#mindfulAISD (1/23)

Mindfulness in the Austin Independent School District

Week of January 23rd, 2017

Welcome to the #mindfulAISD newsletter for the week of January 23rd. 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

#mindfulAISD HAPPENINGS

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.

RESOURCES

3 Simple Remedies for a Stressed-Out Mind

Teaching can be stressful, as can being a student. Mindful.org posted an article and video (below) with 3 simple remedies to do when you're stressed and your brain starts racing. The following is an excerpt taken from the article...



"1. Slow down. Literally. Whatever you’re doing—walking, talking, typing, even driving—start doing it at slightly slower pace. The brain activity starts to mimic what the body is doing, so if we move slightly slower, our mind starts to move slightly slower and those flurry of stressed-out thoughts start to cool down.


2. Soften the body. Our body is usually tensed-up and contracting during stress. We don’t notice it, but that’s what we come home with—achy shoulders, an achy body, and so we want to actively soften the body or adjust the body or notice how it needs to be moved. If we’re slumping over, maybe we want to stand up straight. Take a moment in the day to stretch out the shoulders and the chest. Roll the shoulders.


3. Be mindful of a simple task. Any simple task. One thing we know about the brain is that when we’re paying attention to one thing at a time, it’s inversely correlated with the busyness of the mind. When one is up, the other is down."

3 Simple Remedies for a Stressed Out Mind

"Kindfulness"

An article from Greater Good shares lessons and observations from the implementation of a Kindness Curriculum which ties kindness together with mindfulness. The following excerpt describes the foundation of the curriculum. It was designed for younger students, but I think the A to G of Kindness applies to us all.


"The Kindness Curriculum is designed around the ABCs—or, more specifically, A to G:

  • Attention. Students learn that what they focus on is a choice. Through focusing attention on a variety of external sensations (the sound of a bell, the look of a stone) and internal sensations (feeling happy or sad), children learn they can direct their attention and maintain focus.
  • Breath and Body. Students learn to use their breath to cultivate some peace and quiet. Instead of listening to a meditation, we played a song from Betsy Rose’s CD Calm Down Boogie, “Breathing In, Breathing Out,” while the children rested on their backs with a beanie baby on their belly. The beanie provided an object to “rock to sleep” with the natural in- and out-breath, while the breathing calmed the body.
  • Caring. Here, we teach kids to think about how others are feeling and cultivate kindness. We read the book Sumi’s First Day of School Ever, the story of a foreign student who struggles with English, and brainstorm ways to help a student like Sumi—as simple as offering a smile.
  • Depending on other people. We emphasize that everyone supports and is supported by others through the book Somewhere Today, which describes acts of kindness that are going on in the world right now. Students learn to see themselves as helpers and begin to develop gratitude for the kindness of others.
  • Emotions. What do emotions feel like and look like? How can you tell what you’re feeling? We play a game where the teacher and students take turns pretending to be angry, sad, happy, or surprised, guessing which emotion was expressed, and talking about what that emotion feels like in the body.
  • Forgiveness. Young kids can be particularly hard on themselves—and others—and we teach them that everyone makes mistakes. A book called Down the Road tells the story of a girl who breaks the eggs she bought for her parents, but they forgive her.
  • Gratitude. We want kids to recognize the kind acts that other people do for them, so we have them pretend to be various community workers like bus drivers and firefighters. Then, they talk about being thankful to those people for how they help us."

Previous Newsletters

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


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)

Mindful Classrooms--Week 20

If you're using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend using Week 20 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 of the book, 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.

FREE FOR TEACHERS!

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.

Contact

James Butler

SEL Mindfulness Specialist


james.butler@austinisd.org