Mindfulness Newsletter

August 2018--#mindfulAISD

Welcome Back!!

Featured in this Back to School edition of the Mindful AISD Newsletter...

  • Starting Mindfulness on Day 1
  • Mindfulness Professional Learning through HCP
  • Vote for AISD at SXSWedu
  • Mindfulness for Families
  • Mindfulness & Equity
  • Mindful Technology
  • Mindfulness & Athletics
  • SEL Newsletter
  • Mindful Happenings in AISD

The italicized points above will be recurring themes in each mindfulness newsletter. Resources will be provided that directly relate to those themes. Please feel free to email me suggestions for what to include in future newsletters.

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.

Starting Mindfulness on Day 1

Before starting, I recommend watching the 5 Tips for Mindfulness Implementation video on our Mindful AISD YouTube playlist before getting started. It's only 1 minute 45 seconds and has tips based on years of experience using mindfulness in the classroom.

On day 1, take 3-5 minutes to briefly define mindfulness, how it helps the brain and take three deep breaths together as a class. Below you'll also find some helpful resources, a letter to families and videos to help explain mindfulness to your students.

And remember, mindfulness in the classroom really only works if you have some type of personal practice. Even just a few minutes consistently. This allows for us to empathize with our students and be better prepared when students have questions about it.

Mindfulness Professional Learning through HCP

“Mindfulness in Schools” HCP course (feel free to print & post this flyer on campus).

All will be held at the Blanton Museum of Art in classrooms above the cafeteria. These classes are open to ALL AISD staff. Thanks to a generous donation from a community member, teacher & librarian subs will be paid for by the SEL Department.

Mindfulness Series

Section #: 88374--October 2nd, 8am-11am, Mindfulness 101 (beginner)

Section #: 88974--October 2nd, 1pm-4pm, Mindfulness 101 (beginner)

Section #: 88380--November 1st, 8am-11am, Mindfulness 201 (intermediate)

Section #: 88976--November 1st, 1-4pm, Mindfulness 201 (intermediate)

Section #: 88384--November 29th, 8-11am, Mindfulness 301 (advanced)

**There are NO prerequisites for 201 & 301. Choose which level you think you should attend based on your knowledge and expertise with mindfulness. For 301, it's preferred that you have at least one full year of practicing mindfulness in your classroom.

Integrating Mindfulness

Section #: 88387--October 25th, 8am-11am, Culturally Responsive Mindfulness

Section #: 88975--October 25th, 1pm-4pm, Culturally Responsive Mindfulness

Section #: 88385--November 29th, 1-4pm, Mindfulness & The Arts

Mindfulness for Librarians

Section #: 88379--October 3rd, 1-4pm, Mindfulness for Elementary Librarians

Section #: 88381--November 14th, 1-4pm, Mindfulness for Secondary Librarians

Mindfulness for Counselors

Section #: 88382--December 6th, 8-11am, Mindfulness for Elementary Counselors

Section #: 88383--December 6th, 1-4pm, Mindfulness for Secondary Counselors

Vote for AISD at SXSWedu

Check out this doc with AISD staff & students hoping to present at SXSWedu 2019 and vote for the proposals. Voting is quick & easy, and makes up a large percentage of overall results. Thanks for helping Austin ISD shine at SXSWedu!

Did you submit a proposal and not make the doc? Email me or leave a comment on the doc and I'll fix that. Thanks!

Mindfulness for Families

You always have access to this folder full of resources to share with families, and to guide events or conversations surrounding mindfulness. Included in the folder are: letter describing mindfulness as secular and beneficial to the brain with a blurb from Dr. Cruz supporting mindfulness in schools, activities and resources. I highly recommend sending the letter home at the start of the year, or proactively having a conversation with your families about mindfulness. It helps greatly with any misconceptions that might cause strong feelings about mindfulness being used in the school.

The letter and most of the resources are translated into Spanish, Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Burmese, Kinyarwanda & Swahili. Feel free to share the link with families as well: bit.ly/mindfulfams

Mindfulness & Equity

This is a new section in the Mindful AISD newsletter. Mindfulness & Equity are deeply connected through self-awareness. Equity is a crucial component of education that help us reach ALL of our students. It's also a priority in the district and at the base of the SEL 2.0 wheel. Each month, I'll share an article or resource that supports the connection between Mindfulness & Equity.

Mindful Magazine published an article titled, "Disrupting the Systemic Whiteness in the Mindfulness Movement." The title caught my attention because it's something that I've noticed about the mindfulness movement and would like to help shift. The article is a Q&A with Dr. Angela Rose Black on the omission of the voices and wisdom of people of color in mindfulness research, teaching, and practice. It's a thought-provoking and powerful article that has helped and will help guide mindfulness work in Austin ISD.

Mindful Technology

Stop Breathe & Think is coming out with a FREE lifetime subscription for educators for both of their apps (adults & kids). This is similar to the deal from Calm. I was fortunate to have a phone conversation with them two weeks ago and they're excited to support teachers in AISD and all over. Details will be released in the next week or so. I'll keep y'all posted.

Mindfulness & Athletics

Athletics & Mindfulness are a very natural fit due to the mental part of sports. It's often said that "Sports is 90% mental, 10% physical" but tools for that 90% mental are rarely practiced. Mindfulness is mental strength training. Have athletes in your class? Call it Mental Strength Training. Are you a coach? Do the same thing and use it regularly in practice. Need more to convince your student-athletes? Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant had a mindfulness coach named George Mumford and he wrote the book, The Mindful Athlete. Check out the site to learn more and read the first chapter for free.

SEL Newsletter

Mindful Happenings in Austin ISD

Here are a few mindfulness highlights from across the district over the past few weeks leading up to the start of the school year. Email me or tag your tweets with #mindfulAISD so I can highlight your work in future newsletters.

Mindful Student & District Leadership

McCallum Senior, Xavier, was asked to come lead mindfulness with Dr. Cruz's cabinet over the summer. What an incredible opportunity for Xavier, and for Dr. Cruz and his leadership team to learn from him. I'm also pretty proud because Xavier was in my Kindergarten class. Thanks Dr. Cruz & Dr. Goodnow for honoring student voice and making that happen.
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Mindful Food Service

Our students literally cannot learn without our Food Service staff. It was an honor to share mindfulness with them. And so fun!
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Mindful Librarians

Minda Anderson (Becker) & Randi Sather (Perez) shared mindfulness with their fellow librarians. They are also the past two AISD Librarians of the Year. Inspiring to say the least!
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Mindful Administrators

It was an honor to have mindfulness featured at the Leadership Institute. Over 60 administrators attended and gained insight into mindfulness for their schools.
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Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide

Those of you who are using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend Weeks 1-2 for these first couple weeks in August. As a friendly reminder, the book will be published by Free Spirit Publishing soon and I won't be able to give away free copies once that happens. AISD staff, sign up for a free electronic copy of the book while you can in the support form at the bottom of this newsletter.

#mindfulAISD archives

Mindfulness Newsletter Archives (One link to access all newsletters from 16-17 & 17-18)

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 a moment 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