Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Auction

Auction Day

Last week marked the end of our first quarter.  To celebrate we have an auction where the students get to spend their hard-earned fake money and bid for items.  Here is how it works.

The first day of the school year they are given two pieces of paper.  One has the school rules on it, the other ways to earn fake money.  Here is this year’s list.

$$$$$$  Ways to Earn Merit Money   $$$$$$

Get a 100% on a test   100

Get ten 100s (1,000 Club) 1,000

Scripture Memory 2nd week   500

Scripture Memory 3rd week   400

Scripture Memory 4th week   300  (possible 1,200 dollars)

Sing a Geography song from memory   500

Bring in a science thingy   100  (limit one per day)

Book Report   100

Literary Award (10 book reports)         1,000 

Cleaning Jobs             ??? (they apply for these)

Random Act of Kindness   100

(you may not report this on yourself)

Best Desk              100

Most merit bucks the day before the auction 1,000

2nd most merit bucks day before the auction   500

Straight “A” Honor Roll 1,000

A-B Honor Roll   500

Bring Skittles for Miss Delores         100

Bring Peanut M & Ms or Dr. Pepper for Mrs. Swanson     100

Bring Peanut M & Ms  for Mr. Swanson     100

Find a spelling or grammatical error in print 100    (limit one per day)  

The students are usually so excited about it that they bring in “science” the very first day of school.  In fact, several of them had boxes of items they had collected during the summer to use once school started.  

The most common ways our students earn money is bringing in “science” every morning (one per day), saying their scripture memory (once a week), getting 100% on a quiz or test, and bringing their teacher’s favorite snack items.  (There is a limit on this as well.)  

Now, some people say that we shouldn’t reward them like this because it will spoil them, and they shouldn’t be expecting to earn things.  Do you not get a paycheck for doing your job?  I know they are children, but if they work hard, make good grades, have an interest in God’s creation, memorize his Word, and are diligent in doing all these things, is it wrong to reward them?  

A few weeks before the auction they may request up to three items that they would like to see at the auction.  These lists are usually very interesting.  While there are always a few soccer ball type items, most of the items they request are educational, such as globes, games, puzzles, paints, Legos, sketch pads, and  books.  We try to always have some pretty fabric for the older girls, and a $5 bill or two as well.  

As the items are brought in, I keep a list of who brought what so that we’ll know who to write thank-you notes to later.  

Last year one set of parents made a Mystery Box.  It was made of wood and was tied shut with string.  It went for a lot of fake money.  Inside was a bottle of Gatorade, chips, a roll of toilet paper (to keep things from rattling around) and a $10 bill.  Mystery boxes have been our students’ favorites since then.  This week we had a girl one and a boy one.  

Next, we choose all the suitable choices and put a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board at church.  Most of the church members sign up for something and bring it in the week of the auction.  

Then we call Taylor Moss, an official auctioneer at All American Auction in Rosebud, Texas.  Taylor is in his second year of volunteering for us and we all look forward to his arrival.  He is a great auctioneer, and a very kind man.  One time he was auctioning off a pair of colorful, fuzzy very girly socks.  When he didn’t get any bids at first he said, “Nobody likes my socks.”  :-)  We do reward him for his services with a load of cookies, homemade bread, pickles, cakes and gift certificates.  

Taylor always asks for a few volunteers to help show the auction items.  

The day of the auction we have morning devotions and the first hour of school as normal.  Then we break at 10:00 and set up for the auction.  About two tables with the auction items are brought out.  We pair up younger students with the older ones to help them count their money.  Each student makes their own bidding card with their name written on a 5x7 index card glued to a paint stirrer.  Several parents, grandparents, church members and visitors usually show up as well. 

Then the bidding begins.  I write down each item, what it sold for, and who bought it.  Then I go and collect the money immediately from each student.  Usually most of the students end up with a little something.  Some older ones like to save up their money until the end of the year when we have a few bigger items.  When it is all over we clean up, have lunch, and then spend the afternoon doing school as normal.  Hopefully the students are motivated to work hard for the next auction.

That evening I make a note card with each student’s name at the top.  Underneath I write each item they bought, and who purchased it for the auction.  Then I give them a 5x8 folded card.  They write a thank-you note to the person, and it is then delivered to that person’s church mailbox.  

They are encouraged to write sincere, specific thank-you notes.  I always use the worst thank-you note I ever got as a an example of how NOT to write a thank-you note. 

Dear Deana,
Thanks for the frame.  I like frames.  My husband does too.

I encourage them to write why they like it, how they will use it, as well as to express appreciation for that person’s support of our church school.  I also encourage them to draw a nice picture on the front of the card using either a Bible verse or picture of the item.  I also expect to have some color on it.  They usually amaze me.  

Here is an example of one written this week by an elementary student.

Dear ______,
Thank you so much for the really neat chess and checker set.  They will be perfect for winter evenings.  My uncle also likes to play chess.  
Thanks again,

End Results:
Positive, fun environment
Learning encouraged
Achievement encouraged
Motivated students
Appreciation for other’s contributions
Math skills practiced (counting and subtracting money)
English and writing skills used (writing thank-you notes)
Students learn the cause-and-effect concept of hard work equals rewards (By the way, we continually stress working towards God’s kingdom, not making money and being a successful business person.)

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