999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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First Grade

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write opinion pieces on authentic topics/texts incorporating a clear topic statement, state a singular opinion, supply logical reasons for the opinion, and provide a sense of closure. (W 1.1 & L 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 & 1.5)
  • Write explanatory texts about authentic topics, including a clear topic statement, some factual descriptions and providing a sense of closure. (W 1.2 & L 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 & 1.5)
  • Write narratives with two or more appropriately sequenced events, including some details regarding what happened, using temporal words to signal event order, provide a sense of closure. (W 1.3 & L 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, & 1.5)

*See student writing examples on Appendix C of the Common Core document


Power Standards Critical Content

In the language of instruction, students will…

  • Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences
  • Write 3 or more long-form writing pieces to final draft
  • Write a topic sentence and use a closing sentence
  • Write a sentence that says and explains how one feels about a topic or book read aloud
  • Write a topic sentence with supporting details and a closing sentence
  • Write a sentence to introduce a topic and use a closing sentence
  • Write about the events of a story
  • Tell in order of events in a story
  • Print all upper- and lowercase letters
  • Demonstrate command of conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English
  • With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings:
    • Recognize words that may have more than one meaning
    • Put words into categories
    • Define one word by listing other words that describe it
    • Provide real-world examples of words
    • Describe how similar verbs look, peek, and stare have slightly different meanings
    • Describe how similar adjectives like large and gigantic have slightly different meanings


Additional Critical Content

  • Answer questions, add details, and read and explain one’s writing to others
  • Write and publish using digital tools (media compositions or productions) independently and with others, which conveys meaning visually for a variety of purposes
  • Read two resources by the same author and share one’s opinion
  • Write a research paper with a partner
  • Answer questions using information recalled or gathered
  • Learn new words and use words that have to do with a topic learning about
  • Use words like because and when in sentences
  • With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers
  • With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provide sources to answer a question
  • Recall information form experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer questions
  • Explain the extent and reasons for revisions, based on self-assessment and reflection, in conference with a teacher
  • With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed


Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understandings

  • Effective writing, which communicates clearly to the intended audience and fulfills its specific purpose, provides a means of discovery, of communication, of argument, and of creative expression.
  • Effective writing is the result of multi-stage, collaborative and reflective processes.
  • Research-based ideas and arguments can influence an audience’s understanding and beliefs.
  • Text structures allow writers to communicate with an audience in appropriate and meaningful ways in order to achieve the intended purpose.


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What do good writers do?
  • What’s the purpose for writing and how does one develop it?
  • Writing clearly: What makes a difference?
  • Final product: What does it take?
  • What do good researchers do?
  • “Cut and Paste:” What’s the problem?
  • Why do the rules of languages matter?
  • Communicating clearly: What does it take?
  • When a word doesn’t make sense, what can one do?
  • How doese one use what one knows to figure out what one does not know?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How do the task, purpose, and the audience affect the choice the writer makes?
  • What makes a complete sentence?
  • How can one communicate one’s ideas in words and sentences?
  • What makes a paragraph?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • What makes a story “great”?
  • What is the difference between an idea and a sentence? (sentence is a complete idea)
  • What makes a poem “great”?


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Common features of the writing system

  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Fine muscle control
  • Figure-ground awareness
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Visual Sequencing
  • Spacing
  • Directional organization
  • Focus
  • Logograph (e.g., &, $, ¢, +, =, -, @)


Non-cognitive transfer

  • Attention
  • Listening
  • Concentration
  • Persistence
  • Task Completion


Self-esteem transfer

  • Being literate
  • Feeling capable
  • Possessing specific competencies
  • Achieving
  • Believing in one’s ability to learn


Common among all languages

  • Develop Oral Language
  • Match speech to print
  • Contextualized literacy instruction
  • Meaningful
  • Active
  • Comparative
  • Recurrent


English language specific

  • Sequence the events in my writing so that one event logically leads to the next
  • Know the difference between a common and proper noun and use them in writing
  • Write and talk about the past, present, and future by using verb tenses
  • Use pronouns like I, me, my, and they, them, their
  • Use common adjectives and adverbs
  • Use common linking words like and, but, or, so, and because
  • Combine words such as the, a , this, and that with other words
  • Combine words such as during, beyond, above, and toward with other words
  • Write simple and compound sentences
  • Capitalize dates and names of people
  • End sentences I write with punctuation
  • Use commas in dates
  • Use commas with lists of single words
  • Spell some common irregular words
  • Spell words with cvc, cvvc, and etc. patterns
  • Spell a word by sounding it out
  • Determine the meaning of a word or phrase by looking for clues in picture, sentence, or parts of a word
  • Understand different versions of the same word such as look, looks, looking, and looked
  • Identify root words and understand that adding -s, -ed, and -ing changes the meaning of a root word


Spanish language specific

  • Discourse pattern: Romance languages is development by digression
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style of speaking according to audience and purpose (Tú vs. Usted)
  • Respect, honor and teach dialectical differences within culture and regions
  • Word order
  • Sound symbol association
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Alphabet
  • Visual memory
  • Visual discrimination
  • Spanish specific capitalization and punctuation
  • Verb tenses
  • Agreement of number, gender and case
  • Use “tú” vs. Usted
  • Dieresis
  • Accents
  • Tildes


English language development

  • Linear deductive discourse pattern
  • Visual support-context using pictures
  • Language scaffolding
  • Use home language to support English language development
  • Build upon background knowledge
  • Cross-linguistic transfer for reading and instruction
    • Concept of the letters, sounds, syllables, words, sentences
  • Meta-linguistic Awareness


Russian language specific

  • Discourse Pattern: Situational, always changes
  • Form Regular plural nouns by changing the ending.
  • Word order
  • Russian specific capitalization and punctuation (Proper nouns, etc.)
  • Cyrillic alphabet
  • Umlaut
  • Accents
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style speaking according to audience and purpose. (Pronoun-verb usage)


Polish language specific

  • Polish alphabet (vowels and consonants)
  • Digraphs
  • Hard vs. soft sounds
  • Syllabication
  • Accents
  • Seven types of verb conjugations
  • All parts of speech can be conjugated:
    • Gender (feminine, masculine, neutral)
    • Number (singular or plural)
    • Case
  • Dipthongs
  • Vowel combinations
  • Orthography
  • Specific rules for words with: Ó, u, rz, ż, ch, h, ą, ę, om, em, en, nie
  • Polish specific punctuation:
    • Commas
    • Quotation marks
  • Distinguish between formal and informal language usage



Informal Assessments are used during the process of brainstorming, drafting, revision and editing or class discussions.

In the language of instruction students will…

  • In all types of writing
    • Identify the appropriate writing style
    • Use graphic organizers to develop ideas
    • Use transition words and phrases
    • Make an on topic, real-life connection to words heard and read
    • Quick Writes
    • Journaling
    • Exit Slips
    • Goal Setting


Formal Assessments are used as a measure of student achievement towards master of a skill and Power Standard. Often a formal assessment will result in a grade.

In the language of instruction students will…

  • Write 3 or more long-form writing pieces to final draft
  • Write an opinion piece with an introduction, opinion, supporting reason, and conclusion
  • Write an informative paper with a topic, facts, and and ending sentence
  • Write a story with events placed in the correct order