Are you looking for a new way to track students’ learning and behavior? Try digital badging. Students will work hard to earn badges, and you’ll know exactly which standards they’ve mastered.
I read a lot about using “brag tags” as a classroom management system. Students earn little papers that they put on a ring for meeting behavior or academic goals.
I really liked the idea, but I didn’t want to spend hours copying and cutting the little tags for this system to work. Plus, I didn’t want to waste time digging for the correct brag tag when a student earned one.
I started looking for an online alternative and found “digital badging.” The basic idea is that as students complete a task or master a skill they receive a “badge” on the computer.
If your school has 1:1 technology, digital badging will save you time and space. There are no brag tags to cut or store.
I wanted my students to be excited about earning digital badges. My son loves playing Pokemon Go, and a lot of my students liked Pokemon last year.
Pokemon’s slogan is “Gotta catch them all”. I wanted the badges to be something my students could collect.
Then, I had an idea!
Several years ago, my husband, Tony, created and trademarked a collection of animated characters called Notebook Babies. They have even been featured on Sesame Street, and the students in our classes love them.
Tony already uses them as a part of his behavior management system in his fifth grade classroom by printing them on “Strike-Free Passes”. We just ran into a few of his students from 5 years ago, and they said they still have their “Strike-Free Passes” because they were so excited to collect all of the Notebook Babies.
This gave me even more hope that digital badging with the Notebook Babies would be a success.
Setting Up Digital Badging in Your Classroom
Here are the steps to getting started with digital badging in your classroom.
#1 – Display the badges around the room, so the students are able to see what they can earn.
I started the year by hanging all of the Notebook Babies around my classroom. When the students entered on the first day, they asked why the characters were there. I explained that they would be earning the character badges for meeting goals throughout the year. That built up the excitement from the first day.
#2 – Match the badges with the standards.
I created a Master Badge List that has each Common Core Standard matched with a Notebook Babies badge. That way, I know which badges to award for each standard.
The students also need to know which badge they are working to earn. On my Learning Target board for each subject, I display the standard, I Can statement, and badge. That way students know exactly what they need to do to earn that badge.
#3 – Assess students’ mastery of the standards.
Give an assessment to see if the students have mastered the standard. I created a weekly assessment for reading and math to see if my third graders mastered our standard focus. Each assessment is out of 4 points. If the students scored a 3 or 4 on the assessment, they earned that digital badge.
These assessments are also extremely helpful for standards-based report cards and parent-teacher conferences! Click the pictures below to find out more.
#4 – Award the digital badges.
After you’ve graded an assessment, give the badges to the students who earned them. The student badge collector is a document that you can share with your students in Google Drive. Then, just copy and paste the Notebook Babies badge into the student’s badge collector.
#5 – Celebrate milestones.
Set a goal for your students to earn a certain number of badges. As they accomplish that, give them a small treat. For example, my students set the goal to earn 10 badges. As each student hit that milestone, I gave him a small notebook with a personalized message telling him how proud I was of him.
#6 – Give badges for special events.
In addition to the badges for mastering standards, there are also badges for special holidays and events. The whole class gets these badges. Here’s the one for Valentine’s Day.
Start Digital Badging Now!
My students absolutely love digital badging! They work so hard to earn the badges, and it is a great motivator for them to meet academic and behavior goals. They are determined to collect all the Notebook Babies.
Get everything you need to start digital badging in the Teach Without Tears TPT Store.
Digital Badging sets are currently available for 3rd grade.
Watch this video to see how easy it is to use digital badging in your classroom.
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Find out more about standards-based grading.
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What Do You Think?
How do you track the standards your students have mastered?
Let me know in the comments below.
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