Austin Discovery School

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"The Hoot" :: Weekly Newsletter » Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Please contact administrators via e-mail to schedule meetings as needed.

Amity Taylor, Assistant Principal
Becky Mien, Student Services Director
Kelly McRee, Social Emotional Program Director
Leigh Moss, Head of School
Lydie Jessin, Business Manager
Taylor Young, Operations Manage

Dates to Remember

Oct 23-26 - Barefoot Books Fair
Oct 26 - Science Fair Work Day
Oct 27 - Parents' Night Out
Nov 3 - Dia de los Muertos
Nov 4 - PTO Full Moon Festival
It's NOT TOO LATE to sign up for tomorrow night's Parent's Night Out!!! The deadline is tomorrow (Friday, Oct 27) at 3pm!  Let us watch your kids so that you can enjoy a night out on the town.  It is from 6-10:30pm tomorrow night.  We serve pizza for dinner and play games until we settle in to watch a movie! You can register here.

If you can't make it tomorrow night, please consider joining us on our next Parent's Night Out on Dec 8.    You do NOT have to be in AfterCare to attend a Parent's Night Out!  We also allow younger siblings of ADS students who are at least 4 years old.  We hope to see you soon!

Questions?  Contact
From the Front Office

Donations of copy paper and bandaids will be gratefully and enthusiastically accepted in the front office!

Several cases of licehave been spotted in theDarling Dolphins' and Daring Dragonflies' classrooms. 
From the PTO

Dia de los Muertos  We need donations of sugar, meringue powder, and tissue paper to make our Dia de los Muertos celebration what it should be.  Items (and cash donations) can be dropped off at the front office for this school-wide celebration.

Full Moon Festival - Save theDate!! Saturday, November 4th at 2 pm  Feeling The Need to Volunteer?  The ADS PTO has just the right space for you!  If you're into fall fun and festivalin', please consider signing up for an hour or two when you bring your family to this awesome event.  We'll have bouncy houses, obstacle courses, fortune tellers, hay rides, and chicken poop bingo, just to name a few!  Click thelink below to sign up to volunteer with us.  It promises to be a real hoot 
Hoot Outs in our community this week go to:
  • John Slavin, for using his McGyver triage skills on the playscape. - Deborah
  • Kyle Holder, for super responsive playscape repairs! - Deborah
  • I was sad and Emily made a happy day. - Vivian Montell
  • Ms. Thora is the best teacher ever!  - JJ/Jacoby
  • Kim and Morgan, you are the best teachers ever!  XOXO - Lorelai
  • Our amazing parent body for bringing us delicious snacks every Wednesday before our professional development!  We love you!
From Leigh Moss, Head of School

Have you ever given to an ADS annual campaign?  Have you contributed to this year's 100 Partners in 100 Days campaign?  Do you and your family volunteer at ADS community or PTO events throughout the year?  From now until #GivingTuesday on November 28th we will be featuring current and alumni ADS stories of giving.  Share your story today and we will recognize you in next week's Hoot either by name or anonymously. Share your giving story! 

It is almost time for the ADS Holiday Bazaar!  Donations of craft supplies and/or finished crafts will be gratefully accepted soon!  Look for great ideas to start popping up on the ADS Families Facebook page and feel free to e-mail Alicia Fiedler ( with questions.  
News from Ms. Elizabeth, your Librarian

Science Fair Update
  • Each participating class has had at least one class session to brainstorm project ideas and look through science fair idea books.  Each student has been asked to write a one sentence statement of their idea.  Check their Science Fair folders and talk to them about their ideas!  When possible I have written their next steps or additional comments in their folders.
  • Over the next two weeks all classes will be talking about starting research.  We will talk about how books and websites get published and how reliable each are.  In theweeks before Thanksgiving students will practice note-taking.
  • Conducting background research is one of the hardest ideas to get across with students.  Even those students who have independently created an experiment must research and be able to explain the science behind their project.  So for example, a project where they put carnations into colored water to see how the petals change color must explain how plants transfer water and nutrients from roots to petals, etc.
  • The next Science Fair Work Day is 11/9 from 3-4pm.  Email me by 11/8 if your child will be coming and I will pick them up from class at 3:05.
Library News
  • Mark your calendars for the Texas Book Festival on Nov. 4-5 in and around the State Capitol.  Go to for all the info you need about this wonderful, free event that I wait all year for.  There are hundreds of authors presenting; a few that I am most excited about are Kathi Appelt, Kadir Nelson, Jason Reynolds, M.T. Anderson, Gene Luen Yang, and Katherine Paterson.  There's a poster in the library with book covers if you want a visual of the authors who will be there.  If you see me wandering the grounds or in an author session be sure to say hi---I love to see all my ADS kiddos there!
  • We had a great time on Tuesday decorating pumpkins to look like book characters!​
Fall Into the Arts

We will be celebrating Fall Into the Arts this November 13-17.  This is a celebration of arts integration in all areas of our daily lives and was started last year as a new celebration on our new campus.  Essentials teachers have a few areas of need as we prepare for this awesome week of arts. Materials can be dropped off in the administrative building.
  • any water-based paints and stains, as well as water or oil-based sealers so that themiddle school students can refinish all of the campus picnic tables.  They can be partial cans---use this as an opportunity to clean out your garage!  We also need primer for the murals Ms. Amelia's classes will be creating on the Prickly Pear patio.
  • paint brushes and drop cloths
  • any and all natural materials for Thora's planned outside art activities
  • if you are an artistic sort, we invite you to touch base with your child's teacher to see if you can schedule a lecture or show and tell with the class during that week.  Last year we had lots of parents/grandparents/friends who came to do workshops with classes and it was incredibly appreciated.

A little owl told me….by Kelly McRee



I had the pleasure this week of interviewing Ashley Conti, one of our amazing 2nd grade ELA/Social Studies teachers.  Ashley is co-teaching the Fierce Foxes with Patrick Frame inthe Prickly Pear treehouse. This is Ashley’s first full year on staff.  Last year she was a long term substitute for 5th grade Science.

What is your favorite classroom ritual or routine that fosters classroom community?  My favorite classroom routine is morning meeting because we get an opportunity to connect and share whats makes us special and unique. It’s a really special time for the students to connect and share experiences as well.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why?  I’ve always wanted to visit Amsterdam. It’s beautiful there, and the sense of community, and well being is really special.

What is it that you do that gives you the most satisfaction? I  love feeling good and being happy! Being outside in nature gives me the most satisfaction of all!

Share a happy childhood memory.  When I was a child, I was obsessed with observing plants and butterflies. One day, I found a small pine shrub and decided to give it a name. I loved this little shrub and I visited it everyday. I even decorated it during Christmas time. I’ll never forget how much happiness that little shrub brought me day to day.

What is the most important quality to you in a relationship with someone else? How and why is it important to you? Kindness is important to me because it demonstrates empathy, and a true human desire to connect and help others. I was always taught that showing kindness is the right thing to do, regardless of if someone was mean to you or hurt you.

What are you grateful for in your life right now? I’m grateful that I’m a teacher at ADS! I’m also grateful that I’m healthy and my family is healthy.

If you had an unexpected free day and could do anything you wished, what would you do? I would probably work in my garden, build an amazing terrarium, or go for a long bike ride.

What is a favorite memory that you have of time spent in nature? One of my favorite memories as an adult is when I went hiking in Golden, Colorado. The mountains were breathtaking. I’d had never experienced anything so beautiful!

Who inspires you? Carl Sagan has always been a huge inspiration for me. I adore his cosmic perspective and love for nature.

What’s the last book that you couldn’t put down? Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee       

Dear Beloved Families,

Next Friday, Nov 3rd from 6:30-8 pm Dr. Tina Bryson will be speaking in Austin!! This is a must see event and it is rare to see her speak here in Austin!!

Dr. Tina Bryson wrote The Whole Brain Child and No Drama Discipline with Dr. Dan Siegel.  They have a new book coming out in Jan 2018 called The YES brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in your Child. Please get your ticket today at this link as this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity!

I love their twelve strategies from The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind.

First Strategy

Instead of Command and Demand, try Connect and Redirect. Example:  “Mom, you never left me at note in the middle of the night and I hate homework.”  “What are you doing out of your bed?  Go back to your room, and I don’t want to see you again until morning.” (Command and Demand)

“Mom you never me a note in the middle of the night and I hate homework.”  “I get frustrated about things like that, too.  Want me to leave you a note tonight?  And I’ve got some ideas about homework, but its late now, so let’s talk more tomorrow.”  (Connect and Redirect)

Second Strategy

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, try Name it to Tame it:  Telling stories to calm big emotions.  Example:  Your child falls down and gets hurt.  You respond by saying don’t cry, you’re fine.  Instead allow the child time to tell the story about what happened so that can process the event.

Third Strategy

Instead of Enraging the Downstairs Brain, try Engaging the Upstairs Brain. Example:  Your child is upset and says I hate you.  You respond with “That is not Ok to say.  I don’t want you to ever say that again.”  (Enraging the downstairs brain).  Your child is upset and says I hate you.  You respond “Wow, you’re really mad.  Is it because I didn’t get you that necklace?”  Your child still responds that you are mean and they hate you.  You respond, “That necklace wasn’t for sale.  It’s Ok to you want to keep feeling upset, but if you’d rather, we can be problem solvers and think of another idea.”

Fourth Strategy

Instead of just giving the answer, Try Exercising the Upstairs Brain. Example:   “I’m sorry but you can’t keep that Frisbee.  It doesn’t belong to you.  Let’s put it back where you found it.”  (Giving the answer)  “I know you want to keep it, but what will happen if theother child comes back for it and it isn’t here?”  (Exercising upstairs brain)

Fifth Strategy

Instead of Command and Demand, Try Move it or Lose it. Example:  “I don’t want to get dressed.”  “Let’s play a dressing game!  Do a jumping jack and then we’ll put your pants on.”

Sixth Strategy

Instead of Fast Forward and Forget, try Rewind and Remember.  Again, Telling stories help children to be able to process painful experiences and memories that may be affecting their lives.

Seventh Strategy

Instead of “How was your day?”, Try Remember to Remember. Example:  “What was thebest part of your day?”   “What was not the best part?”

Eighth Strategy

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, try Teaching that Feelings Come and Go.  This allows your child to process their feelings and understand that even scary emotions can come and go.

Ninth Strategy

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Using Mindsight to Take Control of Images. Example:  A child is scared before bedtime of ghosts.  Instead of giving them the logical answer, you can help them change the visual images in their mind such as creating a funny image to replace the scary image by imagining the ghost with a tutu and a baseball cap.

Tenth Strategy

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Exercising Mindsight.  Example:  Teaching your child guided relaxation or meditative images to help them get through a stressful time like getting a shot.

Eleventh Strategy

Instead of Command and Demand, Try Playful Parenting.  Example:  Child is upset in bath and wants other parent.  You can become playful and pretend to be the other parent.

Twelfth Strategy

Instead of Dismiss and Deny, Try Connection through Conflict.  Example:  Helping your child see the other person’s perspective, another point of view, listen to what’s not being said, and teaching kids to make things right after a conflict.

This is just a little taste from The Whole Brain Child.  Dr. Siegel really does a great job of explaining brain development to the lay person.  His other book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain is an amazing resource to understand your budding teenager and help you to survive the teenage years.