Students take over classroom for 'Model Teaching Week'

Courtney Blackwell knows a bit more about fingerprints than most students due to enter the fourth grade in the fall.

She and a group of 22 students from second, third and fourth grades at Hualapai Elementary School got some hands-on experience in fingerprinting last week.

"I like doing the thumb," Courtney said.

"You must roll it toward the stomach, whereas the other fingers roll outward (when being fingerprinted).

"The thumb is more vulnerable (to injury) and I don't want anyone's thumb to twist."

The students joined a group of Kingman Unified School District teachers and some pre-service teachers, who are completing their studies at Northern Arizona University before becoming student teachers, for "Model Teaching Week."

Model Teaching Week took place Tuesday through Friday at the school.

It marked the culmination of an 18-month $40,000 federal grant for "Life Skills" instruction that was administered by associates Kari Kling and Patty Harrington from Susan Kovalik & Associates of Covington, Wash.

Harrington instructed the children as other teachers watched her apply principles of Integrated Thematic Instruction (ITI).

Kling was a teacher of the teachers during the week.

Students made a trip to the Kingman Police Department on Wednesday to learn how to fingerprint.

They took one another's prints as part of the exercise, and then compared the seven different types.

"We used math and found out how to divide the different prints of the thumb," Courtney said.

"We classified 11 of them as whorls, 8 as loops, 1 as an arch, and were unsure about three others."

She has a loop fingerprint, Courtney said.

Harrington said she does model teaching across the country and the Hualapai students were well prepared for the interactive learning, cooperation and active listening in her instruction sessions with them.

"This is being there and is a great experience for the teachers," Harrington said.

"Intelligence is a functional experience and this allows them to see and discuss what was taught this week so they gained an experience of seeing the kids interact."

Kling said ITI looks at how body and brain compatible learning takes place.

"I gave the teachers research information and they came in to see the application of the concepts they'd learned," Kling said.

The interactive session concluded Friday with teachers asking students questions that included: What did you learn this week? What about this week was like regular school and what about it was different? What did you think about being with kids from other grades? And if you were a teacher what would you do for your students?

Jill Fuss, Hualapai principal, said the school's parent volunteer organization will provide funding to send staff members to an ITI session called "The Best of the Best" in Phoenix next March as a means to continue what was gained during the time of the grant.

Additional grant money for teacher training also will be sought out, Fuss said.

"Most teachers spend their time in their own classrooms and seldom get to go to other classes and become mentors," Fuss said.

"Watching a master teacher like Patty this week is an experience most teachers do not get."