Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Hands-on Teaching: OCU Professor Keeps Science 'Fun' image

By Steven Collins, Senior Reporter, Circleville Herald

Photo by Nancy Radcliff, Chief Photographer​, Circleville Herald

Circleville Herald, November 14, 2018

When teaching, Rolanda Hurtt believes a hands-on approach is a way to keep both students and teachers interested and engaged.

Hurtt, an Affiliate Professor in the Teacher Education department at Ohio Christian University, shares her hands-on approach with her students who can then pass it on to their students once they are in the classroom.

“We always try to have fun,” she said. “I want my students at OCU to enjoy what we’re doing. I can see where people say we’re just playing, but we do learn science concepts. I don’t want my students to be afraid to try this stuff in their classrooms.”

Hurtt, who retired from the public school system in 2012 after working as a teacher at both Adena School District and in Circleville, got her start in 1979 when she got a job in Special Education soon after graduating from Ohio State University.

“I was so naive,” she said. “I thought, ‘Right. I’ll just get a job right away.’ I interviewed at Southwestern City Schools right after graduation. I went to the interview and they wanted me to sub. I told them that I liked helping students with learning disabilities, and they ripped up my subcontract and gave me a contract for tutoring. I did that job for $7 an hour and my classroom was in a closet.”

Hurtt worked there for four years while she got her certifications to work with developmentally disabled students. After four years of wanting her own classroom and her friends telling her, she wouldn’t get it there, she moved on to Adena where she taught sixth grade for 17 years. That’s when she got involved with science.

“When the standardized testing came out, the principal said we were going to have to compartmentalize,” she said. “She told one person they were good at math so they’d do that. Another person wanted to do English, so they did that, and she got to me and said ‘You’re going to do science’.”

Hurtt, in an effort to gain more knowledge and be better prepared, started taking workshops on science.

“I took anything and everything I could,” she said. “Adena was really good about sending me to conferences. I developed a program where everything was hands-on.”

However, Hurtt had pushback from other teachers regarding her new way of doing things.

“I had flack from other teachers and I couldn’t understand why,” she said. “They’d say it was just playing. I did it out of need. You don’t want kids to be bored out of their minds, especially kids with disabilities. They do better with hands-on than kids without [disabilities].”

Hurtt, who taught at Circleville for over 10 years, said she’d never pictured herself teaching at OCU, but after doing some of the summer programmings, the school approached her and offered her a job.

“If you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I thought I’d be working at OCU, I’d tell you that you’d be out of your mind,” she said. “It never occurred to me that I’d be working there.”

These days, Hurtt is still hands-on teaching, sharing her methods with the next generation of teachers.

“We’re always getting in trouble because we’re loud, even though we don’t mean to be,” she said. “It’s just fun. I want my students at OCU to enjoy what they’re doing. I don’t want them to be afraid to try this stuff. It might be noisy, but they’re doing science or they’re talking about science.”

Hurtt said that even when teaching a workshop for experienced teachers, fear is a factor.

“They kind of complain about the experiments at the beginning, but they have to know it and be able to do it to be able to teach it,” she said. “It gets them out of their comfort zone, and I’ve found that to be true with my students and the teachers.”

Hurtt said part of getting out of that comfort zone is also realizing mistakes will happen.

“You’ll make mistakes, I’ve made lots of mistakes,” she said. “There was this experiment where you suck a balloon into an old milk bottle with fire. To get it out, you have to change the air pressure. One easy way is to blow into the bottle. I did it one time and that thing came back at me and hit me in the face. There were ashes all over my face and in my teeth. I looked like I was missing some [teeth] and the kids laughed and I laughed. Stuff like that happens.”

Hurtt will continue to do her hands-on learning, sharing experiments and fun ideas with her students to show to their eventual students.

“I just started this way of teaching out of need,” she said. “I’m not the greatest teacher or anything. It’s just really fun.”

Email scollins@circlevilleherald.com and follow on Twitter @Collins_Herald

Articles of Interest

Orientation staff

Incoming Campus Students Attend Summer Orientation

Orientation staff

Published: July 13, 2020

On July 10th, Ohio Christian University welcomed 62 incoming students to campus for the first Orientation Day of the summer. Orientation Days are for incoming students to the Undergraduate Campus Program to register for classes and prepare for their first semester on campus. OCU had several COVID-19 procedures in place including taking temperatures, requiring masks, social distancing guidelines, and hand sanitizing stations to help ensure the safety of everyone on campus. OCU President Dr. Jon S. Kulaga welcomed the students and encouraged them to be part of God’s story. Students and
On July 10th, Ohio Christian University welcomed 62 incoming students to campus for the first Orientation Day of the summer. Orientation Days are for incoming students to the Undergraduate Campus Program to register for classes and prepare for their first semester on campus. OCU had several COVID-19 procedures in place including taking temperatures, requiring masks, social distancing
On July 10th, Ohio Christian University welcomed 62 incoming students to campus for the first Orientation Day of the summer. Orientation Days are for incoming students to the Undergraduate Campus
CampusVisitsArticle Photo

Prospective Students Have Many Options to Experience Campus this Summer

CampusVisitsArticle Photo

Published: June 4, 2020

Ohio Christian University is excited to offer several options to connect with prospective students of our Undergraduate Campus Program over the summer and help them experience OCU: Option 1: Individual Campus Visits Ohio Christian University is now open for prospective students to visit campus. The university has social distancing procedures in place to help everyone on campus stay safe. Learn more. Option 2: Virtual Preview Day Join us for a Virtual Preview Day on Friday, June 26th! Learn why students choose OCU, ask our panelists questions, virtually tour campus, win prizes,
Ohio Christian University is excited to offer several options to connect with prospective students of our Undergraduate Campus Program over the summer and help them experience OCU: Option 1: Individual Campus Visits Ohio Christian University is now open for prospective students to visit campus. The university has social distancing procedures in place to help everyone on campus stay safe. 
Ohio Christian University is excited to offer several options to connect with prospective students of our Undergraduate Campus Program over the summer and help them experience OCU: Option 1:
Lauren Ray Highlight

Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Ray

Lauren Ray Highlight

Published: April 26, 2020

CIRCLEVILLE, OH – A familiar face is once again killing it for Ohio Christian University, only this time her impact is being seen off the court. Lauren Ray, a 2018 Emergency and Disaster Management graduate of OCU, currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life – Housing and Discipline, a role she took over earlier this year. Lady Trailblazer Volleyball fans will remember Lauren as a key member of the program, playing for the team for three seasons (2015-17). Originally from Canal Winchester, OH, Lauren transferred into OCU following her freshman year at Ohio University,
CIRCLEVILLE, OH – A familiar face is once again killing it for Ohio Christian University, only this time her impact is being seen off the court. Lauren Ray, a 2018 Emergency and Disaster Management graduate of OCU, currently serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life – Housing and Discipline, a role she took over earlier this year. Lady Trailblazer Volleyball fans will remember Lauren
CIRCLEVILLE, OH – A familiar face is once again killing it for Ohio Christian University, only this time her impact is being seen off the court. Lauren Ray, a 2018 Emergency and Disaster Management
Tree of Life Assists Displaced Students image

Tree of Life Assists Displaced Students

Tree of Life Assists Displaced Students image

Published: March 19, 2020

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to surge, Ohio Christian University has transitioned to all online courses through the end of the semester. In the midst of these trying times, many businesses have found ways to support those impacted by the repercussions of the measures taken to slow down the spread of the virus.  During this disruptive time for the university, Tree of Life worked hard to contribute in a way that ensures that students have access to the materials they need to succeed in their courses. This is especially important with the transition to online learning. The company
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to surge, Ohio Christian University has transitioned to all online courses through the end of the semester. In the midst of these trying times, many businesses have found ways to support those impacted by the repercussions of the measures taken to slow down the spread of the virus.  During this disruptive time for the university, Tree of Life worked hard to
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to surge, Ohio Christian University has transitioned to all online courses through the end of the semester. In the midst of these trying times, many businesses
Online Emergency & Disaster Management Program Ranked #2 in the Country image

Online Emergency & Disaster Management Program Ranked #2 in the Country

Online Emergency & Disaster Management Program Ranked #2 in the Country image

Published: March 18, 2020

Ohio Christian University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Emergency
Ohio Christian University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Emergency
Ohio Christian University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Emergency

Archived Articles of Interest

New Year Brings Opportunity and Challenge image

New Year Brings Opportunity and Challenge

New Year Brings Opportunity and Challenge image

Published: January 2, 2019

2019 brings opportunities to attain your educational goals. We would love to help you with your fresh start. In education, sports, work, and personal relationships, for Christians, the difference is understanding the key to maturing spiritual development as expressed in Christ’s parable in the Gospel of Luke 5:36-38 (NIV): “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the
2019 brings opportunities to attain your educational goals. We would love to help you with your fresh start. In education, sports, work, and personal relationships, for Christians, the difference is understanding the key to maturing spiritual development as expressed in Christ’s parable in the Gospel of Luke 5:36-38 (NIV): “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one.
2019 brings opportunities to attain your educational goals. We would love to help you with your fresh start. In education, sports, work, and personal relationships, for Christians, the difference
Behind the Scenes: Inside Festival of Carols image

Behind the Scenes: Inside Festival of Carols

Behind the Scenes: Inside Festival of Carols image

Published: December 3, 2018

By Amber Ginter ‘19 Behind the scenes, behind the curtains of this year’s Festival of Carols, the perspective is different for the eyes of this observer, who happens to be part of the creative moment team.  The choirs warm their vocal cords until their voices float in glorious harmonies across the auditorium. The actors labor in hectic preparation to perform with excellence and seeming effortlessness. Learning choreography with live choirs singing was a challenge that Movements from the Heart (MFTH), the creative movement team, met in the practice time afforded before the first
By Amber Ginter ‘19 Behind the scenes, behind the curtains of this year’s Festival of Carols, the perspective is different for the eyes of this observer, who happens to be part of the creative moment team.  The choirs warm their vocal cords until their voices float in glorious harmonies across the auditorium. The actors labor in hectic preparation to perform with excellence and seeming
By Amber Ginter ‘19 Behind the scenes, behind the curtains of this year’s Festival of Carols, the perspective is different for the eyes of this observer, who happens to be part of the creative
Chapel Speaker Touts Value of Liberal Arts Education image

Chapel Speaker Touts Value of Liberal Arts Education

Chapel Speaker Touts Value of Liberal Arts Education image

Published: November 19, 2018

By Cynthia Tweedell, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Rick Bartlett, Director of Theological Education at Tabor College spoke at Ohio Christian University’s Chapel Service on Wednesday, October 31. He encouraged students to value their liberal arts education as the best way to prepare for the future. Dr. Bartlett reminded students of the speed with which technology has changed in their lifetimes. They can recall YouTube videos that were so influential a few years ago but have run their course. Likewise, many jobs like telemarketer, paralegal, and
By Cynthia Tweedell, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Rick Bartlett, Director of Theological Education at Tabor College spoke at Ohio Christian University’s Chapel Service on Wednesday, October 31. He encouraged students to value their liberal arts education as the best way to prepare for the future. Dr. Bartlett reminded students of the speed with which
By Cynthia Tweedell, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Rick Bartlett, Director of Theological Education at Tabor College spoke at Ohio Christian University’s
Faculty Profile:  Dr. Darren M. Johnson image

Faculty Profile: Dr. Darren M. Johnson

Faculty Profile:  Dr. Darren M. Johnson image

Published: November 16, 2018

Dr. Darren M. Johnson joined Ohio Christian University’s Psychology Department as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Chemical Dependency Counseling.  He is currently teaching Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling, Diversity Issues in Counseling, Principles of Counseling, and Physiological Psychology. In 2017, ProQuest published Johnson’s “The Experience of Being an Atheist in the United States,” a report on his study of interviews with twelve atheists. He has presented on Coping with Stress in the Workplace, Good Grief: How Grieving Properly Can Be
Dr. Darren M. Johnson joined Ohio Christian University’s Psychology Department as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Chemical Dependency Counseling.  He is currently teaching Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling, Diversity Issues in Counseling, Principles of Counseling, and Physiological Psychology. In 2017, ProQuest published Johnson’s “The Experience of
Dr. Darren M. Johnson joined Ohio Christian University’s Psychology Department as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Chemical Dependency Counseling.  He is currently teaching Abnormal
OCU Develops Future Teacher's Skills in Educating 'Whole Child' image

OCU Develops Future Teacher's Skills in Educating 'Whole Child'

OCU Develops Future Teacher's Skills in Educating 'Whole Child' image

Published: November 16, 2018

By Steven Collins, Senior Reporter, Circleville Herald Photo by Nancy Radcliff, Chief Photographer, Circleville Herald Circleville Herald, November 15, 2018 The Ohio Christian University’s Teacher Education program is guiding the next generation of teachers into modern day teaching. Valarie Jones, chair of the education department, said they’re teaching their education students about trauma-informed educating, a way to teach students who have been affected by trauma to their maximum potential. “Everything we do has the idea to love the kids first and then everything else comes after
By Steven Collins, Senior Reporter, Circleville Herald Photo by Nancy Radcliff, Chief Photographer, Circleville Herald Circleville Herald, November 15, 2018 The Ohio Christian University’s Teacher Education program is guiding the next generation of teachers into modern day teaching. Valarie Jones, chair of the education department, said they’re teaching their education students about trauma
By Steven Collins, Senior Reporter, Circleville Herald Photo by Nancy Radcliff, Chief Photographer, Circleville Herald Circleville Herald, November 15, 2018 The Ohio Christian University’s Teacher