Using brag tags to engage students in History and Geography

Have you heard of the new craze sweeping classrooms called 'brag tags'? 

Well they might not be 'new' to US teachers but here in Australia we're yet to get on board that brag-tag-train yet. However, I've found brag tags a really useful way to engage little learners in complex (let's not say 'dry') subjects such as Geography and History. 

I've used these little brag tags with Foundation through to Year 3 students and they are very popular (yes even in Year 3!). Students just love to find a way to show off to their peers and what better way than to prance around the playground with your achievement on your chest.

Preparing brag tags.
  1. You print out and laminate your brag tags and then punch a hole in them (don't worry you will use them year after year so it's time well spent). 
  2. Find a small container to keep them in so they are handy behind your desk.
  3. Purchase some lanyards (I got mine cheap from the dollar store but most places that supply stationery can provide them). I usually purchase one lanyard for each child but if you're planning on using brag tags for different subjects it can be useful to have a lanyard per subject.
  4. Create a small wall space for your lanyards to hang when students are not wearing them (such as when they go home) by assigning a student name per hook with sticky labels. 
The purpose of brag tags.

The aim of brag tags is to engage students with small achievable goals and, once reached, give them a brag tag to wear on their lanyard. 

I created some Geography and History brag tags to use with my Foundation Year students last year and, using a matching goal sheet, I would give out brag tags when students reached that academic goal.

For example, the Foundation Year Geography ACARA elaboration we were working towards was...

I can describe how places can be cared for.

Once I felt the student had mastered this elaboration, I ticked their goals sheet and awarded them a matching brag tag.

The goal sheets became particularly useful during parent teacher discussions. I would pull out the student's geography book and inside the front cover would be glued their goals for the whole year for that subject. I would use it as a reference point for discussions with parents about goals met and new goals we are aiming towards.

Students loved their brag tags and it became a bit of a battle to get them to take them off at the end of the day. I know some teachers let them wear them home, but you know you probably won't see them again. I just trained my students to hang them on their hook and, like Pokemon cards, they began to collect all of the geography goals one by one! I gave students a second lanyard for their history goals, which proved equally successful!

Brag tags are a win, win for teachers, students and parents alike!

You can grab any of my brag tags for HASS subjects here...



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