Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Going Once. Going Twice. SOLD!

Classroom auctions are a great way to increase positive behaviors in students. In my classroom, students earn tickets for positive behaviors.  You can give tickets for just about anything- following school rules, helping another student, using kind words, turning in homework on time, reading extra minutes at home, or bringing back a paper with a parent signature.  Really, any time you see a student doing a great job, or going above and beyond, they can be rewarded with a ticket.

You can purchase a roll of tickets at an office supply store or a party supply store.  I've also seen them at a few discount stores.

When the mood strikes me, I will hold an auction in my classroom.  I never let my students know when, so it is completely unexpected.  I love the element of surprise!  Usually, I will choose a day when the entire class has shown great behavior, or worked extremely hard on a project. Once I announce that there will be an auction, excitement erupts in the classroom and students immediately start pulling out their tickets and counting them.  It's always a ticket counting frenzy!

Classroom auctions teach students how to be responsible and keep track of their tickets.  I always tell them that tickets are like money and if you lose it, it can't be replaced.  They really do learn the value of a ticket.

Here's how to prepare:  
1.  Start giving out tickets to students with the behavior criteria that you set.  Make sure you give students something to keep their tickets in such as an envelope or baggie. I use small coin envelopes that I found at Staples Office Supply. They are the perfect size for tickets.

2.  Gather small items from The Dollar Store or other discount stores.  You'll need items such as school supplies, novelty items, puzzles, art supplies, small stuffed animals, candy, small games, trinkets, and whatever else you can find that is cheap and that kids would like.  One time I sent my husband with $20 to the Dollar Tree to pick up auction items for me.  He came back with things I wouldn't even think of like whoopie cushions, magic tricks, and gag gifts.  The kids went crazy for this stuff.  If I get something free and I think my students would like it, I throw it in the auction box.  Trust me, they will bid on ANYTHING.  You can also ask parents for small items for your auction box. 

3.  Make gift certificates or coupons with things you'd like to auction.  I use these quite a bit because most of them don't cost me anything.  Here are some ideas for gift certificates:
  • sit in teacher's chair for a day
  • extra computer time
  • extra recess
  • board game time with a friend
  • chew bubble gum for the day
  • no shoes day
  • sit by a friend for a day
  • lunch with the teacher
  • picnic with a friend and the teacher
  • email or send a video message to your parent 
  • bring a stuffed animal for the day
  • bring a favorite drink to school
  • line cut for a day
  • change classroom jobs for the week
  • bring a pillow to school
  • wear slippers for the day
  • be the next auctioneer
Here's how it works: 
1.  Decide on your student helpers for the auction.  I choose one student to be my "assistant".  This student pulls items out of the auction box.  I choose two students to be the "accountants".  They are responsible for counting the tickets after an item is purchased.  I choose two students to be "runners". They write down the amount the item is sold for on a sticky note and take the item to the "accountants".  I am usually the "auctioneer", but sometimes I will auction off a coupon for "guest auctioneer".  Students love this!

2.  Go over the rules for the auction.  Here are the rules that I use.  Students must remain in their seats.  Only one person can bid at a time.  You can only bid the number of tickets you actually have.  This is important because sometimes students forget to count their tickets ahead of time and bid over the amount of tickets they actually have.  So, make sure they count their tickets in advance. If you bid on an item, you have to bid over the amount the person before you bid.  Once the auctioneer says "sold" there is no more bidding on that item.  If a student doesn't follow the rules, then they forfeit their right to participate in the rest of the auction for that day.

3.  Once students understand the rules,  choose an item to auction.  Describe the item, ask for an opening bid, and then letting the auction fun begin!  Hold up the item and make a BIG deal about it.  I try my best to do an "auctioneer voice" and my students just giggle.  When the bids for an item have slowed down, don't forget to yell, "Going once, twice, SOLD". Sometimes, I add funny things like, "SOLD to the little lady in the polka dot shirt."  Again, my students just giggle.  I usually only auction 5-10 items at a time.  I try to keep the auction at about 15 minutes or less.   

There are different things you can do with auctions to add a bit of variety. You can wrap items and display them for students to see at the beginning of the day.  They can't touch the items.  Just look.  Then, they bid blindly on the items.  It's a fun twist.

After your first auction, your students will be clamoring for more.  It's a great way to encourage positive behavior in students.  Have fun and let the bidding begin!

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