Konos Unit: Attentiveness
Theme: Helen Keller
For this unit, we have read several books by Margaret Davidson including "Helen Keller" and "Helen Keller's Teacher" which is about Annie Sullivan. We've talked about deafness and blindness and how challenging life must have been for someone like Helen Keller. Several times throughout the studies I've had him close his eyes and plug his ears and just try to imagine living like this every day. I want him to truly understand and appreciate how important and how wonderful sign language and braille are to people who rely on these to communicate with the world around them.
I loved that the Helen Keller book had a true braille alphabet on the back so Nicholas could experience how challenging braille is to learn.
Nicholas read, "Louis Braille: The Boy Who Invented Books For The Blind" completely on his own. He read several chapters at a time until he had read the whole thing. We would find him quietly sitting somewhere reading it. It was neat to see him so engrossed in it and see how excited he was to tell us about the chapters he had just read.
We also watched the movie, "The Miracle Worker" which is all about Annie Sullivan and the miracles that she did in breaking through to Helen Keller and teaching her to communicate. Nicholas enjoyed it except for the parts where Helen threw a fit. He didn't like all the yelling and flailing around. I had been a little concerned about that too but I think the movie helped round out our reading experience perfectly.
Nicholas loves the little file folder games that I make for Rachel so I was excited to see a file folder game for American Sign Language or "ASL".
The file folder has each letter of the alphabet on it and you have to match the sign with the letter. The letter on the folder and the little cards with the signs each have a small piece of velcro on them so they actually stick well to each other when matched.
Here is the completed activity with all of the signs matched to their corresponding letters. This alone is a great tool for refreshing your memory on the sign language alphabet.
Nicholas was excited when he realized that he could spell his own name in sign language!
Here's another website I found that has some good worksheets to help teach sign language to children. There are many more great websites and resources on the internet if you'd like to look into this further.