Mindfulness Newsletter

May 2018--#mindfulAISD

In This Month's Newsletter...

  • Grounding Techniques for Staff & Students
  • Test Anxiety Tips from SEL
  • Mindful Technology Resources
  • Mindfulness for Families
  • Starting Your Day with Stretching
  • Mindfulness for Coaches & Athletes
  • Mindfulness for Graduating Seniors
  • SEL Newsletter & Blog
  • Mindfulness Retreat Recap
  • Mindfulness in BLEND
  • Mindful Happenings in AISD

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.

Grounding Techniques for Staff & Students

This is a crazy time of the year and can be stressful for adults and kids. Check out this article for quick & easy grounding techniques to help navigate the end of year madness.

Shout out to Meagan Butler, Secondary Counseling Coordinator, for sharing this resource.

Test Anxiety Tips from SEL

With the final round of STAAR right around the corner, check out this great resource of tips to deal with test anxiety.

Shout out to Aleza Sitarz, SEL Specialist, for creating and sharing this resource.

Mindful Technology

A new consistent feature in the mindfulness newsletters will be a section dedicated to Mindful Technology. It's no secret that technology is everywhere, and can be quite addicting. This section will feature resources of different types to help us use technology more mindfully.

This month's feature is about an app called Q & U: Questions to Connect. It's available on Apple & Android devices. You can use it in class during circles, community meetings or use it at home with your children and/or partner.

"Q & U is designed for people on-the-go. Everyone has a phone but no one is talking. Q & U will change that! Driving the kids to school? Turn off the car screens and have the kids choose a Q & U question for the entire family to answer. Tucking the kids in bed? Pull up a question to ask. Bed time is the best time to get answers from your kids because they don't really want to go to sleep. Struggling for deeper conversation on a date night with your spouse? Explore dreams, goals, and interests with questions from Q & U."

Shout out to Angela Bailey, SEL Specialist, for sharing this resource.

Mindfulness for Families

Another new consistent feature in the mindfulness newsletters will be a section dedicated to families. Please feel free to share the newsletter, or just share the resources included in this section.

This month's feature is our folder of resources which includes a letter explaining mindfulness, No Place For Hate coloring book, activities & recommended resources to use at home. Most of the documents are in English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Burmese & Kinyarwanda.

Start Your Day with Stretching

Destress Monday offers some strategies to start your day with stretching, even before getting out of bed. Check it out and give it a try if you'd like.

Mindfulness for Coaches & Athletes

Check out this resource for how to build mental strength amongst athletes. There are some free downloads and a special deal on one of the programs.

Shout out to Jacob Anderson, Lanier Athletic Director, for sharing this resource.

Mindfulness for Graduating Seniors

Meditation Bar is offering mindfulness for graduating seniors to foster stress resilience for life after high school. Below is a blurb from the flyer explaining the workshops.

"This short, interactive workshop helps teens explore what mindfulness means, introduces a few short practical mindfulness tools, and discusses how the use of these tools can be integrated with their life after high school. Participants will also receive how to instruction, mindfulness materials for further exploration and one free month of classes at the Meditation Bar."

Unfortunately, we don't have money to offer scholarships for the course ($125), but it could make for an awesome graduation gift or perhaps funds/donations are available on your campus.

SEL Newsletter & Blog

Check out this month's Social & Emotional Learning newsletter & blog for even more awesome ideas to support yourself and your students.

Shout out to Katie Cameroneil, SEL Specialist, for writing the blog and Victoria Birkeland, SEL Communications Coordinator, for crafting the newsletter.

Mindfulness Retreat Recap

The 1st Annual Mindfulness Retreat was a success! We had 53 participants get treated to different self-care classes provided by 18 generous volunteer facilitators from the community. Literacy First AmeriCorps members were instrumental in making the event run smoothly. The feedback from participants and facilitators has been overwhelmingly positive and we're using thoughtful suggestions to make future events even better. We're definitely going to have another one next year, and we might even do a Family Mindfulness Retreat as well. Stay tuned!

Mindfulness in BLEND

A Mindfulness BLEND course has been started. It will be updated to include specific activities to use in class, but the first module is about self-care and resources to use for yourself and some for your class. Enroll here: bit.ly/mindfulblend

Mindfulness in Austin ISD

Here are a few mindfulness highlights from across the district. Email me or tag your tweets with #mindfulAISD so I can highlight your work in future newsletters.

Inner Explorer at Barbara Jordan

Students in Jen Ross-Velasquez's 3rd grade class do belly breathing with Inner Explorer.

See tweet for more.

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Inner Explorer at Widen

5th graders in Danielle Bryant's practice belly breathing with Inner Explorer.

See tweet for more.

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Thank you, H-E-B!

H-E-B donated $60 in gift cards for our mindfulness retreat. Huge appreciation for all of their support of AISD.

See tweet for more.

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Thank you, Literacy First AmeriCorps!

These are just a few of the amazing Literacy First members who were so instrumental in making the Mindfulness Retreat run so smoothly.

So much gratitude.

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Thank you, Amala Foundation!

Solomon Masala from the Amala Foundation was instrumental in the planning process, and he led an awesome Drumming for Mindfulness class at the Retreat.

See tweet for more.

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Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide

For those using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend using Week 34-36 during May. This is a flexible recommendation though. Use what works best for you and your class. AISD staff can sign up for a free electronic copy of the book in the support form at the bottom of this newsletter.

#mindfulAISD archives

April 2018 Newsletter (Mindfulness Retreat, Test Anxiety Tips, Mindfulness in BLEND)

March 2018 Newsletter (SEL overview of mindfulness)

February 2018 Newsletter (Inner Explorer Grant, Tips for Sustained Mindfulness in Class)

January 2018 Newsletter (Videos, Mindfulness Room Starter Kit, Types of Awareness)

December 2017 Newsletter (Videos, Research Supporting Mindfulness, Picture Books)

November 2017 Newsletter (Free Retreats, Class Dojo, Teens, Mindful AISD in the News)

October 2017 Newsletter (Videos, Meditation Bar Gift, Mindfulness Challenge)

September 2017 Newsletter (Mindfulness Videos)

August 2017 Newsletter (Starting mindfulness from Day 1)

2016-2017 Newsletters (One link to access all newsletters from last school year.)

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