Monday, May 16, 2016

Trading In the Treasure Box - Switching to Star (Brag) Tags

     I teach 2nd grade religious education at my church. I may not be teaching full time (yet!) but I love that I still get to be in a school setting and create activities for my kiddos to make learning our faith more hands on and fun.  I teach with a great friend and former teacher and we're always wondering and thinking about what we could do to improve our instruction and the activities we do with our students.  We are so limited with time since we only have them for an hour and a fifteen minutes each Sunday from September through May.  This past year, I implemented our Caught Being Godly treasure box.

     The kids earned tickets for being in class, having their folder, passing prayer testing, passing their Sacrament interview questions, great behavior, and when they and their parents attended the Sacrament parent meetings.  Then on most Sundays, I would pull out 3-5 tickets and those kids would choose a treat out of the treasure box.
The kids loved the idea of getting treats but then they started asking for tickets and prizes. That wasn't the point and I explained that to them.  They should be doing these things because it's what is right and what is asked of them.  So occasionally, we'd go a week or two without drawing tickets! 

     At the end of this year (we had our last class this past Sunday), I knew that I wanted to get rid of this and try something else.  Lily uses Brag Tags in her kindergarten class and LOVES getting rewarded with them.  So, I decided to make some up for my class for next year.  But instead of calling them Brag Tags (we shouldn't really brag about our behavior) we're going to call them Star Tags!  

     Our students have Catholic prayers that they are expected to memorize in each grade.  In the past, I've bought dollar store toys and goodies to put in a treasure box.  We normally have around 10 students and drew out 3-5 names a week, so this always worked. After seriously cleaning out our house and getting rid of a ton of junk, I realized that the students were taking home more junk for their families!  They're meaningless trinkets that the kids don't care about by the time they get home and add to the family clutter.  I wanted something different to motivate the kids but still had a special meaning. Something that wouldn't cost a lot of money but would get them excited.  Star Tags!

     All of our tags have to be earned, except for our weekly lesson tags.  These are very specific to our class, our textbook and the lessons taught.  I'm working on designing a tag for each weekly lesson to go along with our text books. I'm still in the planning stages on the lesson tags, but I'll share those once I'm finished.  

     The one part that I'm unsure about is how to store them.  I'm torn about whether or not I should send the tags home each week with the kids or keep them in our classroom- until the end of the year.  I want the kids to be able to show their parents what they've earned but I'm really worried that they might not come back!  The kids/parents have a hard enough time bringing their folders back each week.  So, I'll probably end up keeping them in the classroom (church basement).

     I've decided that when I introduce the Star Tags, I'll be explaining this big rule of mine- You can NOT ask for a Star Tag!  My rule is that a student may not ask for a star tag nor can they point out a behavior that another student (a.k.a. friend) is doing in an effort to get a star tag.  I tell my students that the teacher must notice this and decide if it is "star tag worthy".

     My Star Tags include a full-color and black and white version to fit your printing needs.  Simply select the tags that you need in your classroom.  Print.  Laminate. Cut apart. Hole punch at the top of each tag.   There is no need to cut apart before laminating.  You can find them HERE.

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