Ministry of Education

Information about the Curriculum Documents

Who is this for?

The Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum is constantly changing to meet the challenges of an increasing diverse and multicultural society. Furthermore, ways of accessing information through traditional hard copies are changing to a free access of information through the internet. Therefore, it's not only teachers and school staff that have access to the curriculum, but parents, students and local communities. This newsletter will help you navigate through an in depth and comprehension elementary curriculum.

How to access the Ministry Curriculum Documents

1. Online Access - available to download in pdf

2. Hard copies - delivered to your home for free

Enter the number codes of the following publication numbers for The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8

  • Language Arts – 007702
  • Mathematics – 007511
  • Health and Physical Education – 232277
  • Social Studies – 007333
  • The Arts – 231998
  • Science and Technology – 231579
  • The Kindergarten Program – 007687

How the Ministry documents are organized

Each subject has a similar layout and is divided into sections which will help you navigate the required curriculum from Grades 1-8.

Introduction will explain why each subject is important, the underlying principles of it and the roles and responsibilities of the students, teachers, parents and principals

The Program of Each Subject contains the curriculum expectations and the different strands of the subject.

Assessment and Evaluation of Student Achievement has the the Achievement Chart of the subject and basic considerations of what to look for when assessing the students

Some Considerations for Program Planning will give advice on different teaching approaches, cross - curricular and integrated learning, anti-discrimination, English language learners, health and safety and other points of interest.

Curriculum Expectations for Grades 1-8 is split into the different grades and has the criteria of each one.

If you want a more in-depth view, watch this video describing the curriculum in detail.

Click on The Ontario Curriculum (the top mp4 link)

How these documents get made and who makes them

The Ministry of Education is responsible for creating the curriculum and the documents that accompany them. The school boards and school are responsible for the implementation of the curriculum. The Ministry of Education reviews each subject on a regular basis 'to ensure that the curriculum remains current, relevant, and developmentally-appropriate for kindergarten to Grade 12'.

For more information on the review process, visit this link and look under the frequently asked questions.

Key Vocabulary Terms

Strands - the broad areas of the subject that are consistent from Grades 1-8.

Overall Expectations - describe in general terms the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate by the end of the each grade

Specific Expectations - describe the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail

How overall and specific expectations, and fundamental concepts should drive lesson design

The overall and specific expectations combined with fundamental concepts are what make the curriculum. The curriculum documents give examples of possible ideas for lesson plans with possible questions for students and their responses.

For example: In grade 2 social studies, they identify and describe different types of families. This specific expectation is under the overall expectation of 'Understanding Context' which is about interrelationships and their significance. The teacher can start the lesson with a storybook about a family. Afterwards, students talk about their families and they should notice that their classmates' response are different from their own (e.g. same sex parents, divorced parents, single parent, and blended families). Further lessons can include students drawing, writing, giving a presentation about their families. By the end of the lesson, students should learn that families come in all shapes and sizes, and not everyone is the same.

How students' learning in Ontario is assessed and evaluated

There are many methods for assessing a student's performance. Teachers will collect evidence through "conversations, observation, and student products (tests, assignments for evaluation)' (Social Studies, pg 29).

Teachers use achievement charts to evaluate the student's learning achievement. There are four categories that are the same for each subject.

  • Knowledge and Understanding - Subject- specific content acquired in each grade (knowledge) and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding).
  • Thinking - The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes.
  • Communication - The conveying of meaning through various forms.
  • Application - The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts.

(Social Studies, pg 31)

There are four levels of achievement which a student will be assessed against.

Level 1 - Student is performing well below provincial standards

Level 2 - Student is close to provincial standards, but needs improvement

Level 3 - Student is meeting provincial standards

Level 4 - Student is exceeding provincial standards

This achievement chart is the bases for giving verbal feedback to the students or written feedback as a report card. A parent will see how his/her child in relation to the provincial standards: "progressing very well", "progressing well", or "progressing with difficulty".

Different instructional approaches to meet the needs of every learner

The Ontario curriculum takes into consideration all types of learners and tries to be as inclusive as possible. Not every student learns the same way, so teachers have to have different instructions to reach every student. Furthermore, some students might need more accommodation than others that has to be addressed as well.

There are many different ways of approaching instructional teaching. Teachers can adjust 'the method or pace of instruction, use different types of resources, allow a wider choice of topics, or adjust the learning environment'.

For example: In Social Studies, it states students should discover and learn on their own, instead of learning what others have learned. Teachers have to expose the students to current events and issues, and use them to connect to past events in local, national, and global developments and issues. Another important teaching approach is field study. Students gain invaluable hands-on experience when they are outside the classroom.

Teaching to a diverse classroom

Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, so it is only to be expected that schools teach students about the diverse country and world they live in, especially in Social Studies.

Some approaches are:

  • giving students a variety of opportunities to learn about diversity and diverse perspectives such as women, the perspectives of various ethnocultural, religious and racial communities and the beliefs and practices of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.

  • differentiating instruction and assessment strategies to take into account the background and experiences, as well as the interests, aptitudes and learning needs.

  • having interactions between the school and the community reflect the diversity of both the local community and the broader society.

  • valuing inclusiveness as an element of the vision statement of the social studies, history, geography and Canadian and world studies program

(Social Studies, pg 45)