Teacher Feature: Sandy Pentzer

June 12, 2018

Check out one of the teacher gems we had the opportunity to meet and spend time with during this last year as a result of our Splash & Bubbles Ocean Friends Forever work!

Ms. Sandy Pentzer is a first grade teacher at Franklin County K-12 in the Apalachicola Bay community. Our team quickly identified her spirit animal as being the one and only Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus – she is so patient and dynamic, and brings out the best in all of her students, treating each one as a true individual, and showing them the utmost love and respect that is so clearly reciprocated! 

Tell us the story about how you became an educator.
I wasn’t certain if you wanted me to expound upon this so I will keep it short.  I was a stay at home mom for years, then worked as a secretary in my children’s school when they were in middle and high school.  When they graduated from college I thought, “Hey, maybe I should go back to school and become a teacher.” Almost everyone on my mom’s side had been in the education field so I made my mama happy and discovered my passion!

What do you like best about teaching?
What intrigues me most about teaching, and therefore what I like best, is how children think.  It brings me great joy when they have the opportunity to explore and then expound upon their thinking with a peer or with me.  I have learned many things from students in my years of teaching.

If you could make one change to the teaching profession, what would it be?
I would make kindergarten, first and second grade class sizes smaller. These are critical learning years and if class sizes were smaller the benefits would be exponential.

Do you use WFSU PBS KIDS resources in your teaching practice? If so, how?
Yes, I do use WFSU PBS KIDS resources in my teaching. I mostly use videos from the PBS Learning Media. My students love, love, love Splash and Bubbles and Sid the Science Kid videos.  What a great way to teach so many science concepts. The videos are short in duration and offer extension activities to drive home the learning.  Tell me where else first graders can learn the science vocabulary word, “bioluminescence” and leave understanding what it means. However, I have done a standards based search just putting in the strand and grade level and found great lesson plans with imbedded video resources.

What is your favorite WFSU PBS KIDS educational experience or resource?
My favorite educational experience was when the WFSU PBS KIDS representatives came to our school and took us on a scavenger hunt along the wrack line of the beach close to our school.  We were allowed the opportunity to write letters to first graders in another state (great Social Studies tie in) and being interviewed and videoed elevated our status on campus to “rock stars”. Our WFSU friends came back multiple times to help us create a masterpiece of art using recycled materials we had collected in our regular “Ten for Tuesday” activity where each student picks up at least 10 pieces of litter to help our environment and community. We also received letters from our new pen pals from New Jersey – so exciting!

How did you first learn about WFSU Public Media’s Education & Engagement work?
Our amazing art teacher, Lydia Countryman, was the person that hooked our class up with this wonderful program.

What else could WFSU do to better support your work in education?
The only thing I can think of that would continue to support education is to provide more funds for the type of experience my students were afforded.  It meant so much to them to learn that they were doing a magnificent job protecting their community where tourism, fishing and harvesting oysters are the leading industries.

Thank you Ms. Pentzer for being a wonderful asset to the Apalachicola Bay community, and for your years of incredible teaching and inspiring your students and peers!

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