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June 27

Helen Keller was born in 1880.

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Helen Keller was born in 1880.

Grades 5 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





When she was born in Alabama on this day in 1880, Helen Keller was a normal baby; but when she was nineteen months old, she lost both her hearing and sight after an illness. As an adult, Keller was a writer, an educator, and a social activist.




In 1887, Keller learned to talk using a finger alphabet after her well-known breakthrough with Annie Sullivan at the family's well pump. The finger alphabet that Keller learned to communicate with Sullivan, her family, and eventually, many others was a basic version of the system that is now known as American Sign Language. Have your students explore the American Sign Language browser from Michigan State University and try using a few signs. Discuss how ASL differs from spoken English and how the two are similar. During the discussion, introduce the misconceptions about ASL addressed in the article Common Myths about Sign Language.



  • Helen Keller Birthplace: "Ivy Green"

    Ivy Green, Helen Keller's birthplace, sponsors this website on Keller's life and accomplishments as well as pictures and details on the birthplace, its grounds, and events that take place at Ivy Green.


  • Technology and Literacy in Deaf Education

    The focus of this blog will be to synthesize research regarding the use of technology in the literacy development of deaf and hard of hearing students.

  • Helen Keller archive at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

    The Helen Keller Archival Collection at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is the world’s largest repository of letters, speeches, press clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, architectural drawings, artifacts and audio-video materials relating to Helen Keller.


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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Heroes Around Us

Students select, read about, and report on a hero and then identify how their hero matches certain criteria and characteristics. Hero reports are then compiled into a class book.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Disability Using Multimedia and the B-D-A Reading Strategy

History takes on new dimensions in this interactive multimedia lesson that emphasizes the B-D-A approach to research as students investigate the experiences of people with disabilities since the early 1800s.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Inclusive Stories: Teaching About Disabilities With Picture Books

Students explore disabilities in order to think critically and sensitively about them. They choose a disability to research and then create a picture book about the disability.


Grades   1 – 3  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using American Sign Language to Improve Comprehension and Vocabulary

American Sign Language is combined with the hilarious poetry and pictures of Sam's Sandwich, a lift-the-flap book, to engage all types of learners in acquiring key vocabulary.