Reflection: Rigor The Henrietta Lacks Family Pedigree - Section 3: Explore


The Explore activity conducted in this portion of the lesson is definitely a great deal of heavy lifting for my students, many of which are late adolescent emerging readers. However, I have never seen the development of the ability to successfully handle complex, rigorous text by assigning texts that are at or below the reading levels of my students. To the contrary, texts and task that are a reach for my students tend to command their respect and increased engagement. 

I approach this task with a "Think Aloud" routine as core practice in the Reading Apprenticeship approach to developing literacy in which I read a few lines within the assigned portion of the text and then actually model adding the names of the family to the pedigree. My students have practiced Think Alouds in many collaborative structures and modes such as the peer interviews reflecting of the content and comprehension of complex journal articles as seen in this video so the routine is familiar.

Although the routine of thinking aloud and making your thinking visible may appear a bit uncomfortable or elementary. Perhaps it is also perceived as not the best use of content area class time. For me, I believe through proper modeling and a safe environment in which to practice their new skills, late adolescents can meet and exceed their reading goals with strategies that are authentic and explicitly develop literacy in a respectful manner.

  Content Area Literacy for Late Adolescents
  Rigor: Content Area Literacy for Late Adolescents
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The Henrietta Lacks Family Pedigree

Unit 2: Bioethics: Issues in Biotechnology
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: Students will visualize relationships within families, particularly large extended families analyze the pattern of inheritance of a particular trait, disease or disorder and gather relevant medical information in order determine the mode of inheritance of genetic traits, disorders, and/or diseases within a family.

Big Idea: Biotechnology is a "family" affair!

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immortal life of henrietta lacks
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