Current Events/Cast UDL Book Builder
Current events are important topics for students at any grade level to explore. Students are able
to make connections between what they are learning and what is going on in the world. In this
lesson students will be creating an online book/story about any current event. To model the
lesson I have created a book online using Cast UDL Book Builder. I wrote about the recent
tornadoes that struck twelve different states across America. The students will be able to choose
their own topic and method of writing their story. The story should include factual information
about what happened and where it took place. There should also be an explanation about why
the student chose that topic and how it relates to something they have learned in Social Studies
class. Learning about current events engages students in what is going on in their community. It
helps students understand how national and international news relates to what they learn in
school and do in their everyday lives. It is always important to be an informed citizen, so
incorporating current events into the classroom is essential for students to stay informed.
Computer/laptop for each student or group of students
Teacher sample of Cast UDL Book Builder
Newspapers for current event research
Internet access to search for current event facts
**Before this lesson begins, teacher should arrange for newspapers to be used in class or access
to online newspapers. Also, students should choose a topic prior to the beginning of this lesson.
During this class period students will be sitting individually at a desk or with a partner they are
working with. Each student will have a computer with access to the internet and the Cast UDL
Book Builder program.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards
Reading Informational Text, Grade 8, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Analyze a case in
which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where
the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.
Writing, Grade 6, Text Type and Purposes: Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and
information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and
cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia
when useful to aiding comprehension.
Writing, Grade 7, Text Type and Purposes: Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or
opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
Writing, Grade 8, Production and Distribution of Writing: Use technology, including the
Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and
ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Language, Grade 7, Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: Acquire and use accurately grade-
appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary
knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Students will research a current event and compose a story describing it to their peers.
Students will use the online resource Cast UDL Book Builder or Microsoft Photo Story 3
to create a story online.
Students will evaluate their sources and pull facts that portray the events they are writing
Students will listen to their peers’ stories about recent current events.
When students enter the classroom they will sit at a desk with a computer either alone or
with a partner they are working with. The students should have an idea of what their
current event topic is and what resources they will use to get facts and ideas to write
about. The students will have access to a local newspaper or to online newspapers. Once
students are seated and ready I will direct them to the website they will use to create their
story. Students will use either bookbuilder.cast.org or www.windowsphotostory.com.
The students will sign into the website and get ready to begin working on their story. (5
Before the students begin their own work I will show them the book that I built online
using Cast UDL Book Builder. I chose to write about the recent tornadoes and
devastating weather that hit twelve states across America. I will show them my story on
a projector and explain to them how I got my information and the tools I used to put it on
my pages. I will give students some hints on using the software and encourage them to
be creative with their ideas. (10 minutes)
Next, students will begin to work on creating their own story. They can work
individually or with a partner to compose a story. Each story should include a recent
current event, information about what happened, where the event occurred and how it
relates to something they have learned in Social Studies class. The students have free
range in their writing style and can include images, sounds, audio, or their own voice
recordings in the story. The students should activate the voice commands so that their
story can be read aloud to the class when they are finished. (60 minutes)
Once the students have completed their stories, they can either send them to me via email
or print them out. The students should save their work to the website they chose to use
and make it available to other people who visit the site. The students published work will
be handed and to be viewed by the teacher. (5 minutes)
As the students are working on their stories I will walk around and make sure that they
are engaged and on task. I will also answer any questions the student may have about the
software or their event.
After the students finished their story, I will collect them. The students can print their
story, email it to me, or save it to the website they used to create it.
I will assess the students based on the criteria established for the project. Each student’s
story should include a recent current event, information about what happened, where the
event occurred and how it relates to something they have learned in Social Studies class.
I will also look at the students writing style and make sure they include accurate details to
describe their event.
Modifications for Diverse Learners Needs
Students will have the choice between two different computer programs. One program
was created for universal design for learning and appeals to many different types of
Each student or group has access to their own computer and the internet so they can
choose their method of research and facts they want to include.
Each of the software programs has text to speech software so the story can be read aloud.
Students are encouraged to use visual images in their book which will appeal to visual
Both software programs have audio effects that can be used in the stories.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE CAST UDL BOOK THAT I CREATED ONLINE: