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Captain Keller's Business Letter

Teacher Lesson


  • Arts & Humanities


6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students write a business letter similar to one Captain Keller might have written asking the Perkins Institution to recommend a teacher for his daughter.



  • use business letter style and format.
  • write a letter based on details provided in the first act of The Miracle Worker.


blind, business, Keller, letter, Miracle Worker, Perkins Institution

Materials Needed

  • The Miracle Worker (script for the play)
  • model for business letter
  • writing materials

Lesson Plan

Students read and discuss Act I of The Miracle Worker.

After students read the first act of the play, invite them to discuss the conversation between Kate and Captain Keller in which the two debate contacting Dr. Chisholm. Talk about what Mr. Anagnos said -- that Dr. Chisholm couldn't help but that Dr. Bell had suggested that Helen needed a teacher. ("Dr. Bell" is Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone while trying to help deaf and hearing-impaired people.)

Challenge students to write the kind of business letter Captain Keller might have written to the Perkins Institution to ask for help finding a teacher. Students should describe Helen, explain what duties would be required of a teacher, and offer a salary. (Mr. Anagnos mentions Sullivan's salary in Act I.)

As a practical matter, provide the following information. The Kellers lived before people used rural street addresses. For an address, use Ivy Green, Tuscumbia, Alabama. The date would be in the spring of 1887.


Base assessment on the following criteria, which students should check before they hand in their letters. The finished letters should be neat and written in blue or black ink on unlined white paper or typed.
  • Use correct business letter format.
  • Use correct spelling.
  • Use correct capitalization.
  • Use correct punctuation.
  • Use correct grammar.
  • Include all necessary information.
  • Use information that is accurate and plausible within the context of the play.

Submitted By

Carla Beard, Connersville High School, Connersville, Indiana

Teachers have permission to copy this page for use in their classrooms.


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