Recycling Advocates

As part of our first module in Language Arts, we are learning to care for the Earth and have become Recycling Advocates.  We have researched what it means to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Many students were disappointed to learn that this year paper is no longer recycled at Brecknock because there isn’t a recycling truck to come collect it.  We know that schools use a lot of paper, so we decided to start our own recycling program.  We learned that a local organization, the Mennonite Central Committee, recycles paper and other items to raise funds to cover shipping costs for the many relief kits that they send around the world. We have decided to collect paper at Brecknock and recycle it through MCC.

First, students worked in groups to write letters.  We wrote to Mrs. Hogan, the custodian, to ask her for 6 recycling bins and boxes to transport the paper in.  We wrote a letter to Mrs. Andersen, the principal, to explain our project and ask permission. We wrote an email to all Brecknock teachers to let them know they can start recycling paper in the office and teacher work room.

Next, we prepared our recycling bins by labeling them with signs to show what can and can’t be recycled. Groups prepared, practiced and presented the recycling project to each third grade homeroom. We also delivered the bins to the office and work room.

Our plan is to empty bins once a week and put the paper in boxes to deliver to MCC. We have a recycling center on a cart in our classroom. Students may need to sort out items that aren’t recyclable. Once we get a cart load of boxes, I’ll drive them to the MCC recycling center.  We’ve had a lot of interest from other classes in the building who are interested in joining us in our recycling effort.  If things go smoothly, we may soon be distributing more bins throughout the school!


Math Class

Today was our first day of official Math Class.  All third graders took the pretest for our first math unit.  Students were grouped to work with different teachers for this unit based on their learning needs.  Some students go to Mrs. Blankley’s and Mrs. Miller’s classrooms during this time.  Other students come and join me for their daily math instruction. Today we spent a lot of time getting to know what math class will be like. We started with a game called 1-2-3 Math. It’s sort of like Rock, Paper, Scissors except players add the total number of fingers they shoot out and use that number to lead them in a discussion to get to know one another.

Next we learned the routine for Fact Fluency Station. This is the station where students will practice flashcards each day and complete timed math quizzes.  We’re starting the year with a review of addition and subtraction and then will move on to multiplication and eventually division.  I refer to this time as “Math Fact Boot Camp” because we need to work hard to whip our brains back into shape from the long summer.  Many students who were fluent with these facts in second grade had a hard time remembering them today. Hopefully some daily practice at home and school will help us recoup what was learned.

Another station students will work at in Math Class is Collaborative Station. Today partners practiced playing the game “Addition Top-It”. It’s like War, but you pick up 2 cards and add them together to see if your total is greater than your partner’s. This is an easy game to play at home with a standard deck of playing cards…just pull out the face cards.

Finally, we logged in to some math websites on our computers that students will use during Independent Station.  Tomorrow we’ll begin a rotation where students visit Fact Fluency Station, Collaborative Station, Independent Station, and a Direct Instruction Station with me. Stay tuned for more pictures!


Miss LaSpina

I’d like to introduce you to Miss Maria LaSpina.  Miss LaSpina is a Millersville University student who will spend most of her senior year at Brecknock.  This semester on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays Miss LaSpina spends half her day in my classroom and half in Mrs. Reed’s Autistic Support room. She has a dual major of Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Miss LaSpina will student teach in our classroom from March through May.  We look forward to learning from her and teaching her what third grade is all about.


Language Arts Class

This week we started attending Language Arts class. Some students go to Mrs. Blankley’s and Mrs. Miller’s classrooms during this time.  Other students come join my room.  Mrs. Fox and Miss LaSpina will be working in my room this year.  Language Arts is taught utilizing a Rotational teaching model.  Students rotate through stations while in Language Arts.   Mrs. Fox and I will both teach Direct Stations where we work with small groups of students practicing reading, phonics, spelling, and writing skills.  Students will work at the Independent Station each day, often on their laptops accessing technology resources to support and reinforce the skills we are working on.  Finally students will work with their peers at the Collaborative Station.

On the first day in Language Arts class (Tuesday), we learned the expectations for these three stations and practiced how to collaborate by doing a fun activity where we tried to make as many words as possible with the letters in “Back to School.”


Yesterday we talked about Close Reading.  Close Reading requires the reader to revisit the same text for a few readings (often 3).  Each time you delve further into the text and look closely at particular aspects. It’s as if we are detectives using our magnifying glass to zoom in on something.  We worked as a whole group to do a close reading with a text about Recycling.

Today it was time to practice rotating through our stations. We only had time for stations today.

At my station, we continued our Close Reading of the Recycling text.  We documented important ideas on a web and began to answer some text dependent questions where we must look back in the text to find information to support our answers.  In our first language arts/science module we are working to be recycling advocates.  We will be learning a lot about the environment and what we can do to preserve it.  We’re going to begin by looking at the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

At Miss LaSpina’s table, students played a fun sight word game called “Oh No!”. Each person took a turn reaching into a container to pull out a sight word card.  If you can read it, you can keep it.  Just watch out though….if you pull an “Oh No” card you must put all your cards back into the container.  This is an easy game to play at home if you still have the sight word cards your student used in second grade.

Today’s final station was Collaborative.  Students worked in partners or trios to do “Roll and Write”.  In this activity students roll a die to determine how to write a spelling word.  The reference card gives some fun options.  Since we haven’t started our spelling lists yet, students practiced writing sight words.

Next week we’ll begin our double rotations (students visit 6 stations total) and continue to learn the routines and expectations associated with third grade.  Ask your third grader to tell you a little bit about what he/she did at language arts this week…we sure were busy.


The First Day of School Recap

What a great first day! We spent the whole day as a homeroom getting to know third grade routines and one another.  We had a fun scavenger hunt in the morning to find things in the classroom.


We did an activity where students move around the room and use stickers to give their answer to 6 different questions.  We were then able to analyze the data to find out a consensus of things in our room.  Some things we noticed: P.E. is definitely the most popular special, lots of people love math, and hamburgers and pasta are not our favorite foods.  Check out our finished “Consensusgrams” below.


I read the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni. This little black fish has a brilliant idea to teach the little red fish to swim together in the shape of a large fish so they can go exploring through the ocean rather than just hide among the rocks, fearful of large fish.  This year third grade has a hallway bulletin board that features fish decorated by each student and teacher.  It says “We are all different, but we swim together in third grade.”  Just like Swimmy, I hope our class learns to work together to accomplish many exciting things this year as we swim together in our “school”.


We also got to practice recess today. For the first week of school all classes at Brecknock we will review the rules of different games and aspects of recess and then give students an extra opportunity to put these expectations into action while getting feedback from their teachers.  Today we reviewed the rules for using recess equipment.  The kids had fun showing that they can use the equipment safely and enjoyed this extra recess time.


We finished our time outside with a group picture of the WHOLE third grade team.

I hope your third grader had some great stories to tell about this first day!


Are you ready?

Mrs. Muhr’s children (Madelyn and Joshua) on the first day of school 2017

Monday is the first day of school.  Do you have your backpack ready?  Have you made plans to buy lunch or pack?  I am very excited to begin a new year with you. I have been busy preparing our classroom.  Don’t worry if you are feeling a little nervous about the first day. Even I feel that way. See you soon!


Welcome Survey

At Brecknock the third grade teachers work as a team. To ensure success and a great year for all students we have created a survey to help us get to know you and your child.  All teachers will be able to access your responses.

Please click here to complete the survey before the start of school. Thank you for your time!


Back to School Shopping

school supplies

Hello Third Grade families,

Just wanted to fill you in on the items you might need for school as you begin to do back to school shopping.

* Your child will NOT need any folders or binders.  All third graders are provided with the same subject folders and homework folder.

* Your child will NOT need a pencil box or pencil pouch.  I have purchased pencil pouches for each student to use. Pencil pouches will be easy to carry to which ever classroom students will receive instruction in as we change classes across the hall for language arts and math and rotate through stations in each class.

* This year each student will have a Chromebook laptop assigned to them for use throughout the day.  Please bring a set of earbuds to use with this computer.  The earbuds will be stored in a labeled small baggie and kept in the student’s pencil pouch. Earbuds can be purchased at Dollar Tree, Wal-mart or similar stores.

* You may bring a glue stick and scissors of your own to store in your pencil pouch.  There will be some classroom supplies your child can use as well.

* You will need to provide pencils and erasers throughout the year.  There will not be room in the pencil pouch to store a lot, so it’ll be a good idea to keep some extra pencils and erasers in your backpack that you can use to replenish your daily supply.

* Each student will receive their own box of crayons to keep in their pencil pouch.  Other classroom crayons, colored pencils, and markers are available to share.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions before school begins!

Mrs. Muhr





Hello Third Graders!

CC licensed photo shared by Flilcker user San Diego Shooter

I just wanted to say hello to my incoming third graders and their families.  I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing and safe summer. As the school year approaches I will be preparing our classroom with fresh bulletin boards, new folders and books, organized school supplies, and plans for lots of fun learning.  I hope you are also preparing for the year.  This summer try to read for at least a few minutes each day.  Practice math facts and concepts such as counting coins, skip counting, and telling time.  Write stories or  journal entries. Get some exercise and play in the sunshine. You can send me an email if you have any questions about our upcoming year.  See you soon!   Mrs. Muhr


Farewell Students!

It’s the last day of school….a day of mixed emotions.  Everyone is so excited about time to relax and vacation plans this summer.  At the same time we’re sad to see the year come to an end.  This year I had a unique opportunity. For the first time in my 19 year teaching career I had the chance to follow a group of students from second grade to third grade.  This gave me the chance to hit the ground running at the start of the year with students I already knew so well.  I was able to continue relationships with students and see them grow an amazing amount over the past two years.  Thank you for a great two years.  Wishing everyone a safe, relaxing, and fun summer! Don’t forget to keep reading, writing, and reviewing math facts and math concepts.  Your body might be on vacation, but don’t let your brain be too!  You’ve learned so much, good luck in 4th grade!


Mrs. Muhr

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