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Instructional Support Division Team Newsletter: September

Staying Connected as a Team Through Covid-19


no. 2

Good Vibes

Morning RainbowsCat sitting in a ray of light with hints of a rainbow on his paws.

I’ve noticed every early morning in my otherwise dark house that there’s a narrow ray of light that shines directly through my front door window. It glides up my hallway in one beam and makes little rainbows due to the planes in the glass. I also noticed my cat hurries over and luxuriates in this narrow slice of light and rainbow each morning. You can make out some of the color strips on his paws and legs. I think I’m going to try and take a page out of his book and look for some light and color each morning before I start my day. : )

What inspired you this past week/month?
What made you smile? What are you grateful for?


My grand-dog Winnie lost the use of her back legs within a 24 hour period on Friday July 17. She was rushed to surgery and stayed in the hospital a couple of days. By Thursday, 7/23, she can stand for a few minutes. I am happy and grateful Winnie can now wag her tail again!


My girlfriend constantly inspires me and I am very grateful for her. She is doing a Masters in Biostatistics while working full-time, caring for a new puppy, and helping me with my Statistics course. I'm incredibly grateful that she's in my life and she makes me smile constantly.


Zoom meetings with my 82-year-old mom in assisted living. She's been telling me stories about her job and our family that I never heard before!


I returned to teaching at the high school I work for, and it has made me more grateful for the positive and motivated attitudes my coworkers have at Lone Star College-Kingwood. The employees have a mindset that works to evolve to what is best for students and it really sets them apart as an educational resource. Everyone I know here goes above and beyond to try to help the students learn and I love the drive everyone has. I wish everywhere could be as amazing.


The Good in Change

by Mikha Mitchell

I indulged in reading the New York Times over the long weekend. One article stuck with me and as I read it, I thought of our team with pride. Kerry Hannon's "To Build Emotional Strength, Expand Your Brain" highlights a key factor of resilience building is to keep learning.

The theory: To deal effectively with change, it helps to be engaged in changing yourself.

I think we are doing an excellent job of being flexible and rolling with the tides. We have done and continue to do so for three full years now. I admire how many of you have taken on new duties and challenges with curiosity and poise, all in the pursuit to improve your skillsets to better serve our community. I'm sending you warm fuzzies from the comfort of my home. 

Here are some incredible things our team has done over the summer:

The full-time team has been hosting and attending peer-share professional development sessions with one another. We share and learn about tricks and tools in commonly used software and new software. We record them so that everyone can benefit from this knowledge share.

Jimmi created this incredible repository of statistical resources and educational videos that help one learn how to effectively use them.
Sue created some witty videos about the updated edition of APA style. She has one or two more to make.
Susan has been hunting for study tools that our students can freely and we will include them in the cool tools section.
Hope created two e-bookshelves that offer faculty and staff resources for building professional skills in teaching online and for building soft skills in the workplace. She has advocated for freely accessible content for students which is gaining in popularity with faculty.
Allison dove into the deep end in creating videos and has come up with some wonderful creations.
Anne is learning new software like SoftChalk, from which we have benefited in this newsletter.
Jennifer continues to battle the financial dragons that guard our treasured budget and works her magic to keep our subscriptions going while we wait for payments to be processed.
Amanda is updating the Tutoring website and I can't wait to see it unveiled!
Charlotte's brilliant insights continue to help us go down new paths and channel us in the right direction. She saves us from wasting time in applications by teaching us new tricks to make our lives easier.

Kaleigh is a juggling queen! I don't know how she manages as she fills in the void of the empty professional development manager's position while managing all the dean-related duties, including being thrown into numerous system committees. If you've seen her calendar, she doesn't have a moment to breathe.

The full-time team had a book study on Crucial Conversations and soon we will be starting a new book study on EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence. 

Way to go, everyone, for all your work during these hard times!

Updates from the Team

What pre-COVID activity are you looking forward to resuming?

  • Anne: Visiting and hugging my family in Louisiana.
  • Lori: A mini-vacation in the the Texas Hill country!. It would include: - tubing down the Comal on a weekday. The weekends are a bit crowded. We love the river outfitters that drop you off and pick you up, so no hiking involved :). We still sometimes "hike" after we go down "the chute" so we can repeat it a few times. Such fun! - a visit to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. We love being able to feel like we are on a safari, driving on the designated dirt roads, spottng a large variety of exotic wildife, and being able to feed them the zoo chow they give you to share with the animals that come up close. Watch out for the ostriches! They are ninjas when it comes to stealing the zoo chow bag off your lap. You should be fine if you just roll up the windows. All from the comfort of our air-conditioned car! They also have a small children's zoo area to walk thru, which I enjoy. No feeding of the animals there, but observing the monkeys is fun, and I like petting and grooming the goats. Going in morning while its a little cooler and they are still hungry increases the fun. - a concert at the Whitewater Amphitheater. This outdoor venue is beautiful hill country scenery with good acoustics on a decent weather night. Designed on a hill, small roman theatre style, and surrounded by mature oak trees, we can choose to sit or walk around. - Camping or staying in a CCC cabin at Garner State Park. Weekends are best for people watching. A tube in the mini lake and barbecue by day is our favorite. At twilight we enjoy watching the fireflies. On weekend nights, there is an outdoor juke box family dance. All ages, from grandparents who met there years ago, dads twirling their little girls, to A&M cutie couples dudded out in their country outfits, take the outdoor dance floor at the old picturesque CCC complex. For non-dancers like us, we join the large watcher crowd that bring their lawn chairs circling the area, . . . as you can see (lol) I've been dreaming about this awhile, and we have been there before. Hope ya'll can go there sometime too. I think you will love it!
  • Roger: Getting to tutor in-person!
  • Linda: Travel, weddings
  • Katherine: Teaching and tutoring 100% in-person with the ability to share items and see each other's faces

What restaurant is your go-to for special occasions or celebrations?

  • Anne: Casa de family celebrates special occasions with a home-cooked meal and cake!
  • Roger: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ. It's a fun experience with great food!
  • Linda: Verdine's in the Heights
  • Katherine: Dosirak in Conroe
  • Hope: Last week, my boyfriend and I dined on the outdoor patio at Bistro Menil, which is adjacent to The Menil Museum. I highly recommend it, especially for lunch. Dinner is also a great time to go for a special occasion, and they also have Afternoon Tea for those who want to indulge.
  • Sue: Chez Nous, the five star French restaurant in Humble, has been our go-to resturant for special occasions for years, since Bettye Sutton, a fellow adjunct librarian recommended it. Although it's hidden away on a back street near "downtown," plenty of people have found it, as evidenced by the difficulty in finding a parking spot. We usually go there for birthdays and anniversaries. Thanks to COVID, we've missed three Chez Nous dinners so far this year. There is one saving grace, however. They have started bringing lunches to Kingwood once a week. The food is still delicious, but the ambience is not quite the same.

My son's face when he met the neighbor's new puppy, Bailey.



I have been to the MFAH twice since March, both times with nearly empty buildings. I highly recommend as a safe place to visit during COVID times.  Last week, I attended the exhibit-Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. 

First Day of School: How do you think it went?



I hope everyone is doing well! I just wanted to give a little update on myself. I moved to Dallas and now teach 6th-grade math and 7th grade STEM in Grand Prairie ISD. A lot has happened quickly. I’m sad I didn’t get to see everyone before I left, but I hope everything is well. I’m gonna miss working at the tutoring center!

Michelle Deaton

Why Do We Have Citations?

By Sue Goodwin

Soon after the advent of printed books, people began writing notes in books.  Books back then were rare and valuable; they were passed on to others, who also wrote - between lines, at the bottom of the page, in the margins – much like some of our students do with their textbooks.  Arrows and symbols would tie the notes to the right passage.

In the 17th century, presses began offering footnotes, incorporating those notes. Footnotes began to proliferate, like weeds, until a scholarly book could use as much space in the book for footnotes as for the text!  What a nightmare for the typists and typesetters who had to anticipate how much room to leave for the footnotes. (There were no computers back then). But the footnotes had to be there. 

Why? You might ask.  What was so important about these notes?  It’s not so different than why you use citations today.  They tell you where the information came from.  In other words, these footnotes told the readers why they should believe what they read.

In the late nineteenth century, Harvard came up with a solution to the formatting difficulty– in-text citations!  But, just as it took ages for footnotes to become standard, it took decades to overcome tradition and change to in-text citations. The in-text citation takes up far less information on the page, and the complete bibliographic information is found at the end, in your References or Works Cited.

What movie or TV show have you watched recently? 

My Spy- (Comedy/movie 2020), Dave Bautista, the blue guy from Guardians of Galaxy, plays a CIA operative who guards a little girl and her Mom. He teaches the little girl how to become a Spy when she outsmarts him. It is a feel good movie that reminds me of the old movie Kindergarten Cop, even if it is a bit predictable. 

Nailed It! and Magic for Humans. Two fun, easy programs to watch that'll give you a laugh or two.

Umbrella Academy- American superhero web television series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way. It is very good!

Umbrella Academy Season 2 on Netflix- Seven Super Heroes (with Daddy issues) get together again to stop the apocalypse. This time, in Season 2, the time period is in the 1960s, and it has "something" to do with the assassination of JFK. The music is an important part of the show. Awesome story! (My favorite character is "Klaus.") 

Downloading Nancy: it's a fictionalized telling of the real-life murder of Sharon Lopatka. It's really dark and depressing, and not at all a feel-good movie, but the story it is based on is very interesting (similar to the Armin Meiwes case). It's a disturbing movie, but it is enjoyable (for what it is supposed to be) if you know what kind of movie you are in for.  

The King of Staten Island: A funny, insightful look at the effect of childhood trauma on a young man trying to find his purpose. The character reminded me of a couple of my students. 

I've recently been watching House. It's about a doctor, who's addicted to painkillers, that solves medical conundrums with his team, but he has questionable ethics while practicing and this gets him into trouble with his superiors, colleagues, and the legal team, of course. 

What's keeping you entertained lately?


Ninetendo's Animal Crossing game has a new feature that allows the characters to swim. My husband created a character and joined me on my Animal Crossing Island. We now can go to the Museum, walk on the beach and swim together in the Animal Crossing game.


Finally getting to listen to the Choice podcast. It's great!


I've recently started playing a game called Persona 5. It's exclusively on Playstation 4, but I highly recommend for any fan of JRPG games, anime, or really interesting interactive story-telling. I'm roughly 30 hours into the story mode and it takes the average player about 100 hours to complete, so it's giving me quite a bit to do when I'm not doing school work.


Brené Brown audiobooks and podcasts


I've been reading The Castle of Ontario lately, and have found it surprisingly readable for a book written in the 1700s. Next on my list is The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (I read Bury My Heart a few years ago, so I am looking forward to this one).


Instant Polls

What’s your favorite mask fashion advice?
An all-black mask makes you look mysterious (and thin): 3 votes (33.33%)
Always match your mask to your outfit: 5 votes (55.56%)
Add a bit of bling to make people smile: 1 votes (11.11%)
Mask? Is it Halloween already?: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 9
How are you keeping connected with your friends and family these days?
Let’s just say my texting thumbs are getting a workout: 6 votes (85.71%)
Having socially distanced meals at our favorite restaurant’s patio: 0 votes (0%)
Anything that lets me see their faces, digital or in person: 1 votes (14.29%)
Going old school with cards and notes and getting them in return: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 7
What’s your quarantine mascot?
Tortoise – Slow and steady wins the race: 2 votes (28.57%)
Hare – I work as fast I can so I can then relax: 1 votes (14.29%)
Bluebird – I’m an early riser: 1 votes (14.29%)
Owl – I’m up late so I don’t miss anything: 0 votes (0%)
Puppy – I’m always up for fun: 0 votes (0%)
Unicorn – I’m just a figment of your imagination: 3 votes (42.86%)
Total Votes: 7

Today's Tomfoolery

Guess Who

We Want to Hear from You!

Due to the change in the workload this fall, the full-time team is unable to maintain a regular newsletter. While we are sad to have to let this fun project go, we want to ensure we have space for the team to share and discuss. You are welcome to use the Padlet tool to add text and images or Flipgrid to record short videos to share with the team. They are located in tabs of this box for easy access. 

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