#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights
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Category: 6-Teachers Contribute to the Academic Success of Students

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…


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 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…


Continuity Clause?

Maybe it’s my Midwest values. Maybe it’s fear that still clings and clenches to tradition. Or, maybe it’s just another Libra waxing sentimental. But I miss those days. A throwback to when team unity was stronger than dollar signs. A hearkening back to when clubhouse camaraderie equaled investment and commitment. 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…


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…


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…


Biggest Challenge in Education?

You can just feel it. Whether inferred from blogs, books, presentations, conferences, podcasts, TED Talks, social media, or even face-to-face conversations, the vibe is definitely there. It’s strong. And it’s getting louder by the moment. When Brad Shreffler, founder of The Planning Period Podcast and The Big Q in Edu, Read more…


The CrEDible Coach

What IS a coach? Playing a lot of sports while growing up in the Midwest was an unforgettable experience. I learned some hard life lessons as a youngster, and now those growing-up moments are still so valuable to me–to the extent of shaping my present, adult decision-making. Behind every challenge Read more…


The #Hashtag180 App!

DATE: July 1, 2025 Today: Is THE DAY! Twenty Years: From 2005 to 2025, one educator’s passion project was now focused into one FREE app. The world–and the world of education–are forever changed! Gratitude: First of all, I’d like to thank #Hashtag180 app builder ________________________, for believing in me and my Read more…


DOING Professional Learning: Part 3

It was my third ISTE, and it was also my third time presenting at the International Society for Technology in Education Conference. But this time was different… Owning the Experience I can’t tell you how excited I was to share one of my biggest passion projects ever! I started #hashtag180 Read more…


#GridCulum

We’ve had the tools, technology, and the power… And now? We also have the space and strategy to share! Welcome to #GridCulum! This is where Flipgrid breaks down barriers, educators share ideas, and together, we make learning and teaching better for all. Why #GridCulum? Educators are each other’s best resources. Read more…


Makerspace: Standards AND Fun

How do we facilitate experiences that are meaning, memorable, relevant, fun, and student-centered, while still learning standards? I think this is one of the true challenges in education today. Words have a way of informing. They can also evolve, evoke, and overwhelm. Words wormhole their way throughout the world of Read more…


4 Reasons to Morning Meeting

Let’s talk! Getting to know each other can help us learn together. This year, our staff has conducted Morning Meetings every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. For the first fifteen minutes of the day, students circle up, engaging in teacher-prompted greetings and shares. The Greeting Greetings may involve practicing a firm Read more…


STEM: Standards AND Fluff

Learning can be standards-based OR fun. But not both. Unfortunately, that’s the perception held by many facilitating learning experiences in the world of education today. I was reminded of this classic paradox when conversing with fellow educators in a STEM session at #edcamporangeNC on Saturday, April 14th, 2018. Educator ONE: Read more…