1. Preparing to read The Miracle Worker:
The Early Lives of Annie Sullivan and
2. ESSENTIAL QUESTION:
What background information
about Annie Sullivan and Helen
Keller will help the reader better
understand the characters in
The Miracle Worker?
3. Helen Keller
Before we read The Miracle Worker,
you should have some background
on the main characters in the play.
The play is based on real-life people
and situations. You may have
heard of one of the people, Helen
Keller, but you may not know what
an amazing person she actually
was. There’s little doubt that though
she was blind and deaf, she was a
genius. Her accomplishments were
incredible, and she became famous
worldwide during her lifetime.
4. Annie Sullivan
should get to know is
Annie Sullivan, Helen’s
teacher. She, too, was a
person of great
determination. She, and
not Helen, is actually the
character) in the play we
are going to read.
5. Helen and Annie
In this web quest you will learn about both Helen and Annie
and their backgrounds. This information will help you better
understand the play we will read. Simply follow the
directions to investigate the lives of these two women.
6. The Keller Family Background
Go to the following web address and find the
heading called “Helen and her family.” Read it and
then answer the questions below:
1. When and where was Helen born?
2. What was the age difference between Kate and
Captain Arthur Keller (Helen’s parents)?
3. What did Captain Keller do for a living?
7. Keller Family (continued):
Go to the following web address, look at the
picture of the Keller home, and answer the
4. What was the name of the Keller home?
(By the way, click on the “see larger picture”
caption so you can get a good look at it. Your
memory of the way this house looks will
8. Helen’s Illness
Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf. Read the section
called “Helen Falls Ill” at the following site and answer some
questions about her illness and early childhood.
5. At what age did Helen become ill?
6. What do modern doctors think her illness might have
7. How did Helen’s mother discover Helen’s blindness and
deafness that occurred because of her illness?
8. How did Helen behave once she became deaf and blind,
and what did her relatives want to do with her?
9. What very famous inventor did Helen’s parents consult
because he was also an expert on deaf children?
9. Go to the website below to see a
picture of Alexander Graham Bell and
Helen Keller. This picture was taken
when Helen was older.
10. One last question on Helen:
Return to the following website and reread the
last paragraph of “Helen falls ill.” Answer a final
question about Helen:
10. What person in Boston did the Keller's
consult? What was the name of the
institution he directed?
11. We’re going to leave Helen now
and find out some information
about Annie Sullivan, Helen’s
teacher. Remember, the play
we’ll be reading is actually more
about Annie than it is about
12. Annie’s Childhood
Go to the following website and read the first four
paragraphs to 　 gather answers to the questions about
11. When and where was Annie born?
12. What country had Annie’s parents immigrated
13. What illness did Annie get at the age of 5, and
what happened to her because of it?
14. What was the name of the place where Annie was
sent when her father abandoned her and her brother?
13. Annie’s Life at Tewksbury
Go to the following website and 　 read the
first two 　 paragraphs to learn a little about
Tewksbury. You’ll be 　 shocked at what you’ll
find about this place.
15. In the second paragraph on this page, you will
read about some of the rumors. What were a
few of them?
14. Read the first few sentences on this
page and answer this question:
16. What happened to Annie’s
15. Go to this page and read the first two
paragraphs about how Annie got out of
Tewksbury and where she went. Answer the
17. How did Annie get out of Tewksbury?
18. Where did Annie go, and in what year
did she go there?
16. Read the last paragraph on this page
to find out how Annie’s sight was
19. How was Annie’s sight helped?
17. Annie succeeded at Perkins because she was
very bright. She also had a bad temper and
tended to break rules and get into trouble. She
was almost expelled from Perkins on several
occasions! Luckily, though, she was able to finish
her education there and actually graduated at
the top of her class. Unfortunately, after
graduation Annie really had nowhere to go – no
family, no job. Just when she started to worry
that she might have to return to Tewksbury,
Helen’s father contacted Michael Anagnos, the
director of Perkins, looking for a teacher for
Helen. Anagnos recommended Annie, and she
began her journey from Boston to Alabama.
Annie’s First Job
18. Annie Arrives at the Keller Home
Go to the following website to read about Annie’s
20. How old was Annie when she left for her job at
the Keller home?
21. What caused Annie misery on the trip?
22. Who met Annie at the station?
23. What did Helen expect to find in Annie’s
19. This is where you will end your investigation, about
the early lives of these remarkable lives of these
two women. The information you have learned
about Annie and Helen will give you a sense of who
they were at the point where The Miracle Worker
begins. The play centers around what happens in
those first weeks after Annie arrives at the Keller
As you can tell, both Helen and Annie were
stubborn and used to getting their own way. You
can probably already guess what will happen when
these two strong-willed people meet!
Please look at the next 3 slides for some gross
20. Healthy brain
As you know, Helen Keller's
blindness and deafness were
caused by illness. While they
don't know for sure what she
had, it may have been meningitis
or scarlet fever (see next slide
about scarlet fever).
Brains with Meningitis
21. Person with Scarlet Fever
22. Annie Sullivan, Helen's teacher, had trouble with
her eyes all of her life. As you have read, she
suffered from trachoma, but she was able to have
surgery that helped with her sight.
Eyes with Trachoma
23. Preparing to read The Miracle Worker:
The Early Lives of Annie Sullivan and
Write a reflection
on what you
learned in this
does it relate to
our unit theme ：