Dana Johansen

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Inspired by my grandmother, Nancy, a fourth grade teacher who worked in the Connecticut public schools for many years, I knew I wanted to teach. I wanted to bring creativity and enthusiasm to my classroom, just like she did. I wanted to continue her legacy for making learning magical–through reading aloud! From The Witches by Roahl Dahl to Dear, Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, my grandmother loved to read aloud and discuss books. She knew what so many of us know– books can transform us.

Following in my grandmother’s footsteps, I taught fourth grade for almost ten years. I relished opportunities to read aloud to my students and soak in the magic that reading brings. Now, I teach language arts in middle school. Sometimes I pause, turn to my students and say, “How lucky am? I get to teach reading and writing workshop all day long!”

When Sonja and I first started this blog, I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. Should I write about Teaching Interpretation? The ELA classroom? What I’m currently teaching? I didn’t know. But with time and practice, I’ve found that blogging is much like exercising. It gets your writing muscles moving. I find that I like to write a little bit about whatever I’m passionate about in the moment, and it usually relates to blended learning in the ELA classroom, ways to motivate and inspire readers, and how to dig deeper into text. I jump around a little bit.

My Top 5 favorite blogs posts are below. I feel like these posts illustrate who I am as a educator and my philosophies about teaching. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Top Ten Ways to Match Books To Readers

Close Reading Like a Genius! 

Why I Chose to Flip

Teaching Symbolism Digitally!- La Luna

Vocabulary- Word Gradients

I am a full-time teacher in Greenwich, CT and am completing my doctorate in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University where Lucy Calkins is my advisor. Dedicated to the use of technology in the classroom, I have presented at conferences on the use of iPads in the classroom, the SMARTBoard, and wikis and blogs. Passionate about this work, my first book, Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning, co-authored with Sonja Cherry-Paul, combines my love for digital resources with teaching reading. My second book, Flip Your Writing Workshop: A Blended Learning Approach, is all about how to flip your mindset about flipped learning and how to create flipped lessons in writing workshop.

I also love Pinterest- so if you do too, I am constantly adding new Pins. You can follow us here-> LitLearnAct on Pinterest

Also, we add books to our Read Aloud Shelves on Goodreads, so if you need any recommendations, we have shelves that you can visit at Favorite Read Aloud Shelf.