Meet Sandra Beck, a French teacher who takes every opportunity to incorporate new and exciting experiences in her classroom for her students! Known to think outside of the box, Sandra’s primary motivation in everything she does is the benefit of her students. “I always think of my own experiences as a child, she said. “I lived and attended school in France from middle school through college, and everyone was required to take a technology class.” stated Beck. This has shaped her views of learning with technology and its importance in her classroom. Relating to her different personal experiences, Sandra believes in providing hands on learning opportunities for her students. These experiences could involve props such as decorated mannequin heads to demonstrate ‘la bise’ (the French cheek greeting) or technology for student-created digital portfolios  to chronicle their learning. Innovation certainly abounds in this French classroom, where students participate in BreakoutEDU lessons to identify historical figures in French history, cook crêpes in February for crépe day, and become immersed in the French language through the use of technology. Sandra’s students experience tangible takeaways in showing what they know. “Digital portfolios using Google Sites gives them a tool they can use for more than French.” she said. Beck’s Homework Bingo assignment gives students choices in various activities which may lead to learning the metric system in France vs. the United States or changing cell phone settings to French. “They know their apps, but now they are immersed in the foreign language,” said Beck.
Other technology Sandra uses include Chromebooks, game-based activities and a language lab where all software and work is in French. She has also developed a flipped model for her French II Honors classroom using Weebly for her Flipped French  website. Beck encourages her students to point out errors or suggestions for improvement on her website, for which she gives them extra credit. “Their opinion matters and it validates them,” said Beck. Game-based learning in her classroom includes Kahoot! , Quizlet Live! * and Conjuguemos , which is a combination of Quizlet and Kahoot for language and donates rice to different parts of the world. Another class favorite is the game of 21 Interactive Powerpoint Review Game by Mike Wood , which involves a pyramid grid and actual buzzers. Students respond in French, and the winner may not necessarily be the person with the highest points. “Students don’t know how many points there are for each question,” said Beck, who found this activity on Teachers Pay Teachers.
A highlight for Sandra’s students was applying for a grant with Donors Choose to fund BreakoutEDU Kits for her school. “The students were the ones who were able to get the grant, which provided funding for two kits! Over 70 students participated in the All About Me Project about different French characters!”. In this French history activity, Beck provides facts and different props such as jewelry, hats, & other items for students to model different characters as a clue! “It was fantastic that a box with a lock motivated the students even more,” said Sandra.
Sandra has learned so many engaging ways to enhance learning for her students and shares her skills with her peers. As a building level technology assistant, she provides training to teachers on Google Apps, as well as other innovative ways to integrate technology. “My biggest piece of advice is to click the button! Once you click it, you know what it does. There’s always a back button!” “Technology is here to stay,” added Sandra, whose 22 month old daughter’s first words included ‘hey Google’. “Imagine this child 10 years from now!”, she said. Sandra gives her toddler time on her iPad. “I teach her these things because it’s part of life and not going away.” Beck also reminds others that it’s okay to make a mistake with technology and it’s okay not to know how to do something with technology. “Have the students show you!”
When asked what motivates her to remain positive & energetic in her teaching practice, Beck attributes everything to her students. “They have always been first. If I see one struggling, I find a way to help them which in turn benefits all of them. They keep me going,” she said. “It’s always been them, and will always be them”.
MassCUE is pleased to recognize Sandra Beck as our Featured Educator for December, 2019. Congratulations on a job well-done!
*Note: A student privacy evaluation  by Common Sense Media rated Quizlet with warning status. Teachers should check with their district technology department prior to using Quizlet.
Je suis Mme Beck!!! I am a French Teacher at Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I have been teaching for 8 years. I have taught French I to Advanced Placement French. I am Cape-Verdean, American and French. While living in France, I attended middle school, high school and college. I have a B.E.P. métiers du secrétariat from Juvisy-sur-Orge (91) and a BAC PRO Service from Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois (91). I also attended Charles V, Université Paris Diderot 7 for 2 years before returning home to the United States. I have a dual BA in History and English and an MA in Special Education from the University of Bridgewater State College in Mass.