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Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

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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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Third Grade

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write opinion pieces on authentic topics supporting a perspective with a clear introduction, structured reasons, and a concluding statement. (W 3.1, 3.1a & L 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, & 3.5)
  • Write explanatory texts about authentic topics logically organizing and sequencing details and information while incorporating appropriate academic language. (W 3.2, 3.2b & L 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, & 3.5)
  • Write narratives to develop authentic or imaginative experiences by using the characters’ actions, thoughts and feelings while choosing words and phrases to convey ideas precisely. (W 3.3, 3.3b & L 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, & 3.5)

*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
  • In all types of writing:
    • Plan, develop, and organize writing according to task, purpose and audience
    • Understand writing as a process of planning, revising, and editing
    • Use precise and/or academic language and vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Choose words and phrases to add effect or interest when writing or speaking
    • Apply conventions of the written language
  • Write opinion pieces on topics and texts supporting points of view
    • Create an organizational structure* to:
      • Introduce the topic and opinion
      • Provide and explain an opinion and organize and support with reasons
      • End writing by providing a concluding statement or paragraph
    • Use linking words or phrase (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example)

    *(Organizational Structures include: chronological, compare/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution)

  • Write informational/explanatory texts that tell about a topic and convey ideas and information clearly
    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information together
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details and include an illustration in written pieces if necessary
    • End the pieces by providing a concluding statement or paragraph
    • Use words and phrases like “also”, “another”, “and”, “more”, and “but” to connect ideas that should be grouped together
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events
    • Begin a story by describing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters
    • Organize a series of events in order
      • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to tell the story
      • Show the response of the character to the events
      • Use temporal words and phrases such as before, during, and after
    • Write a conclusion that provides a sense of closure
  • Apply Grade-Level Conventions of Grammar (See ELA specific considerations)


Additional Critical Content

  • Identify and use technology to research, produce and publish writing
  • Define research and explain how it is different from other types of writing
  • Research a topic to answer questions and/or gain information
  • Gather relevant information from print and digital sources about a topic
  • Remember and share information from experiences about a topic
  • Take brief notes and sort information into categories using graphic organizers
  • Explain how spoken language differ from written language


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 of writing and how does one develop it?
  • What is the writing process?
  • When a word doesn’t make sense, what can one do?
  • How does one use prior knowledge to figure out what is not known?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does one communicate effectively through writing?
  • What makes a resource 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 a piece of 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

  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking:
    • Explain how nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs function in sentences
    • Use plural (more than one) and form/use regular (e.g., boy, boys) and irregular plural nouns (e.g., mouse, mice) correctly
    • Use abstract nouns (nouns that represent an idea, feeling, emotion, etc.) and use them correctly
    • Explain the difference between regular and irregular verbs and use them correctly
    • Explain the difference between simple verb tense (past, present, and future) and use correct subject-verb agreement
    • Identify the antecedent (word or group of words a pronoun replaces)
    • Make sure pronoun agrees with its antecedent
    • Make sure a singular subject pronoun has a singular verb, and plural subject pronoun has a plural verb
    • Identify comparative adjectives/adverbs (formed by adding -er, or more) and superlative adjectives/adverbs (formed by adding -est or most) and choose the correct form when writing or speaking
    • Identify coordinating conjunctions (e.g., for, and, nor, but, or , yet, so) an subordination conjunctions (e.g., after, because, if, since, while) and use them correctly
    • Write simple, compound, and complex sentences
      • 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 form 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)
      • Use adjectives (words that add meaning to a noun or pronoun) and adverbs (words that add meaning to a verb, adjective, or other adverb) correctly
    • Write, rearrange, and rewrite simple and compound sentences without changing the meaning
    • Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue
    • Punctuate dialogue correctly by using commas before/after speaker tags and placing quotation marks around spoken words (e.g., “I was walking,”Christian said, “when Caleb tripped me.”)


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
  • Begin to use correct Spanish Orthography including accents and dieresis
  • 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

  • Understanding speech-print connections
  • Being aware of audience, both formal and informal
  • Meta-linguistic analysis of cross-linguistic transfer (“the Bridge”)
  • Story dictation
  • Shared writing


Russian language specific

  • Recognize stressed and unstressed vowels in multi-syllabic words
  • Recognize roots and derivatives from the same root
  • Recognize stressed (loud/soft) consonant pairs, based on vowels that follow a complex word/derivative of the same root
  • Common prefixes and derivational suffixes
  • Connection ot the schwa sound and the r controlled words
  • Decode words with common Latin suffixes
  • Decode multi-syllabic words


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 Assessment 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
    • Use prewriting strategies to formulate ideas
    • Recognize that a good piece of writing requires more than one draft.
    • Revise writing (e.g., reading aloud, checking for misunderstandings, adding and deleting details) with the help of others
    • Research a topic to answer questions and/or gain information
    • 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