Ontario Elementary Grade 1 The Arts Curriculum

The Grade 1 expectations in the arts curriculum are organized into four strands – Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts.


• body: body awareness (e.g., awareness of where one is in space in relation to objects in class, awareness of position), use of body zones (e.g., whole body [versus various body parts], upper body only, lower (body only), use of body parts (e.g., arms, legs, head), body shapes (e.g., big, small, angular, twisted, curved, straight, closed), locomotor movements (e.g., galloping, skipping, rolling), non-locomotor movements (e.g., arm movements such as swimming/waving, hopping on one foot, jumping on two feet, kicking, bending knees, melting to the ground, stretching, growing, spinning, folding, bowing), body bases (e.g., feet as body base, hands and knees as body base)
• space: levels (e.g., low to high by reaching; high to low by falling, crouching), directions (e.g., forwards, backwards, sideways), general and personal
• time: tempo (e.g., fast/slow, movement versus freeze), rhythm (e.g., even, uneven)
• energy: quality (e.g., melting, twitching, slumping, percussive, sustained [as in a held stretch])
• relationship: with a partner (e.g., slow-motion mirroring)


• role/character: adopting the attitude, voice, or emotional state of a fictional character
• relationship: listening and responding in role to other characters in role
• time and place: pretending to be in the established setting of the drama
• tension: being aware of a sense of mystery or of a problem to be solved
• focus and emphasis: being aware of the main idea or issue in the drama


• duration: fast and slow tempi; rhythm versus beat; two and four beats per bar ( and metres); quarter note (oral prompt: “ta”), eighth note(s) (oral prompt: “ti-ti”), quarter rest; simple rhythmic ostinato (e.g., “ta, ta, ti-ti, ta”)
• pitch: high and low sounds; unison; melodic contour; simple melodic patterns using the notes “mi”, “so”, and “la” (e.g., the “so–mi–la–so–mi” pitch pattern in some children’s songs)
• dynamics and other expressive controls: loud, soft; a strong sound for a note or beat (accent); smooth and detached articulation
• timbre: vocal quality (e.g., speaking voice, singing voice), body percussion, sound quality of instruments (e.g., non-pitched and pitched percussion), environmental and found sounds
• texture/harmony: single melodic line in unison (monophony)
• form: phrase, call and response



Students will develop understanding of all elements of design.

• line: jagged, curved, broken, dashed, spiral, straight, wavy, zigzag lines; lines in art and everyday objects (natural and human-made)
• shape and form: geometric and organic shapes and forms of familiar objects (e.g., geometric: circles, blocks; organic: clouds, flowers)
• space: depiction of objects in the distance as smaller and closer to the top of the art paper; shapes and lines closer together or farther apart; horizon line; spaces through, inside, and around shapes or objects
• colour: mixing of primary colours (red, yellow, blue); identification of warm (e.g., red, orange) and cool (e.g., blue, green) colours
• texture: textures of familiar objects (e.g., fuzzy, prickly, bumpy, smooth); changes in texture; a pattern of lines to show texture (e.g., the texture of a snake’s skin); transfer of texture (e.g., placing a piece of paper over a textured surface and then rubbing the paper with wax crayon)
• value: light, dark


Students will develop understanding of all principles of design (that is, contrast, repetition and rhythm, variety, emphasis, proportion, balance, unity and harmony, and movement), but the focus in Grade 1 will be on contrast.

• contrast: light/dark; large/small; pure/mixed colour

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