The Edge

Engaging Student Creativity

May 04, 2023 Season 2 Episode 1
Engaging Student Creativity
The Edge
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The Edge
Engaging Student Creativity
May 04, 2023 Season 2 Episode 1

In this episode, we talk with ISTE Community Leader Julie Jaeger and her guest, Michael Hernandez, about how to engage student creativity in the classroom. Michael shares a bit about his upcoming ISTE Books release, as well as some practical ideas to get students creating content instead of just consuming it.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk with ISTE Community Leader Julie Jaeger and her guest, Michael Hernandez, about how to engage student creativity in the classroom. Michael shares a bit about his upcoming ISTE Books release, as well as some practical ideas to get students creating content instead of just consuming it.

Jessica Pack: [00:00:00] Julie, you've brought an incredible guest to the table this week for us to connect with. Would you like to introduce him to our listeners? Oh, I'd 

Julie Jaeger: love to. Michael Hernandez from California is with us today. I've had the privilege of listening and working with Michael for several years, times, whatever my most important memories are probably.

Julie Jaeger: two times. I, I visited with him and I walked into his session and just in awe because, listening to him talk about how he had elevated that creativity and thoughtful, work with his students. I just knew when we were talking about this is a topic, you know, igniting that. He'd be the guy we'd wanna bring on.

Julie Jaeger: So I'm thrilled to have him with us. And, he's gonna have tons to share with you. So I, I think from there on it's just going to be great. Well, 

Georgia Terlaje: welcome to the Edge, Michael. We're so glad to have you. We, can you give us [00:01:00] the Netflix pitch of your 

Michael Hernandez: story? Yeah. Thank you guys so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Michael Hernandez: And Julia, I hope I can live up to your introduction. . . Yeah. The, gosh, the Netflix pitch, is that the one with the commercials or without the commercials? 

Georgia Terlaje: Without 

Michael Hernandez: the commercials. We played Freeman. Yes. Okay. Oh my gosh. Well, I moved to Los Angeles to go to film school, a while ago, and, , I love making movies and telling stories and I was finishing up grad school.

Michael Hernandez: and I realized that I would be starting off at the bottom of the ladder and being a production assistant and have all this student loan debt, and I'm like, maybe I should have thought this through a little better. , and right about that time, , a friend of mine was student teaching at a, at a high school that was starting a film and journalism program, and she said, you should check it out and see what it's all about.

Michael Hernandez: So I did and I applied and they hired me. And so that was my five year plan to. You know, get my, you know, I enjoyed teaching as a, as a teaching assistant, , in college. And I'm like, okay, I can work on my own project cause teachers have all [00:02:00] this extra spare time on their hands. And, , kind of fell in love with teaching.

Michael Hernandez: And so I'm in year 24 of the five year plan. So that's sort of, , the abbreviated version. And then, you know, just, , was trying to do things that I thought were important with my students and fun for me, and also had purpose and connection to the real world. And people started noticing what was going on, and then I started collaborating with other educators and then connected with organizations like Apple and Adobe and then PBS and Google.

Michael Hernandez: And so I've been lucky enough to work. Folks, , connected to them and, , it's been a great journey. And so working with Isti and presenting it at Estie, and now I'm working on a book for isti is being you published by Isti next year about digital storytelling in the classroom. , it's sort of bringing everything full circle and sort of, I don't know, I guess it's sort of a professional biography, I guess, putting it all in the book.

Michael Hernandez: So I'm really excited to bring all that. 

Georgia Terlaje: That's great. Because we [00:03:00] at the edge, like to start with the big questions first. , in your opinion, what's the state of creativity in today's classroom? Like, where are we? 

Michael Hernandez: Yeah, that's a great question and I, and I wanna maybe define creativity for myself, for everybody.

Michael Hernandez: First. I think creativity is more than just art. And, you know, painting and digital tools, which are fun and important. But I, I see creativity also as like a mindset. So, you know, we talk about these big real world problems that need to be solved, that, that don't have an answer at the back of the textbook.

Michael Hernandez: You know, like, what's the right way to solve climate change or racism or, you know, all these other issues that we're facing. And so I think creativity is, even more important to teach as a mindset of, you know, intellectual agility about open-mindedness, about being able to give and receive feedback. And empathy I think is a big piece of that, like listening and observing the world and then creating something after you've done that.

Michael Hernandez: I think for me, that's how I would define creativity. And so the state of it, , [00:04:00] varying states, I think depending on where you. And what kind of support you have from your administration and your school board and funding. So, , but I think there's things that we can do every day that, that are creative.

Michael Hernandez: So, , you know, I, I feel it's really important and I think that now that we have tools that are really powerful, that are consumer grade tools, that are just as powerful as professional tools, there's absolutely no excuse to not do some kind of creativity, at least digitally. And, , I don't know. I, I feel like it's just more important than.

Jessica Pack: Okay. Sorry. You're gonna have to edit that. Long pause out. I was like digesting and then I was like, oh, shoot, now it's my turn. Not 

Michael Hernandez: here. . And go . 

Jessica Pack: How do creativity and storytelling work together and how can that pairing kind of play out in the classroom? 

Michael Hernandez: Yeah, that's a good question cuz I, I think the challenge that a lot of folks kind of self, I don't know, we, we segregate ourselves into silos or [00:05:00] we say, well that's not my thing.

Michael Hernandez: Cause I'm not an art teacher, so I'm not gonna teach creativity. I'm here to teach math or I'm teaching writing and my kids are behind grade level and I don't have time for these kinds of things. Right? So very. Real problems and challenges that we face in the classroom, but this idea of storytelling and creativity, I think is they're interconnected.

Michael Hernandez: And so the idea behind my book actually is that we use storytelling as the framework for learning. So the learning doesn't seem like a separate detached thing that we have to like learn, from reality or from our lives. It's actually very much interconnected. And so we set up storytelling as sort of like a.

Michael Hernandez: Like an end product that you'll create and the kids are so excited. , you know, making a podcast or a small video or even a data visualization, like a chart or a graph from data you get from a math or a science class is a form of storytelling. And so we're so excited about that, that they kind of pick up and figure out, okay, well I gotta learn this part.

Michael Hernandez: And I, I guess I have to figure [00:06:00] out that skill, and I guess I need to understand this concept in order to reach my goal of creating the story. And so the learning becomes invisible. Like they don't realize that they're learning because they're having so much fun. And so I feel like storytelling and creativity kind of go hand in hand.

Michael Hernandez: And you know, there's sections of my book. One of the things that I like a lot is this idea that when you tell a story, it's actually a series of questions and answers. . And so that's basically the inquiry process, right? So you get introduced to a, a, a status quo of a character. Like here's their life now.

Michael Hernandez: Like, you know, once upon a time there was a character who X, right? And then something happens and then you start answering a series of questions. Well, will they achieve that goal? Will the villain win? Can they solve this problem? Will they escape? Will they, you know, and so we keep asking these questions and stories, but that's also like the scientific method.

Michael Hernandez: right? So, you know, you have a hypothesis, you know, why is this, why is the sky blue? Let's figure that out, , , you know, and so you keep [00:07:00] asking a series of questions. And so I feel like creativity and storytelling kind of go hand in hand. And there's different kinds of stories too. I also feel like, and this is the challenge that I face with the title of the book and the concept of calling it storytelling, because I feel.

Michael Hernandez: People assume storytelling is, , like a children's picture book and they dismiss it as sort of like a frivolous thing that's not academically rigorous. Or, you know, why would a high school student do storytelling? Or why would a, you know, somebody in, in seventh grade do storytelling? But we tell stories all the time.

Michael Hernandez: I mean, look around us, right? So, you know, politicians tell stories. They make up a story about who they are and what they're trying to to sell you. Advertisers in marketing are telling stories to get us to buy things. You know, journalists tell stories. Scientists have to explain their science and their findings to people.

Michael Hernandez: in ways that they understand. Otherwise, as we found out during the pandemic, you know, we could lead to some serious, literally life and death consequences if they don't know how to tell a story correctly. You know, you're starting a business as an entrepreneur. You have to pitch your idea like, [00:08:00] why should I invest thousands or millions of dollars in your business?

Michael Hernandez: And in you? Tell me the story about why. So storytelling is core and fundamental to being a human, and it's core and fundamental to living in society and. , you know, , and we ask students to tell stories all the time in our classrooms, right? So whether that's an essay or even a test, you know, , class presentations clearly are type of story.

Michael Hernandez: So we kind of do it already. It's just, I guess maybe for me, in, in the book, what I want to explore, this is the many ways that everybody can tell stories that make sense for them to. You know, tap into, you know, a student knowledge and understanding, have students demonstrate their knowledge and their understanding through the stories and to give purpose to their learning.

Michael Hernandez: You know, cuz we don't want, we don't need any more of those like, you know, trash can assignments where you give somebody an assignment and they just end up in, in the recycle bed. In the round file. Yeah, exactly. The round file , nobody, not even the teachers care about it. It's boring. Right. And. [00:09:00] When we can tell stories, we can publish them and other people can see them.

Michael Hernandez: And you can move people, you can change people's positions or make them see the world from your perspective now. And that has real meaning and value. not just to the students, but to our society. And so, I, I just feel like there's, there's so many ways that storytelling is, is important and we can use it productively in the classroom to be sort of, we can hang our, our skills and our curriculum on these things.

Michael Hernandez: And it just provides purpose and the creativity just kind of woven throughout, whether it's the structure that you decide upon or brainstorming the ideas of what stories should we tell, what questions should we ask? That alone is like a design thinking challenge, right? That's 

Georgia Terlaje: so great. I loved, I loved your, podcast.

Georgia Terlaje: I, I dunno, the first season where you interviewed your brother, who I think is an engineer, but just your guys' conversation about creativity and, you know, his input and how important it is in engineering, which you think, well dub, but I think a lot of times when you talk about siloed [00:10:00] classrooms, people don't realize how much creativity really is impactful out in the real world.

Georgia Terlaje: Absolutely. And learning that skill is so important. 

Michael Hernandez: Absolutely. Yeah. That, that was my favorite episode. And I had to start the se the season about creativity, innovation with an engineer. My brother's a 

Georgia Terlaje: which I thought was great cuz it was like, what? And then it like made perfect sense when I listened to it.

Michael Hernandez: Yeah. So if you haven't heard that episode, I interviewed my brother who was a professor at Cornell. And he's, he's the smart one in the family. He got all the, the good stuff. But, he gets these grants from the National Science Foundation does some really. Like research. And so it's like you're trying to solve a problem that hasn't been solved before.

Michael Hernandez: Like how do you know, first of all, which question to ask out of all the millions of questions you could ask? And then how do you like figure out solutions and develop? Things that haven't been created before. Whether it's a machine to squeeze, a bacteria so it excretes certain material, which is something that he's done

Michael Hernandez: And so, you know, we've had these [00:11:00] conversations, you know, at, you know, at at family dinners and, and things. And it's sort of like, you know, I've had this idea that like, scientists prove what poets already know. You know, you have to have the dream and the imagination to see that it's possible. And then, Work towards figuring out is this, is this true?

Michael Hernandez: Or how do we actually physically do it? And so I, I, I feel like again, there's creativity that's necessary in, in every field, so absolutely. Thanks for bringing that up. Yeah. . 

Georgia Terlaje: So, in thinking about this subject and thinking about what your talk with your brother and kids in creativity, something that we were thinking is, you know, cognitively, if young people spend a lot of time, consuming content, our students today prepare to exercise their imagination.

Georgia Terlaje: How does play affect creativity? 

Michael Hernandez: Yeah, it's interesting, this idea of consuming content. I mean, nobody would think twice to say You're reading too many books. Right. So, so, you know, I, I would say like what kind of [00:12:00] content are you consuming? And I think there's plenty of inspiration, plenty of con of great content that can inspire you.

Michael Hernandez: And that's, It's a difficult thing to, to, to teach my students is to get into that routine of putting yourself in the right place. Curating, you know, this feed of information that is so easily available now, to find the right content and the right content to inspire you. So I think that's a, a key piece.

Michael Hernandez: And then, , this idea of play that you're talking about. There's a colleague of mine that I'm working with in my writer's group who's much more of an expert than I am on play. , but if, if, for me, I guess if, if I might interpret that in, in my own sort of small way of this idea of experimentation, , if we think of play as like an unstructured place to, you know, not have demand.

Michael Hernandez: You know, thinking about the best ideas that come to you as you're just about ready to fall asleep, you know, when there's no pressure, and you're experimenting with things and there's nothing at stake. And so I think we put [00:13:00] so much at stake with kids like, okay, you've got five minutes to do this, or you've gotta, like, it's a timed writing, you've gotta get this done.

Michael Hernandez: Or it's a Socratic seminar and you've gotta like compete against the other kids to have the best idea and be the loudest person. Right? There's too much pressure. Not everybody thrives that way. Some people do. , but most people don't. And so this idea of play is like if, if we lower the stakes and if we don't have a predetermined outcome, like any test or essay that you give, right.

Michael Hernandez: Just see what happens. Yeah. And, and you know, that's one of the, the, the pieces of the book as well that I'm talking about is like, you know, this idea of student choice and how much flexibility we should give students to choose how they, , not only make a story. I'm gonna choose to make a video or a podcast, but I'm also like, which questions to ask.

Michael Hernandez: I think that's really important as well. So I, I think, you know, yeah, that's really important. And I think, again, this is about strengthening those muscles of intellectual agility, of resilience, , of research and [00:14:00] learning to ask the right questions and of whom. I think it's all inquiry based. You know, if you need to tell a story, if you need to make a project, you know, the STEM classrooms and STEM teachers know this very well, you know, , what's the best way to build this thing or to attach these materials together, like, you know, they can get into the, the granularity of that, but also the bigger concept of why am I doing this and how does this matter and I.

Michael Hernandez: If we have like a predetermined outcome for everything, I think that sends the wrong message to the kids. And I feel ab Absolutely. Yeah. And I just feel really strongly philosophically and politically about that because I feel like what kind of society do you want to have? What kind of citizens do we want to create?

Michael Hernandez: Do we want people who like, are inflexible and don't know how to make independent decisions, , who dunno where to find their own information that's credible. You know, or do we want people who can thrive in diversity and are comfortable with change? , you know, and I feel like storytelling in this concept of play, whether it's, you know, with storytelling or with STEM or, [00:15:00] or something else, , is, is necessary and critical and vital to developing good citizens.

Georgia Terlaje: Period. Well, it, Jessica and I were, kind of having those conversations where this question came up that, you know, and I'm sure Julie would agree, back in the dark ages when we were children on a rainy Saturday, we had a box and maybe a box of costumes, and we were good for the afternoon. I mean, we made up things all the time.

Georgia Terlaje: And I think that gave us a little different skillset. And I guess that's what I meant about just consuming content, passively because. You know, like I said, a box of costumes in an afternoon. And man, you know, a whole empire could be 

Michael Hernandez: created . Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And it's funny cuz I try to do that in a structured way, , as far as connecting to my curriculum.

Michael Hernandez: , sometimes I'll get to a point once the kids have some skills and some foundational experiences, to say, okay, I, I don't wanna give him a free fall, do whatever you want, but sort of have an open-ended sort of, , , for a story, like right now, my [00:16:00] students are working on, , a story, , with the prompt, , in the shadows.

Michael Hernandez: That's. Right. And so it's like, , where do I go with that? And so I, I feel like you have to have at least some direction. And I have like requirements for the assignment. This is the photography students, right? So they're gonna either create a digital book or a, or a, this is their final for the semester.

Michael Hernandez: So a, a digital book or a, or a website. But the photography and the story they tell with a variety of media, not just photography. should like relate to how you are going to personally interpret that theme. And so again, it activates that higher level thinking. Metaphor, that's a difficult concept to wrap your head around.

Michael Hernandez: Irony, that's a really hard one to wrap your head around. And how do I visualize something that is like intellectual and a word, right? How do you turn that into an image or a series of images? So it's a really deep thinking. It's hard thinking that's going on, but that flexibility, like you're talking about, to just make something from nothing, I think.[00:17:00] 

Michael Hernandez: We need to do better jobs of inviting students to do that. Like, you know, whe whether it's like parents having a structured every minute, you know, they've got less piano lessons and soccer practice and homework and tutoring and all this stuff, like every minute is structured. I feel like that's a, a bad choice and I, I understand why parents do it.

Michael Hernandez: I, I'm a dad too, so I get it, but it's like you have to have. Nothing time, and that's when the ideas start to happen. That's when the students are, the kids have to like come up with something to entertain themselves or make something that they feel passionate about or experiment or play and or maybe do nothing.

Michael Hernandez: because they do so much that they need some downtime to recharge. So just like we take breaks, you know, for work, maybe do teachers take breaks? I dunno, . But, , ideally little tiny breaks. Yeah. Yeah. And why that's so important and it's important for our kids too. . Michael, 

Julie Jaeger: I just wanted to, to kind of piggyback off of what you're saying, because it's so important that we recognize that it's, [00:18:00] our kids need that time to be creative.

Julie Jaeger: I mean, we can't just say, now we're going to be creative, but offering them opportunities and then recognizing that many of our students come to school, understanding that it's a very right answer driven environment. Mm-hmm. , which immediately. stifles creativity. And I think sometimes if we can throw 'em totally off balance and just say, okay, here you go, do, one of the things I've found too is our students often don't even know where to start.

Julie Jaeger: And so kind of in, in answer to what George is asking about, you know, are we, are we preparing them? So, I mean, if we can do anything, offer them those opportunities where there's really no structure, there's no expectation other than. Be, and if you don't wanna be, you can, like you said, just sit and observe or sit and be quiet.

Julie Jaeger: But we don't, we don't do that. And I think we're, or we don't do it often. I'm sure there are some classrooms that do, but they're few and far between and without [00:19:00] everything so scheduled for kids right now. You're absolutely right. They don't even know. how to start sometimes. So, and I'm speaking from an elementary point of view, and I, I know we've got all realms covered here with elementary through high school, so it's interesting, but it's, it's mi it's missing , terribly missing, 

Michael Hernandez: so yeah, a hundred percent.

Michael Hernandez: Yeah, I, I see that too. And the, the data that I've seen in research is like joy and engagement, , drops, you know, from elementary, once you get to high school, it really drops off. And so, you know, a again, it's, I, I see that all the time too, as like, Let students choose and they're like, well, well, what's the right answer?

Michael Hernandez: Well, what should I do? Right, and, and I get it because you want to either please a teacher or you're afraid of getting a bad grade, or when you're a little kid in elementary school, you're afraid of like, , you know, the adults like saying that you're wrong or that's the, the wrong thing to do. And so there's that sort of piece.

Michael Hernandez: And so, you know, that's, that's a really interesting question and there's a lot of smarter people than me that probably have that figured out. But,[00:20:00] I don't know. I, I, again, I feel like it's, it's the, the fundamental skills that we need to, to teach. We need to have a culture where it's okay, and, and I don't.

Michael Hernandez: I know there's that, that phrase out there like, you know, you know, sprint to fail or it's okay to fail. And I don't think people can afford that. I don't think everybody can afford to fail. So I think that's sort of coming from a place of privilege. , you know, but the idea, I get what they're saying though, which is, make it okay to have instead of fail more than one right answer.

Michael Hernandez: And I think that's where, because that's how the real world is. . And so if you start off small, which is maybe your next question, like how can we do this in our classrooms? Start off with something very small and easy. That's like low risk, not a lot of investment with time or resources and just go, okay, like I'm the teacher and I don't have the answer.

Michael Hernandez: I've never done this project before. Let's figure it out together. And then had that sort of trust in the students and that humbleness [00:21:00] to know that me as the old person, like the adult and the person who's giving you grades, doesn't have the. . And that says 

Georgia Terlaje: a lot too. And I think, I think teachers, you know, for some they have to be, vulnerable to do that because moving away from like sage on the stage to teachers, facilitator mm-hmm.

Georgia Terlaje: It gets a little messy and you have to, and I guess that's maybe what we're wondering is like, how can we help people take that, like dip their toe in the. 

Michael Hernandez: Yeah, absolutely. And a, a we're like, we're control freaks teachers in general, right? , . But also a lot of us have like a lot of like administrators breathing our down our necks, right about, you know, are you on the right page in the right chapter and are you covering all the content cuz the test is coming up.

Michael Hernandez: So there's a lot of pressures that are outside of our control, so we have to recognize that too. Yeah, you're right. I, I feel like, again, start with something very small and easy, like if you wanna do a storytelling project, story is like a photograph and so, One of my favorite, like starting projects is to do a selfie.

Michael Hernandez: And [00:22:00] then, you know, take a selfie and then let's all look at them, right? And you're like, well, you see how the kids are like creating, like they're posing and do they put their hands in the shot? And, and then you start talking about identity and how you're presenting yourself to others, you know, and you start thinking about what a story means.

Michael Hernandez: You know, so there's, there's really easy projects, very simple that only take a few minutes to start thinking about, like, everybody's right. There's no wrong answer to this project. And then, you know, you can go from there. But, , yeah, I mean, it, it's, it's a difficult thing to ask teachers to let go.

Michael Hernandez: And we don't have a lot of time and flexibility, for play, for experimentation, but don't feel like you have to make a documentary. That's a huge undertaking that's complex and takes a lot of different inter interdisciplinary skills to do. But a story can be what you're already doing right now. So instead of, for example, a class presentation where kids get up in front of the class, have them make an explainer video using keynote, right, just like a five slide present.

Michael Hernandez: right? And they could play [00:23:00] with design. They can choose whatever colors they want. You know, give them a prompt based on your curriculum. Like you have to explain a certain, you know, cons historical event, you know, or give an example of this scientific phenomenon. Five slides, boom, right? And they're already doing it.

Michael Hernandez: You already need it. So you're just kind of swapping one out for the other. And it's the same amount of time anyway. And you start to introduce storytelling projects like that. And then they start becoming comfortable. , the gear and the technique, and then you can move on to something more complex. 

Jessica Pack: I like what you're talking about with sort of reintroducing multiple opportunities for kids to tell stories and to have the chance to express themselves and their learning.

Jessica Pack: I feel like a lot of times teachers sort of relegate those creative tasks to the after testing portion of the year or the only on Fridays for 10 minutes before the last bell type of time. Yeah. And I think we need those repeated attempts at learning and repeated attempts to be. [00:24:00] Ready. Julie, I'm interested in what you would also recommend for some smallest steps that educators can take to infuse creativity.

Julie Jaeger: Well, I, I really think it's important, like Michael said, is to start small. And if I can quote Carolyn Tomlinson from our gifted world, that's her big thing. Start small. Just start. And I think if we keep telling teachers that it doesn't have to be difficult, and I always. With my elementary teachers, I love to reference Bell work because they always have a problem on the board or whatever.

Julie Jaeger: Why not throw Michael referred to an image? Why not throw an interesting image and either ask them, how does this make you feel? Or what might this represent? You're stimulating so many different parts of their brain without them even realizing it. Or maybe have a squiggle on their desk and tell them the rest of the pictures in your.

Julie Jaeger: turn the paper as many ways as you need to, and let's just be creative. We also use the term many varied, unusual, and one of a kind. We want [00:25:00] our kids not to copy what Joey next door or their best friend is doing. We wanna see what you have to do. You know, the storytelling part of it, of course, is always.

Julie Jaeger: You know, near and dear to my heart, but I think there's just so many other ways when we look at the word creativity. It's a thoughtful process. Michael has said it so well tonight, and I love hearing someone else repeating those same things that I've told others. It's, it takes some time. We also need to recognize that it has a, a huge purpose in our classroom.

Julie Jaeger: You know, the thoughtfulness, the creativity. The thinking process because the minute you start to do creativity, it shouldn't be considered. Like you said, the art is, is one aspect of it, but the higher level of blooms, when they're talking creativity, we're talking a synthesis process that brings everything together that we've either learned or known for a purposeful, intentional final.

Julie Jaeger: Statement, product, whatever. And it's so powerful and it's not that [00:26:00] hard to get started. I mean, a piece of paper, a paperclip and a straw on their desk in the morning when they walk in and just say, go for it. Let's see what you can do. And that just stimulates that thought process that they don't get a chance to do very often.

Julie Jaeger: Has nothing to do with science, social studies, you know, or anything else. It's just them. And that's what I. 

Georgia Terlaje: And, and I think the big bang for your buck too, is the engagement goes up. Yes. I mean, kids become passionate and they wanna do these things and they wanna come to school and they're excited for your class.

Georgia Terlaje: And that to me is, is huge. 

Michael Hernandez: Yeah. I love that, Julie. I think those are all really great ideas and, and I would, , beg to differ that that does have everything to do with science and math because , you have, you have a piece of the puzzle, like, I love the squiggle one. Like you leave a squiggle. Yeah. Then they have to finish the, the rest of the drawing and there's no wrong answer.

Michael Hernandez: And so it's sort of like, here's this piece of data you've collected or this observation that you've made, and now you've gotta put the puzzle together. Like what's the rest of this image and [00:27:00] where do we get that from? Yeah. I think that's, that's brilliant. And it. Fire and activate like the scientific method, right?

Michael Hernandez: And inquiry. 

Julie Jaeger: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . And my, my point was it's not, I don't have to memorize a bunch of science facts or be able to do a mathematical algorithm I can create, and yet you're right. I'm doing. , all of that in a nutshell. So, yeah. Yeah. 

Michael Hernandez: I think another really key piece to all this too is like, again, are the kids comfortable doing it, is like to hold up multiple examples, , and celebrate, , multiple ways that the students have come up with their creation for their story.

Michael Hernandez: And I like to. Particularly like highlight the ones that are trying something the most innovative and strange and unexpected. And then that will we go, oh, that's what he likes to see is like unexpected. So now I'm gonna try to do something unexpected, and that's exactly where we want 'em to go. So you kind of use your relationship with your kids to encourage them to try to try and experiment rather than like, well this is the good one, you know, , because look what [00:28:00] they did.

Michael Hernandez: I mean, we hold up multiple exemplars for different, for many different reasons. . Yeah. 

Jessica Pack: Well, with talking about relationships, I mean that really speaks to the culture in the room and, and kind of the tone that you set for your kids. So if creativity can be a part of that or a thread in that tapestry, it seems like that would be super beneficial to kids all around.

Jessica Pack: Julie, any final thoughts? 

Julie Jaeger: Oh, I guess, I would just encourage and invite educator. At all levels just to offer their students some think time, without that, creative thought can't happen without a little bit of time to think about it. And I, and we always, you know, I, I was working with a group of teachers just last week and, or with their students actually, and, and I just reminded them, I won't answer or ask on the first person whose hand is up.

Julie Jaeger: I want you to think for a few minutes because the minute someone's hand. , everyone else is thinking steps. And [00:29:00] then we've got this just same process all the time. So allow students time to think because that's when creativity 

Michael Hernandez: can occur. Yeah, and I piggyback on that too. That's absolutely great, Julie. Not everybody can think creatively at eight 30 in the morning or at two, two in the afternoon.

Michael Hernandez: And in fact, just today I was meeting with one of my best students and she's like, , do you mind if I finish this at home cuz it's too noisy? . Like the kids are like noisy, meaning like they're active and they're discussing things and she needs quiet, and I'm like, fine. And so flexibility and when and where students can complete the work, I think is also important.

Michael Hernandez: That seat time does not mean learning. Seat time does not equate with learning, right? So it's not prison, you're not doing time, right? So give students maybe some flexibility in when and where they can work on these projects too. 

Jessica Pack: This reminds me of something that one of the administrators at my site said recently, and that is that compliance is different than engagement.[00:30:00] 

Jessica Pack: Absolutely. So that sounds like what you're talking about, . A hundred 

Michael Hernandez: percent. Yep. 

Jessica Pack: Thank you so much, Julia, Michael, for joining us here on the Edge today. We sure have enjoyed our conversation with you and we are definitely looking forward to the release of your book. Michael, if listeners would like to connect with you, where can they find you?

Michael Hernandez: Oh my gosh, yeah, I'm on the socials, so Twitter and Instagram. I'm on Twitter at CI head and on Instagram at changing the narrative. And I also, from both of those sites, you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter as well. 

Jessica Pack: Perfect. And Julie, where could listeners find you as 

Julie Jaeger: well? Well, my website and my Twitter are j Jager consults.

Julie Jaeger: And, just always available if you have any questions. . Wonderful.