Classroom Instruction That Works®

Learn ways to develop challenging, consistent, engaging, and intentional instruction that ensures success for every student in every classroom in every community, including remote learning!

Translate research into classroom and remote learning success with books, workshops, customized onsite professional development, and training materials. Our Framework for Instructional Planning helps teachers be more intentional when selecting teaching strategies.

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The best instructional strategies for student learning!

Improving instruction for better student learning is about science, not guesswork. Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) books, resources, and professional learning services are the result of McREL’s research and analysis of hundreds of instructional strategies used in thousands of classrooms and remote learning settings, and they’re used by teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders worldwide to develop stronger lesson plans, effective delivery, and a common vocabulary for teaching and sharing of best practices.

What participants are saying . . .

Classroom Instruction That Works has been the game changer, bringing our school community to speak the same language and move forward in one rhythm. It works! —Assistant principal

CITW made my lesson planning more purposeful and intentional. I’ve seen growth in my skills as a teacher, which is reflected in the growth I see in my students. — Teacher

Classroom Instruction That Works has been our common language for what good instruction looks like.
— Principal

Our partnership with McREL has been extremely beneficial and has contributed to our increase in student achievement. Staff have developed a deeper understanding of Classroom Instruction that Works and how to successfully implement the strategies in their classrooms. — District leader

CITW Consulting & Professional Learning

McREL works with schools and districts to collaboratively examine their current pedagogy and practices, identify areas of strength and need, deliver training and coaching needed for professional growth, and create a sustainable PD plan that makes a lasting difference where it matters most—in the learning environment and in students’ lives. We can also deliver online check-ins, multi-day onsite visits, and coaching to ensure quality implementation and sustain momentum that supports your team’s continued growth.

Following are just a few examples of the fully customizable resources and workshops we offer for instructional coaches, teacher mentors, principals and assistant principals, and central office PD leaders.

teacher and student reading

Classroom Instruction That Works

We will help your school or district develop challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction in every classroom or remote learning setting, with PD and coaching that helps teachers apply proven strategies that have a positive influence on student achievement. We make it easier for teachers to know when and why to use each strategy to support specific learning goals and situations, and we demonstrate what good instruction looks like.

Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works

This practical, hands-on, activity-based workshop gives educators dozens of dynamic, ready-to-use learning activities that are aligned with Classroom Instruction That Works strategies. Participants will gain valuable insights and tips for delivering engaging instruction that makes a difference in students’ learning, including specific strategies and tools that help students develop deeper understanding of new content and concepts.
Group of educators in school & system improvement

Classroom Instruction That Works
Authorized Facilitator Training

Deepen your understanding of Classroom Instruction That Works to deliver high-quality CITW workshops on your own. Ideal for PD leaders, instructional coaches, principals, and regional ESA trainers. Your successful completion of this training will authorize you to deliver multiple workshops to educators in your own school district or education service agency (BOCES, ESC, ESU, RESA, etc.) for one year. Annual reauthorization is available.
students in class

Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners

English acquisition and content mastery are 100% compatible! In this session you’ll learn to guide English learners through the five critical stages of language development in a general education setting, with an emphasis on using academic language in speech and writing.
For specific guidance on bridging the learning gap for ELL students, check out our Deeper Professional Learning Opportunities that explore solutions related to individual problems of practice.
Students and tech

Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works

Investments in classroom technology, like interactive whiteboards and 1:1 device initiatives, have had mixed results for student achievement. Our Using Technology workshops begin with a simple premise: The key to successful technology integration is effective teaching. Once teachers see how technology can enhance good instruction and learning, it becomes easier to find the right tool for the learning objective. These workshops can be tailored to focus on specific apps and devices.

Deeper Professional Learning Opportunities

Do you have a specific problem of instructional practice you’d like to tackle? We offer several CITW-based workshops that can help your team galvanize around a solution, including supporting social/emotional learning, creating dynamic and engaging classrooms, creating a classroom environment for high levels of learning, and more.
In each of the workshops, the focus is on learning the CITW strategies and putting them to work for you and your students.


Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd Ed.)

First published in 2001, Classroom Instruction That Works revolutionized teaching by linking instructional practices to evidence of increased student learning. This second edition delivers expanded evidence-based insights on how to apply the strategies in the classroom. You’ll learn how to create an environment for learning, how to use prior knowledge to scaffold new learning, and how to help students extend and apply knowledge, moving beyond “right answer” learning and towards an expanded understanding and use of concepts and skills.

Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works: Ready-to-Use Techniques for Increasing Student Achievement

When McREL published Classroom Instruction That Works, we encouraged a generation of educators to focus instruction around nine categories of teaching strategies proven to raise student achievement. The challenge for teachers has always been how to build these achievement-boosting strategies into their everyday instruction. This book provides 51 tools that make it easy to implement the strategies across grade levels and content areas. By incorporating these tools into your daily practice, you can turn your classroom into a place where high levels of engagement and deep learning happen every day.

Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners (2nd Ed.)

English learners have specific learning needs and challenges that require a specialized approach. This comprehensive instructional guide makes it easier to work with all students, no matter their stage of language proficiency. The evidence-based teaching strategies introduced in our best-selling book, Classroom Instruction That Works, are applied to the stages of language acquisition in this comprehensive instructional guide, making it easier to work with all students at any stage of language proficiency or any grade level. The tools and steps will help you design instruction that helps students engage in productive academic discussions.