1) Eric Carle books-- Got those at my library's book sale
2) Dr. Seuss books/games/etc-- Have bought several from yard sales, thrift stores, and Target
3) Echo mics
Number 3 has been driving me crazy ALL summer. I have looked in every place (ie..Walmart, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, thrift stores, yard sales.....) known to man. Why are these little mics so important to me?
The main reason I want these mics is for articulation drills. The majority of children I have encountered are natural "hams" and LOVE to perform for their own amusement (and, ours, coincidentally). Mirrors? Yeah....the kids usually start making faces at themselves immediately after I pull them out. We get to learn tons about our mouths that way. Microphones? Well, those just add an incentive to actually do the drills. They can imagine that they are rock stars, pop singers, or a singer in a Mariachi band. It doesn't really matter to me as long as it makes learning their sound(s) fun.
Secondly, these mics are not just for articulation. You can also use them to have your students pretend to be on a news show. They have to "report" about important events--namely, what's happening in the book we're reading that week--to their audience. It encourages them to pay attention to the story and it's great retell practice. You may have them ask each other questions as part of the "interview" to practice asking and answering questions. It is also a great way to work on formulating coherent sentences. Maybe, I'll even inspire one of them to go into the news someday.
8/18/12 was apparently a day of destiny. My father asked me to go with him to Target to find a new television. I went down the party isle on a whim to see if they had any cute favors for my prize box and I ended up hitting the jackpot. Yes, I found three echo mics! The best part was the lovely price of $1 each. (The television being out of stock equated to finding another mic at the Target on the other end of town...lol.) So I'm lucky enough to have my own "Teacher's mic" to use when I model the activities.
If there is that one impossible item to find on your must have list, please don't give up on finding it. Persistence can pay off in the end.