Blog! - Two-Fisted History


. . . Some People Started RTTPing,
Not Knowing What It Was. . .

Back in the beginning of the month, I began talking about a document I reviewed in one of my Professional Developments last spring 'Select Excerpts from the notice of Proposed Requirements – Race to the Top Provisions Related to Principals and School Leaders.'  At one point I said:   . . . I'm still formulating ideas about   Read More. . .

Tags : Education RTTP Data TeacherRecruitment TeacherRetention

Common Good or Consumer Good?

What is our purpose as Educators?  Is Education a Common Good or a Consumer Good?  Or is it something else altogether? This was one of the theses that emerged from one of the Professional Development course on the History of American Education I participated in last Spring.  Should everyone receive an Education?  Or should   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CharterSchools CitizenScholars

This is the Race
That Nev-ver Ends

Last Semester, one of our in-class readings was 'Select Excerpts from the notice of Proposed Requirements – Race to the Top Provisions Related to Principals and School Leaders' compiled by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  It was simultaneously enlightening and frightening, and became heavily annotated in   Read More. . .

Tags : Education RTTP Data Testing #TTOG

On Critical Thinking

There've been quite a few news stories lately that have caused hooplas on the internet (and politicians & organizations who take internet opinions seriously).  Harambe, the Orlando shooting, BLM, Target's bathrooms, Bill Clinton & Loretta Lynch's 'Secret Meeting', etc.  We live in a world so overly-connected that every news item   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CriticalThinking Humanities

Classroom Ideas
Colonial America

I'm taking a thoroughly enjoyable course this semester as part of my Professional Development.  I wanted to share the answer I gave to one of my homework questions because I thought that these are some ideas that I'd love to institue in a US History class. 4.)       Visit This site   Read More. . .

Tags : Education ProD ColonialAmerica Williamsburg

Test All The Things!

  'Life's a forge! Yes, and hammer and anvil, too! You'll be roasted, smelted, and pounded, and you'll scarce know what's happening to you. But stand boldly to it! Metal's worthless till it's shaped and tempered! More labor than luck. Face the pounding, don't fear the proving; and you'll stand well against any hammer and   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Testing

Squeezing Blood From A Stone:
How States Make Money
Off Of Teachers

Long time readers of Two-Fisted History will recall how I oft bemoan the intrusion of politicians and bureaucrats – people who have no idea of what being a classroom teacher is actually like versus their own perception of it – into Education. It's a subject that I often bring up (probably ad nauseum) to friends, colleagues,   Read More. . .

Tags : Education ProD Politics Certification

The Real Pipeline to Prisons Problem

One of the pieces of forming a Citizen Scholar is teaching our future Citizen Scholars how to function in an ordered society.  Schools are microcosms for the 'real' world; training grounds for the society and culture that the Citizen Scholar will join upon formation (often, even during it).  How, then, do we want our Citizen Scholars   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CitizenScholars BTTF

CARE To Protect Your Bum.

I don't know how many people in the Education world now reading this article have PLCs in their school, or who have participated in a PLC.  For the uninitiated, PLC stands for 'Planned Learning Community.'  After participating in dozens in a South Florida school, I'm still not sure what purpose a PLC serves.  During my graduate   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CARE CitizenScholars TPSReport

Reflection on Year One

Well, we made it to the end of the year!  Well done one and all. It’s been a pretty awesome year here at Two-Fisted History.  Yeah, hundreds of people check out the site every month.  We helped sponsor EdCamp Buffalo, and the site showed up on Reddit.  I’m not thinking about the digital stuff, though.  This   Read More. . .

Tags : Education SummerReflection

Finding Uncle Sam
Stand Back!
I'm Going To Do

I have to confess: I really haven’t written an article this week.  I’ve spent just about all of my free time this week working on a side project. I’ve always been fascinated by the few stories I’d been told of my Great Uncle Sammy who was a tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator in the 15th Air Force.  He was shot   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII UncleSammy SocialStudies Education

Common Core, Classical Education,
And Citizen Scholars
(Oh My!)

This is the tale of two History classes.  Both of them were 11th Grade US History classes, but unlike each other in almost every other way.  In the first class, the students are bright-eyed and active.  Thoroughly engaged in the topics as the teacher begins discussing the events leading up to the American Civil War, the students   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CitizenScholars CommonCore ClassicalEducation

Clients, Not Products

Modern cultural conceptions expect that every occupation has a tangible, measurable product that is associated with it - something that can be used to measure productivity and competence.  If you work in a factory, your product is whatever gets turned out.  If you work as a financial manager, your sales are your   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CommonCore EdPolitics Testing Assessments

Happy Easter & Happy Passover

In honour of the Easter/Passover week, I’d like to present a little something I encountered at a Seder meal this past week. The Haggadah is the Jewish text which instructs in the order of the Passover Seder. In Odessa, in what's still the Ukraine as of this writing, the m'lamdim, the teachers whose duty it was to teach Jewish children   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Easter Passover Humour

The Founder of Public Education:
St. John Baptist de La Salle

Last Monday (7 April) was the Church's feast day (Yeah, I know it's 15 May for Lasallian organizations) of St. John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers and one of my role models in Education.  I thought it might be a good idea to cobble together a short biography of the man that established the modern Public School system In   Read More. . .

Tags : History Biography Education Methodology PublicEducation Pedagogy

Wasting Time
Are Longer School Days
The Answer?

From time to time, people (mostly bureaucrats) look at the achievement gap between American students and students from other countries and wonder what the schools are doing wrong, and how they (the bureaucrats) can correct it.  One of the solutions they’ve come up with is that American students need to spend more time in school.    Read More. . .

Tags : Education

Ruminations On The
One Room Schoolhouse

I bet you didn’t know that I taught in an honest-to-goodness One Room Schoolhouse.   Well, ok, I wasn’t a stereotypical colonial or frontier schoolmaster.  I was an interpreter at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village in the Williamsville Schoolhouse Building.  It was a fascinating look at the bygone days of my   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CitizenScholars Inclusivity ORS

Classical Education:
No School Like The Old School

‘Mother Teresa was elected to the Pericles along with Jono Kenyatta and Martin Luther.  She was very outspoken, but mostly when she spoke.  She was elected because she knew what the people feared.' ‘Lyndon Johnson sent troops into Vietnam because they crashed planes into the World Trade   Read More. . .

Tags : Education ClassicalEducation CitizenScholars CommonCore EdPolitics Testing

Making The Most Of Your Budget:
Educator Discounts for
Teachers & Homeschoolers

Last week, I and several of my fellow teachers had the opportunity to visit ‘The Teachers’ Desk,' a place where teachers of schools who have more than 70% of their students in the National School Lunch Program can set up an appointment and receive a certain amount of school supplies that were either donated or purchased with funds   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Homeschool Tips

Field Tripping:
'It's just a routine expedition. . . '

In the Northeast, we’re stuck in the grey days of Winter following Christmas Break.  Students and teachers languish in their classrooms looking out and seeing drifting snows and overcast skies which seem to hide the Sun for months; the only illumination coming from the overhead light.  How can we fight this dreaded ennui? Field   Read More. . .

Tags : Education FieldTrips Engaging

Are You
Setting Yourself Up For
College Success?

I was fortunate.  I went to an elementary school that over-prepared me for high school, and in turn, a high school that over-prepared me for college.  By the end of eighth grade, I had a 25-page paper on Johannes Kepler and his theory of elliptical orbits under my belt.  Throughout high school, it was routine to receive an   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Post-Secondary HigherEd EducationSkills

What's So Funny About
Vocational & Technical School?
Part II

Last week I talked about technical and vocational schools.  I wanted to take some time and follow up a little more about it. Forty years ago, getting a degree from a four-year school was a huge deal – something that only the best and brightest got.  It meant that you were on the track to get a high paying job in a   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Trades Vocational Post-Secondary HigherEd

What's So Funny About
Vocational & Technical School?

Every few weeks or so, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and New York State Commissioner of Education John King profess and insist upon the need to ensure that more students go on to higher education.  Every few weeks (via E-mails or Twitter) I ask them why. Please don’t misconstrue what I mean when I ask them.  I don’t   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Trades Vocational Post-Secondary AchievementGap

Digital Distraction?

‘Mr. S, we’d learn better if we had iPads and didn’t have to take notes.’ I was told earlier this week. ‘Yeah?’ I asked.  ‘How would iPads help you learn what taking notes can’t?’ ‘Umm. . . we could make movies.  Like in English class!’ ‘What would you make   Read More. . .

Tags : Education EdTech CitizenScholars CommonCore

Thinking Like A Historian

Thinking as a Historian does can help you learn how to analyze information, see the relationships between causes & effects, make sense out of the past and make connections to the present, learn how to communicate by making well-reasoned arguments, and give a deeper understanding of people.  Just like the Scientific Method, Historians have   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies PublicHistory

Sy-STEM-ic Failure:
Is STEM Education Overfunded?

Less than a year after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, the United States government, alarmed that the country was falling so far behind in the Space Race, passed the National Defense Education Act; providing billions of dollars to U.S. universities and colleges for math and technology studies to produce skilled workers.  Ever   Read More. . .

Tags : Education SocialStudies STEM Humanities ELA Funding

Flipped Classrooms:
Education Flipped Out?

There’s a trend in education to go overboard with an idea. Whether it’s State or Federal bureaucrats passing knee-jerk requirements and legislation, or individual educators latching onto the latest fad and embracing it completely, it seems like there’s a compelling need to go to extremes in our schools and classrooms.    Read More. . .

Tags : Education Technology Moderation

The Premise of Citizen Scholars

Every April, the colleges and universities in Western New York hold ‘Teacher Recruitment Day’ for their Education alumni where they can interview with representatives from school districts across the country.  Generally the representatives are Human Resources Specialists who ask the traditional ‘What are your   Read More. . .

Tags : Education CitizenScholars Media

A Day Late and a Dollar Short:
Economics or Finance?

Economics generally seems to be the Social Studies class that both teachers and students tend to be least enthused about. The Social Studies class first year teachers say, ‘Oh yeah, I love Economics.  Let me teach that,’ and then run away from it as soon as World or US History opens up.  The curriculum gives the impression   Read More. . .

Tags : Education Economics SocialStudies PersonalFinance FinancialLiteracy Finance Econ

'Why Do We Have To Study History?' - Part II

'. . .But Mr. S, History is booooooooring!' I never knew why so many people thought of History as ‘boring.’  My best guess is that, with the way that most state curriculums are set up, History is just one long series of causes and effects with a bunch of names and dates tossed in.  History is so much more than that,   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies

'Why Do We Have To Study History?' - Part I

The most frequent question I hear from students is, ‘Why do we have to study history?  It’s soooooo boring!’   One of the most important reasons for studying History is that it teaches us how to think critically. What is Critical Thinking?  We all think.  ‘What am I going to do after   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies

Resources for Social Studies Students & Teachers