It shocks even ME that these brag tags are so successful in my classroom. I had thought that my upper elementary/middle school students would be past this kind of thing…most of them turn their noses up at my smiley face stickers and blatantly announce “CHEESY” when stickers with motivational sayings appear on their tests and papers. These brag tags, however, are like gold in my classroom.
In preparation for the handing back of an essay or a test (I tend to hand them out only for larger assignments), I laminate a sheet of the brag tags, cut them apart, hole punch them at the top, and put a brag tag for each deserving student on his/her brag tag chain (one of those ball-and-chain items from Michael’s or the Dollar Store). I hang my brag tag chains from one of my windows, and students are allowed to take them home at the end of the year, but often, when a student receives one, I take a picture of it hanging on the chain and email it to Mom and Dad. Because the students like to see them up close before they are displayed, I often paper clip it to the paper first, and then hang it on the chain once it has been viewed.
In the beginning of the school year (or whenever I start brag tags), I explain that not every child is going to get one for every assignment. They are seriously JUST FOR THE BIG STUFF (because we are in middle school, after all). This way, they are not always expecting them to the point of being disappointed. I also avoid difficult feelings by JUST doing brag tags when my class needs a special boost (when we need behavior management reminders or when it has been a long time since our last vacation).