Austin ISD Mindfulness Newsletter

November 2019--#mindfulAISD

Featured This Month...

  • Personal Practice -- Mindful Drawing & Gratitude Journaling
  • Professional Learning -- Mindfulness Cohort Co-Teaching Opportunity & HCP
  • Staff/Campus Mindfulness -- Self-Care for Educators
  • Classroom Implementation -- Stop Breathe & Think Educators Toolkit
  • Mindful Happenings in AISD -- Rodriguez, Langford & Baldwin in the news!
  • Related Newsletters & Blog -- CP&I and SEL

Reminder: For more regular mindfulness updates, please follow me on Twitter, @mrbutler629. I post regularly, providing tips and highlighting mindfulness happening across the district. Also, feel free to use #mindfulAISD when posting about mindfulness.

Photo: McKinney Falls State Park Homestead Trail (credit:


Mindful Drawing & Gratitude Journaling

Mindfulness isn't just about sitting and breathing. Drawing is a great way to practice mindfulness, even if your art skills are like mine (aka not great). Read about mindful drawing and give it a try using suggestions from the image below. Feel free to try some of these out during your break.

Additionally, here's a reminder about the positive impact of Gratitude Journaling & details for how to do it as we focus on being thankful over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Reminder: Headspace and Stop Breathe Think offer FREE subscription services for educators.

Big picture


Mindfulness Cohort Co-Teaching Opportunity

I've had the honor of doing mindfulness cohorts with PK teachers over the last two years and it's been an awesome experience that I'd like to do with more levels of teachers. I'd like to teach these leveled cohorts with teachers and the best part is that I'm able to pay you! It will be 10 hours of work for the semester (6 hours of co-teaching workshops--3 different 2 hour sessions, and 4 hours of planning).

The levels will be K-2nd, 3rd-5th, Middle School and High School and the sessions will be in the spring semester. Once co-teachers are chosen and dates are selected, I'll put the sessions into HCP so folks can sign up. If you're interested in helping me co-teach a mindfulness cohort, please fill out this brief application. Deadline is November 15th.

Mindfulness 101/201, 301 & Isolating Race

Register below...

Look for more sections & varieties in the Spring and Summer. Isolating Race is currently a prerequisite for Mindfulness 101, 201 & 301.

Spring semester Isolating Race PDs have just been released on HCP. See below/CP&I Newsletter for more...

January 16th session #93557

January 22nd session #93121

January 30th session #93122

February 18th session #93123

Participants use the Courageous Conversations About Race Protocol to racialize their daily lived experiences, gain awareness of personal bias, consider racial disparities within educational structures, and examine Austin ISD data to highlight local racial inequities in education.


Self-Care for Teachers from Stop Breathe & Think

From the Stop Breathe & Think Self-Care for Teachers handout:

"With so much to do (students to teach, parents to inform, standards to meet) making time to look after yourself is often the first to go. But taking care of yourself is critical to being able to address the needs of others: students, parents and colleagues alike. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup!"

Share the handout with your colleagues for simple mindful self-care practices for all school staff.


Elementary Resource

Stop Breathe & Think not only offers free lifetime subscription to their app, but they also have a bunch of resources in their teacher toolkit.

Check out the Elementary Toolkit for a bunch of awesome resources.

Secondary Resource

Stop Breathe & Think not only offers free lifetime subscription to their app, but they also have a bunch of resources in their teacher toolkit.

Check out the Middle School Toolkit and High School Toolkit for a bunch of awesome resources.

Books of the Month

Suggestions to add to your classroom or school library if you don't already have them. I also recommend checking out this site that highlights books about indigenous people written by indigenous people.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

"There are countless reasons for gratitude in every season of the year. That’s the message of this lovely picture book, which features Cherokee words and the Cherokee alphabet. From celebrating “the ancestors’ sacrifices to preserve our way of life” to a Grandmother revealing what the Cherokee name of a newborn baby will be, the people give thanks. (Cherokee, recommended for ages 3 – 8)

Speaking of gratitude and Native Americans, be aware that the story of Thanksgiving most children learn is fabricated and harmful in many ways. Many Native Americans today do not celebrate Thanksgiving. For a more accurate look at the the harvest meal of English colonists and Wampanoag leaders, I recommend 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving."

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

"Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live."


It's been quite the month for Mindful AISD in the news with Rodriguez, Langford and Baldwin all being featured! Click on images below to open tweets/stories.

Rodriguez Elementary on KXAN

Langford Elementary on KVUE

Baldwin Elementary on FOX 7 Austin

Additional Resources

CP&I and SEL Newsletters & Blog

Check out this month's Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness Newsletter and Social Emotional Learning Newsletter & Blog

Compilation of Mindfulness Resources for Educators

Free App Subscriptions, Research, Articles, Videos & More.

Mindful AISD Newsletters from 2016-2019

Every Mindfulness Newsletter from the last 3 school years.

Sign Up for Mindfulness Support

Interested in the monthly mindfulness newsletters? Want to highlight your mindfulness work in AISD? Would like additional mindfulness support in AISD? Fill out the form below.

James Butler, M.Ed.

Austin ISD SEL Mindfulness Specialist

2014 Austin ISD Teacher of the Year

Author of Mindful Classrooms: Daily 5-Minute Practices to Support Social-Emotional Learning