#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights
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Category: 3-Teachers Know the Content They Teach

Bee Witches

Being a parent has changed me in ways I could not have foreseen. At first, I looked forward to teaching our two-year-old son all the things. That’s why I continue to be shocked at just how much I learn from him. This example still has me smiling, and, really, inspired Read more…


The #Hashtag180 App

With the educational infrastructure being pulled and stretched this year, educators, parents, families, and communities invested great efforts to rise to the challenge. No longer was it seemingly guaranteed which associate of the school community would be ensuring that learning efforts progressed toward learning expectations. What are we doing? What Read more…


Trustworthy Leadership

Here’s one more takeaway from the historical 2020 presidential election: One candidate touted his record of success, yet his character came into question after repeatedly spewing divisive, mean-spirited rhetoric. One candidate touted his unifying, empathetic character, yet his policy record, platform rollout, and resulting success remain to be seen. In 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…


Is It Time to Move Beyond Percentage-Based Grading?

To say that this pandemic has changed life forever would be an understatement. But I’m wondering how much the world of education will be changing, too? Like the world, I believe that learning is always changing. Eventually, schooling catches up. Right? Throughout the pandemic, educators have been working harder than Read more…


What’s in Your Wake?

First times are special, and I’ll never forget this one. As part of a professional development opportunity through the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, I got to travel to Ocracoke to learn all about the United States Coast Guard at Stations #186 and #187 for an entire 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…


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…


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…


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…


Medium > Message: Read Aloud

If I could pack a powerful punch of irony, put it in a box with a big bow, and hand-deliver it to you on a silver platter–this is it. Not only is this based on a true story–it is a true story. And I find it absolutely fascinating. In recent 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…


Meaningful Artifacts for Meaningful Reflection–Part II

It’s true. You don’t need artifacts in order to reflect. You could go sit on the side of a mountain, along a peaceful stream, or in a room somewhere by yourself and ponder life’s complexities. And that’s valuable. But if you’re a teacher building a digital portfolio, artifacts can help. Read more…


Meaningful Artifacts for Meaningful Reflection–Part I

Not unprecented, educators today are being expected to set goals, project plans for meeting their goals, and then reflect upon their progress to demonstrate their learning. More than checking a box, it’s that last part about reflection that’s got me wondering… Are we focused on growing the plant so much 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


#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…


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…


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…