The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whose Head is Harder?

        This past Friday, my teaching partner Holly and I had--what will be---our monthly "auction."

         The incentive plan we devised to use this year involves "dollars."  The students earn a dollar if they come to school on time and stay all day, one for good behavior in class, one for doing their homework, one for appropriate hall behavior, and a dollar for good behavior in their reading class.  There are extra ways to earn money as well---if they have a classroom job that week, wearing a uniform, and so on.

         We are thinking that a trickle of economic knowledge will flow into our students'  brains.  We also wanted to get away from the punishing, the "taking away" syndrome.  Students earn the bucks, or they don't.

           Our auction was a chance for the students to spend their earnings.  Some of the things we auctioned off were: mechanical pencils, Jonas Brothers backpacks (yuck!), still-in-their-wrappers McDonalds toys, new Pound Puppies, and other assorted junk.  Since they are in 3rd grade, they shrieked and hooped and hollered with every item that we held up during the pre-show.

        Both Holly and I had warned the class, for several days, that since this was a private sale, we have the right to refuse service to anyone.  Just because they had money did not mean they would be able to bid.  I used this example:  If you go into a store and act foolish and disruptive, they will escort you out of the store. It doesn't matter if you have $100 in your pocket; they don't want you there.  Some of us are acting silly and disruptive in the class; we are going to refuse your business.

          Before the bidding began, we let each potential bidder know how many dollars they had to spend.  Those who were not going to be able to bid were told so, and I did not even bother to total up their dollars.

           The students who were excluded from the sale are being disruptive and disrespectful on a daily, countless-times-a-day basis.  They don't earn free-choice at recess and instead, have to run/walk the track. (Some of them are becoming quite the runners, since they do it every day.)  They did not earn our twice-monthly fun activity.

           I think some of them think I am going to soften.  They believe that eventually, I will give in, that I will grow tired and allow them to do whatever they please (like some of their parents).  They're wrong.

photo by godalwayshungry

          After all, my parents could attest to how stubborn and persistent and hard-headed I am...


  1. What a creative approach to teach and address various things. I'm rooting for you to stay stubborn! I suspect you will earn a few student's respect in the long run.

  2. Karen--I certainly hope so. As my grandfather would have said, "I've got a long row to hoe." And thanks for the compliment AND the faith...

  3. That sounds like a great approach... and I don't for a moment think that you're going to lose this battle of wills :)


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