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Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

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

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…


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…


The Extravagant Conference Session

I absolutely love the conference experience. Although online learning comes with its flexible benefits, nothing beats the real thing. There’s something so special about the face-to-face connection. From ignite talks to snapshots to workshops, there’s sure to be something for everyone at a conference. And if there’s also something for Read more…


The Archive

This happens all the time. Whether with teachers in the district, colleagues at a conference, or friends at a social function, conversations are enhanced by technology. It doesn’t mean that you have your phone out all the time or that you disrespect each other in face-to-face interactions. But often, searching Read more…


Specialist Goes Back to the Classroom: Part III: Integrating With Specialists

Blogger’s Note: This time, I’m going back to the classroom–virtually. To read the rest of this series, please see Part I here and Part II here. For nearly two decades now, I’ve been wrestling with a serious concern that affects educator health and student learning. I’m hearing many commonalities among Read more…


I’m Google Certified. Does That Make Me a Good Teacher? Part II

Blogger’s Note: I’m still responding to Bill Ferriter‘s post: “I’m Not Google Certified. Does That Make Me a Bad Teacher?” Here was my December, 2018, Part I response. The following is Part II in a mini-series of responses [End Blogger’s Note]. The Big Picture By now, you know how it works. Of the seemingly 145 apps, Read more…


Trade Days

I’ve been thinking on this for about a decade. Educators need professional learning opportunities to become better. We need to learn from each other. Together, we’re striving to make teaching and learning better for all. Well into 2019, I’m still fascinated by a few things that haven’t happened in education. Read more…


Management: Classrooms vs Specials

So far, I’ve served in two different roles. After teaching fifth grade math and science for fourteen years, I’m in my third year as a STEM Specialist. While both are dream positions, they’re very different from each other. In previous blogs, I’ve enjoyed highlighting many aspects along my journey. In Read more…


#WhyITeach: Part I

Blogger’s Note: I’ve seen other educators tweet, post, and blog about #WhyITeach, but the first one I saw do this was Bill Ferriter. I’m copying the idea. Here’s why: Education is a sacred profession. Serving others as an educator is truly special, like no other journey. You don’t have to Read more…


My #OneWord2019: Marketing

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Truer words were never spoken. As I reflect on my professional journey, a few observations immediately surface. There seems to be two sides of the coin: kids and content (and in that order). How amazing it would be if we Read more…