Ontario Curriculum Synthesis

Language, Arts, and Math Curriculum as reference

HOW TO ACCESS MINISTRY DOCUMENTS

Ministry documents can be easily accessed through the website: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/, where you can click on elementary or secondary education and then click the link for curriculum. This will then take you to an option for grade or subject and you click the link that you are looking for. You can download the documents to your computer as PDF, or you can request a hard copy and it will be mailed to you. All curriculum documents are available to the public free of charge.

HOW ARE THE MINISTRY DOCUMENTS ORGANIZED?

  • Each document contains an Introduction, The Program, Processes, Assessment and Evaluation, Considerations for Program Planning, Curriculum Expectations for Grades 1 to 8, and a Glossary
  • Each document comes with a set of overall expectations that all teachers need to be achieving throughout the school term
  • Each document states the strands which lesson planning is based on
  • Within these strands, there are specific expectations to guide teachers
  • Each document ends with a glossary

KEY VOCABULARY TERMS

These are some key terms found in every curriculum subject:


Achievement Chart: The achievement chart is a standard province-wide guide to be used by teachers. It enables teachers to make judgements about student work that are based on clear performance standards and on a body of evidence collected over time


Achievement Levels: Are located on the Achievement Chart and identify 4 levels of achievement. Qualifiers for the achievement chart include: Level 1: limited; Level 2: some; Level 3: considerable; Level 4: high


Expectations: Understanding and demonstration of the skills and knowledge by the end of the grade


Overall Expectations: the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each grade


Specific expectations: describes the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail


Strands: Overarching themes that are looked at in each document for each grade and in each subject. For example the strands for Language are: Oral Communication, Reading, Writing, and Media Literacy. The strands for Arts are: Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts. The strands for Math are: Number Sense and Numeration, Measurement, Geometry and Spatial Sense, Patterning and Algebra, and Data Management and Probability.


Note: Every curriculum book comes with a glossary section at the back of the book to assist in any clarification for terms that arise specific to the particular subject.

HOW DO THESE DOCUMENTS GET MADE AND WHO MAKES THEM?

The Curriculum documents are made by the Ministry of Education, who design the documents to ensure that all students in publicly funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario achieve high levels of academic performance and who will acquire and enhance valuable skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/about/whoweare.html


In 2003, the Ministry formed a curriculum review that is ongoing. This does not mean that new curriculums are being made, rather, it means that all curriculums are reviewed and ensured that the curriculum is still “current and relevant and is developmentally appropriate from K-12 in all subjects” http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum


Organization chart of the Ministry of Education. The Learning and Curriculum branch is responsible for the Ontario Curriculum. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/edu_chart.pdf

KEY IDEAS CENTRAL TO THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS

Key ideas that are central to the design of the curriculum documents are providing teachers with an overview of what they can expect from their students at each grade level.

Giving teacher’s prompts for lesson planning with sample guiding questions and areas in which they can guide their lessons.

HOW IS TEACHERS' UNDERSTANDING OF STUDENT LEARNING EXPECTED TO BE COMMUNICATED?

Teachers communicate students' learning through report cards, meeting with parents, feedback from tests, quizzes, journals, and assignments. Collaborating with other teachers and regular feedback and communication with parents plays an essential role in the students' academic success.

HOW DO CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS EXPECT TEACHERS TO DESIGN INSTRUCTION SO THAT IT MEETS THE NEEDS OF EVERY LEARNER?

Teachers must always build their awareness of students’ learning needs by observing and assessing their readiness to learn, their interests, and their learning styles. As teachers develop and deepen their understanding of individual students, they can respond more effectively to the students’ needs by utilizing a variety of instructional approaches such as; adjusting the method instruction, and utilizing available resources. The teacher must be adaptable and flexible to accommodate the varied needs of the students.


Some students require an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). IEPs are developed to meet the requirements of each individual student. The Ontario Curriculum also has a section for planning programs for students with exceptionalities. The teacher determines which option for exceptionalities is best for the student. Each option has specific guidelines for the teacher to follow. The options are:


  • no accommodations or modifications; or
  • accommodations only; or
  • modified expectations with the possibility of accommodations

HOW IS STUDENT LEARNING IN ONTARIO ASSESSED AND EVALUATED?

Every curriculum subject has an achievement chart which teachers use to gather information on student achievement in the overall categories or areas of thinking. Below is a view of the math achievement chart which can be found on pages 22 and 23 in the Ontario Math Curriculum document. (link provided for the Ontario Math Curriculum) https://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/math18curr.pdf
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THE ONTARIO CURRICULUM: AN ESSENTIAL TOOL

The Ontario Curriculum is essential for the teacher to create lesson plans and learning goals. The teacher is then able to determine what lessons and activities work for the students and which ones do not, and then adjusts future activities accordingly.
Curriculum to Learning Goals