One of the things I love the most about teaching is being able to use books to introduce young people to some of my own heroes. As a 6th grade teacher, I loved introducing my students to Ernest Shackleton. Last week, I pulled out two old favorite books to share with my 2nd graders: Helen Keller, by Margaret Davidson, and Louis Braille, also by Davidson. My 2nd graders listened breathlessly to Helen Keller’s story, and then asked a million questions. After hearing the story of Louis Braille, they debated with each other about who was more important — Helen Keller or Louis Braille.
Both books are perfect for this age group, and I was very pleased to overhear a conversation between some of my students on their way to recess yesterday. It went like this: “You guys run and ask Helen if she wants to play Helen Keller with us, since her name is Helen. I get to be Annie Sullivan, though.” On the other hand, when I called one of my boys up to my desk and asked him why he had covered his ears when I was giving instructions on an assignment, his answer was “Well, I was trying to see what it would be like to be like Helen Keller.” I suggested he try it out at recess instead of during math. But I’m pleased that they are all so taken by the stories!