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

Student is coached as they study

OCU Improves Retention Through Persistence and Completion Academy

Student is coached as they study

Published: July 18, 2019

Ohio Christian University has participated in the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy for the past two years. This group of around 20 institutions collaborate on ideas to improve retention and graduation rates. Through this collaboration, Ohio Christian has worked on several initiatives for both the Adult
Ohio Christian University has participated in the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy for the past two years. This group of around 20 institutions collaborate on ideas to improve retention and graduation rates. Through this collaboration, Ohio Christian has worked on several initiatives for both the Adult
Ohio Christian University has participated in the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy for the past two years. This group of around 20 institutions collaborate on ideas
Incoming student Molly Taylor and her mother, Kitty Stone sit at an orientation meeting.

OCU Welcomes Students at Orientation Day 2019

Incoming student Molly Taylor and her mother, Kitty Stone sit at an orientation meeting.

Published: June 14, 2019

Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome 69 students to Orientation Day 2019 on June 14. Incoming students started the morning doing activities together where they had the opportunity to meet their fellow classmates. After the students settled down, OCU Provost, Dr. Bradford Sample and Dr. Valerie Jones, Teacher Education Department Chair, encouraged the new students to pursue academic excellence and to, above all, grow in Christ. Jones also gave a warm welcome to the students saying, “We here are family, and your faculty members here truly care about you the student and
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome 69 students to Orientation Day 2019 on June 14. Incoming students started the morning doing activities together where they had the opportunity to meet their fellow classmates. After the students settled down, OCU Provost, Dr. Bradford Sample and Dr. Valerie Jones, Teacher Education Department Chair, encouraged the new students to pursue
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome 69 students to Orientation Day 2019 on June 14. Incoming students started the morning doing activities together where they had the opportunity to
2019 Graduates Celebrate Commencement image

2019 Graduates Celebrate Commencement

2019 Graduates Celebrate Commencement image

Published: May 5, 2019

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Ohio Christian University held its 70th-year Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. There were 664 associate, bachelor, and master level graduates invited to the Ohio ceremony that earned their degrees. Kristen Muzzy was the 2019 Commencement Address speaker. Muzzy is the President and co-founder of the World Alliance for the Volunteer Economy or WAVE. As a survivor of human trafficking, Muzzy spoke about God’s love and the plan He had for her trials in bringing her closer to Him. In her early life, she felt like the
On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Ohio Christian University held its 70th-year Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. There were 664 associate, bachelor, and master level graduates invited to the Ohio ceremony that earned their degrees. Kristen Muzzy was the 2019 Commencement Address speaker. Muzzy is the President and co-founder of the World Alliance for the
On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Ohio Christian University held its 70th-year Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. There were 664 associate, bachelor, and master
On-Campus College or Online College: Which Fits You? image

On-Campus College or Online College: Which Fits You?

On-Campus College or Online College: Which Fits You? image

Published: April 26, 2019

by Dr. Lynn Lease, Director of OCUOnline Plus Long gone are the days of being limited to simply deciding which college to attend. Today’s incoming college freshmen have the choice of an on-campus program, an online program, or a combination of the two. But which option best fits you? In order to choose what fits you best, there are important considerations for each option. Location and Setting When you consider going away to college, it is important to not only consider the qualities of the school but also the location and the setting. How far away from home is optimal? Do you want
by Dr. Lynn Lease, Director of OCUOnline Plus Long gone are the days of being limited to simply deciding which college to attend. Today’s incoming college freshmen have the choice of an on-campus program, an online program, or a combination of the two. But which option best fits you? In order to choose what fits you best, there are important considerations for each option. Location and
by Dr. Lynn Lease, Director of OCUOnline Plus Long gone are the days of being limited to simply deciding which college to attend. Today’s incoming college freshmen have the choice of an on-campus
Community Action Day - It was a GREAT Day! image

Community Action Day - It was a GREAT Day!

Community Action Day - It was a GREAT Day! image

Published: April 18, 2019

April 11th proved to not just be a nice day to be outside, but a great day to serve the community of Circleville and surrounding areas. In its 20thyear, Community Action Day brought out over 400 students to serve residents and businesses who were in need. A tradition at Ohio Christian University, classes were canceled, and students were able to go into the public and implement the service attitude taught at OCU.  With help from Volunteer Economy and RPHF Solid Waste District, students were equipped to effectively serve and feel prepared to do so. Students served in various capacities
April 11th proved to not just be a nice day to be outside, but a great day to serve the community of Circleville and surrounding areas. In its 20thyear, Community Action Day brought out over 400 students to serve residents and businesses who were in need. A tradition at Ohio Christian University, classes were canceled, and students were able to go into the public and implement the service
April 11th proved to not just be a nice day to be outside, but a great day to serve the community of Circleville and surrounding areas. In its 20thyear, Community Action Day brought out over 400

Archived Articles of Interest

Prof. Angela Flowers dances with Isabella Misita, her student at Pioneer Center in Chillocothe

New K-12 Needs Intervention Specialist Degree Program Open for Enrollment

Prof. Angela Flowers dances with Isabella Misita, her student at Pioneer Center in Chillocothe

Published: July 17, 2018

The Ohio Department of Education recently recognized that OCU’s Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention Specialist (K-12) bachelor’s program meets the Chancellor’s requirements and State Board of Education standards for bachelor degree programs that prepare graduates for Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention Specialist (K-12) licensure.  Enrollment into the new program is now open.    Dr. Valerie Jones, Teacher Education Department chair explains, “We train teachers who have a Christ-like calling to educate all children, including those with special needs.  With the opioid and poverty crises
The Ohio Department of Education recently recognized that OCU’s Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention Specialist (K-12) bachelor’s program meets the Chancellor’s requirements and State Board of Education standards for bachelor degree programs that prepare graduates for Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention Specialist (K-12) licensure.  Enrollment into the new program is now open.    Dr. Valerie Jones
The Ohio Department of Education recently recognized that OCU’s Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention Specialist (K-12) bachelor’s program meets the Chancellor’s requirements and State Board of
Orientation Day Added Anticipating Enrollment Growth image

Orientation Day Added Anticipating Enrollment Growth

Orientation Day Added Anticipating Enrollment Growth image

Published: July 6, 2018

On Friday, June 29th, 2018 Ohio Christian University held its third Orientation Day for students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.  Fifty new students learned about the fellowship, education, and activities offered at the university.   Fully prepared to ensure incoming students succeed, faculty and staff showed their exceptional level of care and servant leadership in preparing them for the upcoming school year.  Joe Wuest, Assistant Vice President of Student Development, explained that “God created our uniqueness and individuality to impact the world for His Kingdom.” He shared
On Friday, June 29th, 2018 Ohio Christian University held its third Orientation Day for students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.  Fifty new students learned about the fellowship, education, and activities offered at the university.   Fully prepared to ensure incoming students succeed, faculty and staff showed their exceptional level of care and servant leadership in preparing them
On Friday, June 29th, 2018 Ohio Christian University held its third Orientation Day for students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.  Fifty new students learned about the fellowship, education
School of Business & Government Israel Tour Creates Lasting Impressions image

School of Business & Government Israel Tour Creates Lasting Impressions

School of Business & Government Israel Tour Creates Lasting Impressions image

Published: June 20, 2018

Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government traveled to Israel May 23 through June 3, 2018.    Thirteen students toured the Holy Land with Passages Israel, a program sponsored by Philos Project and the Museum of the Bible Foundation.  Passages specialize in providing Christian college students with leadership potential a fresh and innovative approach to experiencing the Holy Land. The OCU students encountered the historic landscape of their Christian faith and modern-day Israel.  Significant sites visited were Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Nazareth,
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government traveled to Israel May 23 through June 3, 2018.    Thirteen students toured the Holy Land with Passages Israel, a program sponsored by Philos Project and the Museum of the Bible Foundation.  Passages specialize in providing Christian college students with leadership potential a fresh and innovative approach to experiencing the
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government traveled to Israel May 23 through June 3, 2018.    Thirteen students toured the Holy Land with Passages Israel, a program sponsored by
Trauma Informed Care Training Hits Needs Head-On image

Trauma Informed Care Training Hits Needs Head-On

Trauma Informed Care Training Hits Needs Head-On image

Published: June 20, 2018

On June 4 and 5, Ohio Christian University hosted over 150 participants attending the Southern Ohio Trauma Informed Care Training. OCU undergraduate and graduate teacher education students as well as area educators, pastors, administrators, and social workers listened to informative sessions covering topics ranging from classroom teaching to social work case management.  They engaged in dynamic discussions, break-out activities and tasks that raised questions and prompted fresh thinking by even the most inquisitive participants. Hosted by social workers Amanda Knotts and Bryston
On June 4 and 5, Ohio Christian University hosted over 150 participants attending the Southern Ohio Trauma Informed Care Training. OCU undergraduate and graduate teacher education students as well as area educators, pastors, administrators, and social workers listened to informative sessions covering topics ranging from classroom teaching to social work case management.  They engaged in
On June 4 and 5, Ohio Christian University hosted over 150 participants attending the Southern Ohio Trauma Informed Care Training. OCU undergraduate and graduate teacher education students as well
ABLAZE - OCU Ministry on Tour

ABLAZE - 2018 Summer Tour!

ABLAZE - OCU Ministry on Tour

Published: June 12, 2018

Ohio Christian University's ABLAZE student ministry minstrel group will be performing in Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio on these dates at the following CCCU churches and summer camps, where OCU students are also serving as camp counselors: June 10:  Community Wesleyan Church, Athens, OH June 17:  Hartsville Church of Christ, Harstville, IN June 17:  Chillicothe Paints Baseball Game, Chillicothe, OH (singing the national anthem at 6:05 p.m.) June 19:  General CCCU Council, Circleville, OH June 20-23:  Teens of Praise Camp, Circleville, OH June 24-28:  Bible Camp, Maysville
Ohio Christian University's ABLAZE student ministry minstrel group will be performing in Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio on these dates at the following CCCU churches and summer camps, where OCU students are also serving as camp counselors: June 10:  Community Wesleyan Church, Athens, OH June 17:  Hartsville Church of Christ, Harstville, IN June 17:  Chillicothe Paints Baseball
Ohio Christian University's ABLAZE student ministry minstrel group will be performing in Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio on these dates at the following CCCU churches and summer camps,