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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Language Arts

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write opinion pieces on authentic topics/texts using an introduction, connected and supporting reasons and a conclusion. (W 2.1 & L 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, & 2.5)
  • Write explanatory texts about authentic topics clearly introducing the topic, providing appropriate facts and details, and a conclusion. (W 2.2 & L 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, & 2.5)
  • Write narratives recounting authentic events that include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, using temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure. (W 2.3 & L 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, & 2.5)

*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
  • Identify one’s opinion, give supporting reasons using connecting words to write an opinion piece with an introduction, supporting reasons and concluding statement
  • Select a topic, identify facts and definitions to support the topic, and use a concluding statement
  • Write stories in the correct order using temporal words like before, during, and after and create an ending for the story
  • Describe actions, thoughts, and feelings in one’s story
  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies:
    • Determine the meaning of a word or phrase by looking for clues in a sentence
    • Determine how the meaning of a word changes when a prefix is added, such as happy/unhappy
    • Use knowledge of a root word to see how the meaning of similar words are related (for example, addition and additional)
    • Predict the meaning of compound words by looking for words know within them
  • Make a real-life connection (text to self) to words heard or read
  • Recognize and describe verbs and adjectives that have similar meanings and choose the one that best fits the action or description
  • Apply Grade-Level Conventions of Grammar (See ELA specific considerations)


Additional Critical Content

  • Recognize that a good piece of writing requires more than one draft and requires editing and revision based on self-assessment and reflection, in conference with a teacher and peers
  • Use a computer and the Internet independently and with others to produce and publish writing (for example, poem, Young Author’s story, friendly letter, journal letter)
  • Explain how research is different from other types of writing
  • Work with classmates to research a topic and write about it
  • Answer questions using information recalled or gathered
  • Apply correct Grade-level Appropriate Conventions:
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names
    • Correctly use a comma in greeting and closing of letters
    • Identify a contradiction and correctly use apostrophes to form contractions
    • Identify misspelled words and use a dictionary to assist in spelling correctly
    • Look for and understand patterns of letters and sounds when spelling words
  • Understand the differences between speaking or writing using informal English and formal English when appropriate
  • Identify whether a writer or speaker is using formal or informal language and find informal and formal words and phrases in a text
  • Learn and use vocabulary terms that have to do with a topic learning about
  • Explain/give examples, and use adjectives and adverbs when speaking and writing
  • Cite sources used


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 are the traits of effective writing?
  • What’s the purpose for writing and how does one develop it?
  • What is the writing process?
  • When a word doesn’t make sense, what does one do?
  • How does one use whatis known to figure out what is unknown?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does one communicate effectively through writing?
  • How does one know if a resource is reliable or credible?
  • Why is it important to use one’s own words when writing?
  • How does author’s voice impact an audience?
  • How can one improve the quality of one’s writing?
  • Why are conventions important?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • What do good writers do?
  • What do good researchers do?
  • “What I say” versus “how I say it”, does it really matter?


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Common features of the writing system

  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Lines or other spatial constraints of the writing
  • Concepts of sentence and paragraph formation


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

  • Linear Deductive Discourse Pattern
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking:
    • Use collective nouns (a singular noun that refers to a group of people or things) correctly
    • Identify and correctly use irregular plural nouns (nouns that do not add -s to for the plural)
    • Use reflexive pronouns such as myself, yourself, and ourselves correctly
    • Use common irregular verbs and use them correctly in the past tense (like sat, hid, and told)
    • Write, rearrange, and rewrite simple and compound sentences without changing the meaning


Spanish language specific

  • Edit for capitalization and punctuation
  • Respect, honor and teach dialectical differences within culture and regions
  • Use correct tenses to indicate the relative order of events
  • Use correct Spanish word order and punctuation marks to distinguish statements, questions, exclamations, and commands
    • ¿?
    • ¡!
    • -dialogue-
  • Begin to use correct Spanish Orthography
  • Employ principles of agreement related to number, gender, and case
  • At a grade-appropriate level, recognize common errors, made by native speakers, in the use of the Spanish language and know how and when to correct them
  • Apply the proper use “tú” and Usted in written communication
  • Recognize variations in Spanish that appear in different social, cultural, and regional environments


English language development

  • Linear Deductive Discourse Pattern
  • Being aware of audience, both formal and informal
  • Meta-linguistic analysis of cross-linguistic transfer (“the Bridge”)


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
  • Nouns (feminine, masculine, neutral)
  • 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
    • Extended Response Writing (opinion, explanatory and narrative)
    • Make a real-life connection (text to self) to words heard and read
    • Conferencing
    • 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 more than one draft with the help of teachers and classmates by editing and revising to strengthen writing
  • Write stories in the correct order using temporal words like before, during, and after and create an ending for the story
  • Write an opinion piece with an introduction, opinion, supporting reason, and concluding statement
  • Write an explanatory piece with an introduction, supporting reasons and concluding statement
  • Write a narrative piece with an introduction, supporting reasons and concluding statement
  • Write facts and definitions to support the topic, and use a concluding statement
  • Apply 6+1 Traits writing rubrics