Core Competencies


Collaborating by jennifer abel

Communication is one of the three Core Competencies in the BC Curriculum; Collaborating is one of two components of this competency. Listed below are selected teacher resources, picture books, and non-fiction related to communication and collaborating.

Teacher Resources

Protocols in the classroom: Tools to help students read, write, think, & collaborate, by David Allen et al.

Grades: 8-12. This book provides teachers with the tools they need to use discussion protocols to support students in developing crucial skills and habits as readers, writers, critical thinkers, and active participants within the classroom community. The authors detailed descriptions of protocols for four critical purposes: entering into and engaging with texts of many different types; sharing perspectives on questions, issues, or topics; giving and receiving important feedback on works in progress; and exploring one’s own unique learning style.

Group work that works: Student collaboration for 21st century success, by Paul J. Vermette and Cynthia L. Kline

Grades: K-12. The authors offer their Dual Objective Model as a tool for improving students’ academic achievement and problem-solving skills, while encouraging their social and emotional development. Includes discussion of how to assign meaningful tasks that require students to rely on one another; build efficient teams, purposefully monitor group dynamics, and assess group projects effectively; and motivate students to see the importance of personal and group responsibility. (E-book only)

Teaching in the fast lane: How to create active learning experiences, by Suzy Pepper Rollins

Grades: K-12. The author details how to design, manage, and maintain an active classroom that balances autonomy and structure. The book offers student-centered, practical strategies on sorting, station teaching, and cooperative learning that will help teachers build on students’ intellectual curiosity, self-efficacy, and sense of purpose.

Leading collaborative learning: Empowering excellence, by Lyn Sharratt and Beate Planche

Grades: K-12. This book provides a strategic path to achieving sustainable communities of collaborative learners. Research-proven inquiry techniques, vignettes, case studies and action-oriented protocols help teachers, principals, and schools system leaders to build strong learning relationships for high-impact student achievement. Includes discussion of how to integrate diverse views and perspectives; build students’ cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills; and build a collaborative culture through learning together. (E-book only)

Sharing the blue crayon: How to integrate social, emotional, and literacy learning, by Mary Anne Buckley

Grades: K-3. The author shows teachers how to incorporate social and emotional learning into a busy day and then extend these skills to literacy lessons for young children. Through simple activities such as read-alouds, sing-alongs, murals, and performances, students learn how to get along in a group, empathize with others, develop self-control, and give and receive feedback, all while becoming confident readers and writers.

Joyful learning: Active and collaborative learning in inclusive classrooms, by Alice Udvari-Solner and Paula Kluth

Grades: K-12. This resource is intended to help build inclusive classrooms serving all learners, including those with cognitive, sensory, cultural, learning, and/or linguistic differences. The authors present strategies for engaging students in discussion, debate, creative thinking, questioning, and teamwork. The book gives teachers the tools to promote relationship building and interdependence, help students teach one another as they make discoveries about course content, and engage in whole-class learning while assisting students who need personalized instruction.

Social and emotional learning in action: Experiential activities to positively impact school climate, by Tara Flippo

Grades: K-12. This book identifies five interrelated cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies that are key aspects of social and emotional development programs: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Picture Books

Up the creek, by Nicholas Oldland

When a bear, a moose, and a beaver – who are the best of friends – go on a canoe trip, they have all sorts of disagreements. When they find themselves stranded up the creek, they decide that working together is the only way to make it home safely.

We are all dots: A big plan for a better world, by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti

Beginning with a set of prosperous dots on one page and another set of impoverished dots on the other, this book takes readers through the dots’ struggle to bridge their differences. Just when it looks like they will be forever doomed, they work together to find a solution that will help them all. Great things happen when we learn to share and work together.

Chloe and the lion, written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex

Mac, the author of this book, fires Adam, the illustrator, over their artistic differences about Chloe, the main character of their book, over whether she should be scared by a lion or a dragon. Eventually, Mac realizes both of their talents are needed and they must work together or their story about Chloe will never be finished.

The way back home, by Oliver Jeffers

Stranded on the moon after his extraordinary airplane takes him into outer space, a boy meets a marooned young Martian with a broken spacecraft, and the two new friends work together to return to their respective homes.

Better together, written by Sheryl and Simon Shapiro, illustrated by Dus̆an Petric̆ić

Mix anything together and who knows what you’ll get – you may create something wonderfully different, and better than any one of its parts. That goes for water and flour to make a sticky paste perfect for arts and crafts; sugar, milk and butter to produce yummy fudge; or players with different abilities to make a great sports team.

Swimmy, by Leo Lionni

Swimmy is a happy black fish who lives in a school of red fish, until a big tuna eats all of his brothers and sisters. Lonely and sad, Swimmy searches the sea and finally finds another school of red fish. These fish are too frightened to swim in the ocean, so Swimmy comes up with a plan that will help them all swim in the ocean together.


Share it!, by Azza Sharkawy

Grades: K-3. Collaboration and communication are important 21st-century skills and key science practices. Using accessible examples, readers will discover how scientists work together, and share ideas and information that they collect in their observation notebooks. Part of the Science sleuths series.

Above and beyond with collaboration, by Natalie Hyde

Grades: 5-9. Collaboration skills, or the ability to effectively work with people, are in high demand in today’s connected world. The ability to work with diverse individuals across diverse platforms in our online world is essential in the 21st century. This book explores the skills and practices needed to be a successful collaborator in any situation covering topics such as establishing responsibilities, developing plans, and becoming socially aware. Part of the Fueling your future series.

Finding More Resources

To find more resources in this area, try the following:

  • Search using the General tab on the UBC Library website to look for material in all UBC Library branches.
  • Search using the “Search Education Resources” box in the left-hand bar on the Education Library website to limit your results to physical materials in the Education Library.
  • Use specific search terms, such as “communication”, “communicating in small groups”, “group work in education”, “team learning approach in education”, or “interpersonal communication”.
  • To find lesson plans, include “lesson plans”, “lesson planning”, or “activity programs” in your search terms.

PDF Booklist

For more help with searching, please visit the Library Service Desk or e-mail

Story written by jennifer abel


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