The Unit Plan for the Entire First Season of Serial

A teacher asked me if I had a schedule for teaching entire season of Serial, and I was surprised to find out that I hadn’t done that already. So here it is. 

First, some notes and answers to frequently asked questions:

  1. There are 29 days of instruction in the Serial (Season 1) Lesson Plan Bundle. You can add to this with your own lessons and discussions.
  2. You can also shorten the unit in a variety of ways. Many teachers don’t use the vocabulary units, or they use their program. You can also assign some of these episodes (or parts of them) for homework. One of the great things about using Serial is that the students can always listen at home if you don’t finish in class (it’s not like they have to take a book home). And finally, you can always shorten or skip some of the lessons, especially in Episode 1.
  3. Speaking of which, these exercises and corresponding schedules are meant as ideas and possibilities. It’s not a rigid calendar.  For example, I’ve done all the exercises in Episode 1 at some point, but I’ve never done all ten of them for one class (it’s just too much).
  4. The following unit plan is assuming 70 minute classes.
  5. If you’re new to the game, this is where you can find the lesson plans.

UNIT 1

Day 1

Vocabulary can be done the previous night, for homework. At some point today or tomorrow, go over vocabulary.

Complete Exercise 2 (Memory Game) before the students listen to Episode 1. Duration: About 25-40 minutes.

Begin listening to Episode 1

Day 2

Listen to more of Episode 1 until the 20:00 mark, at which point you can do Exercise 3 (Connotation). Episode 3 can also wait until the end of the episode, however.

At the 28:00 mark, you can pause and do Exercise 4 (“Lie Detector”).

Day 3

Finish listening to Episode 1.

Choose one exercise from #5-10. (“Theme/Motif”; “Purpose and Point of View”; “Reading vs Listening”; “Asia’s Letters”; “Timeline”; “Sarah vs Shakespeare”). They each take about 30 minutes.

Day 4

Choose two more exercises from #5-10. They each take about 30 minutes.

Day 5

You can choose two more exercises from #5-10, but your students are probably anxious to move on to Episode 3.

UNIT 2

Day 1

Play Episode 2, complete Exercise 2a in class. (Vocabulary can be done the night before for homework.). At some point today or tomorrow, go over vocabulary.

Day 2

Take quiz (Exercise 4), and then get them in groups for Exercise 2b. Do the corresponding presentations. With enough time, create the “crazy chart” as a class (Exercise 4).

Day 3

Create/finish the “crazy chart” if they haven’t yet. Listen to Episode 3, and complete Exercise 2 (Vocabulary can be done the night before for homework).

Day 4

Play Episode 4, and do Exercise 2. Go over vocabulary at some point.

Day 5

There are no specific plans in this packet, but you have time here for a summative vocabulary test, listening comprehension test, or a writing assignment based on a writing prompt of your choice. Personally, I moved on to Episode 5. If my lesson plans for future episodes aren’t available yet, they will be soon.

UNIT 3

Day 1

Listen to the first 28:00 of Episode 5, then do the mapping portion of Exercise 2. (Vocabulary could be done previous night for homework.)

Day 2

Finish up mapping “the drive” if necessary, and finish Exercise 2 (analysis of Jay’s story and evaluating it for how logical and truthful it is.

Day 3

Listen to Episode 6 while doing Exercise 2 (evaluating the evidence against Adnan).

Day 4

Go over vocabulary (that they did for homework) and do Exercise 6 (a writing/ thinking exercise). [Both vocab and Exercise 6 can be done in class or as homework].Assign Episode 7 for homework.

Day 5

Quiz on Episode 7 (or collect the study sheets). Discussion on the episode. Writing assignment (Exercise 2).

Unit 4

Day 1

Listen to Episode 8, while taking notes on Jay.Assign vocabulary homework.

Day 2

Collect vocabulary. Finish Episode 8 (if necessary) and do the exercises on the handouts.

Day 3

Listen to Episode 9 (45 minutes) and have them respond to one of the writing prompts provided.Assign vocabulary homework.

Day 4

Take the listening quiz, go over vocabulary, and address one or two writing prompts provided.Assign homework.

Day 5

(Optional) If you have access to a computer lab, guide their research process instead of assigning it as homework. If there is time left in the class when they’re done, start the presentations.

Day 5

Start presentations (about half of them). Listen to first half of Episode 10.Assign vocabulary homework.

Day 6

Collect vocabulary. Finish presentations. Finish Episode 10.Take quiz. Start writing prompt, which they can finish for homework or during the next class.

Day 7

Finish their writing, if they didn’t do it for homework. Discuss their answers as a class, and/or work on peer-editing if the paper is a formal essay. With time, start Episode 11.

UNIT 5

Day 1

Listen to Episode 11, while taking notes on psychotic possibilities. Collect vocabulary from night before. Do Exercise 2 in class.

Day 2

Replay the end of Episode 11 and assign Exercise 3.

Day 3

Introduce a mini-lesson on satire, show Serial satire, and then do Exercise 4.With time remaining, start on Exercise 5.

Day 4

Do Exercise 5.With enough time, start on vocabulary for Episode 12 or start Exercise 2 of Episode 12.

Day 5

Collect vocabulary homework, start Exercise 2 of Episode 12 (if you haven’t already), and then listen to Episode 12 (55 minutes). Listening to half of it is fine, but don’t get caught with 5-10 minutes of the story left when the bell rings.

Day 6

Finish Episode 12 if necessary, and finish Exercise 2 and discuss.With enough time, do Exercise 3.

Day 7

Finish Exercise 3 if necessary. Start the final papers, cumulative assessments, and final projects that you choose.

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