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Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights
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Category: 4-Teachers Facilitate Learning for Their Students

#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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


Starting an Equity Team at My School

A few years ago, I never thought I would have done this. It has been one amazing learning experience so far, and I can’t wait to share it with you. In addition to my own equity journey, I think I’ve grown through the perspective lens of a future administrator as 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…


Making Professional Learning Better: REDOing Webinars

Getting the most out of our professional learning matters because schools are shelling out time, money, and resources for their educators to get better in their practice, and, ultimately, to make teaching and learning better for kids. But are we getting–at least–a fair return on our investments? We’ve all been 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…


Science: Facts vs Literacy

I don’t care who you are, space stuff is just plain cool. In recent years, NASA‘s spacecrafts have performed missions that were–and are–truly far out. It’s hard for my finite human mind to grasp the seemingly infinite expanses of the universe, and yet, my imagination is attracted–with overwhelming gravitational force–to Read more…


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

Blogger’s Note: I’m responding to Bill Ferriter‘s post: “I’m Not Google Certified. Does That Make Me a Bad Teacher?” This is Part I in a mini-series of responses. Bill Ferriter is one of the most passionate, thought-provoking educators I’ve ever known. A 2015 Bammy Award recipient, “Bill pushes the comfort zones Read more…


Are We Sharing Resources Efficiently?

Teachers are working harder than ever. They’re doing more–with less–again. Many times, it feels like these circumstances are out of our control. Here’s something we can control. We can control how we’re helping each other as fellow educators in a challenging profession. We can control how we share resources. We can Read more…


#GridSciNC

Teaching and learning science can be challenging. Let’s help each other! In a recent district meeting for elementary science teachers, several educators were discussing platforms and methods for sharing ideas on improving science instruction. While we were having fun populating a google doc with online spaces and resources, it became Read more…