Meet My Family – by Laura Purdie Salas

Meet My Family Blog Tour Graphic 2018

I am very excited to be part of Laura Purdie Salas’  Blog Tour to celebrate and spread the word about her newest book called Meet My Family, Animal Babies and Their Families. We will read this nonfiction book to learn all about many different types of animal families. We are looking forward to trying some poetry of our own in response to this fun book! Students are surprised and honored that a “real author” is looking forward to seeing their writing!

Here is a short bio from her website:

“Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including Meet My Family!If You Were the MoonWater Can Be… and BookSpeak!  Laura grew up in Florida and now lives and writes in Minnesota. She loves to get kids excited about reading and writing. For more info, please visit”

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Sharing Our Writing

During second quarter, second graders study information writing. Students learn to research a topic, write an interesting introduction, use facts and definitions, develop points and provide a conclusion. The best part about writing . . .is reading the final products with good friends!

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Growth Mindset – Are We Pears Yet?

I was honored to receive an advanced copy edition of Miranda Paul’s book Are We Pears Yet? earlier this summer. The official release date is September 19th, 2017. I am planning to use this book with my second graders during our first days of school. This is a story of two young pear seeds who just can’t wait to grow up and become pears. The clever illustrations show the seeds performing on stage with speech bubbles to show the dialogue.

Why is this a perfect book to start the school year? I am planning to incorporate research from Carol S. Dweck into our daily discussions this year. Her research describes how children who think with a “growth mindset” reach their goals and improve in school.

Students who have a “fixed mindset” may be afraid of failure, avoid challenge, ignore feedback and think that he/she is just not good at something without seeing strategies for how to improve. Students who have a “growth mindset” see failure as an opportunity for learning, welcome challenges, keep trying and believe he/she can always improve with feedback from others. Instead of thinking “I can’t” students can be encouraged to think “I can’t yet” As a class, we will be figuring out what students need to grow.

Miranda Paul’s book describes what the two pear seeds need in order to grow – soil, rain, sun. . . and wait time. One seed continually asks, “Are we pears yet????” until they discover they will need to first be pear trees in order to be seeds.Miranda includes some “encore” information about pears at the end. A science lesson, an example of growth mindset, and really funny/talking in speech bubble pear seeds make Are We Pears Yet? a great book to start the school year.

(One of my favorite Wisconsin Authors – Miranda Paul has also written One Plastic Bag:Isatou Ceesay and the Story of the Recycling Women of the Gambia, Whose Hands are These?: A Community Guessing Game, Water is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle.) Other more recent releases are:The Great Pasta Escape, Trainbots and Blobfish Throws a Party.

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Wisconsin Public Radio – Larry Mueller Show

Strawberry sandwiches, cherries and chickens were just part of the conversation on today’s Larry Mueller show on Wisconsin Public Radio. My Dad, Jerry Apps, and I talked about our new cookbook – Old Farm Country Cookbook – Recipes, Menus, and Memories. Folks called in with stories about cooking “from scratch”, favorite elderberry blossom pancakes and cherries. We even talked about tips for using bacon grease as a secret ingredient. One caller remembered her grandma used bacon grease to style her hair!

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Authors’ Advice for a Better Writing Life: Read Widely by Marci Glaus

Marci Glaus, from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction describes the “Wisconsin Writes” project. Writers describe their own writing process and the importance of reading widely as part of a writer’s life. She mentions my video in her post.

Nerdy Book Club

In an attempt to capture the recursive, complex, messy process we call writing, I started asking authors from my state to do something extremely awkward. I asked them to allow me, and sometimes a small crew, to enter into their personal writing space to film them while they were writing. I also asked them talk out loud about what they were doing in real time. I figured most authors would refuse or just ignore my queries, but to my surprise, almost all of them enthusiastically agreed.

Since 2015, I have been capturing glimpses into example writing processes of writers from a variety of contexts through a project called Wisconsin Writes. More than 20 authors have shared part of their writing process, involving everything from planning, putting a writing plan into action, editing, or revising. Their thoughts were filmed, edited, and then published as short videos on the Wisconsin Department…

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Wisconsin Writes

“Writers invite teachers and students into their writing process.”

The English Language Arts Division of The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is involved in a project that helps students understand the writing process. Students watch videos of Wisconsin authors talk about the writing they are currently working on. The videos describe how writers get ideas, write first drafts, revise and edit, organize their writing, and more!
What a great project! Thanks to Marci Glaus, Education Consultant at Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
My video is the most recent to be added to the website. I hope students find it interesting and helpful to hear that I feel the same way they do when I write!

Here is a link:

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Children’s Writing Workshop


This past Saturday, I led a writing workshop for children – ages 7-12 in Edgerton, WI. The workshop attendees were very interested in the writing process and some brought samples of their own stories to share! We had lots of fun talking about how writers get ideas and use their imagination. We used mentor texts to discuss how stories are organized and what works in a good story. Each writer left with their own journal to start recording their thoughts and ideas. There was also an adult workshop. Proceeds from the workshops benefit the 2016 Sterling North Book & Film Festival, to be held Nov. 5 in Edgerton.

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