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Instructional Support Division Team Newsletter: June 8

Staying Connected as a Team Through Covid-19


no. 2

Social Distancing IS Division Meeting





The June 11th's social distancing meeting was hosted by Jennifer. The theme was Luau. We all came dressed for a beach party, played word scramble and Tiki drawing games, and had a good hula dancing work-out. We all contributed to the virtual bouquet of flowers. And of course, had some shop talk mixed in with the fun.Team screenshot-dressed for a beach party


What game(s) do you recommend?

(Board games, card games, video games, etc.)

  • Hitting tennis balls against the side of the house.
  • I got back on a classic mobile app game called Trivia Crack. It's a nice break from my studies or when I'm laying around not doing much to entertain myself, keep my brain sharp, and learn some new things, too!
  • My favorite "board" game right now is Carcassonne. The game claims to be one of strategy, but it really is more "LUCK." It is played with cards and tiles, so it is a bit like Dominoes. The best part is that you can carry on a conversation while playing it, so it is a great game to play with those who don't like a lot of rules....Just play the game, drink some wine, and enjoy being with loved ones. 
  • Love us some Phase 10 around here! Of course Uno, Yahtzee, and Go Fish are pretty popular on any given day.
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 (It is similar to Minecraft, but has more digital Lego parts and a fun storyline. Also very highly rated on game sites).
  • Playing Mafia with the family!
  • Block Puzzle is an app on my tablet that I seem to be addicted to playing right now. It's like Tetris (yes, old school) with the shapes and concept, but rather than the speed of the blocks falling down the screen, you get new shapes as your points grow. 
  • Magic Jigsaw - I play this on my Kindle. Best of all, I don't have to worry about losing a piece!
  • Star Realms (card game)
  • Lotus (card game)
  • Quacks of Quedlinburg (board game)
  • Wingspan (board game)
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizon (Nintendo Switch)
  • Luigi's Mansion 3 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Journey (PlayStation 4)

What are you reading right now? Do you recommend them?

  • The Dutch House by Anne Patchett
  • Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Glaude, Sr.
    He is actually a distant cousin of mine from my parents' hometown in Mississippi who has been a professor of African American studies and chair of the department at Princeton University. This book is SHARP and, as the Washington Post put it, "a clear path through the thicket of a dispiriting political status quo...Glaude reminds us that change rests with us, that 'we are the leaders we've been waiting for'."
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
    A post-apocalyptic story about a northern Anishinaabe community is cut off of all supplies and communication. It goes through how the community handles this isolation and limited resources throughout the first year of an apocalypse. 

What are you watching right now?

  • Dominique Sachse’s beauty videos on YouTube (yes, I never knew not to use eyeliner on my bottom lids!)
  • I like watching television shows set in beautiful small towns where the problems are resolved in the one-hour time slot. Netflix has a lot of them: Gilmore Girls, Sweet Magnolias, The Good Witch.
  • Still working my way through Dawson's Creek....I know, I'm such a dork! We also binge watched the Masked Singer on really loved it, even though they only knew a couple of the celebrities!
  • The Ascension of a Bookworm. (Anime about girl who wants to be a librarian, but gets transported back in time when books are expensive and rare. It covers her adventures and frustrations towards meeting her goals. Cute.)
  • watching Hospital Playlist on Netflix.
  • TV (Netflix) -- Dark -- it's a German Netflix series (English dubbed) about a small town, missing children, a nuclear plant, and time travel. Very complex, and with occasional hints of Twin Peaks weirdness; it's not something you can binge watch easily -- three episodes is my limit, then I need a brain break because of the intense focus needed to keep up with all the plot/character/timelines. It's worth the effort, though! The first two seasons are already out; season three (final season) releases June 27th.
  • Queer Eye (Netflix) Need a feel good? This show is a good one to veg out to. You will laugh, cry, love, hurt, and find beauty in humanity.
  • The Invisible Man (movie - I recommend)
  • Waves (movie - I recommend)
  • Just Mercy (movie -'s a good watch) 
  • It Comes At Night (movie - I recommend)
  • Riverdale and watching The Tudors for the second time. Do I recommend them? The Tudors yes; Riverdale, as my daughter would say, "Meh".

What music or podcasts are you listening to?

  • Unlocking Us by Brene Brown
  • Music by Tim Meyers. His music is simple and upbeat.  
    If I am more depressed, I listen to The Beatles. You can't stay depressed listening to "Good Day Sunshine," or "Eight Days a Week."
  • I'm all over the place with music....Billy Joel, Miranda Lambert, Adele, depends on the mood!
    Fun fact: I usually pick an artist I know I like, and then say "Alexa, play Miranda Lambert radio!" Then magically I get all these songs within that genre by all kinds of artists.
  • true crime-ish podcasts like crime junkie and supernatural with ashley flowers.
  • Timecop1983 "Tonight"
  • Timecop1983 "Back to You"
  • Michael Oakley "Control"
  • Rosemary Fairweather "Chemicals"
  • Iorigun "Fight to Forget"
  • Fleetwood Mac "Gypsy"
  • The Pierces "It Will Not Be Forgotten"
  • Allison, Anne, Jennifer, and Mikha's Hurricane Harvey story will be told in a new podcast called Patron Driven. It will be available on June 22.

We have a lot of free resources available through our library. Here are some databases that you have access to for your leisure and learning purposes. (The public libraries also have similar and other resources!) Use your library barcode to log in. 

Still Life in the Time of Covid


Hope's still life


On the left and middle: My son’s life, which is my life.  Math, language, and cursive workbooks which are for summer instruction and practice.  Video games, artwork, computer, and piano round out his time.

On the right and middle: Cookbooks and fresh food.  I feel like I live in the kitchen.  A nod to COVID with the cleaning wipes.  In the middle: Weights representing exercise, biking, yoga.  I could not resist adding in a bottle of wine called “The Prisoner”. 

Where is work?  Intermingled among all of it.


Get Creative!

By Charlotte

In a bit of interesting timing [re: Still Life in the Time of COVID], I got an email from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston sharing a family-friendly collage project based on Patrick Henry Bruce’s Peinture/Nature Morte (Painting/Still Life) – it’s an abstract still life, and the project consists of a video and written directions on making your own abstract still life collage.  Maybe it would be less intimidating for people?  Or just a fun share for those with kiddos at home (though adults could totally do the project solo).  I thought it was interesting since we’re doing our still life gallery!  Visit the MFAH website for instructions. 

Then, while checking out that page, I saw a link to another project called “Make Your Own Tree” – which, for obvious reasons, caught my attention. :) It’s also a collage-type, family-friendly activity, though I think adults could get as fancy as they wanted with it and frame it as inexpensive wall art. 


  • Arrange your summer travel around where you can stay with a friend or family member to avoid hotels for now
  • Pack baby powder when you go to the beach.   After you dry off, rub it on your sandy spots....bye bye sand, nice and smooth.
  • "Empty tumblr or water bottle. hand sanitizer and face masks. "
  • If flying to a location, explore your transportation options. Will you rent a car or use transportation options provided by the city? If using mass transportation, some allow you to purchase a pay card online and have it mailed to you ahead of time. This works out great and you'll have it when you arrive to the city. We preordered when we went to London and Washington DC.

What new skills have you acquired during the pandemic?

  • Ordering groceries online,
  • Coloring my own hair,
  • Setting up Zoom meetings and Webex,
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Yoga & Meditation
    I've been improving my yoga and meditation skills which have been such great ways to cope during these trying times.
  • SoftChalk Create
    I have a love/hate relationship with SoftChalk Create. I am using it to create lessons for a Circulation Training Course in D2L. I love it when it works, but hate it when the internet misbehaves because it is too easy to lose anything you are in the middle of creating.
  • Power-washing
    Power-washing!! I think this was supposed to be my career in an alternate universe! I've done my whole front porch, sidewalk, and driveway....BY MYSELF!!! Making my way to the back patio!!
  • Sewing
    I've also been learning to sew on my grandma's machine. She's 90 now and in a nursing home. When I visited last time (through the glass window, thanks COVID) I showed her some of the little outfits I had made my nieces. Her face lit up and I could tell she was loving it!!
  • Do it yourself skills,
  • Exploring and developing mindfulness skills, 
  • Mani/Pedi
    learning how to give Grandma great pedicures.
  • Cooking
    Cooking different dishes. I accidentally made chicken and dumplings soup, and it tasted Great!
  • Cutting hair (just my own, haha)

What has inspired and/or touched you during the pandemic?

  • Audible’s The Great Courses: Writing Great Fiction
  • My parents have always been an inspiration to me, but during this pandemic, they really have continuously shown me their resilience and that that same resilience lives in me. I thank you so much for being that support, that rock in my life.
  • I actually hear from or even "see" more of my family because of Zoom, FaceTime,  and Google Duo. It took a Pandemic to bring the family closer together while sheltering far apart. 
  • I'm touched by all of the thoughtful things people have done for each other.  Picking up groceries for neighbors, people volunteering their time and talents.   
  • The love and care we as a society show each other, to encourage each other, in this strange societal shift. 
  • The Becoming Netflix show. The 13th Netflix. 
  • I've been inspired by the amazing team I work with.  It seems like we find more ways to communicate and collaborate every day, and I love all the new skills and the technology I've been learning from everyone lately!
  • When everyone was quarantined, I loved seeing all the families out and doing things together. I think society has gotten away from this with all of our busy schedules. So it was really nice to see families spending time together walking or riding bikes. I even heard one family, as I was passing them on the greenbelt, turning their walk into an educational moment.
  • People pulling together to fight injustice.

What are You Up To?


Now that it's gotten way too hot to walk the neighborhood, my new form of exercise is water aerobics. We're in a patio home and have a small 6-foot-deep pool, and we've been exercising each evening before dinner. No sweating, but I'm a bit sore from using all these different muscles!


I've enjoyed the bounty of my vegetable garden. I have shared cucumbers and green beans with family and friends and even made some bread and butter pickles with some of my cucumbers. I have vacuum-sealed packs of green beans and may have to explore canning in the future. Our upcoming crop, as they are just now beginning to flower, is purple hull peas. The other activity I've enjoyed lately is cooking with my daughter. She does not like to cook, but she has shown a bit of interest lately so I have taken advantage of it. This week we made a yummy lasagna together.


Hanging out with the family. My 1 yr old nephew thinks he's 5 and the boss LOL. He takes charge and is stubborn.... he even gave me the stink eye once!


My daughter is starting up her own Etsy store sure and recently hosted an online convention "Down Home", together with a group of her freelance artist friends. They had over 7000 viewers and participants from all over the world including Denmark and Chile. It has been great fun riding the journey with her. She is actually a very entertaining radio host!


Days are slowly blending together. We are anxious to go to the pool now that it's open!! Took the kids to Lake Houston Park in New Caney the other day. It's a good substitute for the beach when you don't feel like going for the whole day! Lots of crafting projects and a whole lot of cleaning....every minute there's a new mess thanks to my six-year-old


I am busy creating a Circulation Training Course in D2L. In the process, I am learning many new skills. On a personal note, my husband is retiring early from United Airlines as a result of the Pandemic. As John Lennon quoted in one of his songs, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans!"


Studying for the MCAT and putting my application together for osteopathic medical school!


Back to playing tennis, while sanitizing my hands after touching tennis balls and setting my equipment apart from other players.


I am not a fan of lawns. When I bought and moved into my house four years ago, I sprinkled wildflower seeds all around my house. Every spring they pop-up all over the place, even in random spots on my front lawn. I keep saying that I want to get rid of the lawn and replace it with a pollinator-friendly garden. This year, I've been dodging the wildflowers in my front lawn with the mower and weed eater. I guess the HOA inspectors came out right before I did some lawn maintenance the other week and I received a notice about my unkept yard. That was enough to spur me on to actually start pulling up turf and replacing it with plants. It's making me so happy as I sit in my home office, looking out onto the street and watching birds and bees flying around the front garden. I still have a ways to go. 


Next Issue

We want to hear from you!

Next Issue (no. 5) will be released June 25.

To make it easy, fill out the survey below or upload your entries to this DropBox folder.

Let's play "Guess Who!" This Is?

Join us for a fun guessing game where we try to match childhood photos to the adults they belong to!  Share a photo of you from elementary school or younger to join in:
1. Name the photo file with your name to make sure that we set the game up accurately. 
2. Submit your photo to the link below: 
*If you have trouble uploading your photo, please contact

Note: Images will be cropped for consistency on the page


Comments from past and latest newsletters

  • Great appreciation goes out to our LSC-Kingwood library development team, who in their wisdom after Harvey emphasized ebooks! They are easy social distancing germ-free options to virtual learning, travel, and entertainment worlds. Ebooks have been a lifesaver!
  • Thank you for the newsletters, its fun to read and see our coworkers updates. I'm glad everyone is doing good.
  • What program are you using to create the newsletter? Is their a way to add comments similar to what you can do in WORD?
    • I looked into how I could add a comments tool into the Newsletter.  Unfortunately, the LibGuides interface that we have does not have a comments feature that works for our needs. Instead, I embedded a Padlet board below to use as our comments section. Click on the pink + button in the bottom right corner to add a comment. :) -Mikha

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