Teaching Terminology and Strategies Referenced in the Lessons

  • Accommodations
    Special teaching and assessment strategies, human supports, and/or individualized equipment required to enable a student to learn and to demonstrate learning. The provincial curriculum expectations for the grade are not altered for a student receiving accommodations.
  • Assessment
    The process of gathering, from a variety of sources, information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course.

    Assessment for Learning: is designed to give teachers information to modify and differentiate teaching and learning activities based on the understanding that students learn in different ways. Teachers can use assessment for learning to streamline and target instruction and resources, and to provide feedback to students to help them advance their learning.

    Assessment as Learning: a process of developing and supporting metacognition by focusing on the role of the students as the critical connector between assessment and learning. It requires that teachers help students develop, practices, and become comfortable with reflection, and with a critical analysis of their own learning.

    Assessment of Learning: is summative in nature and is used to confirm what students know and can do, to demonstrate whether they have achieved curricular outcomes, and occasionally, to show how they are placed in relation to others.

  • Big Ideas
    Declarative statements that describe concepts that transcend grade levels. Big Ideas are essential to provide focus on specific content for all students.
  • Cooperative Learning
    Instructional techniques that require positive interdependence between learners in order for learning to occur. Students must work in groups to capitalize on each other’s resources and skills in order to complete tasks collectively. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds.
  • Differentiated Instruction
    Instruction differentiated to suit the needs and learning styles of students in any class. Teachers need to make appropriate choices to suit the students they teach and the activities they have planned. The domains of differentiation include content, process, product and environment. See Learning for All: A Guide to effective Assessment and Instruction for All Students, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (pages 16 to 20), Reach Every Student through Differentiated Instruction (available in PDF at
  • Elements of Design
    Fundamental components of art works such as colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value.
  • Gallery Walk
    Instructional technique in which students rotate around the classroom looking at work, composing answers to questions, and reflecting on and reacting to the answers given by other groups. The technique is used to encourage active engagement by students in synthesizing important concepts, building consensus, writing, and speaking.
  • Hot Seating
    A drama convention in which students allow themselves to be questioned by the rest of the group. The questioners may speak as themselves or in role. (2009 Ontario Arts Curriculum.) See also
  • IEP
    A written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student. It identifies learning expectations that are modified from or alternative to the expectations given in the curriculum policy document for the appropriate grade and subject or course, and/or any accommodations and special education services needed to assist the student in achieving his or her learning expectations. Please see for more information.
  • Learning Goals
    Brief statements that describe for a student what he or she should know and be able to do by the end of a period of instruction (e.g., a lesson, series of lessons, or subtask). The goals represent subsets or clusters of knowledge and skills that the student must master to successfully achieve the overall curriculum expectations.
  • Learning Styles
    Different ways of learning. For instance, visual learners need to see visual representations of concepts. Auditory learners learn best through verbal instructions and discussions, by talking things through, and by listening to what others have to say. Tactile (kinaesthetic) learners learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them.
  • Modifications
    Changes made to the age-appropriate grade-level expectations for a subject or course in order to meet a student’s learning needs. For students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), these changes could include: expectations from a different grade level; significant change (increase or decrease) in the number and/or complexity of the learning expectations; and measurable and observable performance tasks. At the secondary level, a credit may or may not be granted for a course, depending on the extent to which the expectations in the course have been modified. Grade-level expectations may also be modified to support the needs of English language learners. At the secondary level, when modifications are made to support English language learning needs, the principal works collaboratively with the classroom teacher to determine the integrity of the credit.
  • Placemat Strategy
    The Placemat Activity strategy provides an opportunity for each student in a group to record individual responses and ideas regarding an issue, topic or question for consideration. The strategy can be used to brainstorm ideas, record researched information or analyze documents. Individual responses are shared with the group. After sharing and discussion, the group records agreed-upon responses in the centre of the placemat.
  • Principles of Design
    Generally accepted ideas about the qualities that contribute to the effectiveness of an artwork that are used as guidelines in composing an image and analyzing how viewers are likely to perceive it. The qualities include but are not limited to the following: balance, emphasis, harmony, movement, pro -portion, rhythm, unity, variety.
  • Read-Aloud
    In read-aloud(s) the teacher reads to the whole class or to a small group, using material that is at the listening comprehension level of the children. The content may focus on a topic related to a curriculum expectation in another subject area, such as mathematics, science, or social studies. Reading aloud to children helps them to develop a love of good literature, motivation to pursue reading on their own, and familiarity with a variety of genres, including non-fiction. It provides them with new vocabulary, exposes them to a variety of literature, and contributes to their oral and written language development. Reading aloud should occur every day in the early stage of reading instruction to stimulate the children’s interest in books and reading.

    Early Reading Strategy: The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario, 2003 (page 24) at

  • Simulation
    Under test conditions, reproducing phenomena likely to occur in actual situations; assuming the characteristics of something by imitating its symptoms.
  • Success Criteria
    Standards or specific descriptions of successful attainment of learning goals developed by teachers on the basis of criteria in the achievement chart, and discussed and agreed upon in collaboration with students, that are used to determine to what degree a learning goal has been achieved. Criteria describe what success “looks like”, and allow the teacher and student together information about the quality of student learning.
  • Tiered Approach
    A systematic, sequential instructional approach that uses specific instructional interventions of increasing intensity to address students’ needs. It can be used to address either the academic or the behavioural needs of students who are having difficulty.
  • Universal Design
    The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
  • Universal Design for Learning
    A teaching approach that focuses on using teaching strategies or pedagogical materials designed to meet special needs to enhance learning for all students, regardless of age, skills, or situation.