#HamstraHighlights

Leadership · Curriculum · STEM

#HamstraHighlights

#OneThought: Covidgilance

In pandemic times, we’ve been tried. We’ve been tested. We’ve been through a lot. While we’ve waged worldwide war on the invisible virus, perhaps, many of us fought our fiercest fights in our very own homes. We’ve done battle with demons daring to destroy our would-be well-being. Jumping jacks on 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…


#Fitat40: My 72-Hour Rule

It was the Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving of 1995, in that forsaken 2:00-4:00pm window, the time when no one wants to be in the gym working. Not the coach. Not the janitor. And definitely not the growing sophomores of the Kankakee Valley High School Junior Varsity Basketball Team. Hmm… No Read more…


My #OneWord2020: Forward

Oh my… I can’t believe how much has changed. Over the last five years, I’ve celebrated several successes and peaks. We got married, bought a house and a minivan, and had one child (so far). I started grad school (MSA), transitioned from a fifth grade teacher to a STEM Specialist, Read more…


Top 5 #HamstraHighlights of 2019

I love blogging. It’s here–in my #HamstraHighlights reflections–where my most meaningful learning happens. There are so many reasons why I blog, and it’s by far the best professional learning I’ve ever had. To those who encouraged me to start my own professional portfolio, THANK YOU. Although each post is the culmination of Read more…


Edupreneurialism: Present and Future

At a recent conference, I was lucky to be surrounded by the best in the business. We were talking about how much the education landscape has changed over the years and where we are now, given our accessibility, connectivity, and collaborative potential. Eventually, our conversation centered around one, heartfelt question: Read more…


#OneThought: Relationships

Relationships are everything. They’re so valuable and important. Precious. And at the same time, even the most cherished, heartfelt, well-intended relationships can be challenging. Still, the relationships with people who mean a lot to you are the ones worth sustaining. Somehow, life gets complex. Perhaps, it was in our elementary Read more…


Are Your Professional Learning Experiences Effective?

I absolutely love professional learning experiences. I love connecting with people. First, there’s the hype of the event itself. Then, there’s the anticipation of attending a quality session. Finally, it’s really happening, and I’m reflecting through live tweets to collect in Wakelet, Google Keep, and future blogs. And then we Read more…


#OneThought: Expression

This is important. Do it today. Right now… To those who matter to you–tell them. Don't let another day go by without saying:I love you.I appreciate you.I'm happy that you're in my life.TY for being there for me.You help me #becomebetter.I can't wait to see you again.#fitleaders #fitat40 #keepburning #healthywake 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


The Perfect Video

Video is powerful. I believe in video. I’ve posted about video, here: Best Advice Ever–Part I (record videos of your kids) Some Assembly Required (video directions over printed directions) Playback, Reflect, Grow (seeing yourself teaching in video) #GridPlans: Flipgrid Your Sub Plans (using video for sub plans) And now—Another video Read more…


Transforming Teacher Evaluation

I’m reflecting on some great conversations with classmates, colleagues, and friends today. After many AHA moments, hypotheses, and healthy debates, I’ve finally come to a place of peace… And bold prediction: The digital portfolio will replace traditional teacher evaluation tools. Soon.  But it’s way more than just replacing a tool. This Read more…


#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…