The Only Cursive Alphabet You Need

cursive alphabet printable PDF

I taught third graders for 16 years. I loved teaching cursive and having a beautiful cursive alphabet above my board. It made my classroom feel classic, timeless, and just plain complete. Can you relate? 

So needless to say, the year I was moved to fifth-grade math and science, my first thought was, "Can I have a cursive alphabet still?" 

That's why I created a standards-aligned cursive math alphabet. I loved having an alphabet with such valuable meaning and intention so much, that I also created a NGSS aligned science alphabet to hang along the back wall.  

This cursive content alphabet line has extended beyond math and science to include kindness, growth mindset, and ELA. And since all alphabets have the same font, graphics, and background you can interchange each alphabet! #teacherwin

These unique cursive alphabets allowed me to have both a cursive alphabet AND a content vocabulary resource for my students. The moment it was hung up, my classroom felt classic, timeless, and helpful for students once again, problem solved! 

Each cursive alphabet set has multiple letter options to help you customize the perfect alphabet for YOUR classroom and students!

Which are you going to hang in your classroom this year?

ELA cursive alphabet printable PDF

"These are a perfect way to show cursive AND important key words that we use during the year. Love all the options too!! Colorful and educational too." - Amy R.

growth mindset cursive alphabet printable pdf

"This resource is AMAZING! I love the idea of incorporating a growth mindset within the alphabet and making the posters all the more meaningful in the classroom." - Dena D.

kindness cursive alphabet printable PDF

"I absolutely love that it's not just a simple alphabet but encourages building a rich voabulary while also focusing on character education. It's even more amazing that you get a variety of choices for each letter so you can change it up, especially if there's a specific trait that needs to be focused on. Thanks so much!" -Alysia E.

math cursive alphabet printable PDF

"I loved how this resource has the cursive alphabet paired with math language and shows pictures. This really helped my students as a reference, and saved space." -Krista M.

science cursive alphabet printable PDF

"The science vocabulary on these posters is great! It adds to the content of my lessons and the cursive writing is always something my students love to dabble in. We don't teach it enough anymore and they certainly it." -Kelli S.

Love these but want them in traditional print lettering? We have those, too!


All Are Welcome Back to School Ideas for the Classroom

Back to School Message:  All Students Are Welcome

There is no stronger message that I want to send my students during the first few days of school than all students are welcome in my classroom! When students enter your classroom they want to feel safe, loved, and welcomed. We can make that experience happen for them very simply.

Your warm smile is the BEST way to send that message to students, but with these welcoming read alouds your students will feel like they are home in no time at all!

All Are Welcome Here Read Alouds

All Welcome Here Book Activities

These picture books help to send the message home to students that you are glad that they are there!

All Are Welcome written by Alexandra Penfold follows a class of students during one day of school. The students quickly learn that all students are welcome in their classroom and loved by their teacher regardless of their race or background. This book beautifully illustrates that their classroom is one of diversity and a strong community. Such an important message to send to all students. 

Follow up a read-aloud of this book by inviting students to create a colorful, welcoming poster that includes all students to hang in your classroom. These make an adorable display. Grab this activity and a welcome banner to use in your classroom for free right here:

All Welcome Here written by James Preller celebrates each unique child that makes up a complete class. This book sends the message that no matter what you look like, act like, or are interested in, all students are welcome and are an important part of the classroom community!

Follow up a read-aloud of this book by having students complete activities that celebrate themselves and help them share a bit about themselves with their new classmates! My favorite activities to celebrate students are right here in this blog post.

Welcome Students and Families

Go one step further and help students feel welcomed before school even starts by sending them a welcome letter! All kids love getting mail and what happier mail to get than a welcome letter direct from your new teacher! {Insert huge student smiling face here}

In your letter, you can tell students about yourself professionally and personally and tease them with some clues about some upcoming units and topics they will be learning about.

You can see this letter that I use HERE.

All Are Welcome Back to School Printables

Don't forget about welcoming parents and families and sending them the same message: everyone is welcome! Parents and families want to feel welcomed and valued, just like their students. Send a formal invitation to parents for meet the teacher day, night, or open house. They will appreciate the time you took to help them feel welcomed.

All Are Welcome Classroom Printables

Once parents and families arrive for meet the teacher day or night or open house help them understand what is in store for the year and how they can help! Be clear with the information that you give parents in an organized slideshow. 

All Are Welcome Here Back to School Slideshow

Once parents and families have arrived at your classroom for the open house, enlist their help to stock your classroom by displaying a classroom wishlist. Parents love to donate and feel like they are needed and also a part of your classroom community!

Classroom wishlists are so easy to use! The concept is simple. I create a bulletin board with cards labeled with a classroom supply that is needed that parents pull down to donate.

Classroom items that I include in my wishlist display:

  • pencils
  • highlighters
  • papertowels
  • wipes
  • hand sanitzer 
  • glue sticks
  • sticky notes
  • crayons
  • markers
  • lined paper


You can put any item that you need for your classroom. I try to include items that are easily available for parents to find in stores and that are not too expensive. I also include items that go fast on more than one card for parents to take. Hand wipes and glue sticks are examples of ones that I include multiple times.

I pull this wishlist display back out during Parent-Teacher Conference Week in the fall and spring so that parents can once again donate to our classroom so that we can collect new items we now need or to refresh dwindling supplies. Parents know what to do the second (and third) time around, so be ready to get a lot of donations!

All Are Welcome Bulletin Board Display

When it comes to welcoming your new students, creating a classroom community, and celebrating students as individuals send the message that all students are welcomed and an important part of your class. Taking the time at the start of the year to build classroom community and make each student feel welcomed and valuable is worth every minute you spend on it!

You might be interested in reading:

Check out my favorite community-building activities HERE

Like this monthly writing set! 

All Are Welcome Community Building Activities

LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

All Are Welcome Back to School Ideas and Activities

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


Back to School 20 Day Reading Kickoff for Upper Elementary


Celebrating Reading 20 Day Kickoff for Upper Elementary

Nothing gets me more excited than starting the year off by celebrating reading!

By taking the time during the first 20 days of school to teach reading lessons that create a community of readers, you will find:

  • Your students are excited for reading time each day
  • Your routines are in place so that you can maximize the time you have
  • You will build meaningful relationships with students as readers
  • Your students will develop good reading habits in and outside the classroom
  • YOU look forward to teaching reading each day

I have laid out my favorite reading lessons that help me build a community of readers and am excited to share them with you here! You can use these ideas and activities with ANY READING PROGRAM!

It all begins by celebrating reading with fun, community-building activities!  Get started celebrating reading in your classroom this back-to-school season with these simple tips! Read on to see how I create a community of readers using this FREE resource.

Back to School 20 Day Reading Kickoff for Upper Elementary

Teaching reading is the highlight of my day and helping students fall in love with books is my number one goal each year. I love watching students grow into readers who love reading new books, talking about what they read, and exploring our classroom library.  Setting the tone that our classroom is a community of readers right from the first day of school is always a priority for me each year.

What is a Classroom Community of Readers?

Talk to your students about what a community of readers is. What do they talk about? What do they share? How do they celebrate reading? Use the anchor charts included in this free pack to get started on this discussion.

When you are done, pair students up and challenge them to come up with their own ideas to celebrate reading. Come back together as a class and create a list of all the ways your students want to celebrate reading. Complete some of their ideas during the first month of school and then schedule their ideas throughout the year so that you are constantly celebrating reading and your readers!

reading workshop anchor charts

Have Students Make Their Mark as a Reader

Use the blank bookmarks included to help your students celebrate themselves as readers! They can create any bookmark they want to represent their reading life. They might choose to create an illustration of themselves as readers, write their favorite book quote, list new genres that they want to explore, make a reading goal and write it down, the possibilities are endless! Leave it open-ended for your students and you will be amazed at what they create.

reading workshop bookmark activity

Recently Read Display

I LOVE using student book recommendations to motivate all readers, but especially reluctant readers. Have your students complete the "Recently Read" page and create a colorful display for your classroom library. Your students will love reading what others read and they will be motivated to read. This is a great activity to use and display not just at the beginning of the year, but throughout the year, too! Your classroom library bulletin board will thank you!

reading workshop book recommendation activity

Be Ready for the First 20 Days

There is so much to do before the first day of school, don't let planning engaging reading lessons to create a community of readers get lost in the mix. Be sure to grab the free resource that lays out the first 20 days and you will be on your way to having a community of readers in no time!

reading workshop set up for the first 20 days building a community of readers

Take the time at the start of this new school year to create a community of readers. The time you invest in building a reading community will help you maximize your time and grow students into readers who look forward to reading each day! Have a great year, friend!

You might be interested in reading:

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Celebrating Reading 20 Day Kickoff for Upper Elementary


7 Picture Books to Celebrate Reading and Readers

7 Picture Books to Celebrate Reading and Readers

If you are looking for amazing picture books to celebrate readers, reading, and World Read Aloud Day, this is the post for you!

Whether you are kicking off reading workshop, teaching students about independent reading, celebrating Read Across America Month, or just want to celebrate your readers and reading, this list of picture books is for you!

These books are my absolute favorite to celebrate reading! By now you know that I firmly believe in the power of getting cozy in the classroom library with my kids and reading, discussing, and sharing picture books. Upper elementary students are not too old to be read to, in fact, it is always my students' favorite part of the day, and often requesting I show the pictures on each page a few moments longer! I love that these books celebrate what I preach in the classroom, let's get comfy and read a good book!

Read on to see what makes each of these books so special and how I use them in the classroom. Be sure to read to grab the free activities at the end of the post!

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley

7 Picture Books to Celebrate Reading and Readers

This one is another homerun in the highly engaging Miss Malarkey series!  This series follows the kids of Miss Malarkey's class as they strice to read 1000 books by June, a challenge set out by Prncipal Wiggins.  Told by the main character who hates reading, this books shows how once a good book is recommended reading becomes addicting! The main character no longer plays games with his friends because they all would rather read. Finally Miss Malarkey finds the perfect book for the main character and his world is never the same again! This book is perfect to read at the start of the year to discuss books, book recommendations, and class reading goals.

Jeremiah Learns to Read by Jo Ellen Bogart

goal setting picture books

Hands down my absolute favorite book about reading! This one may be hard to find so check it out at your library. This story is about an old man name Jeremiah who never learned to read. While he knows how to do a lot of other things, he really wants to learn to read, so he goes back to school to learn. The kids are always so surprised and shocked by this heart warming story that sends the message that you are never too old to read or learn something new. I love to read this book at the beginning of the year when the students set individual reading goals.

A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood

celebrate reading with read alouds

If you use reading spots in your classroom, this is a must-read! It illustrates how the perfect, quiet spot for you is one that allows you to do your best thinking and concentrating. It follows the main character as he travels around the world looking for that one place for him, which ends up being inside of him all along.  I love to read this book at the beginning of the year when we are setting up our reading workshop routines and we discuss the best places we can read in the classroom.

The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertam and Susan Bloom

read alouds to celebrate reading

This book is also a good book to read If you use reading spots in your classroom. A much simpler story, written in rhyme and with younger illustrations, this story also focuses on a main character who looks and looks for the best spot to read. Most places he goes he is distracted and cannot concentrate on reading. This is an important message for students to hear as they think about finding a spot that they will want to read and do their best thinking in the classroom during independent reading time. I love to read this book with third graders at the beginning of the year when we are setting up our reading workshop routines and we discuss the best places we can read in the classroom.

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander

how to read a book picture book

With beautiful eye-catching illustrations, this book explains step by step how to read a book. From finding a cozy place to not rushing as you read, students will see just how important it is to truly enter the world of a book. This book is a true celebration of reading, stories, and the power of words. I love reading it at the beginning of the year to talk about finding spots to read and for real VS fake reading. This is another book that I read at the beginning of the year when we are setting up our reading workshop schedule and expectations. It is also great to revisit when you are working on procedural writing.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

books to celebrate readers upper elementary

This book follows the main character Morris after his world and his own story is turned upside down. He wanders until he ends up in a library and his world is changed. Morris begins to care for the books, order them, and get lost in reading them, too! As the story continues, Morris shares his life in words to the books he cared for. The story ends with Morris' story ending and a new character's beginning. I love this book because it is very thought-provoking for students and truly illustrates how we each have a story inside of us.  This book is perfect to read during any author study to help students think about how the lives of the authors play a role in the books that they write.

What Would You Do in a Book About You? by Jean Reidy

7 Picture Books to Celebrate Reading and Readers

I just love this book! This book encourages kids to dream big and think about themselves as authors now! I love the message it sends to kids - they can do anything that they dream and put their minds to and of course, reminds them to spread a little kindness along the way! This book is perfect to read on the first day of school when you are setting up your classroom community and then again on the last day of school as you wish students well and remind them that the whole world is ahead of them!

Honorable mentions to celebrate reading...

Miss Brooks LovesBooks (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner

Book's Big Adventure by Adam Lehrhaupt

Lila Lou's Little Library by Nikki Bergstresser

Reading aloud has so many benefits for our students. It improves their processing skills, models reading fluency, engages students in critical thinking and meaningful discourse, and is truly a bonding activity that helps to build your classroom community! Celebrate reading, your growing readers, and your classroom community through reading aloud these books.

You might be interested in reading:

Check out my favorite reading activities HERE.

Like these Motivational Reading Posters 

reading quote bulletin board for upper elementary

reading genre bulletin board upper elementary

LOVE these ideas? Pin to save!

picture books to celebrate reading

*affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)

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