ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME

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1 ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME A reference for school administrators planning and scheduling reportable subjects in the Ontario curriculum.

2 GUIDING STATEMENT The purpose of this document is to provide a reference for school administrators as to the planning and scheduling of reportable subjects in the Ontario curriculum. This guide is intended to honour the integrity of educators commitment to purposeful and integrated educational practices. The next several pages will provide a graphic capturing the rudimentary elements of the key subjects, a list of considerations to support the ideals represented in the graphic, and samples that illustrate how a comprehensive timetable may be fashioned considering a balanced approach to integrated educational planning and decision-making. The principal s successful creation of a balanced timetable supports the whole child in that it allows for students to have a multitude of ways to demonstrate their learning. Asking school administrators to reconsider the ways that subjects and groups of subjects are prioritized within a timetable encourages a creative way to realize Ministry of Education expectations, the teacher s vision for subject integration, and the specific ways students can show what they have learned. A close monitoring of the allocated minutes permits administrators to accommodate for specific needs within the building and allows for student interest to be captured. SUPPORTING SUBJECT-SPECIFIC MINISTRY OF EDUCATION STATEMENTS Below are selected statements from various educational documents that reflect how a balanced timetable in school supports the priorities within the curriculum such as critical-thinking and problemsolving, individual choice in learning strategies, and suiting an individual s strengths and needs. Critical-literacy skills give students the tools they need to think more deeply about the texts they meet and the texts they create. They challenge the learner to look beyond the literal message, to read between the lines, to observe what is present and what is missing, and to reflect on the context and the way the author constructed the text to influence the reader. Critical literacy goes beyond conventional critical thinking, because it focuses on questions about fairness, equity, and social justice. (Literacy for Learning, Expert Panel Grades 4-6, p. 9) Mathematics is a fundamental human activity a way of making sense of the world. Children possess a natural curiosity and interest in mathematics, and come to school with an understanding of mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies that they have discovered through explorations of the world around them. (Ginsburg, 2002, Little children, big mathematics: Learning and teaching in the pre-school...from Teaching and Learning Mathematics, Expert panel Grades 4-6) The arts can play a key role in shaping students views about life and learning. Since the arts exist in a broad social and historical context, teachers can show students that all of the arts are affected by the values and choices of individuals, and in turn have a significant impact on society To support student learning, principals ensure that the Ontario curriculum is being properly implemented in all classrooms through the use of a variety of instructional approaches, and that appropriate time, facilities, and resources are made available for teachers to allow all students to participate in all four strands of the arts program. (Ministry of Education, The Arts, p.8) A school for the twenty-first century recognizes that, today and in the future, students need to be critically literate in order to synthesize information, make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and thrive in an ever-changing global community. It is important that students be connected to the curriculum, that they see themselves in what is taught, how it is taught, and how it applies to the world ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 2

3 at large. The curriculum recognizes that the needs of learners are diverse and helps all learners develop the knowledge, skills, and perspectives they need to become informed, productive, caring, responsible, and active citizens in their own communities and in the world. (Ministry of Education, Social Studies 1-6 & History and Geography, p.3) SUBJECT AREAS AND TIME ALLOCATIONS The illustration below includes each of the reportable subject areas and indicates the span of minutes that allow for a complete and yet integrated school timetable. Principals should be mindful that th e eventual goal is an integrated and flexible timetable that allows for subject connectedness and innovation resulting in a total of 1,500 instructional minutes each five-day cycle. ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 3

4 LIST OF CONSIDERATIONS/EXPECTATIONS The integration of subjects is essential to the successful implementation of curriculum in the elementary panel. The graphic on the previous page and the corresponding percentages provides a current and flexible method to assist in the expectation-based planning of the overall and specific Ministry expectations in schools. Below are several ideas that will assist administrators in crafting a balanced timetable that is intended to meet the needs of all students in a comprehensive and meaningful way. UNINTERRUPTED LITERACY & NUMERACY BLOCKS Literacy learning blocks are minutes in length and should reflect a comprehensive approach including modeled, shared, guided and independent instruction on a consistent basis. From grades 4 to 8, the 200 minutes of French can be considered part of instructional time towards fulfilling the Language standard number of minutes. Numeracy/Mathematics Blocks are to be no less than 300 minutes per five-day cycle. TIMETABLE GAP ANALYSIS Consideration of a Gap Analysis by school administrators allows for a more comprehensive approach. A Gap Analysis might include some of the following: Are the required blocks of time allocated to daily literacy and numeracy? Are the non-reportable subjects (e.g. Computers, Library) integrated into reportable subject areas? Are the arts not only taught as specific disciplines, but also integrated into other subjects to ensure full student engagement is achieved? Are the mandatory French Languages requirements being met and recorded in OSRs? Is the teacher-librarian involved meaningfully in supporting key subject concepts? How is Library preparation time being used to support specific subject content or big ideas? [Source: Many of the timetable materials above are from Thames Valley District School Board Time Allocation document.] CONSIDERATIONS OF TIMETABLING PREPARATION PERIODS Reduce the amount of energy that goes to computer preparation as our new vision for 21st Century Learning is to have the technology enhance student learning in the place where teacher and students are interacting. Number of minutes in a period (e.g., 30, 40, 50) As instructional leaders, principals embed direct involvement in instruction in their daily work through teamwork with all staff focused on improved school and classroom practices. As leaders who are committed to equity of outcome, they help to create inclusive and instructionally effective learning environments that increase the likelihood that all students will be successful learners. (The Ontario Leadership Framework 2012: A school and system leader s guide to putting Ontario s leadership framework into action, p.7) ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 4

5 Considerations for Literacy Integration of all literacy strands should occur in all subject areas. Content area resources should be used for teaching in various subjects (e.g. Analysis of nonfiction texts in Social Studies and History/Geography). Drama is encouraged to be used in the Literacy Block as a vehicle to introduce, scaffold and /or solidify important literacy concepts. Considerations for Mathematics Students should have a minimum of one scheduled math period each in a five-day cycle. In order to fulfill the required 300 minutes for each five-day cycle, other days will require at least one period more. It is encouraged that longer math periods provide for enhanced conceptual development and retention. Math occurring each day is preferable, but four days a week for longer periods is also beneficial. If timetabling occurs in which there is a grouping of subjects (Math, Science, etc.), increased flexibility will allow for a teacher s discretion during times where students show they are struggling with particular concepts. Considerations for Science and Technology and Social Studies, History and Geography The use of technology should be incorporated into content areas, making for more engaging, relevant and rich tasks. Key Literacy and Numeracy concepts should be taught in a comprehensive Science classroom. Social Studies and History/Geography should be given ample time to cover subject-specific content material, but integration into Literacy Blocks will allow for a more connected learning situation for students. Consideration for the Arts The Arts refers to four subjects: Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts. Timetables need to reflect that all four strands are being taught in the school year. 300 minutes allows for the following 50-minute periods (see templates at the end of this document for other timetabling scenarios): two 50-minute periods for Visual Arts, two 50-minute periods for Music, and one 50-minute period for Dance, one 50-minute period for Drama. (Source: Artseco instructional practice and time allocation document) Considerations for Health & Physical Education and DPA 30 per cent of instructional time should be allocated for Health Education. Incorporate Literacy and Numeracy skills into Physical Education and Health programs to allow for a more hands-on approach to these two main core subject areas. On the days that students do not have Physical Education, 20 minutes of DPA must be on the timetable. If the students have Dance, this is an appropriate way to incorporate another 20-minute block for DPA. [Source: Many of the notes above are extracted from text in timetabling materials of the District School Board of Niagara and Thames Valley District School Board.] ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 5

6 PRIMARY TIMETABLE SAMPLES Primary Timetable 1 Balanced Day; Three Instructional blocks of 100 minutes each MINUTES DAY ONE DAY TWO DAY THREE DAY FOUR DAY FIVE Daily Literacy Block addresses literacy-based curriculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science and Health, and integrates those subjects with Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts 60 min. Math Math Math Math Math 40 min. Science & Tech Social Studies Science & Tech Social Studies Sci.&Tech / Soc. St. (alter native cycles) 50 min. Phys Ed Arts Arts Literacy Arts 50 min. Literacy Arts FLEX Phys Ed FLEX Primary Timetable Traditional Day 150 minutes (am) and 150 minutes (pm) w. recess Daily Liter acy Block addresses liter acy-based cur r iculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science and Health, and integr ates those subjects with Dance, Dr ama, Music, and Visual Ar ts 50 min. Math Math Math Math Math Lunch Phys Ed 30 Arts 40 Social Studies 40 Social Studies 60 Arts 60 Arts 40 FLEX 30 Arts 60 FLEX 30 FLEX 40 Phys Ed 40 Phys Ed min. Science & Tech Literacy/Language Science & Tech Math Literacy/Language ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 6

7 JUNIOR TIMETABLE SAMPLES Junior Timetable 1 Balanced Day; Three instr uctional blocks of 100 minutes each MINUTES DAY ONE DAY TWO DAY THREE DAY FOUR DAY FIVE Daily Liter acy Block addresses liter acy-based cur r iculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science and Health, and integr ates those subjects with Dance, Dr ama, Music, and Visual Ar ts 60 min. Math Math Math Math Math 40 min. French French French French French 50 min. Science & Tech Phys Ed Arts Arts Social Studies 50 min. Arts Social Studies Arts Science & Tech Phys Ed Junior Timetable Tr aditional Day; 150 minutes (am) and 150 minutes (pm) w. recess Daily Liter acy Block addresses liter acy-based cur r iculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science and Health, and integr ates those subjects with Dance, Dr ama, Music, and Visual Ar ts 50 min. Math Math Math Math Math Arts 60 Lunch French 30 French 40 Arts 30 Arts 50 Phys Ed 40 Arts 30 Phys Ed 30 French 40 Arts 30 French 50 Phys Ed 30 French min. Science & Tech Social Studies Science & Tech Math Social Studies ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 7

8 INTERMEDIATE TIMETABLE SAMPLES Inter mediate Timetable 1 Balanced Day; Three instr uctional blocks of 100 minutes each MINUTES DAY ONE DAY TWO DAY THREE DAY FOUR DAY FIVE Daily Liter acy Block addresses liter acy-based cur r iculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science, Health and Guidance, and integr ates those subjects with Dance, Dr ama, Music, Visual Ar ts 60 min. Math Math Math Math Math 40 min. French French French French French 50 min. Science & Tech Phys Ed Arts Arts History or Geography 50 min. Arts History or Geography Arts Science & Tech Phys Ed Grade 7-8 Timetable Traditional Day; 150 minutes (am) and 150 minutes (pm) w. recess Daily Literacy Block addresses liter acy-based cur riculum expectations in Language, Social Studies, Science, Health and Guidance, and integrates those subjects with Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts 50 min. Math Social Studies Math Math Math Arts 60 Lunch French 30 French 40 Arts 30 Science & Tech 50 Phys Ed 40 Arts 30 Phys Ed 30 French 40 Arts 30 French 50 Phys Ed 30 French min. Science & Tech Math Arts Math Social Studies ELEMENTARY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE ALLOCATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME PAGE 8

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