Podcast: Building Vocabulary to Increase Reading Comprehension with Abbey Behnke in WI on Teachers in America

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Welcome back to Teachers in America, where we celebrate teachers and their lasting impact on students' learning journeys and lives.

Today we are joined by HMH Teacher Ambassador and K-12 curriculum integrator Abbey Behnke. As curriculum integrator, Abbey supports teachers in implementing curriculum, understanding learning progressions, and maximizing the use of best practices. This summer, she will present on these topics at the 2024 Model Schools Conference

In this episode, Abbey shares instructional strategies and activities to engage students in vocabulary learning. Plus, she’ll discuss how to incorporate vocabulary instruction into all subject areas, how to help multilingual learners build their vocabulary, and how to address students’ use of digital language in the classroom.

A full transcript of the episode appears below; it has been edited for clarity.

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Jennifer Corujo: Welcome to Teachers in America, where we celebrate teachers and their lasting impact on students' learning journeys and lives. I'm Jenn Corujo and I'm a content producer at HMH.

During the school day, students come across numerous vocabulary words in all subject areas. What can we do to make sure these words stick? Today our host Noelle Morris talks vocabulary building and instruction with HMH Teacher Ambassador and K-12 curriculum integrator Abbey Behnke.

Abbey shares instructional strategies to engage all students in vocabulary learning. Plus, she discusses how vocabulary is a catalyst for building reading comprehension skills. Now let's get to the episode!

Noelle Morris: Welcome to Teachers in America, Abbey. It’s so great to finally get to have you on the podcast. Just to give our listeners a little bit of a heads up, you and I go back three, almost four years now as being one of our teacher ambassadors for Teacher’s Corner.

So, this episode will be one of those special ones where you’ll hear us talking and learning a lot from Abbey, but also connecting and sharing in the friendship and the professionalism that has grown over those three years. Let’s kick off, Abbey, sharing a little bit about you and your role as a curriculum integrator, because it’s a fascinating job title and I want to know more about it.

Abbey Behnke: Okay, so I work in Wisconsin. I am a K through 12th grade curriculum integrator, which means that I help out all of our leaders help our learners. So, regardless of content area, I am their program support person for everything. I work very closely with my teaching teams to help them create consistent content. We’re working on the integrity of our curriculum across, and we’re working on the learning progression for our kids throughout their entire time with us in our district. My role is very busy and very exciting, and there’s never a dull moment. I love every second. 

Noelle: I bet, because you naturally have always been one of those teachers who makes all the connections, from pedagogy and theory to policy. But one particular aspect of reading and instruction, specifically in the frame of learning to read and continuing to develop reading across grade levels and discipline is vocabulary. Why is vocabulary such a passion for you?

Abbey: When I was little, my family and I used to go to the beach all the time. I grew up in Virginia and I was just so fascinated by marine life, everything with the oceans. I wanted to learn all the things. I ordered every Scholastic book from the book order, anxiously waited for it to arrive, and learned as much as I possibly could. And throughout my time of wanting to learn these things, I realized that the more words I learned, the more I learned.

I became really excited about that at a young age. And I started to realize, especially in science, that words had common parts and that I could figure out new words if I just figured out what this word part meant. That was very enlightening for me and something that I’ve taken into my role now, working with teachers across disciplines. It’s the same basic foundational skill of being able to identify more themes and words and find commonalities that helps students learn their content. So, that’s been a big focus for me this year. 

Noelle: Now I know as a Teacher Ambassador, some of the initial teacher-created content you have provided for Teacher’s Corner were model lessons on vocabulary and overall strategies. Do you have specific go-to strategies that you use weekly, sometimes even daily, that also now you’re transferring and helping teachers across disciplines use in their classroom?

Abbey: Yes. Incorporating movement or gamifying a lesson is completely ingrained in who I am as an educator. My husband’s a FI-ed teacher, so it’s just part of who we are. I’ve done a lot more research recently on the attention span of our learners, and I’m noticing that it’s decreasing every year. The more that we can incorporate movement and games, we’re going to keep them more engaged. Designing intentional opportunities for students to play a game while they’re building content knowledge really builds that retention. In the upper grades, some of the games I liked to play are an affix game, where I’ll give them a root word and then they have to go and build a new word based on that, using different prefixes, suffixes, and word parts. For example, let’s say I give them bio, then they could build biography, biological, autobiography, etc. And so, the teams kind of work together to see who can have the biggest list of words connected to bio. Some of the games that I liked to play with my lower grades was a Vocab Go Fish. I would have the vocab words and some of the definitions, and they had to ask their partner for the definition of a word, and then they would build their pairs.

Another one I like is Vocabulary Bingo with definitions or Tic-Tac-Toe, just anything that’s an easy game for kids to learn that you could use vocabulary with. One of my favorites is putting the spin on Headbands and having the word up on top of the kids’ heads, and then the other kids have to describe the word.

These are things that can be done in any content area, really any age kids, that are just engaging, and it keeps them on their toes, but they’re learning at the same time. The biggest goal is that students learn how to communicate orally around vocabulary words. What does that word mean? And being able to translate that in an oral fashion is really going to help them for years to come. 

Abbey created this game to engage students in vocabulary learning. Find more vocabulary games from Abbey on Teacher's Corner on Ed. 

Noelle: How do you establish that expectation of collaboration and support thinking through the various levels of learners that you have, all the way from your, “I want to answer everything” to your, “Please do not ever call on me or make eye contact.”

Abbey: So, there’s uncomfortable comfort. And I think that’s really important for students to learn. If we practice sharing our voices in a safe and helpful environment, then we’ll learn to share our voices where it’s uncomfortable. I do my best to establish routines and systems in my room that support every learner. No matter who’s sharing, we value what they have to say. The more that you value what they have to say, and you appreciate it, the more they’re inclined to share. Students have to be given opportunities to engage. One of my things that I absolutely believe in wholeheartedly is “task don’t ask”.

Getting kids involved with using whiteboards or using interactive learning that can happen on many different platforms, that gives kids the ability to share their voice, and eventually they get confident enough to share it with others. I believe firmly in accountable talk, especially with vocabulary. Giving them sentence stems, it’s going to help them explain what they learned using content-area words. It is just so powerful for kids when they feel like their voice has value, and when you can do that in the classroom, it translates into other parts of their life. We hear so much about students who need to speak up for other students who might be being bullied or something. Those interactions don’t happen if those students don’t feel like confident speakers. And when kids have the vocabulary to be a confident speaker, they’re more apt to stand up for people who don’t have those skills. That’s the kind of environment I’m trying to nurture in my room. 

Noelle: When you think about your years across and the grade levels that you’ve taught, and now that you’re even interacting more with the middle-school-age learner, do you have a favorite lesson or moment with vocabulary where you kind of saw yourself in them, figuring it out and getting this is pretty powerful. 

Abbey: We all live for those lightbulb moments. I don’t know an educator that doesn’t. Everybody loves them. So how do you get there, to a light bulb moment? I think it’s important we look at prior knowledge and then vocabulary builds that background knowledge. It’s the other part of Scarborough’s Rope.

You take a little learner from their decoding skills, and you start expanding their vocabulary, and all of a sudden, the world is a whole new place for them. It’s really interesting to me how, regardless of a multilingual learner or someone who’s been a native speaker for a long time, how vocabulary is the catalyst that brings them to comprehension.

You live for those little moments where they get there and they finally get that comprehension, but you forget that it’s something as small as vocabulary that was the bridge that got them there. When we skip over vocabulary instruction or don’t take it as seriously, it’s like we’re slamming the door on their opportunity to understand something new.

Not everything has to be as explicit, but vocabulary should be very explicitly taught. I do have some strategies that I love to use for explicitly teaching vocabulary. And I know Noelle has seen this many times in live events. One of my favorites is Mirrors Up. I love Mirrors Up. I learned about it at a conference probably 10 years ago. I use it all the time. If you’ve been on a live event, you’ve definitely seen me do it. It’s helping us become little wordsmiths. I will say, “mirrors up” and the students will mirror my actions and I’ll say the word, the definition, and then we’ll come up with an action that we want to do for that word.

And every time we encounter that word that week, we’ll stop, and I’ll say, “Mirrors up”. Then we’ll say the vocabulary word, we’ll say the definition, and we’ll do the action. It’s incredible. Kids that I’ve had two and three years ago will come up to me and if I say a word, they still know the action for some of these words, and it’s so powerful. But it helps them understand the power of vocabulary and how it can help them. 

Noelle: How do you come up with your action? Well, let’s backtrack. First, how did you gather your confidence because there is something, when you’re in front of 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, there’s a difference you have to bring to your teaching, in my opinion, because they have a lot more ways to interact back with you. Like, “Ms. Morris, what are you doing? What is this ‘mirrors up’?” So, let’s go back to the first time you were doing this. One, how did you get your confidence to be, "mirrors up"? Because when you watch you in action, it’s “mirrors up”. And then you go through the routine, you go through the motion, and then you go on to the next word. Let’s help the audience understand how you built that into a routine, got yourself confident, and I’m going to give one more challenge to you, how do you decide what motions you’re going to do?

Abbey: I kind of have an expression of let’s make fun of this. The students know when I’m going to make fun of my own failure. There are some words that just do not have an action that honestly lends itself really well. Then there’s others that do. But I definitely learned through trial and error. I would tell them, “Let’s try this. Mirrors up.” Some classes do the mirrors up with their hands both up.

But other classes were like, that looks like stop. So I would spin around and do mirrors up as a spin. I kind of let the class decide that they get to pick what I look goofy doing, and be okay with looking ridiculous in front of your kids. Be okay with failure. If something doesn’t go well, I bombed that you guys, I’m real sorry. Totally bombed that. They have to see what it looks like to not do something well. And if you’re having fun with it, they will have fun with it. I’ve done this activity with eighth graders recently, and they were all into it. We had some really unique words in our Diary of Anne Frank study with the Holocaust.

It was a great opportunity for us for the actions. Typically, a kid or two will come up with some of them and some of the words just don’t, and then we just shrug our shoulders. You know, this word doesn’t really have an action that goes with it, so we just shrug our shoulders. And that helps us.

It’s just the act of doing something physical to connect to word meaning. That multimodal approach to learning really helps solidify it for the kids. Once we’re into our text and we annotate, we stop, we do mirrors up, and we annotate with the word meaning that we come up. This is our definition; this is what it means to us. And then we write that in our text. That’s really helped us. But yeah, with the eighth graders, they had a blast with it too. 

Noelle: I like that because you can shrug because maybe you don’t know an action right now. You need to keep moving on. Maybe an action will come as you get more into the content and the context and grow the word and word families.

But I like how you put that. Let’s not let that inhibit us. You know, at least we’re hearing ourselves say the word in that moment. You could probably flip to also say, let’s do the syllabication. Is there a prefix or suffix and you could add that challenge in. Do you have the time when you’ve been working with teachers in your new role, and how are you helping them get comfortable? Are you doing things in PLC or at grade-level meet teams? Are you going in and modeling? What’s your approach to supporting teachers who are really learning these vocabulary strategies to implement in their classroom?

Abbey: It’s a combination of all of that actually. I started with meeting with grade-level teams. I started out with math actually, because that was what was launching at our elementary school. Math vocabulary, and how do we build that ability with our learners because so much of math is that challenging vocabulary.

We worked as teams to identify what those words would be that our students needed to learn for the unit. And then each teacher kind of has their own twist on how they engage students. Like Mirrors Up works for me. Other teachers might use the Foursquare approach where they do the posters and it’s not quite so physical.

I really work with the teachers to help them understand the pathway, the learning progression, like what kids might have learned about this word previously, that they might have prior knowledge. And then how do you activate their background knowledge? So much of math has really cool stories, like why we have a pound and why we have inches and feet instead of the metric system. If you can find a story that supports a word with its origin, kids are just so excited about that. They want to know which king’s foot they used. Anytime you can make learning a new word an exciting experience for the kids, the better off you are. I do work with PLCs, I do work with teams, and I do work with individual teachers so that their vocabulary routine fits their style.

As a K-12 curriculum integrator, Abbey works with teachers to create a vocabulary routine that best fits the needs of their students.


Noelle: So much better than the 1970s, ‘80s. Please go to the glossary, write these words and the definition, and hopefully through osmosis, you’ll know it. Until you hit that SAT and you’re like, I think I did this all wrong. Let’s talk about multilingual learners. What is going with your district and growth of multilingual learners, the languages spoken, and what are some of your approaches that you are putting into place to support those learners? 

Abbey: I start with my teaching teams, and understanding that my teaching teams are just now learning the Science of Reading. We’re just going through that process. For them in many classrooms, many teachers see English as this is the language that we understand. But when we start to look at word origins, we realize that language goes across vocabulary, root meanings go across languages, across cultures, and across time. When we start to appreciate that, we can have a new appreciation for what our multilingual learners are bringing to our classroom.

It is so neat when you see a Spanish cognate transfer into an English root. When you value what those learners are bringing to their classroom, and those learners don’t feel at a deficit, they feel at an advantage because now they’re going to be a multilingual person that can participate in many, many more spaces than just a one-language speaker. When they see that advantage and you start to make those connections, they’re empowered. When the teachers have that Science of Reading background and they can match phoneme to grapheme and they understand that learning process, then you bring your multilingual [learners] in and you help them understand, all I have to do is match the sound to their symbol and I’ve got it. It’s super empowering. That’s the lens that we work through, is that we’re raising a multilingual generation. 

Noelle: Oh, I like that approach. And I like that thinking because then, and we’ve been talking on several episodes, we’ve talked about asset-based approach and flipping that from thinking about anything as a deficit, because we all know there’s gaps to fill. Use the strengths and assets to propel and accelerate within that gap. Students starting with a positive start to this year’s learning and getting them to understand what they know, why they know what they know, and how to apply it, is beneficial to them and to you in the long run as a teacher. You and I have talked in the past about the power of generative vocabulary, and in fact, you were one of the teachers that got me to really go in and look at generative vocabulary within our program, Into Reading, and really think about it and understand. 

You’re like, this is 10 minutes that you must do, it is one of the strongest 10 minutes return on your investment. We’ve already heard your passion and love for morphology and thinking about that. Over the last three years, how have you transformed your thinking around generative vocabulary and putting more emphasis on that? Not just within reading, but again across the disciplines. 

Abbey: I think knowledge is power. And at the beginning I didn’t have my Science of Reading training. Seeing how a puzzle fit together that I wasn’t sure yet what the end result would look like because I really didn’t have that training led me to a space where. . . why am I doing this routine? What is in it for the students? Every single week I’m giving them all these different word parts, but why? And so then when I got my Science of Reading background, it just all clicked. All the puzzle pieces kind of fit together, and I realized the power of those word parts and those morphemes. And teaching students those, once they had the phoneme-grapheme correspondences the number of words that they could decode expanded exponentially. I saw the power in that. And vocabulary is the catalyst to comprehension. So, if they’re understanding these words, they’re understanding what they’re reading. This year, I’ve transformed a lot in understanding author’s perspective, stepping from Into Reading to Into Literature. I really understand how much we’re trying to help learners understand the author’s perspective. What lens is the author coming from? When you start adding in dialects and slang, academic, social languages, digital language, the kids are learning so many aspects of words. It’s interesting to me to figure out where do these words come from?

According to the Global Language Monitor, a new word is added to our language every 98 minutes, which is approximately 14 words a day, 5,100 words a year. How do kids keep up with this? This is the fastest rate of word creation ever. It’s incredible. It’s so exciting for our kids, but with this explosion of language, they’re inundated with this plethora of new vocabulary at a rate they’ve never seen before. So, to keep up with that, we as educators have to help them understand, how do I engage with a new word?

Or this is a word I’ve known, but now it has six different meanings. How do I engage with that? How do I decipher this? And that’s where we come in. We start to help them differentiate between academic language, social language, digital language. When should I use this word that I’ve learned? What’s the right audience for this word? It helps them to understand how their voices can be heard and who said that word? What’s their perspective? How does this enter into the global stage? All of those things are really exciting to me and really engage with our kids. I think they’re interested in it too. 

Noelle: I was getting caught up on the term, generative vocabulary. This is morphology and semantics, and it does lead, and I think you’re doing such a wise move in that transition that you’ve done, regardless of what programs. I mean, it’s exciting to know that you’re using Into Reading and you’ve moved into, Into Literature, but bringing that connection to author’s perspective, the craft, it goes into the author’s craft. Why that word in that sentence at that time? That just takes the whole analytics and understanding point of view and character development into a much different place. We are way past up in the upper ends of the Scarborough Rope, but that’s what you want to be happening.

This whole conversation that you and I have had, is it all is empowered by knowing words and what words mean and how to deconstruct them and make them. I don’t think I knew that we were adding a new word every 98. . . Did you say 98 minutes or seconds?

Abbey: Minutes. 

Noelle: I was like, seconds? We have to have something else helping us. But 98 minutes. That’s pretty amazing because I don’t think I knew new words were really added to our language until I was in college. I definitely did not have these conversations when I was in middle school and high school. You had a finite amount of things that you were learning, not necessarily exploring. What do y’all allow students to use in classrooms to be able to have such access to just a vast array of words and conversations and background knowledge building. 

Abbey: Something we do that’s really important to us is where we use a word? What does the word vetting process look like? So, when we encounter a new word, is this a word that I use at school? Is this a word that I just hear and know what it means? Is this a word that I want to use and where do I use this word?

All of those things, our kids have to do. And that’s a lot of mind mapping that our learners’ brains just have to be trained how to do. When is it appropriate to use that word? I remember when I was little, and heaven forbid anyone say any kind of inappropriate word at school. Oh my word. You were in so much trouble! And now what constitutes an inappropriate word when kids are given all these new words at this rapid rate? What makes that word inappropriate? Because now we’re just changing appropriate words and changing their meanings. 

So, helping learners see what’s happening in the world around them, and when do I use these words? It’s really helpful. In the middle school setting, trust me that there are so many new words used all the time. Sometimes I don’t even understand what they’re saying.

Noelle: Oh, it took me forever. 

Abbey: So I stop and ask them, "What did that mean? I have no idea what you just said. Can you please translate?"

Noelle: One day I was walking down the hall and a student [said], “Are you supposed to be here?” And I had a badge on. I was supposed to be visiting and I [said], “Well, yes.”

And they [said], “Because you know, you look so sus.” What? What do I look like? And they [said], “Suspect.” What? Sweet little me. I have my badge. But it was just so funny because he looked at me . . . I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I’m supposed to ask anybody I see. But what are these? Is that even a word? And then, I come home and I’m like, “Hedy, is that word?” “According to us, Mother, and the Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Yes. That’s a word. Because that’s how we talk with each other in our conversation.” “Then wouldn’t that be considered casual?” And she’s like, “Don’t try this more, Mom. It is casual.” 

So I think about that in the terms of, are you going through that process? Because in any curriculum, anytime there’s always a plethora of words that you could teach, how are you narrowing down? Are you doing the same mind mapping on what words am I going to explicitly teach? What words can I coach on? What words will they find in context? What’s your approach to planning and cutting down the number of words that you teach at one time? 

Abbey: I love that we can get to a place where we start to ask the students and we start to categorize words. Words we know. Words, even in our vocab list, come with different curriculums. What are some words that you have prior knowledge of, and you’ve just heard it? Which ones have you given in-depth background knowledge on? We don’t need to spend a lot of time on that, but what words do you genuinely need to decode? And we need to look for more themes, or we need to figure out what this word means.

And that’s not that many words. When you’re really reading a text or a selection. We’re going to be very intentional with how we select the words that we study. With kids, it’s just so important for them to know when and how to use the words that they’re going to be using. The text that they interact with every day at school has academic language, so we are going to have to do more explicit vocabulary instruction. But if they were to hand me their phone and I would try and read a conversation with their friend, they would need to explicitly teach me. One of the most important things as an educator is always to be a learner.

I asked an eighth-grade student last week, how was your weekend? And he’s like, oh, it was so tight. I spent the time with my shorty, came down. I was like, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Can you please translate this for me?” When I got to the vocabulary lesson, I told that student, “Now it’s my time to translate for you.”

We need each other in this world to be able to communicate, and that’s the ultimate goal, is just find your voice and share it. But think about the audience that’s going to receive it. What kind of language do you need to use for them? If I was trying to communicate with a bunch of eighth graders about my weekend, well then, I would probably need to go seek out the student to help me. Having that symbiotic of you help me, I help you. We’re both translating language when we use it, where we use it, how we use it. It just builds that relationship with students, and it really helps build their vocabulary commitment. 

To help students understand words and how to use them, Abbey categorizes vocabulary words with students.


Noelle: Let’s come back full circle. Young Abbey wants to be a marine biologist. How did we go from marine biologist to teaching? Because we definitely see the passion for words and language has continued. But where in the journey did we move from being a marine biologist to teaching? And tell me one to two things that you love about being a teacher.

Abbey: You’ll find this really interesting. When I was 15 years old, with my church group, we went down to Knockpatrick, Jamaica to a deaf campus for children. We went down and we’re building a facility for them, for the learners there. And then we did a Vacation Bible School. And it was an extremely humbling experience because the children at this campus were without hearing.

For the first time, I really realized I can’t communicate with these children. I never realized how powerful words were until I couldn’t communicate with someone else, and it was not a language barrier. I couldn’t read what they were telling me at all. I couldn’t use any of my background knowledge to understand what they were saying at all. And that’s when I realized the power of motion and understanding words and studying their language. At that point I realized I really wanted to learn more and teach other people about what I was learning.

The little children that were there that were speaking sign language to me, it was a humbling experience to not be able to communicate with someone. I feel very passionate about our multilingual learners because I understand what that must feel like at the most minute degree. I want to make sure that kids understand how to communicate with people of all languages. That’s a very passionate point for me. That’s when I switched from being a marine biologist to being an educator when I was 15. Since then, it’s just been a rollercoaster ride. I’ve taught all different grades.

Ended up meeting Noelle in 2019 right pre-pandemic, which kind of catapulted us into digital learning. We couldn’t go into spaces. We ended up on these model lessons and really focused on generative vocabulary. I know that was one of the first ones I had.I loved that and I continued teaching. I had a split class, different grade levels, and I feel like I’ve experienced so much in the classroom. Now I’m just ready to work with teachers and teaching teams and hopefully empower them to do the same thing in their rooms, to find meaning and purpose in what they’re doing. And I still love being in schools. I still love seeing the kids.

Noelle: Yeah. I know when you moved into this new role, you love the term curriculum integrator. But I remember that you shared with your principal, “I still want to be known as a teacher. That’s extremely important to me. I want to be able to, at any time, go into a classroom and model or teach, or let that teacher see me”, which I love and value myself. You’re giving me such memories and flashbacks to where . . . Noelle, what will this model lesson be? I’m like, I don’t know, Abbey. Let’s figure it out together.

Because we just got into this pandemic, and I don’t know. But I know that we have to be out there, we have to do something. And if I go back and look at our archives of some of our initial model lessons to the ones now where you’re in front of your screen and you’re modeling exactly how you would do it in a classroom with students.

It’s pretty impressive. I have firsthand knowledge that you are a go getter, you’re a risk taker, you’re a problem solver. And you are a true, teacher to teacher, let’s all help each other and be in this together. 

I’m ending every podcast episode this season with “Why teaching?” And for you, I’m going to ask why fourth grade? And I’m going to then ask you why split classroom? Because a lot of teachers are sometimes asked to do something that you’re like, what? Why? And so, I want you to take it from both places. Why teaching? I want you to think about it as a fourth-grade teacher. And I also want you to think about it, why sometimes accept challenges that are brought to you?

Abbey: I love fourth grade. It’s such a fun time for the kids. It’s this pivotal moment before they reach middle school where they’re just old enough but not too old. They can have these complex conversations. It also is a great launching point for me. I’m all about advocacy and I want the students to advocate for themselves and others, and there’s no better time than middle school. You ask people all about their experiences in life. Would you go back to middle school? Oh, I don’t know. Being able to set kids up for that, that they have the vocabulary they need, the confidence they need to advocate for themselves and others in those situations in middle school. It’s just such a great pivotal point to teach. So, if you haven’t taught fourth grade, I highly recommend it.

The split classroom, all that is, is just learners at different points in their progression. You can do it. It’s something that you can do is long as you see that you’re just picking up where they are and taking them to the next place. If I was teaching my third graders, we just went to where the third graders’ levels were, and they were all over the place. No matter what group of learners you have, you’re going to have a bunch of different levels. You’re working on progress. That growth mindset is so important. I had third graders who were capable of doing fourth-grade work. I had fourth graders who needed more tailored third-grade work. So, if you’re working in a split classroom, I realize it can be really challenging, but just think of all the benefits to your learners.

It was a great experience for us. Very trying during the pandemic, when you’re trying to teach two grades hybrid. But it was such a great experience for me to see the power of that progression. I recommend switching grade levels throughout your career. Get out of your four walls, try a different grade level, appreciate what your colleagues are doing to grow this learner. And you’ll see great gains in return. Vocabulary is just one really passionate piece for me, but I’m definitely all about a growth mindset for both our leaders and our learners. What is it that you have to learn this year? What’s your next step? What are you going to do to take your next step in your own learning progression as a leader. That’s what my new role has empowered me to be able to ask. 

Noelle: Abbey, I thank you for being a guest. I’m sure our listeners have picked up several ideas and strategies from you, but if you are using one of our HMH programs, you will find Abbey in our Teacher’s Corner. Jump in there on Ed and get in there if you want to talk to her more. She’s in our Teacher’s Corner from HMH Facebook group. But what a conversation, and I love that we focused it on vocabulary so that people got to hear your passion and got to learn from your expertise. I’ll be talking to you soon, but thank you for being here.

Abbey: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. I always love to talk about teaching.

Noelle: If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the Teachers in America podcast, please email us at shaped@hmhco.com. Be the first to hear new episodes of Teachers in America by subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you enjoy today's show, please rate, review, and share it with your network. You can find the transcript of this episode on our Shaped blog by visiting hmhco.com/shaped. The link is in the show notes. Teachers in America is produced by HMH. Until next time, your friend, Noelle.

The Teachers in America podcast is a production of HMH. Executive producers are Christine Condon and Tim Lee. Editorial direction is by Christine Condon. It is creatively directed, and audio engineered by Tim Lee. Our producer and editor is Jennifer Corujo. Production designers are Mio Frye and Thomas Velazquez. Shaped blog post editors for the podcast are Christine Condon, Jennifer Corujo, and Alicia Ivory.  

Thanks again for listening!


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