Course Outline: OLC4O

The following document is the course outline for the OLC4O course offered by Christian Virtual School. It contains the course description, unit outline, teaching & learning strategies, and the curriculum expectations addressed. This outline can also be viewed as a PDF using the download link provided.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course, Grade 12, Open

Course Code: OLC4O

Grade: 12 

Course Type: Open

Credit Value: 1.0 

Eligibility Requirement: Students who have been eligible to write the OSSLT at least twice and who have been unsuccessful at least once are eligible to take the course.

Curriculum Document: The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course

Developed By: Jenna Drennan

Department: English

Development Date: May 2022

Most Recent Revision Date: May 2022


Lidia graduated from McMaster University in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History.  After graduating, Lidia began teaching high school English and ESL at a private school in Mississauga, which catapulted her to teach at other high schools along with a brief tenure teaching English / ESL at Seneca College.   

 As an educator, Lidia is tempered with compassion, wisdom and social justice. Her goal is to offer her online students the very best education as they are the focus of education.  With 25 years of teaching experience, Lidia embeds strong virtues, differentiated instruction, and critical thinking skills for her 21st century global virtual students.    

 Lidia is very excited to join the extraordinary team of elite teachers at CVS. Her many years of teaching grade 9 is a true asset to the grade 8 students as she can guide them with their current courses while seamlessly preparing them for their transition into grade 9.  

 Outside of teaching, Lidia really enjoys reading while sipping coffee, and taking long walks with her family while talking about ideas.   

 Lidia began her teaching career with the pursuit of encouraging each and every one of her students to envision a world where they can create the miraculous.  So, let’s begin by beginning as Ray Bradbury so eloquently stated in his brilliant novel, Fahrenheit 451. 

Course Description:

This course is designed to help students acquire and demonstrate the cross-curricular literacy skills that are evaluated by the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Students who complete the course successfully will meet the provincial literacy requirement for graduation. Students will read a variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts and will produce a variety of forms of writing, including summaries, information paragraphs, opinion pieces, and news reports. Students will also maintain and manage a portfolio containing a record of their reading experiences and samples of their writing.

Students will make connections between their faith and their literacy skills. Students will have an opportunity to reflect on the different types of texts in the Bible and the importance of demonstrating their Christian values in their writing. Students are encouraged to rely on Jesus’ teachings as they overcome challenges and to appreciate their God-given gifts and skills.

Overall Curriculum Expectations

Building Reading Skills

  1. Demonstrate the ability to read and respond to a variety of texts.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the organizational structure and features of a variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts, including information paragraphs, opinion pieces, textbooks, newspaper reports and magazine stories, and short fiction.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the content and meaning of informational, narrative, and graphic texts that they have read using a variety of reading
  4. Use a variety of strategies to understand unfamiliar and specialized words and expressions in informational, narrative, and graphic texts. strategies.

              Building Writing Skills

              1. Demonstrate the ability to use the writing process by generating and organizing ideas and producing first drafts, revised drafts, and final polished pieces to complete a variety of writing tasks.
              2. Use knowledge of writing forms, and of the connections between form, audience, and purpose, to write summaries, information paragraphs, opinion pieces (i.e., series of paragraphs expressing an opinion), news reports, and personal reflections, incorporating graphic elements where necessary and appropriate.

                          Resources Required:

                          This course is entirely online and does not require nor rely on any textbook. The materials required for the course are:

                          • A scanner, smart phone camera, or similar device to upload handwritten or hand-drawn work
                          • A digital video camera, a web camera, or similar device to record and upload video recordings
                          • A computer microphone, smart phone microphone, or similar device to record and upload audio recordings

                          Teaching and Learning Strategies:

                          As in other courses, teachers will use their professional judgement to decide which instructional methods will be most effective in promoting the learning of core knowledge and skills described in the expectations. However, because students in this course will have significant gaps in their literacy skills, direct instruction, support, and practice are necessary for student success.

                          No single instructional approach can address all the curriculum expectations or meet all the needs of each learner. Teachers should therefore select instructional strategies and classroom activities that are based on an assessment of students’ needs, proven learning theory, and best practices. In this course, teachers should introduce a rich variety of activities that integrate reading and writing expectations and provide for the explicit teaching of knowledge and skills.

                          The ability to work both independently and collaboratively is important for success in the workplace and postsecondary education and is equally relevant in the context of family and community. It is therefore important for students to have opportunities to develop their language skills and knowledge in a variety of ways: individually and cooperatively; independently and with teacher direction; and through the study of examples followed by practice. Students must be able to demonstrate that they have acquired the specified knowledge and skills.

                          Students taking this course may be doubtful that they can acquire the literacy skills they need to function effectively at school, at work, and in other everyday contexts. In seeking to meet the needs of these students, teachers should try to create a positive classroom environment that gives students the confidence to take risks as they learn and that continually encourages them to persist and improve. To help students build confidence and to promote learning, teachers should use the approach of grouping students for purposes of instruction and support. Groupings should be flexible and should change as students’ literacy skills improve. Students may be grouped in a variety of ways, including the following:

                          • by instructional need (e.g., group students who need to practise a specific reading or writing strategy);
                          • by ability to read texts at a comparable level of challenge (e.g., select texts on the same topic but at different levels of difficulty, and group students to read the texts that are appropriate to their skills);
                          • by shared interest in particular topics or issues (e.g., group students to generate ideas as a team before they write on a topic of shared interest);
                          • for purposes of effective collaboration (e.g., group students who can provide support for one another as they learn).

                          An important way to build reading and writing skills is to recognize and build on the strengths in oral language, in English or a first language, that many students bring to the course. When students discuss their prior knowledge of a topic or type of text before they read, they build a foundation for understanding that gives them the confidence to read a variety of texts. Similarly, the quality of students’ writing improves and they become more competent as writers when they talk about their ideas at all stages of the writing process (e.g., discuss writing topics before they write; read and share their works in progress; offer suggestions to other writers for revision and editing).

                          Oral language experiences in large and small groups also provide opportunities for students to clarify their thinking about what they have read and to share these understandings with others – to “make visible” the often invisible reading strategies they use to understand texts. In addition, opportunities to use oral language help students to expand their vocabularies, thereby improving their fluency in reading and their ability to express themselves clearly and effectively in writing.

                          As they enter the course, students might not see themselves as readers, since many feel daunted by the complexities of the print texts they encounter in school. In reality, most students do read some types of texts regularly in their daily lives – for example, websites and e-mails. Teachers should use such familiar types of texts as a starting point to introduce students to strategies and skills they can use to understand a greater variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts and relate them to their own knowledge and experiences. Students’ ability to read is greatly enhanced when they recognize a text as having authentic relevance to their interests and aspirations, in terms of the issues it raises and the information it contains. Teachers should therefore include a balanced selection of text forms (informational, narrative, and graphic, in both print and electronic media) at different levels of challenge, and should include texts on a range of topics that concern and interest students (e.g., on personal, social, health and safety, and career and workplace issues).

                          Students see themselves as writers when they have choices about the topics and purposes for writing, when they go through the process of generating and organizing ideas and information and conferring with others about ideas and style, and when they become accustomed to consulting resources such as grammar guides and dictionaries to help them revise, edit, and polish their writing. Although the OSSLC requires students to produce writing on demand, developing assigned topics and using specified forms, it also provides scope for students to go beyond the specifications of the OSSLT. Teachers should use the relative flexibility this course offers to provide regular and frequent opportunities for students to practice writing primarily but not exclusively in the identified forms, on a range of self-selected topics, and for a variety of purposes.

                          Reading and writing skills are complementary and mutually reinforcing. For this reason, many of the expectations in the Reading strand require students to demonstrate their learning through activities that also involve writing. Similarly, many of the expectations in the Writing strand require students to demonstrate their learning through activities that also involve reading. Teachers need to support and enhance these connections by introducing a rich variety of classroom activities that integrate reading and writing and that provide opportunities for students to develop and practice these skills in conjunction with one another.

                          Assessment and Evaluation Strategies of Student Performance:

                          Every student attending Christian Virtual School is unique. We believe each student must have the opportunities to achieve success according to their own interests, abilities, and goals. Like the Ministry of Education, we have defined high expectations and standards for graduation, while introducing a range of options that allow students to learn in ways that suit them best and enable them to earn their diplomas. Christian Virtual School’s Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting Policy is based on seven fundamental principles, as outlined in the Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools document.

                          When these seven principles are fully understood and observed by all teachers, they guide the collection of meaningful information that helps inform instructional decisions, promote student engagement, and improve student learning. At Christian Virtual School, teachers use practices and procedures that:

                          1. are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
                          2. support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning English, and those who are First Nation, Métis, or Inuit;
                          3. are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
                          4. are communicated clearly to students and parents or guardians at the beginning of the school year or course and at other appropriate points throughout the school year or course;
                          5. are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
                          6. provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement; and
                          7. develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to access their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning.

                          For more information on our assessment and evaluation strategies, refer to Section 6, Student Achievement, in the Course Calendar.

                          Program Planning Considerations:

                          Christian Virtual School is committed to ensuring that all students are provided with the learning opportunities and supports they require to succeed. Our courses are made to offer flexible, personalized learning experiences. By maintaining an asynchronous model, students can move through their courses at their own pace, ensuring they are able to take the time they need to understand concepts or work with their teacher if they hit roadblocks. Christian Virtual School courses also incorporate choice, allowing students to submit work in a variety of mediums or formats to communicate their ideas. 

                          In addition to the flexibility built into the courses, Christian Virtual School will implement the accommodations that are listed in a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) that are applicable to the online learning environment. In these cases, the learning expectations will be the same as or similar to the expectations outlined in the curriculum document but supports will be provided to help students achieve those expectations. Common accommodations in the environment are reducing the workload, simplifying tasks and materials, providing extra time for tests and exams, allowing scribing or the use of specialized equipment, and not deducting marks for spelling. 

                          Although all our courses are only offered in English at this time, Christian Virtual School welcomes students learning the English language. Students do need to meet a baseline proficiency level to access the content, but Christian Virtual School teachers are responsible for helping students develop their English literacy skills no matter the course they are enrolled in. 

                          Upon enrollment, students are asked if they would like to provide information about their English language background, and this information is used by our teachers to help them adjust their instruction and suggest accommodations within the courses. English language learners are encouraged to reach out to their teacher or the Christian Virtual School administration to talk about the accommodation options in their courses so that the appropriate opportunities are given to everyone. 

                          Christian Virtual School operates with 5 cores values: responsibility, perseverance, integrity, compassion, and community. These core values determine our business operations, as well as exemplify what we, as educations, want to instill in our students. Environmental education, among other causes, are important to us as a school and we strive to promote learning about these issues and solutions within our courses. We work to educate students on the environment, its threats, and the importance of sustainability. We also work to inspire students to make an impact within their community and identify an alignment between their passions and the local, or global, needs. 

                          Environmental education is woven throughout our course content, across all disciplines. Depending on the course and subject matter, this education can be subtle or explicit, but the goal is to ensure that students have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, perspective and practices needed to become an environmentally literate citizen. 

                          Christian Virtual School stands on the belief that every person is unique and, regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other similar factor, they are to be welcomed, included, accepted, treated fairly, and respected. As a school, we teach students about multiple worldviews, how to identify and acknowledge similarities and differences, and how to communicate with others in an inclusive, kind, loving, and compassionate way. 

                          Diversity is valued at Christian Virtual School, and it is our goal to ensure all members of the community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. Our courses are written to draw attention to the contributions of men and woman alike, the different perspectives of various cultural, religious, and racial communities, and the beliefs and practices of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, to showcase a wide range of backgrounds and allow all of our students to see themselves reflected in the curriculum. 

                          As a school, we see and recognize the diversity of families, children, and people in the world in need of Christ’s love. We work every day to spread the love and acceptance of Christ. 

                          Whenever possible, Christian Virtual School emphasizes the importance of financial literacy. Making financial decisions has become an increasingly complex task, and students need to have knowledge in many areas and a wide range of skills in order to make informed decisions about financial matters. In addition to the concrete skills of numeracy and finances from a mathematical point of view, students need to develop an understanding of the economic forces and ways in which they can respond to those influences. 

                          Lessons that promote skill building in problem solving, inquiry, research, decision making, reflection, and critical thinking are present throughout Christian Virtual School courses. The goal is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills required to understand their own finances, as well as to develop an understanding of local and global effects of world economic forces and the social, environmental, and ethical implications of their own choices. 

                          Technology is rapidly changing, and the requirements for literacy in technology is growing just as quickly. Students entering the workforce are expected to have a firm grasp of information and communication technologies and be skilled their use.  

                          Due to the nature of Christian Virtual School courses, students are exposed to a wide range of technologies to both facilitate and communicate their learningAs a result, students will develop transferable skills through their experience with word processing, information processing, internet research, presentation software, communication tools, and more. 

                          Opportunities are present throughout Christian Virtual School courses to explore careers related to the different disciplines and subject areas. Students are exposed to a wide variety of modern careers, fields of study, and employment opportunities.  

                          In addition, teachers are available to help the student prepare for employment ia number of diverse areas. With the help of teachers, students will learn to set and achieve goals and gain experience in making meaningful decisions concerning career choices. The skills, knowledge, and creativity that students acquire through our course are essential for a wide range of careers

                          In order to provide a suitable learning environment for the Christian Virtual School staff and students, it is critical that the courses and the learning environment complies with relevant federal, provincial, and municipal health and safety legislation and by-laws, including, but not limited to, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), the Food and Drug Act, the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Ontario Building Code, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).  

                          Consideration of students’ health and safety is taken when planning activities, investigations, and experiments for our courses to ensure that proper safety precautions are communicated to and attainable for students.