5 Easy Steps for Your First Brag/Swag Tags

This year, I'm going to begin to implement this little teacher trick called Brag Tags or like my students prefer, Swag Tags.  I started last year implementing this strategy with my students and they loved it.  The only thing is that I started towards the end of the year and I so regret it.  But it's time for new beginnings and here it is!

So what are these Brag/Swag Tags many teachers are talking about? This is a positive classroom management tool that works wonders.  Students are rewarded a tag or tags for positive behavior.  For example, students may earn a tag for being a good listener, super friend, following directions, walking in line, and so forth.  As students earn the tag(s), they place it on a necklace to create a complete chain with some new bling-bling (brag/swag tags).  The necklaces are kept in school all year.  Students may take the necklace home at the end of the year and they may wear it during school days.  Now, do they have to wear it everyday? That's up to you. My preference is that this is a really cool and special swag that must be EARNED, so I let my boys and girls wear it on selected days.

So where do you begin? I have no idea, just kidding!  LOL!

Step 1 - Get Supplies

So you will need patience, perseverance, and some helping hands! My kiddies and I spend 10 hours laminating and cutting over 2,000 tags.  Now, don't get scared. I'm an overachiever and since it's summer, I figured to get it all done now for the year.

Get yourself a really good storage system.  There are many containers out there to select.  My personal favorite is the Akro-Mils 64 Drawer Plastic Parts Storage and Craft Cabinet from Amazon. Who doesn't love Amazon? Especially when they have it on sale!

Next, get a HUGE pack of Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches (200 pack) with a great Scotch Thermal Laminator TL901.  Again, Amazon saves the day.

You will also need a Fiskars 12" Surecut Deluxe Paper Trimmer from Michaels (don't forget the coupon) and Sparco SPR01796 Heavy Duty Adjustable 3-Hole Puncher from Amazon.

You also need some bling-bling, like these cool Nickel Plated Ball Chain Necklace 24in. 2.4mm Size #3, Pack of 50 from Amazon.

And lastly, a HP printer that qualifies for the HP Ink Program.  I bought my HP Officejet Pro e-All-In-One Printer 8610 from Staples and I LOVE it!  I printed allllllll of my tags in color from this one little cool gadget! The HP Instant Ink Program will save your life and you can always print in color without worries.  There is a monthly plan that you can select ranging from $2.99 to $9.99.  The plans are based on the number of pages you would like to print every month, not the amount of ink! Do I hear a sign of relief?! :) HP will send you the ink before you run out, so no worries about buying expensive ink.  Just make sure to buy a qualifying printer, click here to see if your printer qualifies.

And even more good news... You get 30 days for FREEEEEEEE!!  I just checked the site and they are offering 3 months for FREE!  Go for it!  Feel free to use my reference link to get your FREE month(s) trial... http://try.hpinstantink.com/fhGfm

Step 2 - PREP TIME!

There are so many beautiful tags out there.  I created my own over the past 2 weeks and I was able to create over 60 of them! I know, I still can't believe it myself.

I also thought about how am I going to know which student has what necklace?  I like to use the number system in my classroom, so I decided to create cute little tags that are numbered.  I also included blank ones, just in case I get a new student later in the year.  So all I have to do is print, laminate, cut, and put each one on a necklace.  Guess what?  This is FREE in my TpT Store, just click here and/or on the pic.  How cute are they?

Now for the tags... More printing, cutting, laminating, and organizing.  You can do it! I promise! Here is a pic of my Bundle 1 that has 25 different tags.  Click here and/or on the pic. Since there are 15 tags on one page, I printed 3 of each tag so it could last me the whole year.  Of course, I know some tags I will have to refill throughout the year, like I Lost My Tooth, but I'll cross that bridge later.

Of course, I couldn't stop there, so I created another bundle. Yes, Bundle 2 is here! More cuteness! What do you think?

Since I also teach the Cambridge International Education curriculum, I created a file that consists of the 5 Cambridge learner attributes: responsibility, engaged, innovative, reflective, and confident. These tags can also be used as my growth mindset unit, so it's like a 2 for 1! :) Feel free to click here and/or on the pic to see it in my TpT Store.

Then my kiddies and I decided to have a HUGE printing, laminating, and cutting PaRtY! You can imagine the look on their faces, mind you, they are young adults! :)  I printed the PDF pages at 97% so the tags would be a bit smaller.

My kiddies used the 3 hole puncher to hole punch each and every tag by placing 3 tags on the surface of the hole puncher at the same time.  This is why I recommend this type because it has a flat surface to place the tags and you can just punch out 3 tags at once.  Believe me, you will thank me later!

I cut one tag about half way to use it as a label for the drawer.  Just use tape to stick the tag to the front of the drawer.

I organized the tags in the drawers.  This storage unit is so good that I could place 2 sets of tags in one drawer! Happy moment!

Of course, I use one drawer to place the necklaces.

And now for some Teacher eye candy, like for realz!

So you know how my heart felt... like looking at more eye candy... :)

Step 3 - Present to Your Students

Watch those smiles!  It's important to set rules so students know their expectations.  So I will create an anchor chart of rules with the students.  For example, some rules may include...

Step 4 - Let Your Parents Know

Involve your parents by letting them know about this classroom management tool.  I wrote a letter that I will print on color Astrobrights, yes, Astrobrights and Amazon to the rescue! Everything is better in color! I will send home the letter during the first week of school.

Guess what?! My parent letter is FREE in my TpT Store.  Just click here! I know, I know, what a time saver! Hey, anything to make things better for all of us!

Step 5 - Make a Display/Bulletin Board

Show off your kiddies' hard work by making a display of the tags.  I have to be honest, I deleted my bulletin board pic! :( I know, I'm so sorry! I will upload it when I get back in my classroom.

Basically, just create a bulletin board with your title... Brag Tags, Swag Tags, whatever you call it.  I placed hooks on the wall and placed a picture of the student next to their hook.  I bought Tool Bench Adhesive Hooks - 9 Pack from Dollar Tree.  I just reinforced the hooks with my hot glue gun.

Now enjoy your moment of hard work and watch your classroom management system roll like the wind! This is great for those special visits, if you know what I mean. LOL! :)

So, what classroom management tool do you implement?  What do you think of brag/swag tags? Have you used them? How? Are you a newbie? What's your plan?

I would love to hear from ya! 

As always, make every moment a whoop-whoop moment! 

Superhero Galacticon!

It's a bird. It's a plane.  It's our Galacticon!  

This past school year, my classroom theme was Superheroes!  And since I spent soooooo much money on making my classroom cute (yes, Office Depot loved me last summer), I'm keeping the same theme this year.  I did my own class decor packet, but I haven't had time to post on TpT.  I was able to post some goodies, like Punctuation Power, Superhero Bracelets and Hats, Focus Wall, Accelerated Reader Quiz Line, Word Wall, FREE 100 and 120 Charts, and I am 120 Days Smarter Badge, Cuff, and Hat/Crown in my TpT Store if you would like to check it out.

Our team consists of the Advanced Academics students (gifted learners) ranging from first through fifth grade, so you know what this means.... Whoop-Whoop! Throughout the year, students learned various concepts about being a superhero, character development, leadership roles, fictional superheroes (you know the kiddies had a ball with these), and non-fictional space heroes.  The students also learned about space, solar system, aliens, galaxies, space vehicles, moon, sun, etc...

We began planning for our grand culminating event the summer before school started.  We thought..."Hmmm, how can our fab students demonstrate everything they have learned?"  Tah-Dah- We came up with Galacticon, it's like a Comic Con, but we tied in the space theme.

We thought to have different stations - Comic Con, STEM-a-Con, Techno Con, Astro Con, Super Robo Con, and Drama Con. Our team decided to present a Choice Board to students based on these stations.  Especially with gifted learners, this is a great teaching strategy.  The students had to select one project they wanted to create.  The students had to create and development their own project; they could not just simply create the real solar system.  No, no, no.  We need to challenge the kiddies, so the students had to invent their own

-solar system
-space vehicle
-3D model of a planet
-write a script for a play
-create an iPad for a make-believe superhero (this choice was for primary grades)
-create a PowerPoint Movie, FB, IG, or Twitter account of a make-believe superhero 
-create a super robot
-write a complete story about a superhero in space

Pretty cool choices huh? 

The project was worth several grades and the students had to present in class.  Of course, the kiddies had to include a writing component.  The students were given a planning guide (plan of action), rubric, vocabulary list, flip book, and directions.  For my sake and sanity, I created a roster to keep track of who was doing what.  After the presentations, the students received their grades, which is also included in the product. Don't forget to print on Astrobrights paper for that extra pop!

Here are some examples of innovative projects...

Now for our grand culminating event, the famous Galacticon!  Thanks to our amazing parents, we transformed the cafeteria into an amazing Super Space! I created posters for each station so the projects would be displayed in the corresponding area.  Of course, parents were invited to attend to view the awesomeness that we worked so hard to create throughout the year! :) We even set up a Super Selfie and Super Food station.  In our Super Food station we had Moon Pies!

The kiddies dressed up as superheroes and you know that we, teachers, had to dress up too! I didn't want to miss out on the fun!  And guess what?????!!!! We had Batman and Super Girl join us!

The kiddies were excited!  The teachers were thrilled!  The parents were impressed! Administration was in love!  And this my friends, means only one thing...#teachertired!  Just kidding, yes we were exhausted, but the smiles were sooooooo worth it!

Are you thinking about a superhero theme?  How about space?  Well, this product has everything you need to help your students create their own fun. Just click on the image below to go directly to the product in my TpT Store.

So can I get a whoop-whoop?! What do ya think?  Remember that real superheroes do not wear capes.  And always know that you are someone's superhero everyday!

Create Your Own Desktop Background and Cute Buttons

So, you want to know how to make a cute screensaver?  I can help!  It's so easy, you are not going to believe it!  :) 

**Please note that these are the directions for PowerPoint 1994-2004 on Mac.**

Step 1-
Open up PPT.  Select "File" on the top left and click "Page Set Up."  Set your margins to width: 17" and height: 10.6". Click "Ok".  Click "Ok" again, even when it asks you to fix it (don't fix it).   

Step 2-
Insert a shape or digital paper of your choice to create your background.  

Step 3-
Add cute borders and text of your choice to create your design.  Try to leave some space on the top and on the bottom because these will get cut off on your computer screen.  My suggestion is to put a cute border on top and/or bottom and then center your main images on the page.  

Step 4-
In your PPT, go to the very top right and click on the word "PowerPoint." Select "Preferences." 

Step 5-
Click "Save." Set your margins to width: 1280 and height: 798.  This change will only be temporary; you should write down your original settings before you make the change.  

Step 6-
Save your file as a PPT and a PNG.  Once you save it on PPT, you can always make changes later. You will need the PNG file to put on your desktop. Save the PNG file on your desktop. 

Step 7-
Find the PNG image and right click on it.  Click "Set Desktop Picture."  Voila!  All done!  Enjoy your moment and new cutie! 

Feel free to click here for a free and cute desktop screensaver.  

Now I just learned how to make these cute little buttons.  Credits to Live, Laugh, Love Second for her post.  

It's so easy!  Ready, Set, Read...

*Open up a new PPT.  Actually, I just used the same PPT as the one with the desktop screensaver.  The choice is yours.  Insert a shape of your choice and you can change the color and size as you like.  Insert the text of your choice to name your button. You can format the shape by clicking on "Format" on the menu bar.

**Select the image with the text and click "Copy" or Command C.  

***Select the folder you would like to replace with your cute button.  Right click on the folder and select "Get Info." 

****Click one time only on the little folder on the very top left next to the name of the folder.  

*****Then, click Command V to paste your design button.  Voila!  All done! 

Easy, right!  I told ya! Can I get a whoop-whoop?! Enjoy your double moment! 

Well, I''m going to create one for my work computer so it could be ready when for my new kiddies! :) 

What do you think?  How are you going to design your desktop screensaver and buttons?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Whoop-Whoop!