July Goals

July.  You read that right.  JULY.  I know some of you are just now getting out of school for the summer while some of you are counting down the days 'til school starts again.  Target has moved in all of their school supplies (in my area anyway) and we're already getting back-to-school flyers in the mail. Seems like the rush happens earlier and earlier every year. 

While I love planning and prepping for a new school year, I love savoring every bit of summer, too.  It goes by quickly and I don't want to miss any of it!  I thought it would be fun to ring in a new month with a little list of "goals" I've set for myself.  I'm not saying I'll follow through with it all, but writing it down and being able to cross it all off makes me eager to try.  I love checklists.  They motivate me :)  

1.  Read three professional development books - I'm pretty sure I can do this.  I think.  I asked for some suggestions on Facebook and got a TON!!!  These seem to be a common theme and topics that really interest my teaching heart, so I'm attempting to read these first.

2.  Start a new Bible study - This is an important one.  Our bible study group just finished A Confident Heart by Renee Swope and I can't recommend this one enough.  I realize how important a good bible study is in drawing me nearer to the Lord.  I CRAVE His word.  Any suggestions?!?!?

3.  Perform 36 Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday - I've been DYING to do this.  I'm finishing up my list of 36 RAKS and I've asked my ENTIRE family to join me this day.  I want us all to do them together!!!  My husband did something for someone on Mother's Day that inspired me to keep paying it forward on "big days".  I absolutely CAN'T WAIT for this one!!!

4.  Wake up an hour earlier for intentional prayer time - I've been feeling really convicted lately about the time...or lack thereof....I spend with Jesus.  I pray every night and tons of time in between, but I don't start my day in prayer all the time.  I want quiet time with Him.  I want to wake up, pour a cup of coffee, open my Bible, and pray without any distractions.

5. Clean out my closet and donate clothes & shoes to a local women's shelter - I've been meaning to purge for months.  But if I'm keeping it real, I need to tell you that I've been far too lazy.  Not just too lazy to clean out my closet, but too lazy to do any real cleaning at all. #hotmess  I want to take what I have to the local women's shelter and then see about volunteer opportunities while I'm there.  

6. Take my boys to the Science/History/Art Museums - we have an AMAZING museum district here in town and I don't take advantage of it like I should.  I know my boys would love going if I would just take them.  I thought it would be neat to organize a scavenger hunt to make it really interactive.  They tend to do a lot better & get more involved when they have a goal or checklist to keep them on track....kind of like me ;) #theapplesdontfallfar

7.  Start summer theme days with the boys - I want to have fun summer theme days kind of like I would in the classroom.  Lemonade Day/Week, Bubble Day/Week, Watermelon Day/Week, etc.  I thought it would be fun to do little activities with them (math & literacy) and then follow it all up with a science experiment.  I won't do these everyday, but I do want to incorporate these here and there.  My boys would LOVE it.  I just need to get off my lazy rear and plan it!  

Do you have any goals for the month?!?!  I'd love to hear them!

Let's Talk Writing!

Is anybody else wondering how today is already June 29th?!?!  Tomorrow is the LAST day of June.  Last.  How did that happen?!  Is anyone else feeling like summer is *almost* over?!?!?!  I know I can't be the only one!!!

Tomorrow starts a  two week journey that will take us to Indiana, Michigan, and Las Vegas.  Lots of traveling over these next two weeks.  Is anybody else going to Vegas?!  I'll be presenting for SDE on Monday (7/6) and then I'll be part of a panel for the TpT Conference on Thursday (7/9).  That Wednesday night (7/8) we have a big Teacher-Blogger Meet Up planned and it's going to be TONS of fun!!!  I really hope to see you there!  Rachelle and Natalie wrote a great post about it that you can check out HERE.  Lots of great tips & words of wisdom for first timers and seasoned veterans alike!
And here are the amazingly generous sponsors who have helped to make this meet-up possible...

Exciting, right?!  A little over a week away and I can't wait!!!

One of the topics I'll be presenting in Vegas is all about writing.  As I'm going through my presentation I thought it would be the perfect time to talk a little bit about it here and show y'all what I do and what I feel helps to make writing in my classroom so successful.

First up, let's talk about some writing non-negotiables.

If we expect our kids to become fluent writers capable of producing more than just a sentence here and there, we have to give them TIME to write.  Not just 5 minutes here and there, but time for sustained writing.  Not only do we need to give them the time to write, but we need to give them the freedom to write about what interests them.  I personally feel like writing opportunities should present themselves throughout the day....during guided reading, in literacy AND math stations, in response to science/social studies topics and concepts...the list goes on.  I want my kids to value writing and see its importance and the only way I can foster that is by giving them opportunities to write.
Take this writing for example.  By the end of the year, he was writing for sustained periods of time and producing longer pieces because he was given the time to do so.  Pretty darn good, don't you think...especially for a Kindergartner!!

One area that I've always struggled with is my writing center.  I'm always trying to find writing activities that will excite and engage ALL of my learners.  Oftentimes I miss the mark.
I want them to LOVE to write.  I want them to CHOOSE to write when they have free time.  This is not always the case for every child, but I'm DETERMINED that it will be!!!

Writing is a HUGE part of our day.  We write for EVERYTHING.  We have about 30-45 minutes for Writers Workshop...then there's Shared Writing...and of course the Writing Center.  And we're writing in all other academic areas as well.  You'd think it's easy to get 'em excited to pick up their pencils.  

However, the novelty wears off.  I've noticed that when I keep doing the SAME things...keeping out the SAME writing activities....the SAME writing materials....my kids take on the "I'm over it" attitude.  And let's be real.  We're the same way.  When we do the SAME exact thing...year after year...the novelty wears off.  We need to change it up to make it exciting for both us AND the kids.  
I feel like I'm always trying to find "one more thing" to add to the writing center.  One more thing to make it fun.  One more thing to make it exciting.  One more thing to keep them engaged.  They need options.  Lots and LOTS of options.  They also need freedom.  The autonomy to choose what they want.  After all, our goal is to instill in them a LOVE of writng, right?!  

Sometimes...a lot of times...kids need a nudge.  Most of the time they need a giant PUSH.  Although they have a menu of items from which to choose when they head to the writing center, I still hear the phrase, "I don't know what to write!" from at least one of my sweeties almost every.single.day.  I was  determined to rid their vocabularies of that phrase!

This past year I came up with a way to get them excited about writing and the autonomy to choose what to write and it was a HIT!

Task cards for prompts, books, making lists, writing letters & how-tos, and vocabulary cards, too.  The vocabulary cards have been KEY in helping to increase the kids' vocabulary and they've also been an invaluable resource for them as well.   The kids are able to choose to write what THEY want.  I just loved the idea of having  a variety choices from which to choose so that the whole "I don't know what to write" is virtually non-existent ;)

I created this little resource with my 1st grader in mind and knowing how many kids come into Kindergarten at such varying stages of development I knew that differentiation and options with lots of support were necessary.  

My emerging and new-to-writing learners have writing options that give them the support they need and my more "seasoned" writers will have lots of options as well.  There are ALWAYS kids at the beginning of the year who can do SO much more than their classmates and I want to keep them excited and engaged, too!  I also love that my first grade friends will be able to utilize this resource to the fullest and offer their friends in need of more support lots of options as well.

The task cards are divided up into different writing genres....lists, writing letters, prompts, making books, and writing expository pieces.  OBVIOUSLY I won't expect Kindergarten friends to do MANY of these activities at the onset of the year.  I will probably choose a couple of task cards for the kids to work from and add more as the year progresses.  However, this is perfecect for both my 1st and 2n grader.  They've been using these prompt/task cards for writing inspiration this summer and I love what I've seen so far :)  

I LOVE that the little task cards give them ideas when they just can't think of anything to write.
I know we don't want to do all of the thinking for them, but I do think it's important to provide support.

My boy's favorite writing activities are writing lists and letters.  I made a blank list template for them to use so that they can help me with my grocery list every week :) 

One of my favorite activities from these packets is Spin a Sentence.  I didn't realize how much I would love it until I saw it in action and received many emails from teachers telling me how much they loved it, too.  Anything that involves something that is constantly changing is typically a favorite for kids. 

The writing center has definitley become a favorite!!!! 

I have these available for each month of the school year.  In light of today's post, I thought it would be the *perfect* time to make this the Deal of the Day!  For TODAY ONLY, this bundle is deeply discounted at half price!!!  Eeeeeekkk!!!!!  

Each month contains the same type of activities so that your kids are familiar with the concept and expectations...(reteaching is kept at a minimum!!!)  Each packet includes:
thematic vocabulary cards
describe and categorize printables
look and label printables
task cards (making lists, writing prompts, how-to, write a letter, write a book)
sentence scramble printables
spin a sentence spinners
spin it to end it printables
write about it printables

Hopefully this resource works as well for your kids as it has for ours!!!  

Now it's time to celebrate the birthday boy.  My oldest is turning 8 today and he's got some big plans for his big day that involve lots of food and a trip to the Children's Museum.  My kind of day!! (especially the *lots of food* part ;))

Phonics Friday!

Welcome to Phonics Friday!

My plan is to post every Friday with some fun Phonics based activities and ideas.  With a holiday weekend next week and being in Vegas the week after that, I'm not promising consistency (at least for the next couple of weeks).  But I do plan on posting more ideas for you to add to your ever growing list in the weeks to come!!!

Just like every other theory/trend/philosophy/belief in education, there are always two schools of thought.  We either think the idea/theory/trend/philosophy/belief is important and relevant and believe wholeheartedly in implementing it into our classroom OR we don't think it has any value.  And no matter what the case, we always seem divided.  Things are no different when it comes to phonics instruction.  There is some research suggesting it's irrelevant while other research strives to prove its importance.

I think much of the way we feel about different ideas/theories/trends/philosophies/beliefs are based on our own personal classroom experiences.  I often feel like mine change from year-to-year based on the kids I teach.  While there are things that work like magic one year, they may look totally different and yeild completely different results the next.  I personally tend to see the value in phonics instruction and believe it holds a very important place in the classroom.  Of course, this is all based on my own personal experience :)

Research tells us that phonics instruction is particularly beneficial for students who are at risk of learning difficulties.  We ALL have those kids and I want to give them every opportunity to be part of the successful statistics.  This is just one of the many reasons I value phonics instruction in my classroom.  Here are some things to keep in mind....

While I know some districts and schools provide their teachers with a phonics curriculum, I don't always think it's a one-size-fits-all practice.  I think the same can be said for anything we do in our classrooms...nothing is (or should be) one-size-fits-all.  I do believe that we can take any program or curriculum, implement it as we're required to do, and then adapt it to fit the needs of our kids and make it as engaging, interesting,and relevant as we can.  This doesn't necessarily require us doing MORE work, but rather thinking smarter.
Sometimes we make teaching too difficult, don't we?!?! (Can I get an AMEN?!?!)

Research tells us how important it is to get our kids decoding words in and out of context.  Here's a quick and easy way to help with that.

You can grab these little notebooks at the Dollar Tree.  Just cut the pages inside leaving space for the onsets/rimes.  The first flap is filled with initial consonants, blends, digraphs.  The second flap is filled with vowel teams and word families.  I have these little notebooks in a tub along with a phonics phone and plain pieces of paper.  I encourage my kids to flip the flaps and read the words (out of context) then determine if the words they read are real or nonsense.  A super simple and effective way to get kids decoding words.  This is a great independent or partner activity.

Speaking of decoding words out of context, I also love using blending boxes.  I created these for all the short vowels and word families.  I keep these blending boxes in a tub for kids to use during independent /partner learning (literacy stations).  While this is the exact same activity as above, I like that the format is a little different.  Keeping the exact same thing out for repeated use can wear on the kids.  When the novelty wears off, the kids become disengaged and when they become disinterested the problem behavior comes out.  Thanks, but no thanks ;)

These blending boxes...along with LOTS of other short vowel activities/printables/puzzles/games....are in my Short Vowel Ventures Bundle.  Since we're on the subject, I'm making this my steal of the day.  You can grab it for half off TODAY ONLY (Friday, June 26th)!!!!  With over 400 pages of printable games/puzzles/activities, this is definitely a STEAL!!!

This is one of my favorite whole group phonics games.  I always try to get my kids up and moving and engaged in what we're doing.  I want them to have FUN learning and this little game is just that...FUN!!!

One of the most important...and oftentimes trickiest...skills to teach our early readers is how to blend onsets/rimes/phonemes.  Here's a game that garnered rave reviews from my kids over the years.  It's a little onset/rime blending game that'll get your kids up and moving, blending sounds, and identifying real and nonsense words.   Let's play, shall we?!

Label a small set of plates with various word endings/families {rimes}.  As you can see in the pic above, I have lots of different rimes on my plates.  You could play this game using as few as 1 or as many as you want!  Label a set of index cards with different phonemes/onsets.  Place the labeled plates in a circle on the floor and hand out one labeled index card to each of your kids.  While your kids are holding their cards, direct them to stand in a circle around the plates.  

Now start the music.  Crank it or yank it.  Pump up the jam {does that date me?!?!?}  I like to turn on KidzBop when we play this game because the kids love it and I actually know the words so I can sing along, too.  While the music is playing, the kids will move around the plates going clockwise/counterclockwise {just like musical chairs}.  When the music stops, the kids stop in front of a plate.  

The kids will take their index card {onset/phoneme} and blend it with the word ending/rime they're standing in front of.  If they blend a real word, they stay in the game.  If the word they blend is nonsense, they're out.  {You could potentially have several kids out at once depending on the number of different onsent/rimes you include in the game}.  Unlike musical chairs, you won't remove any of the plates.  Start the music again, sing for a bit, stop, and blend.  Wash. rinse. repeat.  The game is all over when only one person is standing :)

I have LOTS more fun and engaging phonics games and activities to share with you, so check back every Friday to see what I have in store.  I hope you are able to use some of these activities in your classroom no matter what your beliefs about phonics instruction might be ;)


Sight Word Mastery & Intervention

One of the most frequent questions I get is all about how I teach sight words and what I do for the kids who continue to struggle with retention and application.  That's a tough one, isn't it?!  Especially when kids aren't developmentally ready to retain and apply what they've learned....but that's a whole different post.  Today, let's talk about some classroom tested and effective strategies and activities that are both great for introducting & reinforcing sight words as well as activities that are great for intervention. 

For my last couple of years in Kindergarten, my kids (as you know) would come to me at all different slevels.  Some of them knew a fewwords...several knew a lot...some could decode...some couldn't even hold a pencil.  During the first two weeks of school, I call each of my kids up to the teacher table for a quick sight word assessment.  I use this checklist to guide me.  I just write their names in the top right corner and then mark off each word as they read them (starting with list 1).

These words contain the 220 words on the Dolch list and they're organized by DRA levels & the time frame in which we introduce color and number words.  I just go through the checklist, point to each word, and give the kids about 3-5 seconds to say the word aloud before moving to the next.  Assessing them at the beginning of the school year helps me to determine the activities I'll plan for them in small groups, sight word center, and individually.  

Once I determine their word mastery, I write the words they know on their personal word walls.  These stay with them in their desks.  I write the words on the folder instead of letting them do it because their handwriting can be really large, unpredictable, and illegible at times and it's really important to me that they have a resource they can read.  

My kids also get their own personal sight word punch cards.  They LOVE these!!!  They keep them in a folder in their desks to keep track of the words they know and the words they need to learn and they don't leave the classroom.  When I assess their sight word mastery every Friday morning, they bring both their personal word walls and sight word punch card with them to the teacher table.  These punch cards have really helped motivate my kids to learn their words!

When all the words on the punch card have been punched, I let my kids pick something from my treasure box or classroom coupon book.  When they master the first six lists, I get them a slush from Sonic (it's kind of a big deal ;)  When they master all 12 lists, I buy them a pizza lunch and they get to eat with me in the classroom :)  You're probably thinking there's NO WAY kindergarten kids could ever learn all those words and I'm here to tell you they ABSOLUTELY CAN!!!  Last year I had 19 kids.  Out of 19 kids, 13 of them mastered all 12 lists!!!!  It was awesome!  And definitely a joint effort between me & their parents.  

But what if there's no parent participation?!  What if they don't "buy in"??  Well...oftentimes they just don't.  Parents love their babies and  want them to learn, but crazy schedules and hectic households prevent them from helping the way they would like to.  It's up to US...the teachers...to make sure our kids have EVERY opportunity to learn and practice.  We have to BOMBARD them with constant repetition and hands-on, engaging activities designed to excited them into learning, making connections, and ultimately reading fluently and without hesitation.

When I start introducing sight words, I give each of my babies a personal "Word Collectors Notebook".  It's just a simple printable bound into a book format.  They bring these notebooks with them to the teacher table for small group work.  When we're warming up with sight words before our guided reading lesson, I'll add a word to their notebooks.  They might each get the same word or I might even differentiate depending upon what I want them to know and what they've already mastered. These notebooks stay at their desks and they can use them whenever there's "down time" (haha...yeah right!).  These make great anchor activities (fast finisher), too.

I blogged about this Sight Wordle activity last summer.  It's one of my kids FAVORITES.  I like to have several of these available in the sight word center for my kids to search through.   They LOVE these!!!  Just another opportunity for my kids to learn and practice sight word recognition.

Of course, any kind of "mystery" is always fun for my kids and this activity is no exception.  These were super easy to create .  I just took strips of construction paper and wrote sight words on them using a white crayon.  I placed them in a basket along with a sight word checklist (in a dry erase sleeve) and then the kids would use markers to make the words appear and an expo marker to cross the words off the list as they were found.  As the year progresssed, I woul dmake 1-2 of my friends responsible for creating this activity for the center.  They loved it and it freed me up to make different things for them!

Sight Word Tic Tac Toe is another class favorite and an easy, yet effective, activity to help reinforce learning.  First you'll need to create a set of sight word word cards that will fit into a 3 column, 3 row table.  I created mine in Power Point, however you could easily create yours using paper, a ruler, and small index cards!!  Keep it simle!!!  Just make sure to laminate the table or place it in a dry erase sleeve for durability.  Each card has a diffferent sight word printed on it.  To start play, both players will need an expo marker.  Without looking, players will take 9 of the sight word cards from the deck and place them face down on the tic tac toe board.  Players can toss a coin or roll a die to determine who goes first.  Player 1 turns over a card on the board.  If he can read the word, he places his "X" or "O" on the board, and if he can't, then the card returns to the board face down.  The first player to get a tic tac toe, wins!  They LOVE this game!!!

I blogged about this game last summer, too.  Ready, Aim, Fire!!!  This is a great game for a team/whole group activity.  I love playing this either inside or out and the game pieces (sticky boards and ball) can be easily switched out with paper plates and a koosh ball or loofah.  Remember..keep it simple!   

Speaking of whole group, I LOVE making up the most ridiculous songs for sight word retention during our whole group time.  The songs are easy to remember (doesn't take a creative genius to do this!!) and are so catchy.  The really do stick with the kids!!  When my kids have trouble reading or recalling a word in print, I'll often just hum the tune of the song we made up for that word and they'll immediately remember the connection and say the word.  SO fun!

Another way I promote retention and repeated practice is through our fluency station.  The words on the fluency cards are SOLELY comprised of the dolch words on the pre-primer through 3rd grade lists.  They're organized by list and each of my kids knows exactly which list he/she should work on when they visit the fluency center.  Super easy to differentiate.  Not only are they practicing their sight word recognition, but they're also improving their fluency!!  Win/win!!!  You can read more about this center in detail HERE

In that post, I also mentioned how much I love this book of printables!!!  The activities in this book were great for both sight word recognition and fluency.  We added them to our poetry folders and my kids would read through them for D.E.A.R time quite often.  I loved having these as a resource for them to use and they made for great intervention activities, too.

Speaking of intervention, I created these Sight Word Study printables for just that.  A great little intervention piece.  When learning sight words, I think it's really important for kids to make connections with those words and look at various aspects of each word as opposed to just the word as a whole.  Not every teaching strategy works for every student so I want to give my kids as many opportunities for practice as I possibly can.  I love that these word studies help kids to make connections and really get them focusing on more than just memorization.  While that's definitely an important piece to the sight word puzzle, some kids need more!!  SO let's meet them where they are!

I have these available Pre-Primer - 3rd Grade (dolch lists).  You can check them out HERE:

Or you can SAVE and buy the BUNDLE!

I keep a word study (aka:  Word of the Day) printable on my white board and we add a new sight word to it every day.  This is just a great visual to display and use as a resource.  

Now the kids will have their very own resource as well.  These will go in their Sight Word Study folders and they can continue to add to them throughout the year and use them as a resource, too...

I'm sure you're familiar with the sight word game, BANG!, but just in case you're not, here it is.  SUPER easy to play and every year..without fail...it's the first thing my kids request to play when they come to the teacher table.  In case you aren't familiar with this game, here's the gist.  
Make several copies of the words you want to use.  Place them all in a pile and then disperse the BANG cards throughout the pile.  While you're in your small group, show one student at a time the word on the top of the pile.  If the student can say the word, he keeps his card.  If he doesn't know the word, it moves on to the next person in play.  Keep going around the circle until the word is read.  If you get to the end of the group and no one can read the word, take that opportunity to discuss what the word is, how it's spelled, etc.  I like to tell them I'm going to place the word back in the pile and see who's the first person who can read it when it pops up again.  They love the challenge.  If students get a BANG card, they have to give all of their cards back to you.  It's truly a game of chance and I think that's why they all love it so much!!  

And our sight word chants are a class favorite, too.  These are perfect for whole group activities and transitions!!  I have two sets of these on rings in my classroom.  One next to my carpet/meeting area and one next to the door!!!  

There are a PLETHORA of sight word activities out there perfect for use in the classroom and the activities mentioned here are only a small tiny snippet of what we do in the classroom.  The key to sight word instruction is CONSISTENCY.  Kids should always have access to resources (word walls, sight word rings, etc.).   They should be engaged in sight word activities daily (whole group games, independent sight word centers, sight word studies, etc.).  They should be assessed weekly as well.  I firmly believe this is important as I have seen it work in my own classroom.  When I know what my kids know...when I know what they've mastered or what they continue to struggle with...it helps me better to plan and differentiate my instruction.  And this is key when I'm communicating with my parents, too.  I want them to help and I want them on board, but I have to keep them in the loop.  

What are some of your favorite sight word activities?!?!

FIve For Friday

Hey y'all!  I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs today for Five for Friday.  A WHOLE lot of randomness which is pretty fitting for the current theme of my life :)

Moving right along...

I'm spending the day today cleaning baking, and crafting.  Our oldest is turning 8 on the 29th and he insisted on having his party on the 20th.  No idea, but it works for me.  He decided to tell me this last Wednesday.  I don't let my kids make all the decisions, but when it comes to birthdays I'm all for it.  This is the first friend birthday party we've thrown for him in 3 years.  Summers are so hard for birthdays!!!  We have two family parties every year...one in Indiana and one here in town...and we're usually out of town on his actual birthday. He's requested all things Super Mario and I'm having so much fun scouring Pinterest to see what I can recreate.  There are the CUTEST ideas out there for a Mario themed party!!!  It's just unfortunate my budget won't let me do all of it ;)

This is life lately.  My youngest has been running a fever since Sunday night.  We finally took him to the doctor yesterday when he started complaining about a sore throat.  He's been symptomless...other than a fever...so we haven't worried too much.  The culprit?!?!  STREP.  Now he's on the mend and fever free!  Praise Jesus!  
We've gotten lots of rain this week thanks to Tropical Storm Bill.  It really wasn't much of a tropical storm for us though...just spurts of rain here and there.  However, the rainfall was pretty significant at times.  My boys decided to turn their lemons into lemonade.  Ditchboarding in between the rainfall.  

And we're still bathroomless after a month of remodeling.  But I can **almost** see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Is anyone here coming to Vegas for the SDE or TpT Conferences this year?!  I am and I can't wait!  I'll be presenting at the I Teach 1st Conference on the 6th and then I'll be on a panel at the TpT Conference on the 9th.  But you know what I'm really looking forward to?!?!  The big blogger/teacher meet-up on the 8th!  I loved getting to meet and chat with so many sweet people last year!  If you'll be there this year, don't miss out!  Here's all the info...

I hosted a little coffee talk on Facebook this past Tuesday and it was so much fun!!  I'll be hosting another one this coming Tuesday at the same time (10-11 am CST).  We talked about a lot of great things and I promised I'd take some of those topics and questions and expand on them in future blog posts this summer.  Here are some things I'll be posting about in the weeks to come...

One of the questions I got was all about how I make my word wall interactive.  I wrote a post all about my interactive word wall last year, so head on over to read that if you're interested.  There are some great tips and a few freebies in it, too!  And since we're on the topic, I thought it would be a perfect time for another Deal of the Day.  Today's deal is for my Interactive Word Wall packet...full of posters, word wall games and activities, printables, and more!  And TODAY ONLY it's half off...$3!!!