Jen Hollis Smith, Beyond Traditional Math

When I started teaching 16 years ago, I was handed a math book in which all instruction was whole group.  Every student in the class received the same work to do, the same lesson and the same everything. I knew it wasn’t right, but it was what everyone else was doing…so I did it…my first few years. As I began to reflect and notice what was happening with my students I knew I had to do something different.

That was when I went on a mission to change and move beyond that traditional model of math in the elementary classroom. This blog will feature many of my projects, as well as how I’ve changed my practices throughout the years. You will often find me reflecting on how to make math more real world, with project based learning and rigorous problem solving included.


Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology and Human Development
Teaching License: Grades 1-8
Master’s Degree, Educational Technology
Math Center Participant (State run program): 2 years
AddVantage Math Recovery – Courses 1 & 2
Solution Tree Associate, Math and PLC at Work


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  1. I just discovered your blog and love your ideas and postings. I can’t wait to use the fish bowl strategy with my 5th graders next year.



  2. Just found you in a round about way, saw a comment from Math Coach’s Corner, so I decide to click and see. So glad I did what a great resource for a teacher who loves Math and wants to have students love math too.



  3. Hey Beyond Traditional Math,

    I can’t find your name on your “About Me” page and didn’t see it in your responses to people who left comments. I just want to write to say that your blog is great: clear, thoughtful, and pedagogically sound.

    If you like blogging and want to build a larger math teacher community, check out Pat Flynn’s podcast and website. I DO NOT get paid by him, but he has inspired me to start an ELL website. I stumbled upon your site as I was researching examples of teacher websites I like to consider for my own. You basically have his essentials such as providing free, valuable content to a specific audience. He would say to increase your email subscribers, provide a free give-away product but they have to join the email list to get the free resource. That’s one of many ideas you can use from Pat Flynn.



  4. Hi, I’m Saima from Pakistan and I really really like your blog. I’ve been on and off teaching and now a home schooling mom. I am planning on my own blog and am truly inspired by your ideas and teaching technique.

    Liked by 1 person


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