Mindfulness Newsletter

February 2019--#mindfulAISD

Mindfulness Resources Featured in This Newsletter...

  • Mindfulness for Staff -- Cultivating Mindfulness for Educators
  • Professional Learning -- Spring HCP Courses & AISD Staff Mindfulness Retreat
  • Classroom/School Implementation -- STOP: A Simple Mindfulness Practice
  • For Families -- 5 Mindfulness Activities for Kids
  • Equity -- Yoga N Da Hood
  • Books of the Month -- 3 New Books
  • Technology -- Insight Timer app
  • Athletics -- Yes, Mindfulness Makes You A Better Athlete
  • SEL Newsletter & Blog -- Value of Compassion
  • Mindful Happenings in AISD -- Highlights


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 & email me suggestions for what to include in future newsletters.

Mindfulness in Austin ISD is a secular practice. Any mention of the words yoga or meditation in resources are not an endorsement of any type of religious practice. We believe in honoring all of our students' and families' cultures and beliefs, and providing scientifically proven resources to help with Academic, Social & Emotional Learning.

Background Photo: Iconic mural from Austin's George Washington Carver Library.

Mindfulness For Staff -- Cultivating Mindfulness for Educators

Mindfulness in schools starts with the adults. Here's some goodness for y'all. :)

I think I've shared this in a previous newsletter and I've shared it during trainings, but I wanted to revisit this New York Times article. It has some quick & simple practices for teachers listed at the end of the article, but also has links to other resources/activities throughout the article.

And here's our compilation of mindfulness related self-care resources.

Mindfulness Professional Learning through HCP

Check out the Spring 2019 Mindfulness In Schools Sessions! Class sizes will be expanded soon, so get on the waitlist if it's full. Click on the links to go directly to HCP to sign up.

Tuesday, March 26th Mindfulness 101 AND 201 8:30am-3:30pm @ Blanton Museum

Thursday, March 28th Culturally Responsive Mindfulness 8:30am-3:30pm @ Amala Foundation

Thursday, April 25th Mindfulness 301 8:30am-3:30pm @ Blanton Museum

Tuesday, April 30th Librarian Mindful Maker Spaces 1pm-4pm @ Blanton Museum

Soon to be added to HCP...

Saturday, April 13th 9am-1pm AISD Staff Mindfulness Retreat! Mark your calendars for this awesome morning of self-care that will feature keynote and classes from Yoga N Da Hood & more (see Mindfulness & Equity for more about Yoga N Da Hood).

Classroom/School Implementation -- S.T.O.P.

STOP is a simple mindfulness practice that can be applicable for all ages. The image to the right is a screenshot. The complete image is available in PDF in the hyperlink titled, "STOP." Also, here is an animated video that guides you through the 2.5 minute practice.

Mindfulness for Families -- 5 Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Here's a Today's Parent article that features 5 simple mindfulness activities for kids that can be shared with families.

As a reminder, you can always find family resources on bit.ly/mindfulfams.

Mindfulness & Equity -- Yoga N Da Hood

I had the fortune of learning from Ebony Smith, Founder of Yoga N Da Hood, in this Culturally Responsive Trauma Informed Yoga Certification Course I'm taking. She is incredibly inspiring and does awesome work with yoga & mindfulness based out of Dallas. From their site: "Yoga N Da Hood is a mobile program that is dedicated to making yoga affordable and accessible to everyone. We travel to underserved communities and offer no-cost classes in yoga and mindfulness. Serving the 48 Contiguous States." Check them out y'all!

We were even able to get Yoga N Da Hood to come be our keynote and lead some classes for our upcoming AISD Staff Mindfulness Retreat (Saturday, April 13th 9am-1pm)!

Mindfulness Books of the Month

Mindful Technology -- Insight Timer app

I highly recommend checking out the Insight Timer app if you haven't already. I use it regularly and it has a ton of content, or you can just use it for it's versatile and user-friendly timer. Best of all, it's FREE99. :)

From their site: "Most meditation apps say they’re free but the reality is quite different; once the starter pack finishes they quickly lock you out. We offer the largest free library of guided meditations on earth and the world’s most loved meditation Timer, for free."

Mindfulness & Athletics -- Yes, Mindfulness Can Make You A Better Athlete

From an Outside Magazine article:"Mindfulness isn’t a superpill or an instant game-changer. The effects are subtle. But there seems to be something here, and it’s an important step that we’re starting to see careful studies that look not just at brain scans and other proxy measures, but at sports-specific outcomes like the handball agility test."

SEL Newsletter & Blog--Value of Compassion

Mindful Happenings 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.

Mindful Eating @ Clifton Career Development School

"It’s a new year & we’ve been talking about healthy snacks this week! Today, students practiced mindful eating to a healthy food they’ve never tried before!" -Tweet from Clifton Health Science
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Manchester University (IN) supports SEL @ Overton

"Just like that & 25 kits w/ Peace Area supplies are complete for @overton_elem teachers. @ManchesterUniv students here in ATX for #JanTerm2019 have been so supportive of @AustinISDSEL & making lasting connections with the students. Spartan Teachers rule!" -Tweet from yours truly :)

**It was so awesome and a huge honor to have my alma mater, Manchester University, a very small school in northern Indiana come down to Austin for a class in January to support SEL in AISD.

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PK Thoughts on Breathing @ Becker

"Why is important to #breathe?" -Tweet from Jen Ross Velasquez
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Mindful Moments w/ Stop Breathe Think @ Casey

"Students have the opportunity to access @SBTbreathe when they are aware of their need for a mindful moment. This supplements group mindfulness as needed for individual students."

-Tweet from Ms. Beasley

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Yoga Story Time @ Galindo

"First ever #yogastorytime! 2nd graders loved moving and stretching! Thanks for the inspiration @PerezReads @BeckerElemLib!" -Tweet from Diane Collier
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Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide

Those of you who are using Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide, I recommend Weeks 22-25 for February. 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 anymore soon. 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, M.Ed.

SEL Mindfulness Specialist

2014 Austin ISD Teacher of the Year