Self-Care for a Stress-Free April!

Exercise more, eat healthy snacks, get a good night’s sleep… We hear these mantras daily in the media suggesting the newest remedy to combat stress. Campuses are also coming up with creative ways to relieve stress.

Find out below what is working in our Austin schools as well as quick mood enhancers that are proven easy and effective. Travis Heights classroom climate - student snack sign up classroom community building and self-care

At Travis Heights, students sign up for healthy snacks to share with the class. 

How to promote self-care if you have 2 minutes:
  • Let someone know you’re thinking of them
  • Give kudos to someone
  • Send some possible dates to get together with someone
  • Smile
  • Stretch
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Thank someone

Oak Springs April Fool Skit

Nothing beats a laugh to start off your day! The PALS at Oak Springs showcased their comedic talents at their morning seminar to alleviate some testing anxiety and take advantage of April Fools’ Day.

How to promote self-care if you have 5 minutes:
  • Send people in your life a brief personal update
  • Write a thank you card
  • Reflect on what you need relationally in your life right now, and can ask for
  • Respond to an email that’s been nagging you
  • Sit quietly
  • Have a brief conversation with someone you don’t normally interact with
  • Take a short walk

Travis Heights culture - lunch bunch movie watch

In another class at Travis Heights, students enjoy a movie during their lunch bunch. 

How to promote self-care if you have 30 minutes:
  • Play a game with a child or adult
  • Cook with someone
  • Go for a walk with a friend or family member
  • Eat lunch with a colleague
  • Have a “walking meeting” with someone rather than sitting in the office
  • Rearrange or spruce up your work area

Lee STARR Secrets

Lee Elementary students shared their testing tips by writing acrostic poems with their names
How to promote self-care ideas at school:
  • Start faculty, grade level, and department meetings with shout outs
  • Acknowledge the challenges we face, and how colleagues are overcoming them successfully
  • Acknowledge the hard work of our colleagues
  • Ask staff what would lower their stress levels and help them take care of themselves, then do that
  • Make sure all students and staff know how and when they will take breaks and eat during testing days and during any abnormal schedules
  • Hire a substitute for a day to give each teacher a short (~10 minute) break, and let them know in advance so they can plan for something productive for students to do while they are gone (maybe during a test)
  • Bring your own family members/loved ones to work functions and encourage others to do the same
  • Make sure school schedules, expectations, and procedures are crystal clear for staff and students
  • Have a regular, structured communication strategy (some combination of brief faculty meetings and staff bulletins)
  • Bring healthy snacks to school to give to staff with a message of appreciation for their hard work

STARR Secret Poem

Ben’s tip for the N in his name is an important reminder to us all!

SEL Campus Wide

Social and Emotional Learning can be seen in many ways across a campus.  It may be a teacher teaching a lesson to the whole class on managing anxiety, a student helping another student after a fall on the playground, or a whole campus activity promoting SEL.  As we visited campuses in AISD, we have seen many creative ways to celebrate SEL campus wide. The following images are a few of the stellar examples we have seen so far this year.

Your ideas inspire other educators.  Send us pictures of what you have done to promote SEL campus wide to: selaustin@gmail.com

Linder Learner's Creed - all read daily over the PA

Here’s a way to start off your morning right! At Linder Elementary they use  positive self-talk to set daily goals in this Learners’ Creed.  It can be heard campus wide over the PA each morning.

Zavala Singing Second Step Songs

At Zavala Elementary (above) and Metz Elementary (below) students sing the Second Step songs at a special morning assembly to share the new skills they are learning with the entire student body. At Zavala, Kindergarten and 1st grade students sing The Feelings Song. At Metz, 2nd grade students show off their dance skills with The Calm It Down Song. 

Metz 2nd grade leading calm down dance

A teacher and administrator greet students as they enter Mendez Middle School in the morning, creating a warm and safe learning environment

The friendly faces of teachers and administrators at Mendez Middle School greet students with a smile and a handshake.  Nothing beats a warm welcome first thing in the morning!

Pleasant Hill NPFH

Pleasant Hill Elementary sparked students’ creativity with a No Place for Hate poster contest.

Oak Springs peace banners

Scholars at Oak Springs Elementary created peace banners for No Place for Hate. At morning assembly everyone admired their hard work while listening to The Calm It Down Song. 

Campus and Classroom Bulletin Boards

As we walk through campuses the artistic bulletin boards never cease to amaze us. Teachers across AISD are using bulletin boards to showcase the learning in classes and the creativity of our students or, as anchors of support and of course a little advertising! Look at some of these boards that caught our eye and made it a little hard to walk through the hallways without getting completely distracted! Displays such as these take time and effort and reflect an attention to detail and tremendous pride in your students and school!

Ridgetop Elementary- Empathy Lesson Explained

Ridgetop Elementary Empathy Poem Examples

These thoughtful acrostic poems come from a 5th grade class at Ridgetop where teachers and students are seamlessly integrating SEL concepts with English Language Arts.

Peacemakers at Maplewood

Look at these Maplewood Peace Makers!  Teachers nominate students when they see them spreading the peace campus wide and using excellent SEL skills such as consideration, honesty, and/ or responsible decision making.

Blackshear 2nd grade ELA Intergration Bulletin Board

At Blackshear Elementary, 2nd grade students read “Miss Nelson is Missing” and integrated SEL skills into their sequencing work. Look at all of the feelings each character has!

Martin Teacher Door Sign

At Martin Middle School each teacher posts their favorite book and quote outside their classroom door. What a great start to building meaningful relationships by finding something in common with your teacher or just asking them about what they wrote!

Uphaus Student Emotion Examples

At one elementary school, this teacher had her superstar students create an anchor chart with feelings! Each student became an expert in acting out their feelings and are on their way to recognizing those emotions in their classmates using those facial cues!

Dawson I Show Compassion When

Dawson Elementary students wrote how they show compassion to one another on a hallway bulletin board. Students get an opportunity to add to the board and share their real life experiences!

Thanks to all of the amazing schools who shared with us.  Check out even more pictures of inspiring bulletin boards here or see below!

Please send your blog submissions to: selaustin@gmail.com

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  -Aristotle