Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Classroom project emphasizes practical aspects of sustainability for future educators

Early childhood education students at Ohio University-Chillicothe are learning the value of the modern three R’s of education – reduce, reuse and recycle – in a manner that enhances their classroom teaching skills and will introduce sustainability skills in elementary school learners they will eventually teach. For a recent project in the Integrated Curriculum class, faculty member Barbara Trube had her students construct miniature cities, towns and farming villages out of material that was otherwise targeted for disposal. More than construct a village, the students also worked in teams to determine each town’s background such as history, development, industry, financial health and major communication outlets. This was a project with very applicable purposes. “This is a tale of finding and using ‘trash to treasure’ items that will make these OU-C students better prepared for today’s classroom. When these students are professional educators, they will learn that resources are tight. In the future, they will need to use all of the resource they have. This project helped them to identify everyday objects that can become learning tools. For example, bottle caps can be used for counting exercises,” said Trube, associate professor of early childhood education. “This assignment was really insightful. When we have our own classrooms we will be able to develop similar activities with our students. Because we did this assignment hands-on in class, we now have that experience and can take that knowledge into our own classrooms,” said Abby Roe, an early education major from Greenfield McClain High School who is a student in the class. “I thought it was a fun way to be creative with using just a box and normal art supplies. I live in a farm community, so I decided to construct a farm,” said Samantha Soales, an early childhood education major from Greenfield McClain High School. “It allows us to be creative and to learn different craft ideas to use in the classroom. Plus, it involves recycling, so it helps the environment,” “I want them to think creatively and to recognize the available resources that are inexpensive or free,” Trube said. Through this undertaking, the students were to incorporate lessons that could be applied across the curriculum in several different academic disciplines. For example, measuring distance and gauging shapes involves math skills, learning street names involves language arts, discussing the water cycle and energy sources includes science aptitude, and determining government roles incorporates social studies lessons. “This activity can be used in many different lesson plans, from an English activity where the children make up a story about their box town to a science lesson about different seasons and when farmers plant and harvest. It could also lead to diversity discussions because so many communities have so many unique citizens or even a math lesson about how many libraries we have or how many houses are in the town,” Soales said. “There are so many lesson plans in various academic areas that can be developed from one activity such as this,” Roe said. “This was a great teamwork activity. We all had to contribute,” said Sarah Bennett, an early childhood education major from Chillicothe High School. The task of developing a city became an analogy for her future career as a teacher. “I feel that, as teachers, we will be the ‘city planners’ and the school would be like the city. It is our responsibility as teachers to place our buildings (the students) on the proper streets (paths to students’ goals) to plan an efficient city (classroom),” Bennett said. “We used materials that otherwise would be thrown away. We were able to turn others’ trash into our treasures” said student Kyle Frankel, a Zane Trace High School graduate from Kingston. “It was a great project that allowed for the learning of several subjects in one activity. Plus, it’s a hands-on activity, and I have learned that children learn better with this type of project than just reading material in a book.” They also learned that sustainability is good for the environment and for the classroom. “They found that combining the aspects of ‘green’ and education creates a situation where they two pursuits build on each other,” Trube said. “This makes you think about what items are available to use in the classroom. If you already have it, you had might as well use it,” Roe said. “In the class, we brainstorm about what everyday items would be good teaching tools, and the students learn from each other. Since this is an integrated curriculum class, we had to think about how to use the project to teach English, language arts, math, science and social studies.” Some of the miniature cities included Roundtown, to reflect Circleville; First Capital, which included many aspects of Chillicothe; and University Ridge, which had an agricultural base. “The main point was to re-use the objects you have in your house that otherwise will probably be thrown away. As future teachers, we can hopefully help get children to think about going green and building lifelong sustainability habits,” Roe said. “I know I will use this type of project in my classroom. By just making a box town, whether it is just one building or a town, it helps the environment,” Soales said.

Students respond on how they describe the Chillicothe Campus to their friends

This story is part of a series to gauge the perspective and insights of campus members on topics of particular relevance at OU-C. This week’s topic concerns how they describe OU-C to their friends. “There is good one-on-one interaction with teachers. It is convenient. The classes are pretty close together and there is a small campus,” said Billy Fullen, a physical therapy major from Westfall High School, who offered some additional food for thought. “I am getting a good education. The teachers will work with you. Plus, the food is not bad, either.” He expressed a particular fondness for the pulled pork sandwiches at the Hilltop CafĂ©. “It is easy to get in and out and it’s close to home. I can get everything I need here. All of the classes in my major are offered on this campus,” said Kaleb Bledsoe, a nursing student from Vinton County High School. “I like the fact that the diploma says ‘Ohio University.’ A lot of my friends went to larger campuses and had a difficult transition. Attending OU-C was an easy transition from high school. I had no problem fitting in or getting used to classes,” said Bethany Tolbert, a nursing student from Greenfield McClain High School. “It is a great place for people who are getting a degree at a later age,” said Jody Wilson, a human services technology major from East High School in Columbus. “There are great teachers and excellent tutoring services. There are friendly students and a great atmosphere on campus.” “I like the smaller campus. There are not as many people,” said Kara Phillips, a nursing student from Oak Hill High School. “With the small-campus feeling and being part of Ohio University, I get the best of both worlds. And, after spending the day on campus, I can go home at night.” “I like it here. It is a smaller school with small classes and it is easy to get help from teachers,” said Ryan Broughton, a Paint Valley High School graduate who is undecided on his academic major. “The construction is frustrating, but the facilities are updated and pretty modern.” “If you want to stay close to home, this is perfect for you,” said Michael Cooper, a psychology/pre-physical therapy major from Waverly High School. “There are a lot of resources, and the teachers have time to work with you. Often, they will share their phone number and e-mail so you can contact them after class if you have a question. Also, it is inexpensive, which is important for many students.” “It is very laid-back and close to home. You can save money by living at home. There are smaller classes so the teachers know you. Many call me by my first name,” said Riley Evans of Waverly, who has yet to declare an academic major. “I drive from Grove City, and I like it here. I like the instruction and that there is time for face-to-face interaction with the faculty. There are more non-traditional students and I was able to establish a rapport with many students,” said Kelly Notter, a nursing student from Gallia Academy. “I decided to attend OU-C because it is close to home and a small campus so I can get to know people better. I have a lot of friends from high school here, so I already knew a lot of people,” said Rochelle Wolford, a nursing student from Paint Valley High School. As always, we welcome further comments. Feel free to keep this dialogue going and add thoughts by commenting on this blog entry.

OU-C to host conference on Appalachia and education

The 16th annual Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE) Conference will be held on the Chillicothe Campus on Oct. 16. According to the organization, the goal of the annual fall conference is to bring together college access practitioners, state and national educational leaders, community partners and students to begin dialogue on the need for more Appalachian students to have the opportunity for college access. The focus is on pre-school through bachelor’s degree programs. The conference theme is “Educate Locally – Think Globally” with an emphasis on the organization’s commitment to provide Appalachian students of all ages with the education and support they need to expand their opportunities. “The OACHE’s goals of expanding access to education and the opportunities it presents aligns with OU-C’s core values of utilizing higher education to make a positive impact on the quality of life for residents of this special region,” OU-C Dean Richard Bebee said. “We look forward to hosting this conference and continuing as engaged partners in this worthy enterprise.”

Workshop explores teaching foreign language through song

Ohio University-Chillicothe will host the Fall Foreign Language Regional Workshop on Oct. 22. OU-C faculty member Sandra Christman and Ann Salomone are instructors and musical artist Jose’e Vachon will deliver the keynote presentation, “Teaching Foreign Languages through Song.” The cost for this workshop is $150 for one graduate credit hour. For more information on registration and fees, contact the OU-C Continuing Education Department at (740) 774-7226. Vachon, who sings in French English and Spanish, will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. that day in the Bennett Hall auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. She will also perform a concert at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23, for area high school students. The cost is $3 per student. Contact the OU-C Continuing Education Department at for details. Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, Vachon has been sharing her Franco-American upbringing for more than 25 years through traditional and contemporary folk songs as well as through her own compositions.

Faculty member’s works cited in bibliography

OU-C faculty member John Reiger shares that, in addition to being cited in the credits of the first two episodes of Ken Burns' new television documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Reiger has had his two books, The Passing of the Great West and American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation, listed in the short “Selected Bibliography” of the “companion volume” that only includes “the principal sources used in this book and film series.”

Prospective students consider options at College Night

Approximately 300 area high school students and parents explored the offerings of more than 50 colleges and universities during the annual College Night event at OU-C’s Shoemaker Center on Oct. 8. The activity offered an opportunity to visit with a number of admissions representatives in a convenient, efficient fashion and underscores OU-C’s commitment to serving as a gateway to higher education for regional residents.
The local Kiwanis Club chapter and OU-C sponsored the event. The Chillicothe Gazette story is available online at

Upcoming Campus Events

• Administrative Council at 9 a.m. on Oct. 15 in Bennett Hall room 105 • Relay for Life registration at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Bennett Hall room 274 • Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE) annual conference on campus from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Oct 16 • Rock for Tots concert featuring Pure Prairie League on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 in Shoemaker Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. • Ohio University Human Resources meeting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 20 in Bennett Hall room 134 • Campus meeting with Executive Dean for Regional Campuses Dan Evans at 1 p.m. on Oct 21 in Bennett Hall art gallery • Fall Foreign Language Regional Workshop on campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 22 • Josee Vachon in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 in Bennett Hall auditorium • Academic Council at noon on Oct. 27 in Bennett Hall room 105 • OU-C Day on Nov. 12. Will include scholarship/donor breakfast, Parkway Project ribbon-cutting and other activities. Details to be announced • Alan Gough art show through Nov. 30 in Bennett Hall Patricia Scott Memorial Gallery