The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: The Classroom Yard Sale

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Classroom Yard Sale

Are you looking for a new, unique way to motivate reluctant students without spending a fortune?  Consider having a monthly classroom yard sale.  Here's how it works...
  1. Get a roll of Single Raffle Tickets. Keep it in a secure location.
  2. Create a display of envelopes on a bulletion board - one for each student.
  3. When a student completes a task, stays on task, or does something exceptional, give him or her a ticket. 
  4. Immediately, the student writes his or her name on the back and then inserts it into his designated envelope.  (Or if you want to limit classroom movement, have the students put their tickets in their envelopes at one time. Personally, I think that movement is a good thing! See The Kinetic Classroom: Activities that Move Students to Learn)
  5. Throughout the quarter, have kids bring in "stuff" for the yardsale basket (could be a laundry basket or a simple box).  They might bring in books they've already read, toys they no longer want, etc.  Encourage classroom parents to participate by contributing items. Consider investing in Assorted Novelty Toys so everyone has the opportunity to buy at least one item. 
  6. On yard sale afternoon, arrange the items on tables labeled 1 Ticket, 2 Tickets, and 3 Tickets, depending on the size and relative value of the items.  Students without tickets can be the ticket takers behind the tables.  This will encourage them to earn tickets next quarter.  If you have no students who are ticketless, the students with the most tickets will go first, and then become the ticket takers.
  7. Arrange students by who has the most tickets in the front of the line to the least in the back of the line. 
  8. Students "buy" what they want, pay the ticket takers (who make sure the proper name is on the back!), and then sit down with their prize.  If they have tickets left over, they can put them back in their envelope for the next classroom yard sale.
This scheme has the added advantage of avoiding the unhealthy practice of rewarding good work with candy.  It also keeps the students working throughout the marking period, and even to the end of the year.

Happy Teaching!

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