the tags in my classroom, you can check out THIS blog post.


If you are looking for brag tags to use in your classroom, you can check these ones out in my store.