#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights
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Author: Kyle Hamstra

#Teacherlife–Child Care Sickness

Experiencing life through the lens of a parent has really convicted, challenged, and rerouted me as an educator. Striving to address the needs of the whole child is so different to me now than in my previous 17 years of teaching. I marvel at how my mindset has shifted in Read more…


Another Look At 40

I turn 40 this year. And that has me thinking. Again. Have I fulfilled my purpose by this stage in life? What really matters? What’s meaningful? What have I gained? In a deathbed moment, what would I regret in my heart of hearts? Approaching the new year, a friend of mine declared Read more…


#Teacherlife–Child Care–Day 1

As I entered the building to hand over the most precious thing in my life to nearly complete strangers, a part of me died. I know change is hard, but I just don’t know how to describe transitions like these. This one was especially difficult, I think, because it was Read more…


#TeacherLife–Child Care Doubts

I’m so torn up about this, I can barely express myself. Whether a parent yourself–or not–I think every educator can benefit from these thoughts. Next week, our 21-month-old son goes to child care for the first time. Alone. Without mommy, daddy, or grandparents by his side. Completely. Alone. My feelings Read more…


Snapshots, Soundbites, Shame

Hey, Friends! Not sure about you, but I’ve seen a ton of twitter-shaming lately. What’s going on? I’m taking a moment to pause, reflect, and seek your feedback. This isn’t about the President, politics, or celebrities. This isn’t the space for the gossip train or the petty stuff. This isn’t Read more…


The Leadership Line

Hey, Friends! Like millions of educators and organizational leadership enthusiasts around the world, I’ve been reading and rereading Brene Brown‘s book: dare to lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. For those who’ve read it, I’m on number 14 in The Armory. Again. For those who haven’t read it, I’m on Read more…


#WhyIBlog: Beyond My Standards

While attending my district’s WCPSSITLMS Convergence Learning Symposium three years ago, I was listening to George Couros present reasons why educators should build their own digital portfolio. Online features would include a professional profile as an about.me page, sharing resources through social media, and reflecting on our experiences through blogging. Read more…


What I Never Knew as a Classroom Teacher

I don’t know it all. And I think most people would agree that they don’t, either. But here’s the super scary thing. There’s more! As a classroom teacher, there were so many things I didn’t know… that I didn’t know. Nothing has made me more aware of this simple truth Read more…


My First Poster: #GridPlans at #NCTIES19

I love presenting. I’m always fascinated by the different kinds of presentation formats available nowadays. The infrastructure of the presentation may be even more important than the message itself. It’s true. And knowing your space, setup, and schedule of activities will directly impact how effective you are in communicating your Read more…


Pedestal Problems

Social Emotional Learning is a big deal in schools and life today. Our kids are persevering through challenges unprecedented. Navigating human interaction as adults is no easy feat either, it seems. Therefore, it’s not hard to imagine why there might be so many pedestal problems–even amidst total clarity, context, and Read more…


Field Trips: Fun, Learning, or Both?

Ahhh… The Field Trip. One of the best learning opportunities of all time. Nothing beats the real thing. Nothing beats being there. Nothing beats learning by doing… the real thing. As far as teaching and learning go, it doesn’t get any better than this. But even when packed with all Read more…


ZZAZaA (My Son’s First Blog)

Dear Friends, it’s with a very heavy heart that I share this with you tonight. I’m not doing very well at all. In fact, I’m really failing, here. Of the many things I deeply ponder, this battle is getting the best of me. I’ve been doing a lot of deep Read more…


From Abstract to Hands-On

As a younger, fifth grade science teacher (not too long ago), I made a lot of mistakes that I wish I could go back and redo. When speaking to a parent about our North Carolina fifth grade weather standards recently, some of these past mistakes came back to me. Mistake Read more…


Learning By Doing

In my last post: 3 Takeaways from My District Presentation, I expressed my passion–and the need–for learning by doing: “The reason why learning by doing is so powerful is because when learners do something or create something, they actively live the experience. Their brains archive the message, recall key words and ideas, Read more…


Beyond the Resume

It’s fascinating to hear stories about how people landed their first big job. There was this one conversation in a grocery store aisle or a Starbucks. You and your employer attended the same college. And this in-law had a friend in another state who had that connection. A leader in Read more…


Check It At The Door?

I love blogging. It truly helps me deeply process those experiences that mean so much to me. This reflecting helps me think through things, research what I don’t know, check my blind spots, and even revisit the archive to see where I may have been… wrong, misguided, or simply inexperienced Read more…


Inescapable Small Wins

Until this moment, phrases like small wins or short-term wins seemed like buzz words to me. I admit that deep down, I thought: “Awwwwww… a small win… isn’t that cute. I mean, really, who doesn’t love a good pep rally? Grab the pompoms and get your cheer on! Since the astronomical Read more…


Another Winning Perspective

Every kid doesn’t get a ribbon. Capitalism, sports, and the cool kids club produce actual winners and losers. Healthy competition molds our character and helps us become better. But now, a recent conversation with a friend is making me think of another winning perspective. I’m not sure if I completely Read more…


The Winning Perspective

I’ll never forget this conversation. It was real. And it has changed my life. On my flight to the ASCD #Empower19 Conference, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with a fellow educator sitting next to me. He was asking me about my career, life, and family. I appreciated the dialogue and Read more…


Navigating Conflict: 5 Simple Questions

I’m super concerned for our kids today. And you can’t help but feel for them. They’re growing up in a world changing faster than ever–and accelerating all the more as we speak. At no time in history have we been so bombarded with so many stimuli, technologies, communications, and outright Read more…


How Do You Evaluate Resources?

A major challenge we have in education is knowing our learners, exactly what we teach and learn, and how those two best go together–and in that order. From teachers to administrators to tech folks, we all have standards to guide our instruction, and we strive to innovate inside the box. Read more…