Brag Tags

Brag tags are a great way to motivate and reward students for various accomplishments and holidays.
One of my huge successes of the year was my implementation of brag tags. I finally figured out a way to be consistent with awarding them in addition to having a variety of ways for students to get them. Since I get a lot of questions about using brag tags, I'm going to share with you how I implemented them in my classroom this year.

Set Up and Storage
First of all, I get a spool of silver ball chain from Hobby Lobby and cut 24" pieces. Or, if I'm feeling lazy in a time crunch, {I order 24" ball chains through Amazon Prime}. Some people like shorter, keychain-like ones or binder rings, but I like chains because I also award beads (more on that later).
24" ball chain necklaces are a perfect way to collect brag tags and beads.
Then I make each student a name tag and school tag. {The punch I use is 1/8" from Michaels. Here it is on Amazon.} EDIT: I totally forgot to give Nasreen at {Upper Grades are Awesome} credit for inspiring the name tag design.
Creating a tag with the students' names helps to clear up confusion on whose necklace it is. A 1/8" punch is the perfect size for ball chains.
The tags get hung on a {Closetmaid belt and tie rack} attached to the wall with {Command strips}.
A Closetmaid belt and tie rack attached to the wall with Command strips makes a perfect storage solution. A Closetmaid belt and tie rack attached to the wall with Command strips makes a perfect storage solution.
I made the wonderful discovery this year that my {brag tag template} can also be used to label the different hooks with the students' names. I typed their names onto the template, printed on cardstock, cut them apart in strips of six tags, and then punched with a regular-sized punch. They are spaced perfectly and slip right over the hooks so I can shove them to the back. This makes it MUCH easier for students to find their tags.

There are certain tags that all students get, mostly holiday and birthday tags.
Holiday tags make a quick, inexpensive, and easy gift! Holiday tags make a quick, inexpensive, and easy gift!
The PBIS tags are also handed out when we earn a yellow ticket party or we win the traveling trophy for the week.
Brag tags can be used to reward PBIS achievements!

Individual Tags
The rest of the tags are earned by individual students throughout the year.

When students pass an operation in XtraMath, they earns a tag for that operation.
Brag tags can reward math fact mastery.
After students finish a book, they take a test on Reading Counts. If they pass, they earn a tag for that book's genre. If they already have a tag for that genre, they earn a color-coordinated bead. I run the reports and award the tags and beads on Fridays, otherwise it's hard to keep up with the large number of passed quizzes. NOTE: Be prepared for a LOT of students opening their necklaces and spilling every bead on their chain onto the floor. I HIGHLY suggest that they add tags and beads on a table, counter, or desk.
Students can add beads to their brag tag necklaces for other achievements, such as reading multiple books in a genre. Genre tags can be used to reward Reading Counts quizzes and 40-book challenge goals.
I also have a tag for a desk gnome/fairy tag for the occasional spot-check of desks.
The desk fairy can reward students who keep tidy desks.

Bead and Tag Organization
I use bead organizers to store my beads and tags. All of my genre tags and beads are in one, and the other tags are in another one. {These are the organizers pictured.}
Bead organization boxes are perfect for brag tags. Bead organization boxes are perfect for brag tags.

Other Options
Sometimes finding the wall space to display the necklaces can be a challenge. Maybe the ball chain necklaces don’t fit into the budget this year. Perhaps using brag tags with multiple class sections seems overwhelming.
Brag tag data binder pages can solve the problem of where to store students' brag tag necklaces. Brag tag data binder pages can solve the problem of where to store students' brag tag necklaces.
I have created these pages for teachers who have contacted me to help them find an option to overcome some of these obstacles. They can be used as a stand-alone book or data binder pages that students can store themselves and transport from class to class. You can find them {here}.

EDIT: One of my Facebook followers asked about celebrations and such for earning the tags. Maybe once a month or when we've earned a goal, I let them wear their tags around school for the day to kind of show them off. They get so much attention from other teachers and students who want to see their tags and they love it!

If you are interested in seeing the tags I've created, you can {check them out on TpT}.

You may also be interested in {Brag Tags Part 2: FAQ and Troubleshooting}.

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  1. I love this idea!!! Does this encourage students to read all they can and make an effort of passing quizzes (we use AR)? I was trying to get them to write small reviews and summaries when they finished a book and then their book goes up on the book challenge wall. Perhaps even encourage a bit of fact studying at home! Have you thought about any writing tags?

    1. If AR is anything like Reading Counts (read a book then answer 10 questions about it), then yes! I will say that the other fifth grade teacher and I have specific point goals and quiz accuracy goals that we give the students that also helps. We have parties to celebrate those accomplishments since our PTG gives us money towards them, and those are a big deal, too. No tags for writing yet. Hmm, never thought of that subject area... If you have ideas, let me know and maybe I can make some for you :)

  2. Yesterday was my last day with kids! Woohoo! But after reading this I have a new project when I go back Monday for post planning. I had considered this in the past but it seemed daunting, but your "how you manage" it details make it sound like I might could organize it. Thank you!

    1. I would say that the organization is the biggest piece, otherwise it will be difficult to consistently implement. Good luck!

  3. Awesome idea. Want to defiantly try it next year in my 4th grade o-teaching classroom. Have you ever thought of a tag for perfect attendance each month,earning good behavior each month, or even turned in all homework on time for a month? Just some thoughts that I am going to try.

    1. Perfect attendance and behavior are on my to-to list, and I already have a monthly no missing work tag in my store here :) -

  4. Where can I find the tag that looks like a ticket?

    1. I don't have those in my store because it was specific to my school's yellow ticket parties. If you leave your email or click the email logo button, I can send them to you.

  5. I teach K and I love this idea, but the tags being put on the necklace SCARE me. How do you manage this part of the Brag Tags? Do you put them on or do they? I did something similar with charms in 1st grade and every time one of them opened the necklace clasp EVERY charm or pony bead fell off. Thank you for sharing your wonderful idea!

    1. I try to teach my fifth graders to lay their necklace on a desk before opening them. However, many of them don't and on more than one occasion we've had beads bouncing all over the place. The tags seems to stay on better because the ball chains kind of give traction to the tags and I use a 1/8" hole punch so there isn't a lot of wiggle room with the holes. I don't think that my K child could open and string a ball chain, so I would definitely do it for them. I don't think that binder rings would be any easier. Maybe a shoelace or pipe cleaner? Or I've seen some plastic hoop necklaces at Michaels.

  6. I teach grade five in Australia, I love the idea of these brag tags! We start school on Monday and I am keen to start them. Do you find no that fifth graders really love them or do they think they are a little uncool? Is there a way that you introduce them to get them really excited about them? I love them and really want them to work!!!

    1. I'm so sorry that I missed your comment! Most of my fifth graders are excited to earn them. There are a few (less than 5) that are so-so about them, but the majority are motivated to add to them.

      I set up the area and really don't say anything about them for a few days. They see their names on them and are really curious about what they are. I gradually introduce the different kinds to get. I never display my stash because I want some of the designs to be a surprise when they get them. Hope that helps! And sorry again for the delay!

  7. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this post. I have been thinking about starting brag tags with my fifth graders.

    1. I just saw your comment. Sorry for the delay! Let me know if you have any questions while implementing them!


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