The BEST Beat

Monthly Newsletter from Anna ISD Curriculum & Instruction


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Krystel Hiner is a 5th Grade Math teacher at Harlow Elementary. Her dedication to Anna students is evident everyday in her classroom. She spends countless hours preparing engaging lessons that reach students on their level. On any given day, you will see Krystel differentiating for a small group of students, while others are working in stations applying prior knowledge. Krystel communicates weekly with parents about all the great concepts students are learning in 5th grade math. Her newsletters include photos of students in the learning process. Krystel is currently working on establishing an enrichment math club for her students that are ready to learn material at a higher level. WE ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE KRYSTEL HINER AS OUR ELEMENTARY NOVEMBER FEATURE TEACHER
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Ms. Cannon is one of our brand new teachers at Anna Middle School, and her command of classroom management and instructional pedagogy is already making a big impact on her students!

Her class period began with all students immediately prepared to work on their warm-up journal entry over The Giver before the tardy bell even rang; moreover, multiple students were excited to share their responses about a memory they would share if they were The Giver. These first few minutes showcase how Ms. Cannon has created procedures that have transformed into daily routines that now are visible, predictable classroom norms. These norms build a foundation on which learning can take place each day!

Students moved into a Philosophical Chairs activity where they would either “Agree, Build, or Challenge” a thematic statement based on the novel The Giver. As students moved to different sides of the room and responded to the statements, Ms. Cannon pushed students to justify their answers with specific evidence from both the novel and their own experiences. Throughout the activity, students continued answering questions and responding to one another with eager anticipation—even at times with palpable passion! It’s clear that Ms. Cannon’s students feel comfortable in sharing their insights because she has created an inclusive and academically rigorous place where students know that they can and will grow.

Finally, Ms. Cannon introduced the “But, Because, So” writing strategy that Mrs. Shaw from Region 10 showcased to our teachers during August PD. Our secondary ELAR teachers have been employing this incredible strategy for a few years now to improve students’ writing and content knowledge, and it is a beautiful cross-curricular practice that you should definitely employ!

Anna ISD is blessed to have so many stellar teachers like Ms. Cannon who make a true difference with their students each and every day!

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In the final chapter of Emotional Poverty, Ruby Payne asks, “What does all of this mean for my classroom and for my life?” Talk about a loaded question!

There is so much going on and so many requirements of educators it can be overwhelming to determine what we can control each day. While we can’t control who we have in the classroom, we can control how we react and how we support them each day. We can teach them to regulate and that it is possible to change our emotional reactions. Thank you for showing up to your classrooms each day. You truly are making a difference.

Education has always been and will always be a human endeavor, a social interaction. By paying more attention to the emotional well-being of our students and ourselves, we ensure a high-quality education that is safe--not dangerous--for students in every demographic.

Ruby Payne

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The concept of specially designed instruction in IDEA is defined as adapting the content, delivery, and/or methodology of instruction for students with disabilities who need special education services. In other words, specially designed means changing what is taught, where it is taught, and/or how it is taught. While a special education setting, such as resource, is highly conducive to these types of adaptations, it can be challenging in the general education setting to differentiate for the diverse characteristics of a class and the unique needs of individual students. Strategies such as teaching in stations, engaging in targeted small group instruction, and project-based learning are excellent forms of instruction that yield high student growth in academic achievement, yet there are many other strategies that teachers can employ to meet the instructional needs of all students. Universal Design (UD), though it has been around for the last twenty years, remains an instructional approach that is backed by an enormous amount of research in support of facilitating student growth in academics. The research has noted:

  1. Students participating in a school-wide curriculum that integrated several components of UD demonstrated statistically significant gains in literacy, math, and social skills on standardized tests (Leiber et al., 2008).

  2. Gains in specific academic outcomes related to literacy, math and science content knowledge are attributed to UD-based learning (Rao et al., 2014).

  3. UD instruction has the potential to be responsive to students with and without disabilities, and its use may be particularly important when complex content, such as chemistry, is taught (Sears & Johnson, 2020).

The research over the past two decades is clear - Universal Design instructional strategies yield student growth in academic achievement, so consider trying it out in your classroom with your own students. Here are some of the strategies that have been proven to work for all learners (McGuire, 2006):

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For more information about Universal Design and to see it in action, check out this link:

What is Universal Design for Learning?

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Anna High School has been busy making sure all students get the opportunity to take a college entrance exam before graduation. During the Month of October the TOP 25% of the junior class took the NMSQT/PSAT, 68 Junior and Seniors took the ACT, and All Seniors participated in SAT School day on October 27th. Giving a total of over 450 college entrance exams given at AHS!! By investing and encouraging students to participate in the exams we are providing opportunities for scholarships and entrances into colleges that students may not have thought was possible.


Did you know that the AISD Gifted and Talented program has a facebook page that highlights all our gifted students K-12? Make sure you follow our page to see all the cool and innovative things GT students are doing.

AISD GT will be hosting a GT Curriculum night K-12 on November 15th @ 6:00pm. This night will give parents and community members the opportunity to meet our GT staff and see a program overview for the 2022-2023 school year.

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We have had to make a few changes in the way data will be collected for the TIA components of TTESS. All teachers will receive two formal evaluations and those will be averaged for final ratings in each domain 2 and 3 regardless if a single appraiser rates both evaluations or multiple evaluators rate. As always, reach out if you have any questions. The copy of the TIA Handbook can be found here.
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I cannot believe we are already in November! Anna ISD is gearing up for our MIddle of the Year MAP assessment which will begin after Thanksgiving break!

Please join us for our 2nd MAP CHAT! This will be on November 16th in room 409 at special programs. The focus this month will be on Student Profiles and Setting Goals. This optional PD is for all teachers K-12. This is the perfect time to collaborate with your colleagues and focus our time on how to help our students grow as much as possible.

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Extended and Short Constructed Scoring Guides Released October 7th

1. RLA Grades 3-5 Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

2. RLA Grades 3-5 Constructed Response-Spanish (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

3. RLA Grades 6-8 Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

4. English 1 Expository Writing (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

5. English 2 Persuasive Writing (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

6. English 1 and 2 Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

7. Science Grade 5 Short Constructed Response-English/Spanish (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

8. Science Grade 8 Short Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

9. Biology Short Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

10. Social Studies Grade 8 Short Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

11. US History Short Constructed Response (PDF posted 10/7/2022)

If you have any questions or would be interested in additional resources, just let me know. I am also willing to join your PLCs and demonstrate any of the practice tests or tools that you have available to prepare our students for all of the STAAR redesign changes.

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Industry-based certifications are a valuable component of strong student pathways. An industry certification is a credential recognized by business and industry at the local, state or national level. It could be an assessment, an examination or a license that is administered and recognized by an industry third-party or governing board. Check out the full list of IBCs that AHS offers here.


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Eduphoria! allows teachers, staff, and administration to manage and verify Professional Development courses they have registered for using the app. Viewing your portfolio is easy!

1. Click My Professional Learning from the left side menu.

2. Click the PORTFOLIO tab from the top menu.

3. Click the My Portfolio icon in the lower left corner of the Portfolio section to view entries. From this screen you can view courses you are currently enrolled in, or have received credit for.

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Click the image below to view the Professional Learning and Instructional Planning days for the 2022-2023 School Year. This is a LIVE document and contains the most up-to-date information and locations! If you click the date tiles, you can view more date-specific information.
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Boardworks allows you to:

  • Engage students with fully customizable interactive lessons
  • Provide the supplemental materials you need to enhance instruction
  • Reduce the time needed to build new lessons with a library of 25,000 standards-aligned activities for K-12 instruction
  • Customize presentations to share them between teachers in a collaborative environment
  • Address the learning gap with the right content at the right time for every student, without requiring additional time from teachers


Choose Your Content

Select presentation by state standard or topic for all K-12 core subject areas.

Decide Your Delivery

Choose between a synchronous or asynchronous model.

Elevate Your Instruction

Utilize animations, interactive drag and drops, formative assessments, and all-in-one presentations.

Edit & Differentiate

Customize presentations to meet the needs of all learners and save to personal, school and district libraries for future use

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All Elementary Schools got to be refreshed on Fire Safety from James Dockray, Fire Prevention Captain and the rest of the Anna Fire Department.

We also wrapped up a successful first book fair at Rosamond Sherley Elementary! We made a little over $10,000!


4th and 5th grade classes had a “How to care for your Chromebook lesson” given by Stephanie Underwood.
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