About Me


Born into a family of two loving parents, the oldest of three children, I grew up loving school. I can remember learning the basics in English and Spanish in Kindergarten, loving everything about school in First Grade, learning to tell time to the minute in Second Grade by watching the clock hand go all the way around on a big wall clock in the classroom, staying in from recess with two other students in Fourth Grade as we practiced for UIL Mental Math, falling out of my chair in Fifth Grade and students remembering it forever… and so much more.
Despite the ups and downs throughout middle school and high school, I have always had a passion for teaching. I didn’t let the mistakes of others hinder that part of my life. I knew what I was brought into this world for and my husband reminds me of that on a regular basis as he sees me interact with students and children.
I didn’t start my college education as  major in teaching. I had decided that I wanted to go into Christian Education at McMurry University. After a semester of taking classes that would lead me down that path, my advisor suggested that I change to a Religion major to be more well-rounded. I switched my major (all before I was even 18) and worked at learning more about different religions and all the while started feeling a tug at my heart. I wasn’t in the right place for my life. Over the summer, I switched my major to Interdisciplinary Studies (fancy name for Elementary Education) and then after another semester I made the decision to also switch schools.  I spent a semester taking some basics at a community college that I had been putting off and then started that following summer at Texas A&M University- Commerce (nope, NOT an Aggie!) where in December 2003 I earned my Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with my Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood through Fourth Grade.
In the Summer of 2004, I received my first job offer to teach in a 5th Grade classroom in the tiny district of Ferris. I was excited but also terrified. I wasn’t certified to teach 5th grade and I had no clue how to teach them. I made it through that year and was ecstatic to be offered a position in my home district of Garland where I would be teaching 5th Grade Math before moving down to 2nd grade the following year. I was able to move back to my hometown and taught in the same school for 4 years. During that time I decided to go ahead and get my 4th-8th Generalist and ESL Teaching Certificate to make myself highly qualified to teach the students I was working with.
During my last year there, I met my husband and completed my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University- Commerce (still not an Aggie). That year we also sold my house and I moved down to Austin, TX to pursue my doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Texas-Austin. Long story short, after living down there for 6 months away from my new husband (he was still working in Dallas) and not finding a full-time job, I packed up and moved back home. I was able to secure a job within a week of moving back and that has landed me in the tiny town of Crandall, Texas where I taught 7th and 8th Grade Math and Special Education Math for 3 years. In those years in Crandall I added my Math 4th-8th Grade and Special Education Early Childhood through 12th Grade Certificates as that now reflected what I was teaching and enjoying.
In late November of 2012, I went on medical leave to recover from surgery related to removing a 5mm Kidney Stone. During that time hubby and I decided that it was best for me to spend some time working on my health. I needed a supportive environment and something that would allow me to take time if needed to step away from the stress. I hated leaving my students as I truly loved each of them from the bottom of my heart. It wasn’t long before a new opportunity opened it’s doors to me through Texas Virtual Academy where I now am a Special Education Case Manager and 7th and 8th Grade Resource Math Teacher. My job brings about it’s own challenges being in a virtual setting but it is an amazing experience that I am sharing with anyone who will listen.
And now another door has opened for me as I am able to take some time away from my own classroom to travel and train teachers. I have always wanted to take time to be a trainer and when signs kept pointing that way it was time be submissive and listen to what I was being told to do. I am so happy that I now feel like I am not only helping my own students when I am holding a workshop but also the students of many

I hope that you enjoy your time here and feel free to jump on in with comments from time to time.


“With each passing minute comes the chance to dream, create and inspire.”


Jennifer Smith-Sloane

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8 Responses to About Me

  1. I loved reading your background! Knowing the path someone takes to get where they are in life gives you a deeper understanding about them. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Betsy says:

    I joined your book club blog (What’s the Math Problem) and found your summaries so accurate and having a high degree of clarity. I thought to myself, I wish I could work with someone like you. Of course, I began to wonder who you are. Your background led me to conclude that I am following the right book club, and we’re only on chapter 2. Thank you for imparting your wisdom.

  3. Octavia says:

    Your story is so inspirational. I am excited to learn more about different strategies to teach Math. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. Kelly X says:

    So happy to have found you blog! I’m put together a website focused on middle school teachers in Texas. I added you to my site. Stop by and let me know what you think. I would love to have you guest post, if you are interested! I’m will be teaching Special Education this year in San Antonio!

  5. Karen Wainright says:

    Your blog has been the most helpful so far on interactive notebooks. I started them last year, but didn’t have much guidance and so was making it up as I went. I really have enjoyed your detailed descriptions. I have lots of questions to ask, but don’t know how to contact you to ask them.

  6. Oona Melanson says:

    I am new to teaching fifth this year and I think your blog has been so helpful! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Candace says:

    Hi I follow you on Instagram and you always have great pictures! I just accepted a teaching position in a High School Life Skills classroom (graduated Dec 14, 2013). Its exciting to read about your experiences and I know your website and TPT will be a great resource! I’m going in to a classroom with absolutely no curriculum (the teachers that were there before me just let them watch TV o_O) so Im working with a blank canvas…exciting and scary at the same time…

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