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Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

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

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…


Approachable and Coachable

Coaching can be powerful. Done well, the experience can multiply leaders and transform lives. I’m fortunate to have friends who actually have the word “Coach” in their titles. I’m always learning a lot from them. In addition, part of me thinks that there are elements of coaching interwoven through all 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…


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…


Upon Reflection: The Best PD

The very last thing anyone wants in the year of all-things-2020, and when trying to reopen schools amidst a global pandemic, is to add… One. More. Thing. So let’s not. Let’s not invest in expensive PD. Let’s not invest in all of the shiny new objects. Let’s not invest in 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…


Microteaching for Macrolearning

I just got out of another district training and I can’t wait to share this one thing from our study today. While diving deeper into the PLC+ Model, we explored this concept of Microteaching: “We believe that the day is coming in which microteaching, using clips of video to discuss 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…


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…


Book Review: Attached

For over a year, I’ve been researching adult attachment theory. I find it absolutely fascinating. This book has changed my life. Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find–and Keep–Love isn’t just a book about romantic relationships. It’s a book for all adult relationships, Read more…


That’s Not A Tech Question

Last week, a colleague reached out to me on a back channel to ask my advice. Simply put, he wanted to know: “Which platform is better–Seesaw or Flipgrid?” Maybe it was because pandemic, remote learning conditions shone the spotlight on those privileged with options like this in the first place Read more…


Medium > Message: Proximity

For a hundred reasons, remote learning is a lot harder than the face-to-face experience. While waiting for another teacher to join our Google Meet a few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with a colleague. In the most organic way, she expressed several reasons why remote learning was more Read more…


Medium > Message: The Grid View Life

There’s no connection more personal, more meaningful, or more valuable than the face-to-face, human connection. It’s priceless. As social creatures, we’re wired to interact in communities. And this “sense of belonging” basic need is as evident and transparent in pandemic reality as ever. I love going out for a cup 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…


#CoronaVirus Disrupts Learning?

I’m supposed to be getting a ton of stuff done right now, like grad school work, lesson plans, and the usual weekend chores around the house, but I just can’t. Like many humans in the world, I’m having a hard time concentrating on the tasks at hand. I have to Read more…


#OneThought: #CoronaVirus

A year ago, my former fifth grade teammate’s son died. The boy was just nine-years old. I went to the funeral. It was an absolutely horrible experience–one of the worst of my life. I’ll never forget it. Every attendee was mixed in tears, sobbing, wailing, and prayers, and I’m tearing 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…