#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights
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Category: 2-Teachers Establish a Respectful Environment for a Diverse Population of Students

A Time to Listen

If I’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s the power of listening. I’m constantly working on being a better listener, myself, but in this reflection, I want to zoom out for just a moment… Whether it be amidst a global pandemic, demonstrations of civil unrest, an election season vehemently vile with Read more…


Are We Grading for Learning?

Conversations about pandemic grading practices continue to flood social media. While there’s always a conflict, a disagreement, or a debate to tweet about, there’s still space for productive struggle and civil discourse. It’s been fascinating to watch conversations about grading, lately. Then, it also feels like there’s a serious tug-of-war Read more…


How Do You Measure Student Learning?

Throughout my administrative internship, I had the honor of experiencing interviews from both sides of the table. In general, an interview can be dynamic, featuring deep insight into the applicant’s thought patterns, belief systems, and presentation skills. There’s potential to communicate so much more beyond the basic Q&A routine. From Read more…


Dear Netflix

Dear Netflix, Greetings to you from an inquisitive educator. With COVID-19 circulating the globe, the world will never be the same. I’m wondering if now is the time to embrace change. I’m wondering if now is the time we move forward into a new frontier. I’m wondering if now is Read more…


Standards-Based Grading Changes Feedback

In a recent twitter chat, I was asked: “Some districts have transitioned to standards-based grading. What are some pros/cons of this shift?” There’s no way I could possibly answer that in 280 characters, right? Grading, feedback, measuring student learning… So many thoughts came to mind. The question took me back Read more…


Book Review: White Fragility–Part III

Blogger’s Note: This is Part III in a series of personal reflections on the book: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. While it’s imperative to reread, revisit, and reference the entire book, frequently, I’m citing just a few selections that are especially impacting my Read more…


Are You an Instructional Leader?

The phrase “instructional leader” can mean a lot of things. Like many titles, it can take on different meanings, given our unique perspectives. Yet, the perception begins to contrast sharply when comparing instructional leadership from the role of school administrators versus classroom teachers. Personally, I’ve been a listening ear to Read more…


Airplane Stacking

Last week, I was in an online Professional Learning Community (PLC) training when I saw it happen again. Immediately, it reminded me of two fond memories, and one powerful takeaway that you can use in your spaces right now. Throughout my PLC Google Meet session, the activators [formerly-known-as-facilitators] surveyed the Read more…


Book Review: White Fragility–Part II

Blogger’s Note: This is Part II (here’s Part I) in a series of personal reflections on the book: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. While it’s imperative to reread, revisit, and reference the entire book, frequently, I’m citing just a few selections that Read more…


Anti-Racist Next Steps?

What a year! So far. Over four months ago, the Corona Virus infected a few. And it spread. Over four hundred years ago, racism infected a few in the would-be USA. And it spread. Nearly four years ago, my friend Mike Parker West shared this image with me: And I’m Read more…


The Wonder Years

This was one of my favorite childhood memories. I’m watching The Wonder Years for about the 12th time in the last 30 years. The whole series. This time, on Hulu. When the show aired 1988-1993, I was embarking on middle school. As a 12-year-old at the time, I can remember Read more…


Edcamp Remote Learning

Just a few months ago, our world was turned upside-down. To say the least, COVID-19 changed the way we did life. As always, physiological and safety needs must be satisfied, first. Even then, with schools disrupted, where does education fit in–if at all? After all, the last thing anyone has Read more…


#OneThought: Covidgilance

In pandemic times, we’ve been tried. We’ve been tested. We’ve been through a lot. While we’ve waged worldwide war on the invisible virus, perhaps, many of us fought our fiercest fights in our very own homes. We’ve done battle with demons daring to destroy our would-be well-being. Jumping jacks on Read more…


Book Review: White Fragility–Part I

Blogger’s Note: I can’t believe I was waiting to finish the whole book before pausing to reflect on parts of the book. To be able to choose when I want to “study these topics” or “have this conversation” exemplifies my white privilege. To “share my research” from my context of Read more…


#CoronaVirus: On Education

I can’t believe this is happening! And in our lifetime! I must have said this to my wife a hundred times in the last few weeks. Even though I watch the news every day to see how COVID-19 spreads throughout the world and is predicted to kill well over 1,000,000 Read more…


#OneThought: Science Literacy

There’s a lot going on here… What are your takeaways? As a parent, I can't wait for our baby to start talking. As an educator, I'm really thinking through this quote at the 0:55 mark: https://t.co/0svd7hiaqo — Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) October 1, 2019


#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…


#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…


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…


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…


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…


Drama That Sticks

You know that person. At the neighborhood block party, she’s the rabble-rouser. At dinner with friends, he keeps rehashing malicious memories. At work, that person thrives on hype. That person is all about… the drama.  Got drama? Stir it. No drama? Create it. Only a little drama? Proliferate it. A lot of Read more…