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Badges and Brags Wall


A few years ago I started teaching an entrepreneurship class. The goals of this class included students growing their business and their professional skills. I wanted to encourage students to take risks. However, with risks sometimes comes failure, which is ok. It's an opportunity to learn from those failures. But, with the way school is structured, students are programmed to think only bad can come from failure. In an attempt to build a classroom culture that values growth over grades, I created the “Badges and Brags” wall.


The “Badges and Brags” wall is a way for students to have goals to work towards, no matter how many times it takes them to achieve that goal. It also allows students to work at their own pace and move ahead as soon as they are ready.


How it Works


I created a number of badges that represent milestones for students as they are forming their businesses. These badges include all of the minimum requirements for the class as well as extra milestones to challenge students to push themselves to achieve more. Students have their own board where they can display the badges they have earned and also express accomplishments they are proud of (brags).


Students never need to ask me what they should be working on, because they can look to see what the next badge is they can earn. Also, students are less worried about failing because there are no traditional grades attached to these badges. If it takes multiple attempts to earn the badge, there are no ramifications. Students are free to take risks and learn from mistakes without worrying about how it will affect their GPA.


“The ‘Badges and Brags Wall’ gives students something to work towards rather than a grade.” ~ Connor W., senior


Using the “Badges and Brags” Wall in Other Classrooms

I know not every teacher teaches entrepreneurship and not all students are starting a business, but I believe the “Badges and Brags” Wall could be used in all classrooms at all grade levels.


Here are some ways the “Badges and Brags” Wall could be used.


Encouraging students to challenge themselves when they finish classwork early

Badges could be awarded to students for work completed after they finish initial

assignments early. We all have those students who always finish their work early. Many times if we give them something extra to do to try and challenge them, they feel as if they are being punished for completing their work early. With this system, we can take away that feeling and replace it with a feeling of excitement for earning new badges.


Encouraging good behavior

This can be another way to enforce good behavior with our students. Maybe we have a “professional behavior during a guest speaker” badge, or a “superstar with a sub” badge.


Breaking up a large project

Students can be overwhelmed when it comes to a large project that takes days or weeks to complete. Break up that project into smaller “badge worthy” pieces to make it less daunting to our students.


New Skill Badges

During a PE or Fine Arts class, create badges for skills that students will learn throughout the year. When students master these skills, they can add it to their badge board.


Differentiation

Students in the same class do not all have to be working toward the same badges. You can have different sets of badges for different students to work towards, allowing for differentiation in the classroom.


Practice Goals Setting

Have students create their own badges to work towards. This can be a great lesson in goal setting and the steps it takes to reach those goals.


Soft Skill Badges

Soft skills are something all of our students need to work on. By creating a “wrote a thank you note” badge or “scheduled an appointment” badge we can slip in some of these everyday skills we know our students need into their educational day.


However you use this tool, the “Badges and Brags” Wall is great to keep students from focusing on the grade and push them to focus on the growth.


If you have another way to incorporate the “Badges and Brags” Wall into your classroom, let me know so we can grow together. Email me at johnsonprenuers@gmail.com.


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