#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

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

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…


My First Parent-Teacher Conference as a Parent

I’ve never known the kind of love like the kind a father has for his child. Until two years ago. And it’s been quite the ride so far… For the first time in a parent-teacher conference, I was on the other side of the table. The Curious Parent Anxiety set 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…


Another Look At 40

I turn 40 this year. And that has me thinking. Again. Have I fulfilled my purpose by this stage in life? What really matters? What’s meaningful? What have I gained? In a deathbed moment, what would I regret in my heart of hearts? Approaching the new year, a friend of mine declared 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…


#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…