#mindfulAISD (2/27)

Mindfulness in the Austin Independent School District

Week of February 27th, 2017

Welcome to the #mindfulAISD newsletter for the week of February 27th. This will serve as a way to highlight the awesome mindfulness work being done across the district as well as offer resources. Have suggestions for material you'd like to see on here? Please email the SEL Mindfulness Specialist: james.butler@austinisd.org


Want to Showcase Your Mindfulness Work?

Send James Butler an email with a brief story and/or photo (if you have photo releases for your students). Or if you're on Twitter, use the hashtag #mindfulAISD and I'll post a link to your tweet on the newsletter.


Teacher Testimonial

"I wanted to share a sweet story that happened later in the day after our Mindfulness lesson. We read Where the Wild Things Are and were attempting to do a "text to self connection." The kiddos were to complete the following sentence "When I feel wild I.." and draw a picture of themselves being wild. Many of the kids responded with , "I do some belly breaths" or "I take a deep breath" or "Mindfulness". SO cool to see them making connections.

When I saw you at the summer training at Meditation Bar you suggested that I start it from the first day of school and I was skeptical thinking about how many things we need to accomplish in those first days but it was totally worth it for the kids and me."

--Ginny Marks, Menchaca Elementary Teacher

7 Tips For Those Who Say They Can't Meditate

I saw this tweet from Mindful Living and thought it provided some useful tips to help ease the common phrase, "I can't do it." These tips were used in the adult mindfulness class at Sunset Valley last week.

1) Start with just 2 minutes

Yes, you heard it right. Simply sit there for 2 minutes and focus on your breathe (or whatever you want to focus on). As you become comfortable with 2 minutes, increase it to 3 minutes and so on.

2) Don’t worry about clearing the mind

Your mind will wander. It’s inevitable. Just smile, and return your focus to your breath.

3) Do it first thing in the morning

Many people ‘forget’ about doing meditation because they don’t have a routine. Doing it first thing in the morning is an excellent way to get in the habit.

4) Develop an accepting attitude

As you sit with yourself, you will feel different emotions such as anxiety and stress. We tend to run away from those feelings, but this is a time for you to accept them and even welcome them. Simply smile, accept that you’re feeling the way you are, and return to focusing on your breathe.

5) Don’t worry about ‘doing it wrong’

The ultimate goal of meditation isn’t to clear your mind. Actually, there are no goals to meditation as that would go against the practice. It is simply to be, in the here and now.

6) Focus on an object

Most beginners are taught to focus on their breathe, however another effective way to meditate is just to focus on an object. Make sure the object isn’t too big that you have to scan your eyes.

7) Keep your expectations realistic

Sure, there are many research studies showing it’s amazing benefits, but you’re not going to solve all your problems in a week or even a month. All good things take time.

Remember, meditation won’t always be peaceful or fun. But if you stay with it, then after a few weeks or months, you’ll begin to enjoy your meditation practice and experience the many benefits that science is now showing.

Mindful Classrooms--Week 25

If you're using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend using Week 25 this week. It's a very loose recommendation though. Please do what's best for you and your students. If you'd like the free electronic copy for AISD staff, please feel out the Google Form at the bottom of this page.

Photos/stories of Mindful Classrooms being used in class are always welcome and would be great for the newsletter! Email James Butler.

RESOURCES **New Additions This Week

Previous Newsletters

Links to all the previous newsletters with a highlight or two from each edition.

Week of February 20 (Multi-lingual Mindfulness & Zen Den YouTube Videos)

Week of February 13 (Mindful Brain Poster & CE credit video w/ Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Week of February 6 (GoNoodle Mindfulness Document & Mindfulness Research Newsletter)

Week of January 30 (Rodriguez ES Mindfulness Studio & Mindful Coloring pages)

Week of January 23 (3 Simple Remedies for Stressed-Out Mind & Kindfulness article)

Week of January 17 (Science of mindfulness & Breathing Sticks activity)

Week of January 9 (SEL in Austin Family Magazine & Link to De-Escalation Strategies Poster)

Week of January 3 (List of mindfulness sites & mindfulness is good for teachers article)

Week of December 12 (List of mindfulness apps & Mindfulness Challenge recap)

Week of December 5 (Scientifically proven song for relaxation & Mindfulness Tour recap)

Week of November 28 (#mindfulAISD YouTube Playlist link)

Week of November 14 (GIFs for deep breathing & Breathing script for HS--Palm the Present Moment by Donald Altman from "The Mindfulness Toolbox")

Week of November 7 (AISD e-Wellness spotlight)

Week of October 31 (Mindfulness Challenge update)

Week of October 24 (Progressive Muscle Relaxation script)

Week of October 17 ("Just Breathe" mindfulness video)

Week of October 10 (Stop Breathe Think App/Site & Curious Not Furious article)

Week of October 3 (Pokemon poses & Mindfulness and the Brain article)

Week of September 26 (Replacing Detention w/ Meditation article & Guided Breathing tracks in Spanish & English)

Week of September 19 (Teacher Self-Care & Connecting Mindfulness w/ SEL: Mind Yeti)

Week of September 12 (KEYE News feature & Helping Teens Destress)

Sign Up for Mindfulness Support

If you haven't filled out the #mindfulAISD Google Form (below) and want to highlight your work and/or receive mindfulness support, please check it out. It only takes about 1 minute to complete. Know someone in AISD interested in mindfulness? Send them this newsletter for them to fill out the Google Form.


James Butler

SEL Mindfulness Specialist