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Instructional Support Division Team Newsletter: May 29

Staying Connected as a Team Through Covid-19


no. 2

Mindful Moments

What Positive Thing(s) has Come Out of this Quarantine? 



OscarOne positive thing to come out of this quarantine is I've finally been able to pick up a new language. My 6-year old brother and I decided to pick up Japanese and it's been going great! These books (& Duolingo) have been great in learning Hiragana.

I've also picked up Biking to relieve the stress from being in-doors on a desk all day. 

Lori:  "I neglected to put leftovers out last night for our mama greenbelt bunny. I think she noticed." Hope: My backyard has become a flower and herb oasis.  My latest addition of purple and yellow flowers makes me smile as I anticipate fall LSU football season.

Katie: Feeling more connected to my community and catching up on my reading pile(s)

Anne: The pets are getting extra love and attention!

Allison: I've exercised more. Have had time to learn more technology.

Kaleigh: We're getting some things done around the house that we've been needing to do for quite a while.

Mikha: Enjoying the sunshine, furry love, and my garden. I am also getting back into cooking my own meals.

Amanda: Cooking at home more often and having more time to clean/organize.

Nancy: Peace.  No commute, lots of quiet, and little stress.  Peace.  


YouTube Comfort Videos

In Other News

Good News

By Katie

Conroe ISD will continue handing out lunches/breakfasts to low-income families through June 30th, if any of the people in our community are or know people that can benefit from this.

Finished Painting Project

By Anne 

The Mario Game Room is finished! This room will contain storage for video games as well as board games.

Room painted like a vintage Mario game.

All Grown

By Kaleigh

My brother (11 years younger) must be getting sick of us. He's finally making plans to start out on his own! Baby bird leaving the nest. : ) I guess that's another positive thing to come out of this.

New Skills

By Allison

I completed my first library video about the Library barcode.


Relaxing Past Time

Here is Susan's 7th jigsaw puzzle since sheltering. She finds it very engaging and relaxing.

Home Care

Furniture smelling funky because it is getting more use? 

By Jennifer

Make your own fabric refresher! 

I made my own fabric refresher!  I chose to use Gain Fireworks Scent Boosters, but you can use your favorite liquid fabric softener.

What I did:Cleaning Equipment

  1. Diluted 3/4 cup of the Fireworks tablets in 3 cups of water.
  2. Recycled an empty and cleaned cleaner spray bottle.
  3. Filled with “new Refresher”
  4. Spray away!  The scent lasts for days!  And it is safe for your fabrics!



I know I am going to have a better day if my home smells nice!

Fan of Scentsy?  I found these items to be cheaper and easier to find!

These are my favorite go-to scents!  But they have so many to choose from!


  1. Better Homes and Garden $2.00
  2. Mainstays $0.93
  3. Yankee Candle $3.93



    1. Not shown is my absolute favorite Mango Pineapple (It has been out the last 4 times I have gone to HEB…..If you find any, let me know what HEB!  I will drive for that scent!



DIY-ing It to Comfort

By Charlotte

I have a different version of a YouTube “comfort” video.  Our home AC went out a while back, and now that it’s heating up, it’s a problem.  My husband and I are big DIY-ers, so YouTube is always my first stop for troubleshooting and researching fixes – I’ve repaired our cars (water pump (in a dark parking lot!), brake light switches, hydraulic door lifts), replaced washing machine bearings, fixed our dryer (twice) – you name it.  AC repair is new, though, so there was a lot of research.  I came across this YouTube channel called Word of Advice, by an AC tech, and was SO impressed with how comprehensive and detailed it was.  Seriously, I think this is the only site anyone would ever need to fix their AC.  Thought I’d share since it was so outstanding – it definitely helped us work toward “comfort!”

Team Time

Thank You, Budget Heroes!

By Mikha

Thank yousThe full-time team meets every Thursday for what we call our Social Distance Division Lunch. Kaleigh usually gives us an update about what's going on and then we chat about whatever.

Two weeks ago was a very stressful week for Kaleigh and Jennifer as they worked on the next fiscal year's budget, FY 2021. With the pandemic influencing enrollment and the revenue coming into the system, they were tasked with cutting 5% of an already lean budget. How stressful!

Before our weekly meeting, Charlotte emailed the rest of us to suggest that we make signs to hold up to share our gratitude and love. Everyone was on board with the idea.

On May 21, Charlotte counted down and we all held up our signs for Jennifer and Kaleigh. They were touched by our thoughtfulness. "Such an awesome team" Kaleigh expressed and an email sharing the WebEx screenshot. Jennifer replied, "Greatest of all time!"  Again, thank you for the hard work!


Virtual Forest

We decided to participate in some togetherness activities each week that we can do/share in our weekly lunch. This week, we all took a picture of a tree near/at our home to make a digital forest. We're going to try to do something similar each week.

Thursday's meeting, Jennifer presented the team with the virtual forest from photos we all sent her. Here are the trees' stories:

Top row (left to right)

  • Nancy's tree sits in the courtyard, planted with other greenery around her pool.
  • Charlotte's magnolia tree is in her back yard. She told us that it is HUGE but that it rarely blooms because of the other foliage in the yard.
  • Allison's grapefruit trees produce the best grapefruits, which she loves. They also remind her of her childhood when she would visit her grandparent's farm in Mexico that had all kinds of citrus trees, mango, and avocado trees. 

Middle row

  • Anne's tree is lovingly called Oddish, a tree with personality! Her family dresses him up for the holidays. Her son, Timmy, made up stories about Oddish.
  • Hope looks at trees all day. Her magnolia tree had a twin in her front yard. They provide a beautiful view and privacy. Sadly a couple of years ago, a drunk driver ran into her house, crashing into one of the magnolia trees. While she grieved the loss of the tree it saved her driveway from cracking further from its roots. She described her tree as mighty, strong, reliable, and gives pleasure.
  • Kaleigh's interesting, beautiful tree is in the empty lot next door. Until someone buys the lot, she gets to enjoy it. Her husband suggested that they take a photo of the tree and make a vinyl film for the window so they can see it instead of the side of their future neighbor's house.

Bottom row

  • Amanda took a photo of a tree outside her apartment.
  • Jennifer has sago palm trees in her front yard. When she first moved into her house, the palms were as tall as the bushes (seen in the background).  Did you know that sago palms can be male or female? Can you guess the gender of the sago in the photo?
  • Mikha's Meyer's lemon tree is blooming for the second time this spring. Unfortunately, with all the rain, she discovered a snail infestation on them. and has spent the good part of the week evicting them from her garden.

Go out and take a picture of a tree and share its story with us!


If you had a superpower, what would it be? And why?

Here are some ideas.

Amanda: I don't know what this is called, but I'd like to be able to snap my fingers and things just get done. Much like Mary Poppins. I think this would be most useful in getting house chores done.

Kaleigh: Constant good luck

Anne: The ability to apparate (like in Harry Potter books/movie.) Then I could travel easily.

Katie: super strength: it seems the most useful

Mikha: Nature Manipulation. I like the idea that I could help heal the planet.

Allison: Teleporting

Manda's Movie Picks


Blinded by the Light

PG-13 – Comedy/Music

If you love the music of Bruce Springsteen, then this is the movie for you. Set in 1987 England, a Pakistani boy struggles to find his voice. He expresses himself through poetry as he experiences racial and cultural turmoil. When he listens to Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics for the first time, he finds the inspiration to follow his dreams.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

PG-13 – Comedy/Drama

This unique movie will make you laugh and warm your heart. A high school student who would rather stay invisible and make movie parodies finds himself reluctantly befriending a classmate who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Another Earth

PG-13 – Sci-fi/Drama

A young woman’s bright future is turned upside down after being the cause of a fatal car accident. Her next few years are spent guilt-ridden as she reflects on the family whose life she shattered. She seeks out the lone survivor and attempts to make things even a little better for him. All the while, a new planet has been discovered that is a mirror image of earth. Why is it there and what does it mean?

Uncut Gems

R – Crime/Dark comedy

If I were to sum up this movie in one word, it would simply be chaos. This is a high energy movie that will leave you with your jaw on the floor. Adam Sandler is excellent at playing the role of a jeweler who only cares about the hustle. When a high-stakes bet goes awry, he must do everything he can to keep his 

Virtual Travel Destinations

Katie is virtually traveling to the South Pole Observatory.

South Pole Observatory Road SignGlobal Monitoring Laboratory: South Pole


Anne is virtually exploring museums: I just type in youtube to find the Museum I want to visit virtually. My favorite is the British Museum in London. 

Here is one of her favorite exhibits: Egypt


Mikha is following Visit Scotland on Instagram and daydreaming about going there someday.


A post shared by VisitScotland (@visitscotland) on


Amanda: I love planning vacations almost as much as going on them. Right now I'm just raking through sites, looking for interesting places to stay. I really want to find somewhere for a relaxing little weekend getaway (non-beach) where everything (restaurants, pretty view, etc.) is self-contained and we don't need to run around (kind of like the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Knoxville). If you have any recommendations, let me know!

Recommended Reads

  • The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer. If you're getting stir-crazy, this is a good read to let your mind travel somewhere else for a day.
  • I love reading the Department Q series by Jussi Alder-Olson because of the quirky characters in it. You have your classic detective, Carl, who is a bit of a rebel and gets himself into trouble. Then there's Assad who is like his sidekick with a mysterious background with some time in the Middle East. He is always mixing up colloquiums and making camel jokes. Then there's Rose who has multiple personalities that add another dynamic to this motley crew who have a high success rate in solving cold cases in Copenhagen.
  • The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood. Nancy told me about this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The main character amongst multiple life struggles joins a book club. This year each member of the book club chooses a book that mattered most to them in their life. It makes you stop and think what book mattered most to you and I loved one characters' perspective - "different books mattered most to me in certain times of my life." (That is not an exact quote from the book.) What book matters most to you?
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Next Issue

Next Issue will be out June 12th.

IS Art ExhibitStill life in the time of COVID - Continue...

Design a still life composition that reflects you during the past few months. Capture it in a photo and include a blurb explaining your art piece (250 words max). All entries will be exhibited. Email your entry to Mikha.


We want to hear from you:

To make it easy, you can fill out the survey below, and/or email Mikha
Note: Images will be cropped for consistency on the page

Still Life in the Time of Covid



My self-portrait reflects two sides of myself. The right is my calm, peaceful, happy side. The left is my stressed, angry, imperfect, tired side.


Quarantine in a nutshell.


A Rebel's Haiku:

Work! AC failure.

Flowers from a special love.

Creating beauty.

(And fruit!)


My COVID Life summed up:

  1. Baking
  2. Searching for TP
  3. Hand Sanitizer ( Ha ha ha!)


Still Life in the Time of Coronavirus

It’s been a confusing time, a time of not enough information and too much information.  The future is coming, as it always comes, but what will it be?  Will I still be alive to see it?  My first inclination was to clean up and weed out unnecessary clutter, so my children won’t have to do it.  The fabric is sorted, the freezer is defrosted, the piles of paper are filed, and the unfinished projects are slowly being completed or discarded.  And then, information overload.  Social distancing is futile, social distancing will save lives.  Hydroxychloroquine will protect you, Hydroxychloroquine will cause dangerous arrhythmias.  Wearing a mask is a silly affectation for most of us, and only necessary for health workers.  Wearing a mask is a sign of solidarity and care for your fellow humans.  Then I started getting requests for masks from family and friends.  As I sent them out, I asked for pictures of the recipients wearing them, not knowing what I would do with the pictures in the long run.  So here it is, Still Life with Masks. 


While staying put can be challenging, my introvert soul is loving this time. I'm growing a garden, learning to make bread, losing weight, watching and reading entertaining stories, and going for walks with my dog.

And yet, waiting for the next parcel to arrive for those rare times the front door opens. 


Lots of cooking and coloring -- but mirrors are banned!

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