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Hometown Teachers Across the Country Selected by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as First-Ever HMH Curious Classroom Winners

BOSTON, MA – Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced three winners of the HMH Curious Classroom contest, an online competition for teachers designed to spotlight effective and original resources that foster curiosity in the classroom. Launched in October 2015, the contest invited teachers across the United States to create and share an inspirational three-minute video featuring an innovative resource, tool or lesson they created to engage and motivate students.

The HMH Curious Classroom contest marked the introduction of HMH Marketplace, an online destination for educators to discover, share and sell applications and resources that enhance the learning and teaching experience. Launching in early 2016, the beta version of HMH Marketplace will feature applications created by edtech developers and start-ups, from digital learning tools to games and classroom resources, as well as original content made by teachers for teachers. The winning HMH Curious Classroom submissions will be among the first teacher-created resources featured in HMH Marketplace.

The HMH Curious Classroom first place honor goes to Heather Francis, an eighth grade mathematics teacher at Granite Park Junior High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Francis submitted two dance activity resources – Dance Dance Evolution and The Distributive Choreography Project – that help students explore core mathematic principles like rounding and distributive properties. Both resources teach students about key math concepts through dance and challenge them to think outside of the box.

“I realized that I needed to come up with a fresh approach to making math more fun for my students, and what better way to do that than with dance,” said Francis.  

Matthew DiGioia and Sherry Mitchell, teachers at Harry M. Bailey Middle School in West Haven, Connecticut, received second place for their collaborative and engaging interdisciplinary mini-unit based on Andy Weir’s novel, “The Martian,” which helps students learn about the science behind realistic fiction. DiGioia and Mitchell’s collaborative resource highlights Language Arts and Science lessons, but can be easily modified and applied across the curriculum.

“Teachers bring innovation to the classroom every day. With the HMH Curious Classroom contest, our goal is to celebrate and encourage the creative ways in which teachers engage students to learn concepts and develop new skills,” said Claudia Reuter, Vice President of HMH Labs. “We applaud these winners, and all those who submitted entries, for nurturing original ideas, experimenting with new technologies and leading the way for students and their peers.”

Third place winner of the HMH Curious Classroom contest was Kimberly DeLeo, a technology teacher at Dr. Kevin M. Hurley Middle School in Seekonk, Massachusetts. DeLeo worked with her students to create a study unit they’re able to use for safe and constructive use of social media channels. As part of this unit, digital footprints, community feedback, privacy and terms and conditions were explored.

The Honorable Mention was awarded to Sean Maloney, a teacher at Brooklyn Elementary School in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Maloney created an interactive flash game that teaches fourth and fifth graders about multiplication problems by using various solutions such as rounding, expanded form and area modeling.  

“We’re thrilled about featuring the winning submissions in the HMH Marketplace,” said Reuter. “HMH is passionate about enabling and promoting curiosity among students, teachers and parents, and HMH Marketplace will be our playground to do just that.”  

To learn more, please visit https://curiousclassroom.hmhco.com/.  


About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom.  HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide, while its award-winning children’s books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.

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