Wiki Spaces

In this post, I’d like to feature guest poster, and 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Gina Kupfer.

Learning Object

Mrs. Kupfer has created a fantastic “learning object” that demonstrates how a wiki can be used for instructional purposes with students as young as 1st grade. The downloadable PDF below demonstrates step-by-step how to set up a class-wiki using The PDF also provides an instructional sample for a science unit on life cycles.


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SQL and PowerSchool

As a “back-end” PowerSchool guy or gal, you may occasionally be asked to pull out data for which there is no pre-built report. In most cases this is possible, but it’s also usually really complicated. The purpose of this post is to (hopefully) provide you with some direction when you are “voluntold” to do undertake such a task.

Data Dictionaries

Chances are you’re somewhat familiar with PowerSchool’s Data Dictionary. The Data Dictionary is a massive PDF reference that defines each table and field in PowerSchool – except for the ones in Gradebook. After spending an hour and a half on the line with support one time, we discovered together that their exists a completely separate Data Dictionary just for the Gradebook. It’s called the PowerSchool Gradebook Data Dictionary. So, if you’re tasked with pulling out all of the standards based grades for a single assignment that can be parsed by school, standard, and teacher like I was, you’re going to want to look there to figure out how all of the tables tie together

High Level Concept

What you’ll find is that there exist many tables, and each table is connected to another by a common column. For example, the WhoCreated column in the psm_assignmentstandardscore table contains the same values as the id column in the psm_teacher table. By using the tool SQL Developer (by Oracle), we can connect directly to our database and write custom queries in a language called SQL to output the data in a manner that is useful. When we query data from multiple tables, we have to choose one table FROM where we are going to conduct our search and then “JOIN” the other tables to the first to eventually generate a new spreadsheet that contains the data that we actually want. Sometimes we need to join one table, to another, to another, TO ANOTHER! to get what we are looking for.

Basically, you are going to find that all of the data you want in your output is divided among many tables, and you are going to have to reference the Data Dictionary to figure out how all of the tables connect.


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snaggy Demo

Snaggy makes using the print screen key easier than any other tool I’ve ever seen. This video demonstrates how it works.


Print Screen

The print screen key is one of the lesser known keys on the keyboard. Mac users actually don’t have one, but its functionality exists with the key combination Command + Shift + 4. So what does it mean to print your screen? Basically, when you press the print screen key, you take a snapshot of everything that is on your computer monitor and that image is saved to your clipboard – ready to be pasted. This is especially useful when you’re presented with an error message that you don’t know what to do with. Support professionals are far more likely to accurately diagnose a problem, when they can actually see what the problem is.


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More Tech Resources

The links in this post are broken down into categories to help you find what you’re looking for.

Resources of Resources

Richard Byrne, award winning author of FreeTech4Teachers, must never sleep because he updates his blog almost every single day multiple times per day. His site is a wealth of information when it comes to educational technology.

L. Houle’s Wiki -

L Houle’s Wiki is a collection of over 200 links to “no-registration required” web 2.0 resources. Eliminate the frustrations of having to sign-up before you start working with your students.

Classroom Management



Class Dojo is one of the few educational apps that focuses on Classroom Management. Teachers that use it frequently speak of it highly. By setting up your classes, you have the ability to award positive or negative behavior points to your students. The points are aggregated to provide you, students, and parents with valuable information regarding student behavior. It also compliments the SMART Board very well. (more…)

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Google Earth

Google Earth Balloon Maker

The Google Earth Balloon Maker is a tool that I cobbled together to make building virtual field trips easier.

Virtual Field Trips

Google Earth is a great resource in the classroom. Sites like have done a great job to promote one of my favorite learning activities – the virtual field trip. The problem though, is that Google Earth’s native balloon maker tools are quite limited leaving most users with the ability to add only  text, links, and images – with no formatting.

I felt like more teachers and students would be inclined to create original virtual field trips if it were easier to make more asthetically pleasing informational “balloons,” so I built a WYSIWYG tool specifically designed for Google Earth. It’s called the Google Earth Balloon Maker and you can view it here: Watch the video above to learn how to use it.

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