Austin ISD Mindfulness Newsletter

August 2019--#mindfulAISD

Welcome Back!!

I know the start of the school year is a lot, so I'm keeping this newsletter brief. Featured in this Back to School edition of the Mindful AISD Newsletter...

  • Starting Mindfulness on Day 1
  • Mindfulness Professional Learning in AISD
  • Mindfulness for Families

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

As a reminder, mindfulness in the classroom is by far most effective if you have some type of personal practice. Even just a few minutes consistently. This allows for us to self-regulate our emotions that arise during difficult situations, empathize with our students and be better prepared when students have questions about practicing mindfulness.

To help with your personal practice, Calm, Stop Breathe & Think and now Headspace are offering FREE subscriptions for educators!

Before starting in the classroom, 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 discuss the purpose of mindfulness, how it helps the brain and take three deep breaths together as a class while stressing that there are many different ways to practice. Below you'll also find some helpful resources, a letter to families and videos to help explain mindfulness to your students.

Mindfulness Professional Learning in AISD

Stay tuned for exciting Mindfulness Professional Learning opportunities including leveled cohorts (Early Childhood, 1st-2nd, 3rd-5th, Middle School & High School), a Fall Mindfulness Retreat, a partnership with Amala Foundation and a partnership with AISD Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness. HCP registrations coming soon!

Regarding my partnership with Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness, Mindfulness 101, 201 & 301 will have a prerequisite of attending Isolating Race, a workshop I attended this summer that I feel supports and focuses on self-awareness in a productive manner. The workshop has a great deal of mindfulness embedded. The workshop is led by CP&I staff members that I have a great deal of respect for and I'm looking forward to the chance to be on the team that presents Isolating Race occasionally.

A big part of the reason behind this particular shift is that I had the honor of learning from Dr. Angela Rose Black this summer at the Disrupting Systemic Whiteness in the Mindfulness Movement Institute and it inspired me to think more critically about how I'm sharing mindfulness and how it's being used in AISD. I've noticed that mindfulness can be used as a means of discipline or silencing our students of color and I want to be very intentional about addressing this serious issue.

Isolating Race Workshop Links Below. Sign up soon as these will fill quickly...

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:

Additional Resources

Compilation of Mindfulness Resources for Educators

Free App Subscriptions, Research, Articles, Videos & More.

Mindful AISD Newsletters from 2016-2019

Every Mindfulness Newsletter from the last 3 school years.

Sign Up for Mindfulness Support

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James Butler, M.Ed.

Austin ISD SEL Mindfulness Specialist

2014 Austin ISD Teacher of the Year

Author of Mindful Classrooms: Daily 5-Minute Practices to Support Social-Emotional Learning