By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is that time of the week when we pay a surprise visit to a teacher doing awesome work in the classroom. This week, your nomination letters took us to Eagan!

Kari Johnson teaches fourth grade at Red Pine Elementary.

“I love teaching fourth grade, it’s the perfect age,” Johnson said. “They’re independent, their sense of humor, they’re just truly fun to be around.”

Johnson might be known best for her educational “clubs” that kids compete to get into.

“A lot of geography clubs. Here’s one, ‘You’re Up on Europe’,” she said.

Kids have to know at least 35 countries to get into that club. There are also math and science clubs.

Students will even skip their recess to study for a chance at getting accepted in.

“It’s just for fun, pure learning, the love of learning. It’s not for grades,” she said. “The kids get into these because they want to and they are motivated.”

It is a clever way to motivate these fourth graders, while in turn rewarding for their teacher.

“It doesn’t feel like work to me and this is the award: You have kids smiling and they’re happy,” Johnson said.


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