Together We Are Better: Collaborative Lesson Ideas Inspired by Picture Books

Are you looking for collaborative lesson ideas that inspire learners to work together to solve problems? Find inspiration with the AASL Standards Framework for Learners and compelling picture books. The Collaborate Shared Foundation guides learners to “Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals” ( Picture books can demonstrate this Key Commitment.

Begin your collaborative lesson plan by brainstorming problems that exist in your community. Record responses on an anchor chart and highlight challenges that spark passionate conversations. Invite learners to consider how they can work together to solve problems as you read the books below.

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer

AASL Standards Framework for Learners III.A.3: Learners identify collaborative opportunities by deciding to solve problems informed by group interaction.

The theme of Packs, by Hannah Salyer, is that we are better together. The author/illustrator shows how different animals work together to survive. Readers will notice that some animals rely on other species for help. The final double-page spread illustrates a populated main street with a community garden, park, and restaurant. The closing sentence wraps up a collaborative theme by stating, “All together… we are better!”

After reading the story, invite readers to think about how they can work together to solve a problem listed on the anchor chart. Divide the class into groups and assign community problems to discuss. Instruct learners to brainstorm as many ideas as they can to solve the problem. Share ideas with the whole group.

To learn more about Packs, watch Hannah Salyer read her book and answer questions during an event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore. Follow along with Salyer as she draws a zebra and a flamingo. For learners interested in painting techniques for collage, watch “How Does She Do That?” by author/illustrator Micha Archer.

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

AASL Standards Framework for Learners III.B.1: Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by using a variety of communication tools and resources.

Are there food-related problems listed on your anchor chart? If learners acknowledge that people are hungry in their community, read Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki. This beautiful picture book shows readers how volunteers pull together to make a meal with limited supplies. Readers are going to love the imaginative cartoon art with vibrant colors and engaging text features.

After reading the story, ask learners what they noticed about the volunteers and how they worked to feed their neighbors. Invite learners to consider how they might be able to help their community. Direct learners to research local food banks and kitchens. Work together to make connections with community services to learn about local concerns. Create a class plan to help make a difference.

Watch author/illustrator Jillian Tamaki read Our Little Kitchen and discuss her work on the “Politics and Prose” YouTube channel.

For more information about the book, check out my blog post on Library Lessons.

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey and Soyean Kim

AASL Standards Framework for Learners III.D.2: Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by recognizing learning as a social responsibility.

There’s a lot of pressure for young learners to fix the mess of climate change. Children and young adults may find some relief knowing that creatures, nature, and organisms are already doing the work. Did you know that whale poop fertilizes the plankton that fish eat? Or that bears help feed trees by spreading nutrients with scraps of food? After reading You Are Never Alone, by Elin Kelsey and Soyean Kim, invite learners to consider how nature works to protect our world. Create a plan to learn more about some of the ideas presented in the book. Be ready for learners inspired by Kim’s work! They’ll want to share their learning by making a diorama of their own.

Here are three more collaborative ideas from Knowledge Quest. How can you use these lesson ideas to help your community? Please share in the comment box below!


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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1 reply

  1. Nice post! I’m going to check out your book. Thank you.

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