Rebecca Skloot, who wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, also wrote an opinion essay in the New York Times on the issue of ownership of human cells and permission. A link to the essay is provided as well as lessons surrounding this issue. Interviews with Sklott and Oprah Winfrey are featured in this resource. These lessons can be used at any time when studying the book or independent of reading the book.
There are many links to video and audio resources for analyzing the argument. The resource features an original prompt based on responding to a Rebecca Skloot quote about ownership of cells from her op-ed. Students will craft an argumentative thesis sentence for an argument that agrees, refutes, or qualifies points from Skloot’s quotation.
Also, there is a graphic organizer designed as a rhetorical triangle where students will look for appeals from Oprah Winfrey’s interview about the film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities. Now adaptable for ESOL classes.
The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. I have added an addendum that describes how to adapt the lessons for ELL students.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, cells, Biology, race relations, theme, ELL adaptable material, flipped classroom