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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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Sixth Grade

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write concise, research-based arguments supporting claims about an authentic topic using evidence from multiple resources and clearly showing the pros and cons of the debatable issue. (W 6.1 & L 6.3, 6.4, 6.6)
  • Write focused, research-based explanatory texts about authentic topics integrating appropriate academic language and evidence from multiple resources. (W 6.2 & L 6.3, 6.4, 6.6)
  • Write narratives to reflect authentic experiences or events using descriptive details, well-structured event sequences, and maintaining consistent style/voice. (W 6.3 & L 6.3, 6.4, 6.6)

*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 (e.g. formal)
    • Use appropriate transition words and phrases to link ideas
    • Use precise and/or academic language an vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Determine the credibility of a source (who wrote it, when it was written, and why it was written)
    • Include explicit text support/evidence in non-fiction writing pieces
    • Vary sentence patterns to communicate effectively and for stylistic purposes
    • Maintain consistency in style and tone in speaking and writing
    • Edit writing independently, by reading aloud, or with the help of others to check for errors in capitalization, punctuation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary
  • Write argumentative pieces that support claims with reason and information
    • Identify a topic and choose a side/position of the argument
    • Identify and include the claims of both sides of a debatable topic (pros and cons)
    • Include an introductory statement/section that presents an argument
    • Introduce and support claims with clear reason, relevant evidence, and supporting details
    • Write a concluding statement/section that supports an argument
  • Write Informative/Explanatory Pieces:
    • Select a focused and authentic topic
    • Include an introductory statement/section that clearly introduces and focuses on the topic
    • Analyze and include information from multiple resources and identify relevant academic vocabulary
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows form the information or explanation presented
  • Write Narrative Pieces:
    • Engage and orient a reader by establishing a topic/context and introducing a narrator and/or characters
    • Employ narrative techniques such as dialogue, pacing, sequencing, and descriptive details to develop experiences, events, and/or characters
    • Write a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events


Additional Critical Content

In the language of instruction, students will…

  • Identify and use the writing style (argument, informative/explanatory, narrative) that best fits a task, and audience
  • Demonstrate proper keyboarding skills (type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting to compose and prepare writing for publication
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing
  • Research for Writing
    • Focus research around a central question that is provided, adjust question when necessary in order to answer the question, or determine own research worthy question (e.g., How did Edgar Allan Poe’s life experiences influence his writing style?)
    • Gather information from credible sources, (e.g., biographies, nonfiction texts, digital sources) and analyze sources to answer research question
    • Quote, paraphrase, or cite data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources
  • Language/Vocabulary Acquisition
    • Determine the meaning of a word or phrase by examining context clues
    • Use common Greek or Latin roots and affixes in written work
    • Use knowledge of Greek or Latin affixes and roots to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words (e.g., audience, auditory, audible)
    • Use reference materials, both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech
    • Acquire and use academic vocabulary and specific words/phrases to increase comprehension, expression, and understand that words have multiple meanings

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?
  • How does a writer develop the purpose of the piece?
  • What qualities of a written piece create clarity for the reader?
  • How does a writer take a writing piece to publication?
  • What do good researchers do?
  • What is the difference between plagiarism, paraphrasing, quotations, and citations?
  • What are the similarities and differences between narrative, informational and argumentative writing?
  • What is a writer’s voice?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • Why write?
  • How does the genre of a paper affect the choices a writer makes?
  • How does planning, revising, and editing strengthen writing?
  • How does the creative use of language influence the reader’s understanding?
  • How does the reader’s perspective affect meaning?
  • How does author’s point of view impact the audience’s understanding?
  • How does a writer use what is known to help determine what is yet unknown?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • How can credible research and data impact writing?
  • How does tracing and evaluating specific claims in a text improve research?
  • Why is grammar/language use powerful and integral in writing?
  • How can there be more than one correct argument?


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Auditory skills

  • Auditory memory: remember what has been heard
  • Auditory sequencing: ability to see objects in a particular sequential order
  • Auditory discrimination: hear the difference between sounds that are similar
  • Discourse pattern (logical arrangement of ideas) vary depending on the culture and the native language of the speaker


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

  • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (e.g., subjective, objective, possessive)
  • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person
  • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
  • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents)
  • Recognize variations from Standard English in written and speaking language, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language
  • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements
    • Interpret figures of speech/literary elements
    • Identify relationships between particular words such as cause/effect, part/whole, item/category
  • Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, un-wasteful, thrifty)


Spanish language specific

  • Verb conjugation and inflection
  • Verb and adjective gender and number agreement
  • Irregular verbs
  • Code-switching
  • Spanglish
  • El/La (articles that reflect number and gender)
  • Word order patterns
  • Cognates
  • Dialects (regional dialects)
  • Tildes
  • Diéresis
  • Circular/Spiral
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style of speaking according to audience and purpose (tú vs. Usted)
  • Digression or tangential discourse pattern
  • Romance languages (Spanish) develops discourse by digression; takes lots of time; begin with topic; go off on tangent; contradict tangent, conclude with main idea; flowery, fancy, formal intensifiers, reiteration, say it up to 7 times (average is 3 times)-each time gets bigger, better, more flowery than before
  • Respect, honor, and teach dialectical differences within cultures and regions


English language development

  • Logical arrangement of ideas is culture bound
  • True message is given in the discourse pattern and not in the words
  • Chicano English (2nd to 6th generation) uses an oral, social contact dialect
    • Conversational in tone
    • Casual register, all social, basic inter-communicational skills
    • Used like one is addressing a peer audience
    • Run on sentences’ additive relationships (and then, and then…, end with “that’s all I’ve got to say”)
    • Sub-conscious deviations (I didn’t know they had done it)
    • Little evidence of planning and organizing before writing
    • Stream of consciousness links (one idea links another to topic)
    • Use lexical chains alone to link ideas (vocabulary holds composition together)
    • Redundancy (limited vocabulary) elements of people who don’t read or don’t know Academic English
  • Exposure of American English discourse pattern found explicitly within subject area content


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…

  • Argument
    • Identify pros and cons of an argument
    • Make a focused claim
    • Present relevant and explicit evidence to support one’s own claim
    • Identify and defend the credibility of multiple resources on single topic
  • Explanatory/Informational
    • Identify multiple, credible resources on a topic
    • Select relevant, supportive details about a topic
    • Identify and appropriately use academic vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Show appropriate organizing structures for writing for specific audiences
  • Narrative
    • Develop a character over time using dialogue and description
    • Develop the event(s) over time using appropriate structures/organizers
    • Write with a consistent style and voice
    • Engage the reader by introducing characters, and/or the event that starts the story in motion.


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
  • Present an argument in a formal style that includes an introduction, supporting details with transitions, examples, reasons, and a concluding statement/section that supports the argument
  • Write Explanatory/Informational papers that demonstrate using evidence from text(s)
  • Write a well crafted narrative that develops into an appropriately organized story with well-developed and consistent style and voice