No One Threw A Tomato

It's true.  No one threw a tomato.  Most of the comments were very supportive.  And I was actually a little surprised because I've mostly seen clip charts around Bloggy Land.  I have wanted to talk about gold tags for at least six months, but I was afraid.  Apparently, for no reason.  Because you all are super nice.  AS ALWAYS.

I felt like I had gone on and on and on in that post, but there were still a few questions.  So I'm going to answer them now.   

1.  How do parents feel about it?  Do you ever have a parent say that their child should have earned more gold tags than they actually did?

I have never had an issue with parents about gold tags.  In fact, just the opposite occurs.  Parents start using gold tags at HOME!!  Not to mention, in special circumstances, I will make the home/school connection by rewarding a student with gold tags in class for doing their homework at home without complaining.  Or whatever.  I work with the parents.  I'm otherwise known as a doormat.

The most common question parents ask about gold tags is:  How many gold tags should my child be earning each week?

I always say 10.  Because a student should be able to get two gold tags a day.  At least, that's what I think.  I'm the queen of gold tags so 10 is really low for my kiddos.  

2.  How do you get the kids to not expect/demand gold tags for every little thing they do?

My kids pretty much learn that day one.  As soon as a brand new first grader asks me for a gold tag because they picked up a piece of trash and they wanted me to know, I say:

NOPE.  Not on your life.  Not a chance.  Who do you think I am?  A pushover?  IN.  OH.  NO.  If you ask, the answer will always be NO.  Because I'm mean.  And that's that.  Don't ask.  Thanks for picking up that piece of trash, though.  Would you like to be our custodian for the whole week?  You are a fantastic trash picker upper.

3.  How do you teach this?

Day one.  I start gold tags on the first day of school because I need to have Fun Friday that first week  I want to establish rules and procedures.  Basically, I show my kids the Fun Friday chart (I tell them I'll go over each center a little bit at a time.  I usually talk/show/model one or two centers a day that first week.  If I don't have time to talk about one before the first Fun Friday, then I just remove the clips for that center and it will be closed.), explain the competition to earn the most, and start handing out gold tags right then and there.   

4.  What kind of time does this take?

No time at all.  I pass out gold tags all day.  If we're on the carpet, I teach my kids to keep their gold tags flat on the floor in front of them.  If they play with it, it's mine.  I just hold out my hand.  No words necessary.  I will pass out gold tags during a lesson if my kids are squirmy or sleepy or chatty or what have you.  If a student in the back is being a good role model, I will ask students to pass the gold tag back to Mr. Model.  It usually straightens Mrs. Lacks Following Rules right up.  I pass out gold tags all day long.  If I'm working with a small group and a table group is working exceptionally well together, I'll just say, "Red Table, go get 3 gold tags."  And then it's magically quiet.  

5.  Does it become automatic or do you just try to remember who to reward at the end of the day?

It is completely automatic for me.  I don't wait until the end of the day to reward kids.  I am giving out gold tags all day long.  There are times when the whole class might earn gold tags.  For example, I bribe reward great class behavior at assemblies with 5 gold tags each or something.  I'll pass those out after the kids have gone home so I can do it on my own time.  Here's the funny thing about it.  If I reward the WHOLE CLASS with FIVE GOLD TAGS EACH, everyone is still exactly where they were before they got those gold tags.  If Johnny had 7, now he has 12.  And if Little Missy had 12, she now has 17.  But my kids have never figured that out.  Never.  They still freak out that the whole class earned 5 gold tags.  Every.  Single.  Time.  

6.  Do I use a treasure box with this?

No.  Because I'm poor.  And mean.  Haven't you heard?  

But I did one time.  With a super sweet class.  17 girls and 3 boys.  BEST YEAR EVER.  CLEANEST CLASSROOM EVER.  SWEETEST CLASSROOM EVER.  QUIETEST CLASSROOM EVER.  So they deserved it.  If they had earned 10 gold tags or more that week, they earned a trip to the treasure box.  That only lasted one year and every single girl (and the 3 boys) went to the treasure box every.single.week.

So you could do something like that . . . 

7.  Do I send home anything daily to let parents know how their child's day was?


But you can!  Everything you need to communicate daily or weekly with parents is in this pack and it's all EDITABLE:

I personally don't think parents need to know that their child had "a great day" every single day.  I do make those random phone calls to let a parent know that their child has made amazing progress or did an extremely kind act, but I just don't feel the need to communicate about behavior every single day.  Do you?  I tell parents that no news is good news.

I also don't like to tattle on my kids.  I think a first grader is allowed to have a bad day.  Maybe the Bachelorette didn't pick who they thought she should have and so they're grumpy.  Or the cafeteria didn't serve churros for breakfast that day.  Who knows?  But I think kids are allowed to have a bad day if nothing major happened.  Don't you?  

If I have a behavior problem, then that kid is most likely on a different behavior plan anyway.  One in which the parent needs something sent home every single day.

I send home the certificates on Monday because I don't want to put pressure on myself to get them ready to go by Friday afternoon.  That's why the certificates say "last week".      

8.  What do you send home each day to the parents?

A happy kid.

Toot toot.  (That's me, tooting my own horn.)

See number 7 above.  :)

9.  Would this work in kinder?

Yes.  One of our first grade teachers went down to kinder and used gold tags.  

The only problem was my first grade team was SUPER UNHAPPY because we wanted gold tags to be special to our kids.  Not "We did this in Kindergarten."  I don't take that very well.  I pull out a book and say, "The title of this book is Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch."  And the kids say, "We read this in kindergarten!"  And I say, "No, you didn't!"  And they say, "Yes, we did!"  And so after I cry for a little bit, I say, "Well, you haven't heard ME read it and I'm the BEST story reader EVER IN ALL THE LAND!"  This happens ALL THE TIME.  Even if I tell a personal story.  "Let me tell you guys about the time I rescued a little boy from the restroom - " and they interrupt me with "We heard about that in Kindergarten!"  

So then I just go home.

Long story longer, gold tags work in kindergarten unless I teach at your school.  And then they just do not exist.  Or I make up stories about how they don't work in kindergarten.  

10. Where do the kids keep their gold tag pockets? 

I used to have my pockets glued to a poster.  

That presented some problems.  Such as traffic.  And dirty rotten thieves.

Now they are supposed to keep their pockets in their pencil box which is supposed to be inside their desk.  This is hit or miss.  At any rate, if a gold tag is on the floor, it's mine.  Unless the student is a super cutie patootie and then I make sure the gold tag finds its rightful owner.

11.  Is it hard to keep this up all day?

Not for me.  But it's second nature after having done it for about 10 years.

12.  Do you carry the gold tags around with you?  Or do you keep them somewhere for the kids to get them?

I do both.  I carry gold tags in my pockets (and I always end up bringing some home with me, and then washing them, and then finding them in the lint tray of the dryer) so that I always have them on hand.  And I keep two different baskets filled in our classroom.  One is right next to where I do most of my teaching (carpet area) and the other is near my Ladybug.  I have easy access and so do the kids if I say, "So-and-so, go get 2 gold tags."  Meanwhile, the other little stinkers sit up a little straighter, become a little quieter, etc, etc.

By the way, never worry that some little rascal will take more than the two you are trusting him to take.  It will happen.  And then everyone will rat him out.  So you can just say, "Never mind.  None for you.  Hope you make a better choice next time, blah, blah, blah."  Or however you speak to your kids.

Here are some more tidbits that no one asked about:

*Paying each other

One of my commenters mentioned something about the students paying each other gold tags . . . and yes, I do that.  It's not often, but you could definitely talk about it with your class.  One of my rules is to be kind to others.  So if a student continues to use hurtful words or whatever, you can have it set up that they pay the victim 2 gold tags.  Or 1 gold tag.  Or whatever.   

*Team Teaching

All my teammates use Gold Tags.  This makes it super easy for us to reward each other's kids.  I love it.  On the flip side, we can also take gold tags away from a first grader who is not in our class. That doesn't happen often.  But it can.  

Hypothetically, if a kid that wasn't in your class told you that you were too short to be a teacher, and that your last name (if said slowly) sounded like Old and Dumb, and they said it in a holier than thou voice, you might feel compelled to take a gold tag away.  Hypothetically, of course.  

*Gold Tag Factory

I tell my kids that I get the gold tags from the Gold Tag Factory and that they are worth gold.  So they are not to be folded, rolled up, or put in our mouths, noses, pants, ears, shirts, etc.  That will happen.  And then the gold tag is mine.  Because I'm mean.

And on very rare occasions, when it feels like I'm running out of gold tags and it's not yet Friday (when they will turn them in and we'll start all over), I tell my kids I need gold tags so I'm watching for bad behavior.  I say this in a joking manner.  Obviously.  But I'm half serious.  Because I never have time to go to the Gold Tag Factory.


Yes.  Re-using gold tags from week to week does mean germs will be running rampant in your room.  


It's no more than usual.

Cough, cough.


Pardon me.

Well, that's all.  

I hope this was informative and not too boring.

Thank you so much for all of the comments and support.  I am SO relieved now.  :)


  1. Loved this post! I think Gold Tags sound amazing.

  2. You had me at Gold.....now I am totally sold! Super idea!!

  3. loved your first post...but honestly this one is even better!!! I love how you make something so important so much fun! I'm in the process of making my "rainbow" tags (just because I'm a hoarder and have lots of leftover strips of cardstock in many colours that I refused to throw out because I knew I'd find a great use for them some day.) Thanks for the great idea!

    Books, Blocks and Baskets

  4. Great idea- I already made my super cute pirate behavior clip chart for this next year- so maybe next year I'll put this into practice. Thanks

  5. I really think I am going to try this. Gold Tags for me this year!
    First Grade Blue Skies

  6. I LOVE this! I am a first year teacher so I don't have a behavior system in place but I knew I wanted something that focused more on the positive behavior than constantly harping on the negative. I am a firm believer that if you make positive behavior rewarding, the kids will go with it and work hard to give you the behavior that you want. This is a great way to do that! I definitely think I will try that.

    I am a first year teacher and brand new to the blogging community. Come follow my journey at http://firstgradesensei.blogspot.com/

  7. I completely agree. I do not like clip charts. This is the first year I've used one, and I didn't like it. I ended up abandoning it and reverting to my instinctive behavior management system - if you tick me off, I'm writing a note to your mom in your agenda. So there.

    It worked slightly better than the behavior chart. But clearly I need a better thought-out system.
    Buzzing with Ms. B

  8. I have seen all the Clip Chart hoopla around blogland... and had even began making my own to try out this year. Buuuuut, you've convinced me otherwise! I may report in a mere week and a half, but my behavior system is getting an overhaul :) Thank you!

    First Grade FUNdamentals

  9. Somehow I managed to miss your first post about Gold Tags. What a great idea!! I'm currently a clip chart user. (Which is funny because prior to joining the blogging community I thought I was the only one who did since everyone I knew in real time was using the red, yellow, green card system that I wasn't a fan of. I really do like it. But great bloggy brains apparently think alike) But I LOVE this idea too!! I Mostly because of how you can use it to teach tallies. And because it's got a built in reward every week. (Fun Friday is a must for me because it's the only day of the week we don't have specials. Which means, it's the longest day ever.) Now I'm conflicted. I just switched my whole team over to clip charts after 4 years. Maybe this was a sign that now I need to switch them over to gold tags...love it!!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

  10. I'm behind in reading blogs again so I just now read your first post. I do use the clip chart but really like your gold tag system. Hmmm...now you have me thinking...
    Finally in First

  11. I've been using a similar system in my room, golden tickets! I get yellow tickets from WalMart! I will not hand out any rewards for students that ask for them! I'm also mean! I've taken away tickets for destruction of other's property, unsafe behavior, or disrespectful behavior. I take away 50% of their tickets and that hurts! But they learn, and these are the students with severe behavior disorders! Keep up the good work and handing out the gold!

    Teaching Special Kids

  12. I love this idea (and your posts about it too!!!) I'm wondering if I can get all of the other teachers on my team on board...? PS- I think your hair is way prettier than Wil's, Kristinn! :-)

  13. Your classroom sounds just.like.mine! Except ours is bees. I give bees out all day long. The kids keep their bees in an envelope mounted to cardboard and stuck on the wall. They totally self monitor everything and at 10 bees they get a lucky dip (prize box). My kids average2 or 3 trips to the prize box every term (my very quiet awesome listeners maybe get another trip too).
    Bees work for us - I just cut a whole bunch and keep them in the box and the kids know where they are.
    You have inspired me to blog about this this week. Do you mind if I link back to you?

  14. Very informative and I love it. I give my kiddos pennies to keep in their pencil boxes inside of an empty film canister - yet still.... they are lost - constantly. They use them to buy items from our behavior prize catalogue {no treasure box..yay!}. Maybe gold tags would be more difficult to misplace.

  15. My system is similar except I use money stamps. The kids have a bank (index card) for the week. I stamp and my banker stamps. I teach 3rd grade so this helps them continue to practice counting coins throughout the year. We have Friday Free Time where the kids who have earned the most money for the week choose first. They also get to shop first. My store is a bunch of laminated index cards with things like "no shoes for the day" written on them. More popular ones cost more. Students save the change from their shopping or can choose to bank their entire income for the week. Having money stamped on an index card prevents stealing. At the beginning of the year, I allow students to get plastic money to match their coins if needed when counting.

  16. I'm a clip chart user but your gold tags sound like such a good idea! I love your blog! Thanks for always making us all laugh with each and every post!

    Mrs. D

  17. I love reading your blog. You are hilarious! Never fails to bring a smile to my face reading your posts. =)

  18. This post made me laugh! I love it!! I am still unsure about what system I will use this year. I have never used the clip chart, but you are right, everyone else in blog land seems to. That does not mean I have to. I'll have to think! :)

  19. I have taught K for several years and have used the Circle of Respect and a clip-like system. Now I am moving to 1st and want to do something different. I think I found it! Thank you!

  20. I use a clip chart and it worked really well for me last year so I am going to keep it, but I like your idea!

    I especially like that you said you don't report to parents every night. I feel like I hardly have enough time to TEACH during the day let alone do all of that other stuff! Also, with the clip chart... I thought the whole point was that you can move up and down throughout the day - that you can make a mistake and then make up for it later, the same as your gold tags. But if I report to a parent that their kid ended up on orange or whatever, that isn't necessarily indicative of the day......... okay, rant over. :)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  21. I already started buying some fun toys(educational of course!) getting my stuff ready for Friday fun Day! I wish I could do it everyday the first month of school!!

  22. I think I am going to the Gold Tag Factory tomorrow.

    Terri Izatt

  23. QUESTION: I am definitely ready for a change and this sounds like just the thing. But I was wondering what you do with the little darling who had to give back his free gold tags by lunchtime on Monday. Do you ever have anyone sit out at recess or go to another classroom for a 5 minute timeout (or an hour if you forget to send for him and the teacher who has him feels sorry for you and fears for his life so she keeps him)? Do you have an individual behavior plan that you prefer?

  24. I just love reading your stuff. You have the BEST voice! Thanks for sharing about the Gold Tags; I'll just bet those Firsties LOVE being in your class!!

    Here's to a FUNtastic new year,

    The Corner On Character

  25. Thanks for sharing! It sounds a lot like the ticket system we use in our second grade...the kids have to earn 100 each nine weeks to go to the "Fantasticket Party"....but I like your weekly one. I've done Friday prizes with them as well, if they've earned enough, but you're right - it gets costly, and then they want to do it before recess, where some grumble they don't get enough time outside, etc. (You know the drill).

    Hmmm...like the idea of gold tags though! Do you laminate yours to help keep them more durable? I might have missed that part. :)

  26. I love each one of your posts. You are just too funny! I love how you are giving others a new idea other than a clip chart. =)

    Heather's Heart

  27. You are HILARIOUS!!! I LOVE your posts!!! :)

    I've nominated you for an award!! Come on over to our blog and pick it up!

  28. I hate to stay I have used a flip chart for the past...many years:( have struggled with this as it lacked the positive and have tried several other things only to revert back.

    I have thought about clip charts and the whole up and down thing, but I can just hear the parents now, plus its not always an accurate assessment of the day.

    So.... I am GOING FOR THE GOLD!I also just found your blog (don't know how I missed it) and my cheeks hurt from laughing so hard! I want to be a FLY ON YOUR WALL for a day!

    The Resourceful Apple

  29. I love this idea! I did something similar years ago, but flipped to the clip last year. Might be time for a change back. I had a quick question (should have asked it in the last post!) How would you grade this? I have to give conduct grades each week. My wheels are turning, but I didn't know if you already had something figured out!

  30. I've read both posts (about 3x each). I love, love, love the idea of gold tags. I can totally see how it would work to increase positive behaviors in a self-contained classroom.

    Our school has adopted the "clipchart" as a way to let parents know nightly about behavior. Our admin wants it across the board.

  31. This really helps!! I am very interested in gold tags....I might need to start doing it in my classroom!

  32. I love this idea. I have currently used the red,green,yellow cards that the kids flipped, but I always felt I had to do more than just the cards. I have a jar that the kids have to work together to fill and get rewards when it is filled (its just a mason jar). I want to use your gold tags, but I heard that our Behavior Action team at my school wants us all to do the clip chart as a school wide thing. So if that is not true, I think I will be using the gold tags.

  33. Great post! I'm in 3rd grade, and another teacher and I have a similar system with a regrouping twist: we do popsicle sticks- green ones are worth 1, blues are worth 10, and reds are worth 100. We give them out throughout the day, but they can only trade first thing in the morning. (10 greens- you get a blue; 10 blues, you get a red.) I have had "stick store" where the kids buy junk with their sticks; even had coupons in there for "Wear a Hat" and stuff like that- but I am LOVING the *free* Friday Fun Time!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  34. This is great idea! I am definately implementing this in my room this year. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Do you do fun friday centers at the end of the day and for how long?
    2. What about the kids that didn't get enough tickets, what do they do when everyone else is at centers?

    Thanks again for sharing this!

  35. I am totally implementing these this year...except mine are green, not gold. LOL Do you have a parent letter that you send home (in the beginning) to explain the whole system to parents?

    I think it's going to work great!!

  36. You make me laugh out loud! My husband thinks I've lost my mind. Maybe I have! I know it's late in the year, but I'm starting golden tickets this week! This works perfectly, since I'm reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I've used card charts and clip charts, and I'm over them! Thanks for the tip and the laugh!

  37. OMG you are awesome! I laughed out loud! I now follow you.