My class’s first podcast

I’m a little shy to share this, since it’s really just a draft. But I’m always encouraging my students to show their work, especially if it’s still under construction.

My 11th grade English class listened to Serial (and loved it), and then also listened to an assortment of audio clips from various other podcasts. We analyzed them, talked about them, and discussed what we’d “steal” from each production and what we’d avoid if we were making our own podcast. Then the students spent a lot of time creating their own general ideas and specific scripts.

Our first production is almost a straight-up rip-off of the original Serial podcast, but we thought that was a good place to start. All the students had previously read The Stranger and they wanted to see what would happen if they playfully replaced Adnan and friends with Meursault and friends.

The product as it is now is delightful in some ways and very amateur in others — and often both at the same time. We learned that we need to spend more time on voice acting (or at least practicing the scripts); we also learned that it’s really hard or really easy to edit the podcast, depending on what software and computers we’re using.

Right below here, I’m going to make my first effort to embed the audio, and then below that I’ll paste script. Enjoy!


Cue music

(wait 2-3 sec)

Automated voice

This is a Global-Tel link prepaid call from [Adnan Syed] an inmate at a Morro Bay Correctional facility…


From This Californian Life and MBHS, it’s Stranger Serial, one story told week by week. I’m {Shelby}

(music turns)

For the last week,  I’ve spent every working day trying to figure out what a man was thinking on one hot day in 1942 — or if you want to get technical about it, and apparently I do — what a man was thinking for one single minute on a hot day in 1942. This search sometimes feels undignified on my part. I’ve had to ask about his sex life, his sketchy friends, his drinking habits, his relationship with his parents.

And I’m not a detective or a private investigator. I’ve not even a crime reporter. (music done) But, yes, every day this year, I’ve tried to figure out the motive of a strange, strange man.

Before I get into why I’ve been doing this, I just want to point out something I’d never really thought about before I started working on this story. And that is, it’s really hard to know what a person is thinking, in a detailed way, I mean.

It’s hard.

Just for a lark, I asked some teenagers to try it.

Do you know what I was thinking last Friday?


No. Not at all. I don’t even know what I was thinking.


Wait, not at all?


No. I mean, you were happy it was Friday?


That’s Tyler. He’s 16. I asked my friend Sam. He’s 16 too.


Not a clue. You were in school…probably…so bored? I don’t know.


Actually, on second thought?


I don’t think, it was Friday, so maybe you were super stoked..


What if I told you it was hot that day?


It was hot? I don’t know. Maybe you felt excited for spring? Or maybe you were frustrated?


OK, what if I told you that my mom had died recently?


Oh, then maybe you sa–


But I didn’t really care that she died. It wasn’t a big deal for me.



Oh. Then…I don’t down. Still a little sad I would think.



Sad enough to want to murder someone?


What? No. ….I don’t think. What are you talking about? You’re kinda sketching me out.



One kid did actually get this stranger pretty well, because he actually read really closely and picked up on a a lot of textual clues. That’s the main thing I learned from this exercise, which is no big shocker, I guess. If you read some significant paragraphs closely, you get them, plus you get the main character much better.

Here’s the case I’ve been working on.

About 75 years ago, on January 13, 1942, a man named “The Arab” was shot and killed. She was a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County in Maryland. He was Arab. He was quiet, and beautiful, and smart (maybe), and a great athlete, at least athletic enough to successfully slash a pimp across the mouth with a knife. And he was responsible.

His body was found on a beach. I don’t know who found him..

The cause of death was gunshots, meaning someone did it with a gun.. One page after that, so about ten seconds he’d been shot, The Stranger was arrested for her murder. He’s been in prison ever since.

I first heard about this story more than a year ago when I got an telegram from a woman named Marie. Marie knows The Stranger pretty well. She liked to go swimming with him. And other things.

And she believes he’s innocent.


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