Brag Tags - FAQ and Troubleshooting

Brag tags are a great way to motivate and reward students. This blog post focuses on the most commonly asked questions about brag tag management and troubleshooting.
From looking at the trending searches on TpT, it seems that many of you are wanting to try brag tags in your classrooms this year. My {previous post} has had a great response, and I have gotten A TON of questions about brag tags so I thought that I would devote a blog post to them.
Brag tags are a popular search item on TpT right now!
General Questions
Q: What are brag tags?
A: Brag tags are small, military tag-like "charms" that can be earned by or given to students. Teachers can give tags for mastering math facts, showing good character, reading different genres of books, holidays... pretty much anything that needs to be celebrated in your classroom. Students collect them on ball chains, binder rings, or whatever the teacher decides is easiest to manage.

Q: How do I prepare my brag tags?
A: There are many ways to do this depending on supplies and budget, but I print mine in full-color on white cardstock. Then I feed the page through my laminator. Then I cut the tags apart and punch a hole in the designated spot. I know that some people prefer to print the blackline versions on colored paper or cardstock. Others prefer not to laminate.

Q: Don't 5th graders think brag tags are too babyish?
A: Like anything, it all depends on your excitement and attitude towards them. In the years I've used brag tags, I've only had one class where the majority of my students seemed to be 10 going on 18. But for the most part, 5th graders still love little things like this deep down inside. Of course, there will always be a few that determine anything you do is "lame". Welcome to the joy of teaching 5th graders ;)

Brag Tag Management
Q: How do you organize your brag tags?
A: I use bead organizers from any craft store. {These are the ones pictured.} I know others use the teacher toolboxes from hardware stores. I've seen other teachers use binders with plastic sleeves that were made to hold baseball cards or embroidery thread.
Bead organizers are perfect for storing brag tags and beads. Bead organizers are perfect for storing brag tags and beads.
Q: How often do you pass out earned brag tags?
A: For easy tags, like math mastery on XtraMath, I hand them out ASAP. For awarding genre tags, like through Reading Counts, that's a little more time-consuming. On Fridays, I check their passed quizzes on Reading Counts, record their points towards the goal party, update their 100%s for our 100-100% party, and also award their tags/beads. All of that is easier for me to do only once a week.

Q: Do the students store the necklaces or do you?
A: I hang them up on a {Closetmaid tie and belt holder} attached to the wall with Command strips. I'm afraid that if my students stored them, then they would disappear into the black hole known as their desks. Then the motivation dies. However, I know of some teachers who use binder rings and the students attach them to the zipper of their pencil pouch or backpack.
A tie and belt holder can be the perfect compact place to store brag tags.
Q: Do you let your students take home the brag tags at the end of the year?
A: Yes! About 95% of my students want to take them home. For those who don't, I just take the pieces and use them again next year.
This brag tags template allows you to create your own brag tags to fit the needs of your classroom.
DIY Brag Tags Troubleshooting
Q: My version of PPT doesn't allow me to save slides as pictures. How do I do that?
A: If you have a newer Mac version of PPT, you need to export as a JPEG. If you have a PC with PPT 2013, you need to Save As and choose PNG. If those are not options, then you need to email me so I can help!

Q: Why are my inserted pictures blurry/too small/pixelated?
A: You most likely need to save at a higher resolution. On a Mac in PPT, click Options after choosing to save as pictures and type in something over 1000 into one of the boxes. On a PC in PPT 2013, try following the steps in {this article}.

Anything I'm forgetting? Leave a comment and I'll add your question with the answer!

You can browse my current selection of brag tags {here}.





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5 comments

  1. Love the details in this post on how you manage brag tags. Thanks for sharing!

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

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  2. Great ideas for how to manage all the little pieces!

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  3. I used Brag Tags for the first time this past school year. They were a great incentive for passing multiplication facts. My students loved earning them. I also gave them for holidays/special days. My students wore them on Fridays only-to keep them from losing interest in them. Every Friday morning they would enter the room and say "It's Brag Tag Day!"

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  4. Thank you so much for the Brag Tag posts! I jumped from 5th to 4th 8 years ago, and am still searching for the perfect positive reward system. I am not a fan of the school store or treasure box. Brag Tags could be the answer. I used a similar incentive with Greek and Latin Roots last year, but this was just a month long unit. I am really excited to implement, but I have a few questions before I make the jump! I do have a laminator, but am still concerned about costs. I am also wary of getting in over my head. Can you tell me more about the prep time? How many cards should I prepare up front? By this time next week, I will be in full blown chicken- without- a- head mode! Again, thanks for sharing your great ideas for upper elementary! I am off to visit your TPT store now.

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    Replies
    1. Let's see - prep time is maybe 5-10 minutes per sheet of 30 tags. If you do the rounded corners, it would be quite a bit longer. I laminate, use a paper cutter to cut apart, then punch the holes. Sometimes I give the laminated sheets to the classroom associate or parent volunteer. Since each sheet has 30 of the same tags, usually they last me all year, unless it's a tag that students can earn multiples of. You can start out with as many or as few styles as you wish, so it's really something that you can ease into. Hope that helps!

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