Communicating encompasses the set of abilities that people use to impart and exchange information, experiences, and ideas; to explore the world around them; and to understand and effectively use communication forms, strategies, and technologies. Communicating provides a bridge between peoples’ learning, their personal and social identity, and the world in which they interact.

People who communicate effectively use their skills and strategies intentionally to ensure understanding their audience. They communicate in an increasing variety of contexts, for a variety of purposes, and often with multiple audiences.

Connecting and engaging with others

Students engage in informal and structured conversations in which they listen, contribute, develop understanding and relationships, and learn to consider diverse perspectives. This facet of communication is closely linked to the building and sustaining of relationships at home, at school, in the community, and through social media.

Focusing on intent and purpose

Students communicate with intention and purpose. They understand that communication can influence, entertain, teach, inspire, and help us make sense of the world and our experiences. They recognize the role the audience plays in constructing meaning, and they make strategic choices to help convey their messages and create their intended impact. They draw from a range of forms, media, and techniques, monitoring and adjusting their approaches and assessing their effects.

Acquiring and presenting information

Students communicate by receiving and presenting information. They inquire into topics of interest and topics related to their studies. They acquire information from a variety of sources, including people, print materials, and media; this may involve listening, viewing, or reading, and requires understanding of how to interpret information. They present information for many purposes and audiences, and their presentations often feature media and technology.




In a safe and supported environment, I respond meaningfully to communication from peers and adults.


In familiar settings, I communicate with peers and adults.

I talk and listen to people I know. I can communicate for a purpose. I can understand and share basic information about topics that are important to me, and answer simple, direct questions about my activities and experiences.


I communicate purposefully, using forms and strategies I have practiced.

I participate in conversations for a variety of purposes (e.g., to connect, help, be friendly, learn and share). I listen and respond to others. I can consider my purpose when I am choosing a form and content. I can communicate clearly about topics I know and understand well, using forms and strategies I have practiced. I gather the basic information I need and present it.


I communicate clearly and purposefully, using a variety of forms appropriately.

I share my ideas and try to connect them with others’ ideas. I am an active listener – I make connections and ask clarifying and extending questions when appropriate. I can plan ways to make my message clear and engaging for my audience and create communications that focus on a variety of purposes and audiences. I acquire the information I need for specific tasks and for my own interests and present it clearly.


I communicate confidently, using forms and strategies that show attention to my audience and purpose.

In discussions and conversations, I am focused and help to build and extend understanding. I am an engaged listener; I ask thought-provoking questions when appropriate and integrate new information. I can create a wide range of effective communications that feature powerful images and words, and I identify ways to change my communications to make them effective for different audiences. I use my understanding of the role and impact of story to engage my audiences in making meaning. I acquire information about complex and specialized topics from various sources, synthesize it, and present it with thoughtful analysis.


I communicate with intentional impact, in well-constructed forms that are effective in terms of my audience and in relation to my purpose.

I contribute purposefully to discussions and conversations. I synthesize, deepen, and transform my own and others’ thinking. I can weave multiple messages into my communications; I understand that my audience will use their own knowledge and experiences in making meaning. I show understanding and control of the forms and technologies I use; I can assess audience response and draw on a repertoire of strategies to increase my intended impact. I can acquire, critically analyze, and integrate well-chosen information from a range of sources.


The Core Competencies relate to each other and with every aspect of learning.

Connections among Core Competencies

The Core Competencies are interrelated and interdependent. Taken together, the competencies are foundational to every aspect of learning. Communicating is intertwined with the other Core Competencies.


Communicating is one of the Communication Core Competency’s two interrelated sub-competencies, Communicating and Collaborating.

Communicating and collaborating overlap. For example:

  • Students communicate in order to collaborate.
  • Students often collaborate in order to develop effective communications.


Communicating is closely related to the two Thinking sub-competencies, Creative Thinking and Critical and Reflective Thinking. For example:

  • Students communicate to share and build on one another’s creative ideas.
  • Students apply critical and reflective thinking to acquire and interpret information, and to make choices about how to communicate their ideas.
  • Thinking critically to recognize and appreciate different perspectives is key to both interpreting and creating communications.

Personal and Social

Communicating is closely related to the three Personal and Social sub-competencies, Personal Awareness and Responsibility, Social Awareness and Responsibility, and Positive Personal and Cultural Identity. For example:

  • Students communicate to explain their values and how those affect the choices they make.
  • Students communicate to build and sustain positive relationships with diverse people, including people from different generations.
  • Students communicate to express their needs and seek help when they need it, and to advocate for themselves.


Connections with areas of learning

Communicating is embedded within the curricular competencies of the concept-based, competency-driven curriculum. Curricular competencies are focused on the “doing” within the area of learning and include skills, processes, and habits of mind required by the discipline. For example, the Communicating sub-competency can be seen in the following Big Ideas in Mathematics:

  • Objects and shapes have attributes that can be described, measured, and compared. (Mathematics 1-2)
  • Regular changes in patterns can be identified using tools and tables. (Mathematics 4)
  • Continuous linear relationships can be identified and represented in many connected ways to identify regularities and make generalizations. (Mathematics 9)
  • Statistical analysis allows us to notice, wonder about, and answer questions about variation. (Foundations of Mathematics 11)

Welcome Centre ELL

An English Language Learner creates a video about transitions that have affected his identity.



A student explains how he learned to be persistent and why that trait is important to him.


Learning to Be Brave on the Playground

With the support of a friend, a student develops pride and confidence in her ability to deal with new experiences.


Personal Narrative

A student writes an essay on belonging.


Narrative Essay

A student writes an essay in response to the prompt “How We Know Who We Are”.


Mars Mission

Students present their application for the Mars One project, explaining how they would be suited to the project and how they would deal with issues they would likely face.



A student reflects on the personal experiences that have changed his goals and aspirations.


Creating a Whirligig

A student creates a whirligig to demonstrate his personal journey.


Using Poetry as a Medium for Personal Awareness

A student creates a poem to show her growth in personal awareness.


Making Submersibles

After creating submersibles, students reflected on their creation process and the challenges they encountered.


Mind Map

Students create a mind map to assess and reflect on their learning.


The Lost Thing

A student creates a one-page representation of the story “The Lost Thing”.


Martin Luther on Trial

Students enact a mock trial where Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Reformation, was put on trial for heresy.


Essay on the Movie "Gattaca"

A student applies what he knows about genetics to critique the movie "Gattaca".


Clean Energy - Site C

Students create documentaries that explore the pros and cons of the Site C dam while considering the various stakeholders.


Pinhole Camera Critique

Students reflect on the process they used to make pinhole cameras and the variables that affected its effectiveness.


Writing a Story for Kindergarten Buddies

Students write a story to read to their Kindergarten buddies.


"Steal" a Story

A student retells the story of Humpty Dumpty as a news item.


Spoken Word Poetry

A student writes and performs a spoken word poem and then reflects on their creative process.


Speaker's Corner Rant

A student creates a Speaker’s Corner rant that has an emotional impact on her peers.


Political Cartoon

A student creates a political cartoon to encourage community members to support a ban of shark fin products.


Investigation Workbook in Visual Arts

A student creates an Investigation Workbook of artistic research, reflection, and original work.


Essay about a Poem

Students reflect on how they generated creative ideas for a group essay about a poem.


French Bank Skit

Students plan and present a skit in their French Immersion class.

Handprint Turkeys

A student teaches her classmates now to make handprint turkeys.


Memoir: "Sky Diving" Experience

As part of a memoir, a student recounts a “skydiving experience” with a twist.


Oyster farming

A student and his father make a presentation about the oyster business.



Making a List of Names

A student makes a list of the names of children in her classroom.


How to Construct a Table of Values

A student presents a video lecture on how to construct a table of values.


Retelling Little Red Riding Hood

A student retells his own version of Little Red Riding Hood.


Describing a Picture

During a one-on-one reading intervention session, a student provided relatively detailed information about a picture.


Students Reading Together on the Couch

Five students sit together while reading books during free choice time.


Children's Story about the Universe

A student creates a children’s story to represent their understanding of the origins and theories of the universe.


Perfect School Blog Post

Students write blog posts about their perfect school and respond to their classmates’ blog posts.


Apology Letter

A student writes an apology letter to his friend.


Reflecting on a Musical Performance

A student reflects on her performance singing a duet.


The Danger of a Single Story: Ted Talk

A student responds to a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the danger of a single story.


Artistic Explorations of Identity

Over time, a student develops a body of creative work exploring the theme of identity.


Inquiry: How Do Artists Best Express How They Think or Feel?

A student inquired into how artists express themselves, and produced an authentic piece of her own.


What is a Family?

Students investigated the question, “What is a family”, and reflected on their own families.


Phobia versus Fear

Students research phobias to distinguish between phobias as fear and then discuss and reflect on reactions to SOGI.


Debate on Gun Control in United States

Students participate in a Model UN debate on gun control in the United States by taking the perspectives of various states.


Exploration of Future Careers

A student explores possible future careers.


Exploring Factors that Effect Motion

Students collaboratively create ramps to explore the forces that effect motion.


Designing Animal Habitats

Students use classroom materials to design models of animal habitats that provide animals with what they need to survive.


Number Talk

A student participates in a number talk and then reflects on her ability to communicate her thinking during these talks.


Recording Observations with Loose Parts

A student uses “loose parts” to record his observations of seasonal changes in the local environment.


What Matters

Inspired by the story What Matters, students complete small acts that can make a big difference and create stories about their act in a style like the one used in What Matters.


Poems about Perseverance

Students explore famous poems about perseverance and then create original free verse poems reflecting on their own struggles and perseverance.


Making Unique Dough

Students worked in groups to read recipes and create unique dough (mud dough, sand dough, hair conditioner dough, oatmeal dough, and coffee dough.)


Roles, Rights and Responsibilities

The students explored and reflected on their roles in their friendships, and the rights and responsibilities they have to themsleves and others.


The Nail Salon

A child and her friend create an elaborate series of activities, over several weeks,  connected to an imaginary nail salon.