A Little About Me:
I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and got my teaching degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. After completing my bachelor's degree my wife, Nola, and I moved to Richmond, British Columbia, Canada to teach. I taught in the Richmond School District (High Boyd High School) for five years and then left to do a Masters Degree at the University of Georgia. While in Georgia, I worked under Dr. Jim Wilson, who re-ignited my passon for teaching and technology. Under his tutiledge I gained both a greater understanding of mathematics, teaching and technology. He was the perfect advisor for me - He was involved in so many cool grants and projects!!
After completing my Masters Degree in a year and a half as a full-time student I took a job in Lethbridge, Alberta in the District office as the Mathematics Consultant over the District. I did that for a year realizing that I loved the classroom too much to be behind a desk. I returned to teaching but this time in Las Vegas at Durango High School.
In the summer of 1998, I got ambitious and began designing a website for my high school geometry classes. I put the usual things on the site (the syllabus, the course expectations, the basic instructor information, and a list of our upcoming assignments and tests) but I also wanted to provide my students with more resources. This desire prompted me to summarize the entire textbook so that they would have additional notes to reference while at home or during class if they had printed them out. The support resources continued: I linked to my textbook's online quizzes, I provided a few quicktime videos, and I also made a few java applets for interactive discoveries but the most popular item that was created was the PoW, the Problem of the Week. Each week students would be given an online weekly geometry challenge problem that would push their understanding and ability. The site was a great resource for my classroom. Over the year the resources of the site grew and so did its impact. I found many of my students finding greater success in geometry because of this support mechanism. The site was called e-zgeometry.com. This site still exists but now it holds less relevance because of the implementation of the common core and much of the material created there will be moved over to this site.
It was this huge success that led to a very special award that I received. In 2003, I was named by RadioShack, as one of their National Teachers of the Year. This was a great honor but even more rewarding was that this little site was making such a huge impact on classrooms and students.
In 2003 I moved to Advanced Technologies Academy - A school that was looking for teachers that wanted to use technology in teaching (that was me!!). In 2009 I was recognized by receiving two of the most prestigse awards for secondary teachers, I was named National Educator of the Year by the Milken Foundation and presented with a check for $25,000 and I was named a Presidential Awardee in Mathematics Teacher and presented with $10,000. As a part of the presidential award I was able to meet President Obama in person and shake his hand..... A moment of a life time. In 2010 I was also named Mathematics Department Chair at A-Tech. Life is great... I do what I love!!
The introduction of the Common Core Curriculum has had me very involved in its implementation in our district and state. I have been a part of the 'unwrapping' committee and the professional development implementation team. This has been good for me - I had to learn the material inside and out. It was this understanding of the new curriculum and my love of technology... and my desire to help other teachers and students succeed in the new curriculum that has spurn me to develop this new site. I hope you enjoy it.
See the surprise of me being awarded the Milken Award.
Senator Ensign, Nola Patterson, Me, & Senator Harry Reid
2009 Presidential Awardees in Mathematics (52) & Science (51) and President Obama
Technology - I have always personally loved technology in all of its forms and this has helped to drive my career. I have investigated the use of the internet and a website to aid classroom instruction. Thus the creation of e-zgeometry.com and now my new site, geometrycommoncore.com. I use a smartboard, elmo, classroom set of computers and much more to jazz up the experience and make it meaningful. In geometry we use Geometer's Sketchpad regularly to investigate ideas and concepts.
Games - A few years back I realized that growing up playing games developed my love for math and that games inherently have a powerful way of reinforcing and teaching. It was this realization and a desire to connect with more kids that I wrote grants to purchase games to help me teach. Five years later I now use games in all of my courses to teach concepts such as deductive reasoning, probability, 3-D spatial sense, parallel/skew lines, transformations and much much more through game use. This investigation has provided many new opportunities, for example, I have now spoken twice on this topic at the National Mathematics Conference for Teachers in the last two years, in Salt Lake City and then at Washington, D.C.
Alternate Assessment - The creation of a new course, Modern Mathematics Topics, has got my juices flowing again. This course looks at a variety of mathematical topics that are not typically covered in the standard curriculum. We cover topics such as number theory, game theory, non-euclidean geometry, ancient number systems, matrices, linear algebra and much much more. This class format has got me thinking very differently about the presentation of knowledge through alternate methods than just tests and quizzes. We have demonstrated knowledge through posters, powerpoint presentations, oral reports, videos, and much much more. It has really opened my eyes to alternate ways to assess student's ability.
Problem Solving - I believe strongly that problem solving is one of the most important skills that we teach in mathematics and yet most of the problems given are simple one or two steps problems that are mimicked by the teacher. I want to get away from this model. I want students to face problems without expectation or directed help. I want them to truly problem solving a unique situation. To help reinforce this we do a weekly Problem of the Weeks. These are opportunities to work on problems that are not directly centered on the material that we are covering that day or week but can be done wtih knowledge developed up to that point in their math career. The problems also are asked in such a way that many different types of solutions are available - this creates great discussion.
Sports - Generally I love all sports and play most of them. Currently most of my time is spent golfing. My two boys are learning golf and so we get out usually once a week to play a round. I'm not very good at the sport but I really enjoy the challenge of the game and the beautiful courses that we play on. Really I love all sports.
Games - Yes I am a little game crazy. I love to play board games... and yes I enjoy computer and console gaming as well but generally I love the person to person contact/competition of a board game. I have a group of friends that get together fairly often and play games together - it sounds a little geekie... but it is really fun. This hobby of mine has made an impact on my classroom as I use games to teach, on the school through the after-school club, on the district as we give out grants to support other teachers to start up their own clubs, and upon family as we spend a lot of time around our kitchen table battling it out. At school I formed the Board Game Club and it has grown to about 70 students a week at our club meetings.
Camping - I love to get out and enjoy this wonderful world that we live in. Our family has a tent trailer and we love to travel and camp. Our two favorite spots are Zion National Park in Utah and San Diego Sea World. We like to hike, bike, cook and play while camping. My two boys are also involved in Boy Scouts of America and so I do a bunch of camping with them.
Church - This isn't a religious platform and so I won't say much about this part of my life.even though it is probably the most important part of my life. In December of 2007 I was made Bishop of a congregation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and this assignment has been a great spiritual adventure for me. I love working with people and helping them when times get tough. At A-Tech the morning seminary class for the students is held in my classroom and I am the seminary advisor at A-Tech. It is wonderful to start everyday by studying the scriptures. In 2012, my time as Bishop finished and now I work with the youth that are 14 to 16. It is very rewarding work.