Every Monday, I give my students ten of these tickets (I usually order them from Oriental Trading, but have also seen them at Wal-mart and Target):
(image from Google)
At the end of the 9 weeks, the students turn in their tickets for play money and we hold a classroom auction.
The students bring in garage-sale-type items from home (they are NOT to go out and buy anything) and bid on them using "money" they have earned. Whatever money they don't spend, I add onto the next 9 weeks' auction. For example, one child was absent on the day we did our first 9 weeks' auction, so she had over $100.00 to spend in addition to the money she earned this 9 weeks.
With this system, the students also have the opportunity to earn more money. If they get a compliment from another teacher, are caught doing something kind for others, etc., I may offer a couple of extra dollars. The students are not allowed to ask for money; extra tickets are given at the teacher's discretion.
The second 9 weeks' auction is the most anticipated because students want to buy presents for their family members. I encourage them to bring in items for all ages. Here are a few items from last week's auction:
I know this system may not work for every teacher, as some may teach in low socioeconomic areas and the students may be unable to bring items in from home. I just wanted to share an idea that has worked for me. My students and I love the ticket/auction system!