Salli McClendon selected exemplary teacher; attends state technology applications event 

BY PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

Salli McClendon, a second grade teacher at Lamar Elementary, has been identified as an exemplary technology applications teacher and was selected to attend the annual K-12 Technology Applications Teacher Network event in Austin on Feb. 6, at the Austin Convention Center.

Photo by Patti Sells

Lamar Elementary School second grade teacher, Salli McClendon, was named an Exemplary Technology Applications Teacher and invited to present her 100th Day of School project using the Excel software program at the Technology Applications Teachers Network annual convention in Austin. Seven-year-old Kimberly Gautier, one of Mrs. McClendon's students,  designed her initial "K," displayed on the computer in the background, for the project.

�I have taught for 29 years and I believe technology motivates students to want to learn,� said McClendon. �It is just amazing when you are teaching a technology integrated lesson and see the excitement of your students.�

Approximately 80 teachers from across the state were invited to the convention to share their favorite technology application lesson plans used for student projects. McClendon presented her 100th Day of School project using Excel. 

�I have been doing a 100-day work book for over 10 years,� said McClendon. �But not always with technology. Each year I add something new.�

McClendon first had her students make a design inside a 100 grid block using paper and crayons.

�Some chose flowers, dinosaurs; things like that, but several of them did their initials,� explained McClendon.

�After the youngsters decided on their design they transferred them to Excel and used the fill bucket to color in their design. Students used another worksheet to document information about their design to make a graph; what colors used and how many squares were used in the design. The Auto Sum function key verified the total of their design was in fact 100. They then used the Chart Wizard to make and edit their individual graphs. Students then had to change the colors of the bars to match the colors in their designs, then they came up with three to five questions regarding their graph for other students to answer after exchanging workbooks.

Upon completion, the workbook included their design, data, graph and questions.

�I was worried that the project might be a little to involved, but they caught on so quickly and were motivated to do more,� she explained. �I don�t think they even realized that they were actually learning something.�

According to McClendon, she has worked with technology for about 12 years. She first used computers with the “Globe Program,” initiated by Al Gore in 1994. McClendon was teaching first-grade at Houston Elementary School at that time.

�We measured the temperature, precipitation and observed cloud cover and clouds,� she recalled. �We sent our data in each day via the Internet to scientist in Colorado to help with analyzing the earth�s environment.�

Because of her classes participation in that program, Houston school was the first in our area to have Internet, according to McClendon. 

�Since then, I have just been fascinated with technology,� McClendon admitted. �I want to learn everything I can about technology to help student achievement.�

A Mentor Technology Teacher for Region 8, as well as a certified Master Teacher with Intel, McClendon also teaches other educators how to use and integrate technology into their classrooms.

When Region 8 offered a stipend for anyone that would present a technology lesson at their service center, McClendon sent in her application and lesson. She was thrilled to be chosen to present her lesson, and received $500. Additionally, Region 8 submitted her name and information about her project to the Technology Computer Education Association.

�I didn�t know they did that until I got an email from TCEA to present at the TATN Best Practices session,� McClendon said.�

Again McClendon was asked to send in her application and lesson plan. She, along with 79 other teachers were invited to the convention and each received a stipend to help with expenses toward the trip.

�I have wanted to go to this convention for at least the past 6 years,� said McClendon. �Teachers from all over the state and Canada and Mexico attend this convention. It�s a really big deal.�

Expenses for the TATN convention and Austin trip are costly, according to McClendon, and until Region 8 offered the stipend she never got the chance to go.

�It was an awesome experience,� said McClendon, who came back with free software and lots of new ideas for her students. �Kids today know so much more than we (adults) do when it comes to computers. Lots of times I�m asking them how to do this or that.�

�They�re teaching the teacher,� she added laughing. �And the thing is that it�s fun. They�re learning math skills, reading, comprehension, so many things, and they don�t even realize it.�

McClendon is the daughter of Gayleon and Peggy Price of Sulphur Springs. She is married to Jay McClendon and they have three children.

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