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 using logically ordered evidence gathered from multiple sources on an authentic topic incorporating appropriate academic language. (W5.1, 5.1a & L 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6)
  • Write explanatory texts about authentic topics using facts, details and descriptions from multiple sources and incorporating appropriate academic language. (W5.2, 5.2a & L 5.1, 5.4, 5.6)
  • Write narratives to develop authentic experiences or events precisely describing the events and characters using sensory languages to convey an appropriate tone of voice. (W5.3, 5.3a & L 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6)

*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 using graphic organizers, mapping, outlining, and/or drafting
    • Use appropriate transition words and phrases to link ideas
    • Use precise and/or academic language an vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Include explicit text support/evidence in non-fiction writing pieces
    • Vary sentence patterns to communicate effectively and for stylistic purposes
    • Edit writing independently, by reading aloud, or with the help of others to check for errors in capitalization, punctuation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary
  • Write opinion pieces that support arguments with reason and information
    • Create a clear introduction to a focused topic and opinion
    • Identify and use appropriate structures of writing
    • Collect explicit and relevant information on the topic and in support of the opinion from multiple sources
    • Identify and use appropriate academic language specific to the topic
    • Write a concluding statement/section that supports the opinion
  • Write informative/explanatory texts that examine topics and convey information clearly
    • Introduce my topic by providing my general observations/focus
    • Use formatting structures, illustrations, and multimedia to clarify my topic
    • Collect important and relevant information from various, credible resources
    • Develop the topic with explicit text evidence: facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, and examples relevant to the topic
    • Identify and use appropriate academic language to the topic
  • Write narratives to develop real or fictional experiences or events
    • Orient a reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters and/or the setting
    • Organize a series of events that unfold naturally and logically
    • Develop events and/or experiences with sensory language
    • Develop characters through descriptive, sensory language
    • Show the effect of character development in response to events/actions through elements of narrative writing (e.g., dialogue, description, pacing, tone)
    • Use concrete words and phrases as well as sensory details to convey an appropriate tone of voice
    • Write a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events


Additional Critical Content

  • Identify the writing style (e.g., argument, informative/explanatory, narrative) that best fits a task, and audience
  • Recognize that different writing tasks (e.g., journal, reflection, research) require varied time frames to complete
  • Research for Writing
    • Create/Identify a central question
    • Use multiple sources to gather explicit and relevant evidence that develops central question
    • Analyze information found in various sources and determine if it provides enough support to answer the question
    • Summarize and/or paraphrase information when taking notes and preparing finished work
    • Prepare a list of sources used in research
    • Cite sources using bibliographic format


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 are the similarities and differences between narrative, informational and argumentative writing?
  • What do effective researchers do?
  • How do writers use sensory language to convey a specific tone of voice?
  • What is the difference between plagiarism, paraphrasing, quotations, and citations?
  • What academic vocabulary should be included in a piece of writing?
  • What is sensory language?
  • What is tone of voice in writing?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How do writers express ideas clearly for the reader?
  • What makes a source credible?
  • Why do writers use more than one source to defend/explain a topic?
  • How does the use of sensory language influence the reader’s experience?
  • How does a writer develop a character or an event through precise use of language?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • Do narrative events have to unfold in order to make a good story?
  • How does proper grammar and spelling impact the reader’s experience?
  • What makes one piece of evidence more supportive or important than another?
  • How can effective written communication affect society?
  • How does one determine the truth based on opinion/perspective in conflicting source of documents?
  • What is the difference between truth and opinion/perspective?


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 my 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 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

  • Tenses/Punctuation
    • Use correct tenses to indicate the relative order of events
    • 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
    • Use correct spanish orthography including accents and dieresis marks
  • Culture
    • At grade appropriate level, write to reflect customs and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and communities, including personal experiences and references
    • Compare language and oral traditions
    • Identify variations in Spanish that appear in different social, cultural, and regional environments. Compare language and writing traditions that reflect customs regions, and cultures
    • 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
    • Differentiate and apply the appropriate us of “tĂș” and “usted” in oral and written communication
    • Expand ideas by using modifiers and subordination
    • Development by digression or tangents


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 proficiency level of the student
  • Metalinguistic awareness


Russian language specific

  • Discourse pattern: Situational, always changes; sometimes one way, next time rearrange story and give different version; may appear to others to be inconsistent because of changes in discourse pattern


Polish language specific

  • Discourse pattern reflective of Polish culture



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
  • Opinion & Explanatory/Informational
    • Use academic language
    • Conduct research
    • Use explicit evidence to support claims
    • Gather and use evidence from multiple, credible sources
    • Summarize/paraphrase notes when researching
  • Narrative
    • Use sensory details/descriptions
    • Develop characters through the inclusion of actions and dialogue
    • Show tone of voice through word choice and sensory language


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; structured, supporting details/facts; and a concluding statement/section
  • After gathering information from a variety of sources, write an explanatory/informational piece using relevant academic language
  • Write using narrative techniques (e.g., dialogue, description, pacing) to develop events and/or experiences and show how characters respond to situations
  • Write a list of sources used in research
  • Compose written responses and include textual evidence to strengthen one’s analysis, reflection, and/or research
  • Incorporate appropriate academic language in opinion and explanatory texts