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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 ASL: A Distinct Cultural Language.






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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.