Right now I’m feverishly trying to keep up with an awesome #ECET2 Twitter chat. I just got a question about using all 9 UDL Guidelines (teaching strategies) in each lesson, so here is an example to show how it’s done. This is the lesson outline for a lesson I taught for a Teaching Channel video. Let me know how it goes!

Description: Students will practice writing narratives with descriptive details by participating in a Showing, not Telling engaging activator and by examining text, images, and audio recordings through reading Beowulf.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Book Builder and how to use built in scaffolds; introduction to how to work collaboratively in a group; knowledge of Common Core standards with an emphasis on how elements of a story interact.

Common Core focus:

  • RL3: Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
  • W3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

 Instructional goals:

  • Learners will identify the setting (time/place) in Beowulf and analyze how differences in setting impact the movement of a plot.
  • Learners will write short narratives, adding enough effective detail about a Grendel, so a listener could visualize him with accuracy.


  • Learners will be able to identify the setting in Beowulf whether they choose to focus on the text, images and/or Book Builder versions of the story.
  • Learners will be able to identify two ways that setting creates conflict and therefore advances the plot.
  • Learners will be able to revise passages of Beowulf to maintain the setting and plot, but will include more descriptive details about Grendel so a reader could visualize the monster.



Engagement: Students will be participating in a writing workshop, where they will demonstrate effective use of detail, or imagery. The do-now activator will be a “lame” menu projected on the screen. Students will have to justify (a previous vocab word) what they would order and why. This will be difficult as there is no imagery (alas, the point of the lesson). This will segue into a mini-lesson on imagery using multiple means of representation and manipulatives. This will allow visual, auditory, and hands on learners to access a lesson on imagery while also promoting engagement and collaboration.

7. Provide options for recruiting interest: Menu activity, paper bag activity – relevance and value.

8. Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence: The Beowulf student handout, like all assignments, has the standard on top of page and we review standards at the beginning of every class. All students will have a rubric for the writing assignment aligned to the language in the Common Core. At the end of class, students will self-assess and set goals for the next writing assignment. Students will present in Jigsaw groups and there is a concerted effort to increase student talking time. Also, while students are working in groups, I will be constantly walking around the room to give feedback and address any misinterpretations before students present to classmates.

9. Provide options for self-regulation: End of class self-assessment with questions about their contribution to the learning environment.

Representation: Next, we will read an excerpt from Beowulf. I will play the professional reading of the text first, so students can hear it read well. They may choose to read along in their text. The purpose for reading will be to hear the correct pronunciation of the antiquated vocabulary. Next, students will jigsaw, reread, and paraphrase the poem and focus on how elements of the poem interact. During this read, students may read silently, use the online Book Builder, sit with me in a small group to read the story, or may listen to the audio recording again. Hopefully they will note that there are no specific details given about Grendel’s appearance but that he is portrayed as fearsome and strong. He is a monster who might resemble a person, an animal, or another description.

1. Provide options for perception: Students may read silently, use the online Book Builder, sit with me in a small group to read the story, or may listen to the audio recording.

2. Provide options for language, mathematic expressions and symbols: Read aloud and Book Builder with built in vocabulary prompts.

3. Provide options for comprehension: Activate or supply background knowledge with menu activator. Guide information processing, visualization, and manipulation with imagery Powerpoint, paper bag activity, and artist drawings.

Action and Expression: When students finish presenting their paraphrased lines, they will work alone or in groups to rewrite the poem including specific details (imagery) about Grendel’s appearance using a provided rubric and the optional exemplar and scaffolding. Although they will all rewrite, they have a choice about what they want Grendel to be. (see below). When they finish, they may choose to read their descriptions of Grendel out loud in a dramatization while volunteer “artists” in class sketch the portrayals on the document camera. At the end of class, each student will complete a self-assessment to reflect on their work and set goals for the next assignment.

4. Provide options for physical action: Physical manipulatives, option of drawing or observing, use of Book Builder on multiple devices (i.e, navigate on IPad with no keyboard or on my computer)

5. Provide options for expression and communication: Templates and exemplars will be available if students choose to use them. Also, optional scaffolding is at the end of the assignment.

6. Provide options for executive functions: Scaffolding built into assignment, post goals and objectives on board and refer to often. Also place objectives on assignment handouts.

Lesson Plan for Beowulf
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