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Crestwood Intermediate School Instructional Philosophy

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." --William Arthur Ward


CIS MISSION: To help students identify, nurture, and maximize their unique talents, abilities, and skills as they prepare to become successful and productive members of society in the 21st century.


CIS Instructional Philosophy: To create an engaging learning environment that will inspire and enable students to develop and strengthen 21st century skills to empower the CIS student to become a productive citizen within our community.


At the Intermediate School we use the following questions to help support the necessary academic skills for a successful student and to support our instructional philosophy:

What does citizenship look like at CIS (within your classroom)?

How do you foster creativity within your routines and structures?

What does collaboration look like at CIS (within your classroom)?

What opportunities do students have to communicate (about themselves and the content)?

In what ways do you have students apply critical thinking skills?


CIS  will provide opportunities for students to:

Work in a variety of collaborative formats (student centered)

Use multiple strategies to solve problems and demonstrate understanding (pictures, models, manipulatives, diagrams/tables, words, numbers, equations)

Persevere through challenging problems

Apply and connect concepts in meaningful, real world situations

Develop and demonstrate deep conceptual understanding

Justify and explain solution methods orally and in writing using precise language and vocabulary

Engage in critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration through high-level tasks

Achieve mastery with daily cumulative review

Develop, practice and apply fluency with procedures by improving accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility

Use a variety of tools to explore and represent concepts

Self-assess and set goals for personal growth

Use what is known to solve new problems, recognize patterns, find patterns in the WAYS problems are solved, and find connections among ideas.






Throughout the year, establish a classroom environment that encourages students to explore, take risks, and question one another. This supportive community allows students to share and discuss multiple strategies, successes and failures in the problem-solving process, and correct and incorrect solutions.

Anticipation & Planning:

Select or create worthwhile problems and tasks that are interesting and relevant to students

Anticipate students’ solution strategies, misconceptions, and challenges

Create meaningful critical thinking questions to be used throughout the lesson

Clarify any unknown words or vocabulary that are relevant to solving the problem

Make the task relevant and interesting to the students


Monitor students as they work and listen carefully to their solution strategies

Assess students’ understanding and progress

Provide questions to stimulate student thinking

Purposefully select and sequence students to share whose responses will further the understanding of the group

If the whole class is having the same problem, pull the students together to discuss issues and clarify the launch


Orchestrate the discussion so students are guided to the big ideas and learning targets of the lesson

Assess how well your students are progressing toward the goal and use this to guide further instruction




Be persistent and resourceful in making a plan and solving the problem

Use multiple tools and representations (pictures, words, equations, tables, diagrams, graphs) to help conceptualize and find solutions

Solve problems in a variety of ways and describe how these approaches are related to each other

Monitor and evaluate the progression of the process and change course if necessary

Ask “Does this make sense?” and “Is this reasonable?”

Communicate precisely and justify strategies both orally and in writing

Actively participate and collaborate with others in productive conversations

Understand the approaches of other students’ problem-solving strategies

Evaluate the reasonableness of results

Work with other students to formulate and explore conjectures and listen and understand conjectures offered by classmates

Continually progress to more efficient strategies and representations