Expert Badges

Years ago when I first started teaching 5th grade I created various independent study activities that students could choose to explore on their own that related to the content we were covering, but at a deeper level. After they had completed all the activities with competence, they earned an "Expert Bead" which they put on their colored pipe cleaner (we had a whole display!). For whatever reason, I had not continued with this project until this year.

With all the blogs posts and tweets about "gamifying education" and awarding digital badges (Edmodo does an awesome job with this!) I decided that in addition to the online badges my kids can earn this year, I am going to also involve some challenging explorations after which they can earn a physical badge. Brad Flickinger does an awesome job explaining how he and his school will be using them on his Digital Learning Environment Blog. I love the idea of the tiny buttons kids will wear on their backpacks, but the machines that make these well are beyond my budget!!

All of our 5th graders wear black cord lanyards with an ID (a program I'll explain in an upcoming post!). While trying to go to sleep one night this summer (isn't that when all the best ideas come?), I thought about using key tags that could be fastened onto the nylon lanyards for their Expert Badges this year. Here is a picture of what the first one they can earn will look like. It will be for some challenging work they will do, as Brad says in his video (Badges Part 2), "to show competence" in the area of Internet Safety and Research. I will post more about the criteria for earning the badge in the near future!

Internet Safety Expert Badge
Also coming soon, a post about the cool Microsoft Word add on that Avery has to allow you to print labels that are not included in Microsoft Publisher (like the tiny one above)!

Are you using digital or other badges this year with your kids? I'd love to hear how!

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