The BEST Beat
Monthly Newsletter from Anna ISD Curriculum & Instruction
DR. GAYLE SMITH
REBECCA THORNHILL, RATTAN ELEMENTARY
HAYLEE CANNON, ANNA MIDDLE SCHOOL
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!
Feeling the cool air in the mornings is giving us hope for cooler weather soon and pushing us right into the holiday season. While I love Fall, it does always seem to lend itself to a packed schedule. We are all coming and going and always have somewhere to be! This of course leads to additional stress, including in the classroom. The busy schedules and rushed pace leave many of us in states of stress and a sense of overwhlemingness, including the students. This can lead to students acting out and having emotional meltdowns in the classroom, both outward and inward.
Ruby Payne shares in her book, Emotional Poverty, about the emotional dance that is happening in our schools and specifically the emotional noise of the classroom (p. 97).
Dr. Payne goes on to share how to support and handle this emotional dance in the classroom.
Remember that there are a lot more people in the room than you knew.
Triage your students. 90% of discipline referrals come from 10-15% of the students. Know these students well.
Know your own triggers so that your brain can stay integrated and regulated.
Manage the emotional noise level in your classroom. Know that before and after holidays, it will be higher.
Be aware of your own bonding and attachment tendencies.
Identify which problems can be solved and which ones need to be managed.
Be aware of where you are in your own stage of life. What emotional issues are you dealing with outside of the school that come with you into the classroom? (p. 122-123)
I encourage you in this busy season to take care of yourself, manage your own expectations and give yourself grace. You are taking on more than a job, but a calling and you are giving of yourself each day to your students, there is nothing greater. There is no perfect system, but please know that I want you to feel supported in your classroom and I encourage you to reach out when it becomes too much or it isn’t working. The system of education is about learning and that includes every position in our district.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS
Special services are packed full of highly specialized terms and practices - it’s in the name! Throughout Anna ISD, the Special Services Department exists among a wide continuum of programs, placements, and services to meet the needs of kids. From early childhood through the 18+ Program, the unique needs of each student with a disability in Anna are served by our more than ten different programs and a dozen different related services. Whether you’re brand new to the field of education, or you’re a veteran educator, it’s a good practice to periodically review or refresh the basics. For example, what’s the difference between an accommodation and a modification? Here’s a quick reminder.
TEA writes that accommodations change how the content is taught, made accessible, and/or assessed. In contrast, modifications change what the student is expected to master - course, activity, and/or TEKS objectives are altered to meet student needs (ESC Region 20 & TEA, 2022).
SPECIAL SERVICES EVENTS
On September 30th, we hosted Special Olympics Bocce Ball. Ten other districts were in attendance: Blue Ridge, Bonham, Denison, Detroit, Grayson County Flight, Howe, Melissa, Prosper, Sherman, and Whitesboro. We had a total of 280 athletes compete. Special Olympics is always a shared privilege between Special Education and several other departments, such as Band, Athletics, AV, Food Services, the SROs, Maintenance, and Region 10. We also involve the community; for example, Jacked Up Nutrition hosted a tent and offered samples of their amazing drinks. Special Olympics is always a great event for all involved.
We also had several Anna Coyotes place and win ribbons: Austin Rider (3rd), Scott Knapp (1st),
Eric Rangel (1st), Rafael Ortiz (2nd), Eduardo Martinez (2nd), Jacob Richardson (3rd),
Zacch Adeyemi (3rd), Caden Smith (3rd), Koran Gillam (3rd), Lexilynn Waites (2nd),
Presley Scarbrough (2nd), Savannah Pontious (1st), Jose Delgado (2nd), Briji Ojeda (2nd)
SAVE THE DATE!
Special Services Parent Education Night
Considering Parent Engagement Imperative
October 25, 2022
Anna Middle School
Save the date on 10/25/22 at 6:00 PM for Anna ISD’s Special Services Parent Education Night, where we stress the importance of considering parent engagement imperative. Join us for an opportunity to learn from Anna ISD specialists and other parents of students with special needs. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend four break-out sessions on topics related to special education, dyslexia, 504 services, and ESL. Childcare will be available. Anna ISD staff are also welcome to attend!
GIFTED & TALENTED
Our GT teachers had their first ever K-12 collaboration meeting. The team has some fantastic projects in the works for our Gifted Students that covers an array of academia including all the core subjects and most recently adding in STEAM and Makerspace. Elementary students will be competing in Destination Imagination and our Secondary students are competing in The Future City Project as their major competitions. Be looking for future updates in the BEST Beat as the projects progress!
The advanced academic team has been working on streamlining procedures and setting a focus for our students as they start looking towards and preparing for post secondary readiness. All 11th AND 12th grade students will get to take the SAT School Day this year! While all 8th graders and sophomores will take the PSAT. Anna ISD is also a SAT national testing site on the weekends so any student can sign up and test at Anna High School on one of the national testing dates. More information about SAT can be found here.
New this year, Anna High School will be offering students the opportunity to take the ACT test during the school day. Anna ISD is looking forward to being able to support all students in being post secondary ready and being able to offer these exams locally is a step in the right direction.
I am beyond excited to kick off our Anna ISD MAP CHAT! I plan to offer these CHATS throughout the year for us to collaborate and work together to really dig into our MAP Growth data! This first time, we are going to look at Class Reports (which ones should you use and why!?) and Student Profiles! Please complete this form if you plan on attending in October! MAP CHATS 2022-2023
As we all know, there is a significant STAAR redesign this year. This will impact all STAAR tests given in the 2022-2023 school year.
STAAR Redesign: New Question Types
New Question Types Scoring and Reporting Guides:
Math (PDF posted 8/15/22)
Reading Language Arts (PDF posted 8/19/22)
Science (PDF posted 1/27/22)
Social Studies (PDF posted 1/27/22)
Spanish Reading Language Arts (PDF posted 1/27/22)
I encourage you to try it for yourself or with your students!
COLLEGE READINESS EXAMS
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SCHEDULE
TECH TIP OF THE MONTH
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