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

  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating and writing to express opinions about authentic topics/texts clearly highlighting the topic and a preference or opinion (W K.1 & L K.1, K.2, K.4, K.5)
  • Use combinations of drawings, dictating and writing to create explanatory texts about authentic topics with a clear topic and related descriptive information. (W K.2 & L K.1, K.2, K.4, K.5)
  • Use combinations of drawings, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened. (W K.3 & L K.1, K.2, K.4, K.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
  • Determine one’s opinion or preference about a topic or book and use drawing and words to share the opinion with others
  • Use drawings and words to name and give information about a topic
  • Tell what happened first, next, and last
  • Demonstrate command of conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English
  • Recognize that some words have more than one meaning
  • With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings:
    • Sort common objects into categories
    • Identify real-life connections between words and their uses
    • Tell how similar verbs like walk, march, run have slightly different meanings
    • Use words to explain what the objects in categories have in common


Additional Critical Content

  • Answer questions about one’s writing
  • Listen to ideas the teachers and peers have about one’s writing
  • Add details that will help the reader understand one’s writing
  • Work with the teacher and others to learn about digital tools to produce and publish writing
  • Work with others to write about a researched topic
  • Retell something that happened with details
  • Discover new words and phrases through reading, listening, and conversation
  • Use new words and phrases when speaking and writing
  • Consult picture dictionaries or word banks to find the meaning of words


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 one know if a resource is reliable or credible?
  • How do I organize my paper in a logical, organized manner?
  • What is the writing process? How do I know I have a finished product?
  • Why do conventions matter?
  • How does word choice improve my writing?
  • When a word doesn’t make sense, what can one do?
  • How does one use what one knows to figure out words one does not know how to spell?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does the task, purpose, and the audience affect the choice the writer makes?
  • What makes a complete sentence?
  • How can one communicate one’s ideas in pictures, words and sentences?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • What makes a story “great”?
  • What is the difference between an idea and a sentence? (sentence is a complete idea)


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Common features of the writing system

  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Visual Sequencing
  • Spacing
  • Directional organization
  • Focus
  • Logograph (e.g., &, $, ¢, +, =, -, @)


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

  • Capitalize the pronoun I
  • Sound out short words and spell them phonetically
  • Understand different versions of the same word such as look, looks, looking, and looked
  • Identify the differences between many upper- and lowercase letters
  • Use and add an -s or -es to a word to describe when there is more than one
  • Use noun and verbs
  • Ask questions using the words who, what, where, why, when, and how
  • Use prepositions and positional words
  • Verbally produce sentences with others
  • Capitalize the first word in a sentence
  • Use and identify punctuation marks at the end of a sentence
  • Write many letters and know their sounds


Spanish language specific

  • Discourse pattern: Romance languages is development by digression
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style of speaking according to audience and purpose (Tú vs. Usted)
  • Respect, honor and teach dialectical differences within culture and regions
  • Word order
  • Sound symbol association
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Alphabet
  • Visual memory
  • Visual discrimination
  • Spanish specific capitalization and punctuation
  • Verb tenses
  • Agreement of number, gender and case
  • Use “tú” vs. Usted
  • Dieresis
  • Accents
  • Tildes


English language development

  • Linear deductive discourse pattern
  • Visual support-context using pictures
  • Language scaffolding
  • Use home languages to support English language development
  • Build upon background knowledge
  • Cross-linguistic transfer for reading and instruction
    • Concept of the letters, sounds, syllables, words, sentences
  • Meta-linguistic Awareness


Russian language specific

  • Discourse Pattern: Situational, always changes
  • Form Regular plural nouns by changing the ending.
  • Word order
  • Russian specific capitalization and punctuation (Proper nouns, etc.)
  • Cyrillic alphabet
  • Umlaut
  • Accents
  • Distinguish between formal and informal style speaking according to audience and purpose. (Pronoun-verb usage)


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 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
    • Make an on topic, real-life connection to words heard and read
    • 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
  • Use drawings, dictating or writing to share opinion or preference about a topic or book
  • Use drawings, dictating or writing to name and give information about a topic
  • Create drawings, dictating or writing to show what happened in one’s story
  • Use 6 + 1 writing rubric