Here's the funny thing. Funny isn't the right word, but it'll do. I'm listening to Serial extensively with my classes, but we are only halfway through the series. I read the transcripts, do research, and put a lot of focus into each episode we listen to. But each week, I'm also listening to the current Serial episode. Sometimes it's hard for me to keep track of which information is covered in what episode, because I don't want to spoil anything for my students. However, I do feel like I benefit from the intense look at previous episodes before listening to the current episodes.Dear Rabia,Thank you so much for your kind response. I must say - you've raised my street cred with my students. They are very impressed that you responded to my message.Serial has been a huge hit in the classroom. I was listening to Serial while creating a unit for my history class. I was examining the standards I wanted to highlight (understanding bias, analyzing multiple sources, interpreting primary documents, evidence-based writing) and it came to me that Serial would be the perfect solution. I started out by creating Case Logs with my students where they have been using Google Docs to collaboratively keep track of the unfolding story. My students have created character maps to trace relationships, used charts to plot their changing opinions on Adnan’s guilt or innocence, and taken detailed notes on the call logs.I teach in a rural town academy in Maine. We are a private school contracted by the town to provide public education to the local students. We also have a thriving international boarding community at our school. These diverse groups of students have brought vibrancy to class discussions on this case.I told my students that many of the listeners of the podcast are in the twenties to forties and that these listeners have been diligently tracking the case on reddit and other places. But I also told them that as teenagers, they have a valid voice in this discussion and may be able to think through the case with a different lens because they are close in age to Hae, Adnan, Jay, and others when the murder was committed.The primary responses I have heard over and over have been: “How can the justice system be so messed up?” and “We are only teenagers, and we could do a better job with this case.”I asked my students what questions they have for you, and these were what we came up with:
- Why have we not hear Adnan’s testimony?
- Why do you believe so adamantly that Adnan is not guilty?
- Can you think of any reason why someone would want to set Adnan up?
- Why do you think Serial is so popular?
- Have you talked to Adnan during the Serial broadcast? If so, what about?
- While listening to the podcast, have you ever doubted?
- What would you want teenagers to learn from Serial?Thank you again for responding! It means the world to me and my students. Keep fighting the good fight.~ Hannah Walden
But back to Episode 6 - this episode focuses on the evidence against Adnan. The suspicious activity at Cathy's house, the Nisha Call, the Neighbor Boy... all is layed out here. My students plotted their opinions on Adnan's guilt throughout the episode. Every five or so minutes, I stopped the recording, and students evaluated the evidence to that point.
Most charts looked something like this. The general consensus was that the evidence was concerning, but then by the end of the episode, they felt like all was cast in doubt again. I wanted them to visually see how confusing all the evidence really is. Mission accomplished.