Capitalizing on the popularity of Serial and other podcasts, this adaptable assignment sheet provides students (ideally in a 10th-12th grade English classroom) an overview of the podcast as an emerging genre, as well as instructions on how to go about making one of their own.
Working in pairs, students choose a "fringe" literary or historical topic (one that only gets a tantalizing, passing mention in class, like Mary Shelley keeping Percy Shelley's heart in a drawer for thirty years after he drowned, or Mark Twain going bankrupt investing in an early form of a robotic typesetter) and spotlight it in an original podcast that features an interview segment, fake "advertisements," and sound effects.
Students will need access to some sort of recording app (suggestions are listed in the assignment sheet), and I typically give them a period of 3-5 weeks to produce, edit, and finalize their work before publishing it. I teach in a 1:1 school, and this project is an excellent way to integrate digital technology into the curriculum to produce a multimodal product.
Also included is the concise, holistic rubric I use to evaluate projects, which can be adapted and expanded into categories for different needs, competencies, and skill assessment.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you'd like to hear examples of how my past students have tackled this assignment. I've been really happy with the results, and students have *loved* it.