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.

Learn More


Seventh Grade

Writing & Language

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Write concise, research-based arguments supporting claims about an authentic topic after comparing, contrasting and evaluating two opposing views. (W 7.1, L7.3, 7.4 & 7.6)
  • Write cohesive, research-based explanatory texts about authentic topics using relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, academic vocabulary, and examples and employing the use of multiple resources. (W 7.2, L 7.3, 7.4, & 7.6)
  • Write narratives to reflect authentic experiences or events using precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the impact of the lesson or theme. (W 7.3, L 7.3, 7.4, & 7.6)

*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
  • Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
    • Use logical, relevant, and research-based evidence
    • Identify and use similarities and differences between two opposing views
    • Cite credible sources using internal citation for direct quotes and paraphrasing
    • Use precise words/academic vocabulary, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationship among claim(s), reasons, and evidence
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that supports the argument
  • Write informational/explanatory texts that examine and convey ideas, concepts, and other information
    • Create an introduction that preview what is to follow
    • Select and analyze a focused idea, concept, and/or topic
    • Use precise words/academic vocabulary
    • Cite various credible sources using internal citation for direct quotes and paraphrasing
    • Use varied transitional languages to create cohesion and clarify the relationship between complex ideas and concepts
    • Write a concluding statement/section that supports the information presented
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events
    • Use narrative techniques to:
      • provide descriptive details
      • Develop appropriate event sequences and structures
      • Develop experiences events, and/or characters using dialogue, pacing and description
    • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language
    • Use sensory language that enhances the development of the characterization, setting, events
    • Provide a conclusion that reflects on the narrated experiences or events
  • Gather and use in one’s own writing and citations new academic, technical, and content-specific vocabulary (words and phrases):
    • Determine the meaning of a word or phrase flexibly choosing from a range of strategies (context clues, word parts/origin, reference materials)
    • Define and use common Greek and Latin roots and affixes


Additional Critical Content

  • Use the writing process to create powerful writing by:
    • Use organizational/formatting structures (graphic organizers/brainstorming/lists) to plan and develop writing
    • Use simple, compound, complex, and compound complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas
    • Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives
    • Apply revision strategies (e.g., reading aloud, checking for misunderstandings, adding and deleting details, creating new drafts) with the help of peers, other experts, and/or technology to correct issues with passive and active voice, mood
    • Edit writing by checking for errors in capitalization, punctuation, grammar, spelling, and verb tense
  • Use effective research techniques to:
    • Conduct short, focused research projects to answer a central question
    • Use search terms effectively when gathering relevant information from multiple print and digital sources
    • Determine credible sources which contain relevant textual evidence to answer the central research question
    • Draw on several sources when conducting research and formulate new questions as needed
    • Analyze the information found in the sources and determine if it provides enough support to answer the questions
    • Avoid plagiarism by correctly citing textual evidence such as quotes (“word for word” support) and paraphrases
    • Use a standard citation format to create a bibliography for the sources


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 strategies help a researcher to compare and contrast information on the same topic?
  • What makes a piece of writing focused?
  • What are the qualities of clear writing?
  • What are the qualities of different types of published writing?
  • What do good researchers do?
  • What is the difference between plagiarism, paraphrasing, quotations, and citations?
  • What strategies are useful when understanding new words?
  • What makes a supporting detail “relevant” and “concrete”?
  • What is sensory language?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does the context of the reader affect the understanding?
  • How does an author’s word choice affect the reader’s understanding?
  • How does a writer use what is know to help determine what is yet unknown?
  • How does the use of sensory language enhance a reader’s experience?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • What makes different writing techniques attractive to readers?
  • Why write?
  • How are the words and tone a writer uses more/less important than the message?
  • Why is it important to understand multiple viewpoint on a topic?


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Common features in writing systems

  • 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

  • See above critical content and additional critical content
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage with writing
  • English in the U.S. develops discourse that is deductive and linear: thesis/topic sentence, main idea, support, conclusion
  • Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences
  • Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas
  • Use comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was fascinating, enjoyable movie but not He wore an old [,] green shirt)
  • Spell correctly


Spanish language specific

  • Alphabets
  • Sound-symbol association
  • 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
  • Dieresis
  • Circular/Spiral
  • Spanish specific capitalization and punctuation
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style of speaking according to audience and purpose (TĂș vs. Usted)
  • Digression or tangential discourse patterns
  • 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 culture and regions
  • Compare language and writing traditions that reflect customs, regions and cultures
  • At grade appropriate level, write to reflect customs and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and communities, including personal experiences and references


English language specific

  • Credibility issue for interpreting (longer in Spanish)
  • Teach students with discourse pattern of American English explicitly along with subject area content
  • Skills and strategies according to proficiency level of student
    • Repeated reading
    • Pause for input
    • Provide Context visuals
  • Use sentence frames/starters


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
    • Compare and contrast opposing viewpoints of an argument
    • Choose an argument
    • Support the argument with textual evidence (“word for word” support) found in credible sources
  • Explanatory/Informational
    • Identify multiple, credible resources on a topic
    • Select relevant, supportive details about a topic
    • Include explicit textual evidence to strengthen analysis, reflection, and/or research
    • Identify and appropriately use academic vocabulary specific to the topic
    • Create additional focused questions that relate to the original topic and allow for further investigation
  • Narrative
    • Use the appropriate parts of plot when writing a story (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution)
    • Engage the reader by introducing the narrator (first, second or third person point of view), characters, setting (set the scene), and/or the event that starts the story in motion
    • Use descriptive words and phrases that appeal to the senses, capture the action, and help the reader understand the events an the experiences of the characters
    • Write a logical conclusion that reflects on the experiences/events and provides a sense of closure
  • Observe/Collect evidence of student’s use of the writing process
    • Pre-write/Brainstorm
    • Peer-peer and teacher-student conferences
    • Multiple peer and self-revisions
    • Peer edits


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 arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Write informational/explanatory texts that examine and convey ideas, concepts, and other information.
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.