Administrative Procedure 202: School Day and Subject Time Elementary

Legal References:

Education Act: Section 170 Duties and Powers of Boards; Section 265 Duties of Principal; Section 286 Duties of Supervisory Officers, Ontario Regulation 298 - Operation of Schools: Section 11 Duties of Principals; Section 20 Duties of Teachers; PPM 138 DPA in Elementary Schools, Grades 1-8 (Oct. 6, 2005); PPM 160 Protected Time for Daily Mathematics Instruction, Grades 1 - 8 (September 19, 2016); Ontario Schools Policy and Program Requirements, 2016.


Related References:

AP 200 Organization for Instruction; AP 201 School Day, Organization of; Ministry of Education: Guides to Effective Instruction in Mathematics K-3 and 4-6; Guides to Effective Instruction in Reading K-3 and Writing K-3 (2005) A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Grades 4-6 (2006); The Ontario Curriculum: French As a Second Language: Core French, 4-8, The Ontario Curriculum: French as a Second Language, Extended French, Grades 4 – 8, French Immersion Grades 1 – 8 (2013); Ontario Schools Policy and Program Requirements, (2016), The Kindergarten Program, (2016).


1. Organization of the School Day

The Director of Education has developed this administrative procedure which is intended to provide guidance for elementary school principals in organizing the school day; in timetabling classes; and in assigning certain duties to teachers, in consultation with the School Staff Advisory Committee.


2. Legislative Requirements

2.1 The total number of instructional minutes for pupils shall be 300 minutes per day.

2.2 Policy and program requirements for elementary school Core French programs dictate that students entering Grade 4 must receive French instruction in every year from Grade 4 through Grade 8, and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. Once an instructional sequence has begun, the program must continue uninterrupted to Grade 8. (Ontario Curriculum French as a Second Language: Core French Grades 4-8 Extended French Grades 4-8, French Immersion Grades 1- 8, 2013).

2.3 Policy and program requirements for elementary school French Immersion programs dictate that students in French Immersion programs must be provided with a minimum of 3800 hours of instruction by the end of Grade 8. ((Ontario Curriculum French as a Second Language: Core French Grades 4-8 Extended French Grades 4-8, French Immersion Grades 1- 8, 2013).

2.4 Policy and program requirements for elementary Daily Physical Activity (DPA) require that all students, including students with special education needs, must be provided with a minimum of 20 minutes per day of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity each day during instructional time. (Ontario Schools Policy and Program Requirements, 2016).


3. Balanced School Day

3.1 The balanced school day format offers a variation on scheduling. The school day will consist of 300 instructional minutes, with consideration as follows:
    1. Three 100 minute blocks of instructional time (with some variation);
    2. Larger blocks of time for literacy and numeracy; and Play-Based and Inquiry Learning in Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten programs;
    3. Two 40 minute nutrition and activity breaks: 20 minutes nutrition, 20 minutes activity (with some variation);
    4. Opening Exercises may be held during the first nutrition break to avoid loss of instructional time.
3.2 Schools with a 7-12 model offer a variety of timetables/school day organizations.


4. Scheduling

Timetables should be kept flexible with as few interruptions as possible to maximize student learning and minimize transitions. It is expected that every effort be made to integrate all curriculum expectations where there are natural connections and relevant teaching opportunities among subjects in order to best maximize instructional time.

4.1 A five (5) day schedule assists with the allocation of preparation time for teachers.

4.2 Timetables in all divisions should provide large, uninterrupted blocks of time for language and mathematics instruction (see Appendix 1). It is a requirement that all timetables be typed and stored electronically at the school from year to year. It is a requirement that a school’s completed set of timetables be submitted to the Regional Superintendent.

4.3 Kindergarten (JK/SK)

4.3.1 All Four Frames of Kindergarten programming should be addressed and integrated throughout the day as appropriate, including within scheduled times for Inquiry Play-Based Learning.
4.3.2 Consideration should be given to minimize transitions in Full-Day Kindergarten programs.
4.3.3 Consideration should be given for the amount of time dedicated to teacher- directed instruction, to ensure that the length is developmentally appropriate, allowing for complements of small group and individual instruction.

4.4 Grades 1 to 8 – Literacy and Numeracy

4.4.1 Quality Comprehensive Literacy programming requires uninterrupted blocks. The following Comprehensive Literacy components are to be reflected in the literacy block:
      1. Reading: Read Aloud/Modeled, Shared, Guided and Independent Reading, Word Knowledge/Study
      2. Writing: Modeled, Shared/Interactive, Guided and Independent Writing, Word Knowledge/Study
      3. Oral Language and Media Literacy skills are to be explicitly taught and embedded throughout literacy instructional time and other subject areas.
4.4.2 When scheduling literacy blocks:
      1. Large blocks of uninterrupted literacy instruction time is the preference
      2. Teacher preparation time should ideally be scheduled outside of the literacy and numeracy learning blocks.
      3. Individual teacher timetables need to reflect the block times assigned to the grade or division (see Appendix 1 for Grades 1-8).
      4. Large blocks of instructional time should be protected through an effort to reduce interruptions (e.g., announcements, use of PA systems, etc.).
      5. Large blocks of instructional time should ideally not be interrupted by periods of single subject instructional time (e.g., French, Music, Physical Education, etc.)
4.4.3 The number of teachers assigned to teach any one class should be minimized, especially in core areas (Language and Math).

4.4.4 PPM 160 states that School boards are expected to protect a block of time during every school day for teachers in Grades 1 to 8 to focus on effective mathematics instruction that supports students in achieving the expectations set out in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 to 8: Mathematics. At least 300 minutes per five-day cycle will be allocated to Mathematics. This is preferably in daily blocks of sixty minutes, with a minimum of forty minutes per block. Mathematics should continue to be integrated into a variety of subject areas.

Mathematics instruction should include a variety of mathematical tasks, including:
      1. Problem solving for instruction balanced with application problems (e.g., three part lesson, contextual math problems, etc.)
      2. Frequent math prompts for discussion of key ideas (e.g., number talks, open answer tasks, etc.)
      3. A variety of effective practice tasks (e.g., games, daily oral/mental math, etc.)
      4. Small group intervention (guided math)
4.5 French (Core and Immersion)

4.5.1 French as a Second Language Core French instruction must be scheduled to average a minimum of 200 minutes per five (5) day schedule in order to meet the legislative requirements.

4.5.2 French as a Second Language French Immersion instruction must be scheduled to average a minimum of 800 minutes per five (5) day schedule in order to meet the legislative requirements.

4.5.3 When determining the number of French instructional minutes, transitional time for students to travel to French class must not be counted towards French instructional minute totals.

4.6 Daily Physical Activity (DPA)

4.6.1 Daily physical activity may be incorporated into the instructional day in a variety of ways. For instance, integrating physical activity across various curriculum areas in individual blocks of five, ten, or fifteen minutes of moderate to vigorous activity would be an effective way of meeting the total minimum daily requirement of twenty minutes, and also of creating a culture of physical activity in the school. Twenty minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity during a scheduled health and physical education class would also meet the daily physical activity requirement. Since physical activity is only one component of a comprehensive health and physical education program, there will be days when a health and physical education class does not include at least twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. On these days and on the days when no health and physical education class is scheduled, other opportunities for accumulating at least twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity during the instructional day must be provided. Integrating physical activity into other curriculum areas is one appropriate strategy. PPM 138 DPA in Elementary Schools, Grades 1-8 (Oct. 5, 2017).
 
4.6.2 All activities must be adapted, as appropriate, to ensure that all students, including students with special education needs, can participate in them. Such adaptations must be consistent with the accommodations and/or modifications outlined in a student’s Individual Education Plan. PPM 138 DPA in Elementary Schools, Grades 1-8 (Oct. 5, 2017).

5. Reference Documents

The following documents are intended to assist principals and teachers with timetables:
  1. Appendix A - Required Minutes per Week
  2. Support Documents for Appendix A:
    a. A Guide to Effective Instruction in Reading, K-3, 2003.

    1. 13.13 for Kindergarten
    2. 13.14 for Grades 1-3
b. A Guide to Effective Instruction in Writing, K-3, 2005.
c. A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Grades 4-6, Vol. 1, Foundations of Literacy Instruction for the Junior Learner, (2006) pages 89-91.
d. A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Grades 4-6, Vol. 3, Planning and Classroom Management, pages 46-49.
e. A Guide to Effective Instruction in Math.
f. Literacy for Learning: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario, page 29.
g. The Ontario Curriculum French As a Second Language: Core French, 4-8,(2013).
h. The Ontario Curriculum: French as a Second Language: Extended French, Grades 4-8, French Immersion, Grades 1 – 8, (2013).
i. The Kindergarten Program, (2016).
j. Policy/Program Memorandum No.138; Daily Physical Education in Elementary Schools, Grades 1-8
 
Appendix A - Minimum Minutes Each Week (SUGGESTED)

Notes:
It is important to note that mathematics, literacy, and other subject areas should be effectively integrated to help account for minimum minutes. This may also allow for a more flexible timetable.

For example:
  1. Data Management expectations can be discussed in conjunction with data analysis in science or geography
  2. Writing activities in history/social studies allow application and discussion of conventions and traits of writing
  3. Non-fiction reading in a variety of subject areas, such as health, social studies, history
  4. Drama integrated into the Literacy block
These examples are neither exclusive nor exhaustive.
 
Revised November 2021