Serial Podcast: An Overview

Below is a general outline for a High-Intermediate to High-Advanced course based on the Serial Podcast ( 

Part I: Introduce Podcasts: Listen to several podcasts and discuss in class. What are podcasts, how are they funded, when and where can you listen to them?
Part II: Listen to podcasts (12 episodes). Timeline: 7 weeks (average of 2 Podcasts a week).Complete worksheets for each episode and discuss in class. Discussion questions can be done in small groups, as a class, or in online discussion forums. Example Listening worksheets:

Part II-A: In a reading class, at the same time students are listening to podcast episode, they can read critical articles about Serial.Example reading:

Part III: In-depth look at US court system.

  • Courtroom vocabulary
  • How the court system works videos (in resources)
  • Reading testimonies and court documents (many posted on

Part IV: Prepartation and Mock Trial

The Statements to Prepare (written):

  1. The Prosecutor’s Statement
  2. The Defendant’s Statement
  3. The Prosecutor Calls Witnesses (and defendants have an opportunity to cross-examine)
  4. The Defense Calls Witnesses (and prosecution has an opportunity to cross examine)
  5. Witness Statements
  6. The Prosecutor’s Closing Statement
  7. The Defendant’s Closing Statement
  8. Deliberation of the Jury (each jury member must explain the reasoning behind his/her vote, to other jury members and instructor)
  9. The Verdict

Trial Roles Include:

Mock Trial Judge – (assists Judge – studies scripts below)

Prosecuting Attorney (2 students work together)

Defendant – (Jay)

Defense Attorney  (2 students work together)

Witness – For Prosecution (2-3)

Witness – For defense (2 + Jay)

JURY  – 6-12 students

Example pre-trial preparation worksheet: Mock Trial Preparation

Example script/agenda: Mock Trial of Jay- Agenda

Grades for this project are based on listening comprehension worksheets, in class discussions, listening quizzes, reading assignments, and a mock trial grade.Mock Trial grades will be based on the following *preparation time and research* everyone (even jury members) must speak for at least TWO minutes or lose points.  3-6 is best.