Ontario Elementary Grade 4 The Arts Curriculum

The Grade 4 expectations in the arts curriculum are organized into four strands – Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts.


• body: symmetry versus asymmetry, organic versus geometric shape, angular versus curved shape, gesture, body zones (e.g., cross-lateral [left arm and right leg])
• space: positive versus negative space, pathways (e.g., in air, on floor)
• time: tempo (e.g., increasing and decreasing speeds), rhythm (e.g., steady, irregular, erratic), pause, stillness, with music, without music, duration
• energy: effort, force, quality (e.g., punch, thrust, float, collapse, wiggle, explode, vibrate)
• relationship: meet/part, follow/lead, groupings


• role/character: adopting a role and maintaining focus in role; communicating character traits and character choices through body language/movement and gestures; sustaining belief in character (e.g., using the first-person point of view while speaking); varying voice (e.g., diction, pace, volume, projection, enunciation)
• relationship: developing and analysing relationships between and among characters in a drama
• time and place: establishing a clear setting; sustaining belief in the setting
• tension: identifying factors that contribute to tension or mystery in a drama
• focus and emphasis: identifying the central theme and/or problem in a drama; drawing audience attention to specific aspects of the drama


• duration: syncopation using an eighth note followed by a quarter note and an eighth note (oral prompts:
“ti-ta-ti” or “syn-co-pa”); sustaining a note or rest for longer than its value (pause or fermata)
• pitch: melody maps, five-line staff, absolute pitch names in treble clef (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), major and minor
tonality, major scale (written with notes or numbers), intervals (unison, step, skip, leap), key signatures
in the music they perform (e.g., no sharps or flats, one sharp, one flat), accidentals (sharp, flat, natural)
• dynamics and other expressive controls: changes in volume encountered in music listened to, sung,
and played (e.g., sforzando [sfz]); articulation (e.g., phrase markings)
• timbre: homogeneous sound of ensemble instruments (e.g., individual instruments of the orchestra
or other performing ensemble)
• texture/harmony: canon, simple two-part piece (simple polyphony)
• form: verse and chorus; piece with an introduction and/or a coda; simple repeats



Students will develop understanding of all elements of design.
• line: lines to indicate emotion (e.g., smooth, horizontal lines can give a feeling of peace and harmony); contour lines (e.g., edges of objects); lines of various weights; repetition of lines to create visual rhythm
• shape and form: free-standing forms “in the round” (e.g., Henry Moore’s figurative work) and “bas relief sculpture” (e.g., masks); shapes organized in a pattern showing radial symmetry and/or in a mosaic; changes in shapes, depending on the angle or point of view (e.g., view from the top, side, bottom); positive and negative shapes (e.g., closed curve with shape inside and outside); grouping of shapes; abstract shapes and forms
• space: positive and negative space in art work; diminishing perspective in various contexts (e.g., in vertical placement, in diminishing size, and/or in overlapping shapes); variation in size to create the illusion of depth
• colour: monochromatic colour scheme; colour emphasis through variations in intensity (e.g., subdued colours next to bright, intense colours); advancing colour
• texture: texture elaboration (e.g., embossing, piercing, pinching, pressing, scoring, scraping); texture quality (e.g., matte, sheen); low relief in collographs
• value: mixing of shades; variations in value to create emphasis (contrast in value)

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 4 will be on emphasis.
• emphasis: use of colour intensity, contrast in value, placement and size of shapes, and/or weight of line to create a particular focal point

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