Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: Tips for Using Brag Tags Without Losing Your Mind!

Tips for Using Brag Tags Without Losing Your Mind!

Lots of ideas for making brag tags simple and meaningful!

Are you looking for a positive classroom behavior incentive? Brag tags are my go to way to reward students for their behavior and for meeting academic goals. They are the bomb digity!

Isn't it funny that kids will work their butt off just to earn a small piece of paper? #lol I think what they love most might actually be getting recognized. Plus, they kind of like collecting things. 

I often hear about people who make brag tags too difficult. Then they end up giving up on them half way through the year. I am here to give you tips that will make your brag tag experience simple and effective. 

Brag Tag Prep
Prepping brag tags is super easy. It takes some time, but can be done in front of the TV. I recommend prepping for the whole year all at once so that you don't have to think about it again. 


Decide on the tags that you want to have available. Print the tags on cardstock for extra durability. I choose to print from home, but if you print at an office supply store- bring your own cardstock and they will charge less. I HIGHLY recommend laminating your tags. I use THIS laminator and love it. Cut the tags out. I bribe ask my own children to do the cutting. The last step is to use a hole punch to make one hole at the top of the tags. Done! 

Awarding Tags
You don't need to hand tags out every day! I prefer to have one day per week that I award all tags earned that week. I plug the brag tag ceremony into my Friday lesson plans and then I don't forget! 

If you see a brag tag worthy behavior during the week, jot it down on a sticky note or put the student's name on the back of the earned tag. But no need to interrupt the class to hand it out that very moment.  

If you do have some students that need immediate feedback (or if students around them will be motivated to improve because of the feedback), give them a hint to get them excited. Say something like, "You are doing so awesome that I bet you get something special at our next brag tag ceremony!" 

Be the Brag Tag Boss
My most important brag tag rule is that I am the only one who decides when a brag tag will be awarded. You cannot ask for a brag tag or ask why you didn't get a brag tag. That gets annoying! 

But the big reason for this rule is that I differentiate brag tags. What earns one kiddo a brag tag may be different than one earns another kid a tag. It just makes them more meaningful.

Keeping Track
I often have people ask me, "How do you keep track of who has earned which tag?" My answer is simple. I don't I am all about making this system simple! It is OK for a student to receive the same tag more than once! They won't care! It's like collecting baseball cards. Collectors don't mind getting several of a card that they love. 

So maybe your kiddo got a teamwork tag a few weeks ago and then another this week. No biggie! They earned it and they will still love it! If you are giving tags for homework completion, AR points, or math facts mastery- you might need to keep track, but my guess is that you are already keeping track of that kind of stuff.

Limit the Tags
If you have a million tags available at all times, you will most definitely lose your mind trying to keep up with the system. I would suggest choosing 10-12 tags that are available for students during a given month. You can switch some or all of the available tags the next month. Having a limited number of tags helps students to focus in on the skills that are most important to you during that time period. 

You might even have a special "tag of the month." You can talk to students about the types of behaviors that will help them to earn that tag and post it somewhere where students can see it every day. 

It's Not Fair
Here's the deal- in my class brag tags must be EARNED. That means that every kid will not receive the tag and every kid will not get a tag every week. That's ok! If they have to work for the reward, it will be more meaningful. Don't GIVE them away! 

Also, keep in mind that every student doesn't have to be working towards the same tag. One kiddo may be working on sight words, while other has them mastered. The ones that don't need to work on sight words, will work towards a different goal instead of being given a tag for something they didn't have to work for in my class. 

The moral of the story is that brag tags aren't fair in my class and that's exactly the way I want it. 

The Necklaces
I get asked all the time about where to get the necklaces. I have seen the ball chain necklaces at craft stores such as Michael's and JoAnn's. You can also by them on Amazon by clicking HERE

Brag Tag necklaces

Some people make a big display board where student necklaces are hung. That's fine. I keep it extra simple and just have students keep their necklaces in their pencil box in their desk. 

They only wear them on Fridays. At the end of the year, they will take them home as a keepsake of their hard work.

Brag Tag Resources
Are you ready to get started with brag tags? I have a couple of bundles that are full of tags to help you implement the brag tag program.

These brag tags are perfect for kindergarten and first grade. They include letter sounds, phonograms, and much more!


This large bundle of tags includes tags for academics, character traits, holidays and even editable tags!


I hope that these tips help you to keep from losing your mind while using brag tags. Keep it simple!


Are you looking for some ideas for storing your brag tags? I have you covered! Click on the photo below!



Have a Not So Wimpy Day!