I’ve always prided myself on being a very positive teacher, striving to reward students in meaningful ways. Building character and positive learning behaviors for my students are my first priority each school year. After all, our goal as educators is to encourage our students to be “better people” who make a difference in our world, and not just students who excel academically.
It has been two years since I’ve utilized an incentive system in my classroom. As a specialty Gifted and Talented/Enrichment teacher, I see each of my groups of students for an hour or less each week, so opportunities for reinforcement are limited. At the same time, many of my students who are gifted academically often need the most support and encouragement with regards to social skills, opportunities to fail, improve, and try again, analyze their own feelings and behaviors, and above ALL, practice their “people smarts.” (See my Multiple Intelligence Activities for lower and upper grades here). Many of my gifted students have no issues taking pride in themselves, as they have been told that they are “smart” and high achieving since they were toddlers. Many of those same students also struggle with taking pride in themselves without boasting or offending others with their words and actions. One of my favorite quotes that I share often with my students is by the legendary Teddy Roosevelt:
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is the knack of getting along with people.”
I wanted a reward system that not only recognized students for positive behaviors, but encouraged my students to be generous, empathetic, and mindful of not only their own behaviors, but those around them. I wanted something that not only I could use to reward students, but that they could use to reward each other. That’s Student Ownership, to a tee.
From now on, my students will be encouraged to brag about each other, and in turn, reduce the focus on bragging about themselves!
I am SO THANKFUL for the incredible Angie Olson of Lucky Little Learners for creating these brand new Brag Tags because they PERFECTLY reinforce the positive behaviors that we practice on a regular basis!
Here is my set up Brag Tag wall, divided by first and second grade students. Don’t you love these precious name cards?! These are also found in Angie’s store and are completely editable!
After 2-3 weeks of me rewarding Brag Tags and modeling and discussing the targeted behaviors for each one, the system will be completely turned over to the students. They can then practice their “people smarts” by cheering their peers to success and passing out one Brag Tag to a classmate each week, if they so choose. When students earn three Brag Tags, they have a choice to either bring them home or reward them to other students in their class. I just started using this system this week and my kids are absolutely thrilled!
I am so looking forward to the positive direction that this is taking my class! If you are searching for an easy, fun and meaningful reward system, check out more Brag Tags from Lucky Little Learners.
Lovely header image by Hello Literacy (Jen Jones) and fonts by Kimberly Geswein.