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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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Fourth Grade

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write opinion pieces on authentic topics supporting a single perspective with logical reasons supported by facts and details. (W 4.1, 4.1a & L 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5)
  • Write explanatory texts about authentic topics using research-based support that is purposefully grouped, sequenced and incorporates appropriate academic language. (W 4.2, 4.2b & L 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5)
  • Write narratives to develop authentic experiences or events using precise language to describe the situation, events, and reactions of characters. (W 4.3, 4.3b & L 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5)

*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
    • Draw evidence from various text to support analysis, reflection and research
    • Use appropriate transition words and phrases to link ideas
    • Use precise and/or academic language and vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Apply conventions of the written language
  • Create or write an opinion/argument piece supporting claims with reasons and information
    • Include a clear introduction of an authentic topic
    • Include or state an opinion, clearly defining a single perspective
    • Organize and support reasons, ideas, facts, and details
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented
  • Create or write informational/explanatory texts
    • Create a clear introduction of an authentic topic
    • Conduct and use research to support your topic
    • Group related information in paragraphs and sections
    • Use formatting structures, illustrations, and multimedia to clarify my topic
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the topic
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
    • Orient (set the scene for) the reader by introducing the narrator, characters, and the events/situation.
    • Develop experiences, events, and reactions of characters.
    • Write a logical conclusion that provides a sense of closure.
  • Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
    • Take notes, categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
    • Cite sources using bibliographic format (SLA Standard)


Additional Critical Content

  • Identify parts of a plot (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution)
  • Apply narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, sensory details
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing
  • Identify questions and strategies for improving drafts based on self-assessment and reflection in writing conferences with a teacher
  • Spell correctly, and identify misspelled words, using a reference guide or other resource if necessary
  • Locate and correct capitalization errors
  • Write in complete sentences
  • Correctly form and use preposition and prepositional phrases
  • Use technology to research, produce and publish writing, and to interact and collaborate with others
  • Demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single setting


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 are the 6+1 traits of writing?
  • What is the difference between facts and opinion?
  • What are the similarities and differences between narrative, informational and argumentative writing?
  • What are the parts of the plot?
  • What are sensory details?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does the task, purpose, and the audience effect the choices a writer makes?
  • How does the use of precise and academic language affect the reader?
  • What makes a topic authentic?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • How can effective written communication affect a society?
  • Why is or isn’t the use of standard grammar/language usage important?
  • What makes one piece of evidence more supportive than another?


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


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 writing so that one event logically leads to the next
  • Apply the conventions of Standard English grammar
  • Identify and use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, and that) and relative adverbs (where, when, and why)
  • Identify and use the progressive verb tenses (I was walking.) – Can correctly use words such as can, may, and must and can understand how each individually affects the meaning of a sentence
  • To commonly order multiple adjectives (for example, a small red bag instead of a red small bag)
  • Recognize and correct sentence fragments and run-ons
  • Distinguish between and correctly use homonyms
  • Apply the conventions of Standard English
  • Punctuate dialogue correctly by using commas, before/after speaker tags and placing quotations marks around direct speech (e.g., “I was walking,” Elle said, “when Mia tripped me.”)
  • Identify a compound sentence and use a comma before the coordinating conjunction that connects the two sentences


Spanish language specific

  • Development by digression or tangents
  • Write paragraphs that include a variety of sentence type; appropriate use of the eight parts of speech and accurate spelling, Spanish-specific capitalization and punctuation
  • Apply the conventions of Standard English grammar
  • Expand ideas by using modifiers and subordination
  • At a grade appropriate level, write to reflect customs and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and communities, including personal experiences and references
  • Compare languages and writing traditions that reflect customs, regions, and cultures
  • Capitalization, punctuation, alphabets
  • Sound-symbol association
  • Lines or other spatial constraints of the writing


English language development

  • Deductive linear discourse pattern
  • Development by digression or tangents
  • Sequence pictures from oral stories, processes or procedures using support from pictures and short phrases
  • Key skills and strategies according to the proficiency level of the student
  • Metalinguistic awareness


Russian language specific

  • Patterns of writing are situation, dynamic structure


Polish language specific

  • Patterns of writing are situation, dynamic structure



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
    • Use prewriting strategies to formulate ideas.
  • Opinion
    • Use academic language
    • Conduct research
    • Determine explicit opinion or point of view on a topic or text.
    • Create a mind-map of facts/information logically grouped
    • Link opinions and reasons with facts and information
  • Explanatory/Informational
    • Select explicit topic and provide relevant information (e.g., facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, examples)
    • Create a mind-map of facts/information logically grouped
    • Identify appropriate illustrations and multimedia to clarify and aid audience understanding of the topic
  • Narrative
    • Describe the basic parts of plot (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution)
    • Create a character map to show characterization (physical traits, emotional traits, motivations…)
    • Use sensory languages (descriptive words and phrases that appeal to the senses)


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 concluding statement/section.
  • Write an explanatory piece with purposefully grouped and sequenced information and incorporate appropriate academic language.
  • Write a narrative that develops an experience or events and uses precise language to describe the situation, events, and reactions of characters.