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A team of teachers at Tallmadge Middle School have adopted the concept of a Genius Hour, referring to it as "T3 or Tallmadge Think Tank," according to sixth-grade science and advanced math teacher Krista McCourtie.
Genius Hour is a concept based on a business practice used by Google with its employees, McCourtie says.
She explains that Google allows its developers to spend up to 20 percent of their work week pursuing projects of personal interest.
The rationale, McCourtie says, is that happy, inspired, engaged employees are more motivated, innovative, and productive. T3 time is a project-based learning activity that allows students to explore their own passions; it encourages creativity in the classroom and promotes inquiry, perseverance, problem solving, and innovation, among other lifelong skills, according to McCourtie.
Basically, students choose an area they would like to learn more about and every Thursday for nine weeks, they meet with a mentor teacher and other students for guided exploration; there is no grade attached to it. Initially offered during the first semester, T3 was so popular it is being continued in the second semester. "We decided to call it a 'Celebration of Learning,' McCourtie says, adding, " Simply put, it's an expression of the journey the kids took on their own and driven by their own learning." McCourtie is a member of the committee that helped plan and implement this at Tallmadge Middle School.