Oct 31, 2016
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. . .
Oct 17, 2016
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. . .
Oct 3, 2016
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. . .
Sep 19, 2016
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. . .
Jan 25, 2016
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 http://www.history.org. This site  Read More. . .
Jan 4, 2016
'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. . .
Nov 16, 2015
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. . .
Nov 2, 2015
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. . .
Oct 19, 2015
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. . .
Jun 30, 2014
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. . .
Jun 23, 2014
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. . .
May 12, 2014
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. . .
Apr 28, 2014
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. . .
Apr 21, 2014
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. . .
Apr 14, 2014
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. . .
Mar 10, 2014
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. . .
Feb 24, 2014
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. . .
Feb 10, 2014
‘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. . .
Jan 27, 2014
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. . .
Jan 13, 2014
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. . .
Dec 16, 2013
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. . .
Dec 2, 2013
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. . .
Nov 25, 2013
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. . .
Oct 28, 2013
‘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. . .
Oct 14, 2013
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. . .
Sep 30, 2013
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. . .
Sep 16, 2013
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. . .
Sep 2, 2013
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. . .
Aug 5, 2013
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. . .
Jul 28, 2013
'. . .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. . .
Jul 20, 2013
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. . .
Resources for Social Studies Students & Teachers