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
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
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?
No. I really 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.
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.
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. :)