Garrett Morgan and the Traffic Signal
About the Book
Text Type: Nonfiction/Biography
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 232
People follow traffic signals every day. Did you ever wonder where the idea for the traffic signal came from? Garrett Morgan and the Traffic Signal tells about the problems of buggy and car drivers in the 1920s and one man's plan to help keep the streets safe.
About the Lesson
Targeted Reading Strategy
- Use the reading strategy of retelling to understand text
- Identify elements of a biography
- Manipulate initial and final sounds
- Recognize open vowel y
- Understand and recognize verbs
- Identify and understand how to place words in alphabetical order
- Book -- Garrett Morgan and the Traffic Signal (copy for each student)
- Chalkboard or dry erase board
- Elements of a biography, open vowel y, verbs worksheets
Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)
- High-frequency words: knew, new, saw, then, this, went, when
- Content words: buggies, busy, Cleveland, corners, Ohio, plan, problems, signal, traffic
- Ask students what they think of when they hear the word traffic. Discuss their responses. Ask them to explain what types of vehicles make up the traffic on the roads. Ask students to explain what they know about how people and things were moved from one place to another before cars existed.
- Have students share examples of ways that traffic is controlled and what happens when it is not controlled.
Introduce the Book
- Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they might read about in a book called Garrett Morgan and the Traffic Signal. (Accept all answers students can justify.)
- Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).
- Have students preview the table of contents. Explain that the table of contents helps them understand what the book is about. Have students use the table of contents to help them predict what the book might be about.
Introduce the Reading Strategy: Retell
- Explain to students that one way to understand and remember what they are reading is to stop now and then during reading to retell in their mind what is happening in the story.
- Explain that when someone retells something, they explain in detail what happened in order from beginning to end. Point out that people retell stories as part of their daily lives, such as explaining what happened in school to a student who was absent. Ask students to share other examples of when people might give a retelling.
- Model retelling a familiar story in detail, such as The Three Little Pigs.
Think-aloud: In The Three Little Pigs, three pigs each decide to build a house. The first pig decides to make his house out of straw. He gathers all of the materials and builds his house. The second pig decides to build his house out of sticks. He gathers all of the materials and builds his house. The third pig gathers the materials to build his house out of bricks. One day a big bad wolf comes to the house of the first little pig. He wants the little pig to let him inside and says I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down. Continue retelling in detail to the end of the story.
- As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Comprehension Skill: Elements of a biography
- Explain that a biography tells the story of a person's life. Many times we can tell what a person is like by his or her actions. For example, if someone tells a joke and makes people laugh, we know that person is funny.
- A biography often focuses on what kind of person someone was and what the person did.
- Write the following headings on the board: What He/She Did, What He/She Is Like. Model identifying elements of a biography.
Think-aloud: The things people do tell us what they are like. Sometimes I see children at school comfort someone who is sad or help someone up who has fallen down. Helping someone else is what the person did. I will write that under the heading What He/She Did. People's actions often describe their character and how they are with other people. I would describe a person who helps someone else as caring. I will write caring on the board under the heading What He/She Is Like.
- Write Making fun of someone under the heading What He/She is Like. Ask students to describe a person who makes fun of someone else (not caring, mean, and so on). Invite students to share other examples of things people do and what that tells us about them.
- Introduce and explain the elements of a biography worksheet. Have students use the chart to identify information about Garret Morgan as they read.
Introduce the Vocabulary
- While previewing the book, reinforce the vocabulary words students will encounter in the book. For example, on page 5 you might say: The streets of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, were filled with horses, buggies, and cars. Point to pictures that provide a visual for vocabulary words, such as buggies, traffic, and corners.
- Remind students to look at the letters a word begins with or ends with to figure out a difficult word. For example, point to the word traffic on page 7, and say: The picture shows people and buggies on the streets. When I look at the parts of the word, it starts like /tra/ and ends like /fic/. The word must be traffic. I will reread the sentence to make sure traffic makes sense in the sentence.
- For additional tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.
Set the Purpose
- Have students read the book to find out who Garrett Morgan is, what kind of person he was, and what he did. Invite students to write any words that tell the reader about Mr. Morgan's character on the back of their elements of a biography worksheet. Remind them to stop reading now and then to retell in their mind what has happened so far in the story.
- Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book. Have them read to the end of page 6 and then stop to think about the events that have happened so far in the book. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
- Model identifying elements of a biography.
Think-aloud: I stopped after a few pages to retell in my mind what I had read so far. By page 6 I learned that the streets in the 1920s were very busy because there were lots of cars, people, bikes, horses, and buggies on the streets. A man named Garrett Morgan knew the streets were not safe when he saw a car hit a horse and buggy.
- Ask students what they think will happen because the man saw a car hit a horse and buggy.
- Check for understanding: Have students read to the end of page 8. Ask them to practice retelling to a partner what happened next in the story. Listen to students' retellings for correct order and description of the story events.
- Ask students to identify what Garrett Morgan did after he saw that the streets were not safe (he made a plan for a traffic signal). Write what Garrett did on the board under the heading What He/She Did and have students record this information on their worksheet. Based on this action, ask students to describe what Garrett Morgan was like (concerned, caring, and so on). Have them record this information on their worksheet under the heading What He Was Like.
- Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to think about the details of the story so they can identify what Garrett Morgan did and what those actions tell about what he was like.
Have students make a small question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. These can be addressed in the discussion that follows.
Reflect on the Reading Strategy
- Ask students what words they marked in their book. Model how they can read these words.
- Retell in detail with students the events of the story from page 9 through the end of the book.
Think-aloud: After Garrett made a plan, a traffic signal was made. It had arms that went up and down instead of lights so people knew when to cross the street. They put these signals on corners. The plan worked and Garrett made the streets safe for everybody. Garrett also made other things.
- Ask students to identify what else Garrett Morgan made (a mask for firefighters, a newspaper).
- Have students retell Garrett Morgan's story to a partner, starting at the beginning. Listen for whether students include: correct events in detail and whether they list events in the correct order.
Reflect on the Comprehension Skill
- Discussion: Ask students why they think someone wrote a biography about Garrett Morgan. Discuss why he is an important person.
- Independent practice: Have students complete the elements of a biography worksheet.
- Enduring understanding: In this story, we learned that some people identify problems and create solutions to help make the world a better place. Now that you know this information, what will you do the next time you see a problem? What would you expect as a result?
Phonemic Awareness: Manipulate initial and final sounds
- Explain that we can listen to the beginning and ending parts of words and break them apart. For example, say: Street without the /str/ is /eet/, and stop without the /st/ is /op/. In each word I left off the beginning sound and said only the ending sound.
- Say the following words and have students respond orally: Saw without the /s/ is? (/aw/) New without the /n/ is? (/ew/) Make without the /m/ is? (/ake/) Then say: How without the /ow/ is? (/h/) Made without the /ade/ is? (/m/) Things without the /ings/ is? (/th/)
- Check for understanding: Repeat the process above, manipulating both the initial and final consonant sounds. Use the following words: showed, plan, keep, and safe.
Phonics: Open vowel y
- Write the words busy and my on the board. Say the words aloud and have students repeat them with you.
- Underline the letter y in each word. Read the words again with students, emphasizing the sound the letter y makes. Ask students to explain the difference between the sounds.
- Explain that the letter y at the end of a word can stand for more than one sound. Discuss that the letter y can make the long /e/ vowel sound as in busy or the long /i/ vowel sound as in my.
- Check for understanding: Write the following words on the board and say them one at a time with students: happy, sunny, fly, buy, funny, sky, and buggy. Have students give the thumbs-up signal if a word stands for the long /e/ vowel sound and the thumbs-down signal if a word stands for the long /i/ vowel sound.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the open vowel y worksheet.
Grammar and Mechanics: Verbs
- Write the following sentence on the board: Many things shared the streets. Underline the words Many things. Ask students to explain what these many things did (shared). Circle the word shared and explain that words that show action are called verbs.
- Write the following sentence on the board: Cars were on the streets. Underline the word Cars. Ask students to identify what the cars did. Circle the word were and explain that words such as were and was also are verbs used to explain what something is doing.
- Invite students to think of verbs they know. Write these words on the board and have volunteers use each word in a sentence.
Check for understanding: Have students work with a partner to locate and circle the verbs in the book. When students have finished, discuss their answers.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain and have students complete the verbs worksheet.
Word Work: Alphabetical order
- Write the words Cleveland and buggies on the board. Underline the first letter in each word. Ask students what letter comes first in the alphabet: c or b.
- Review or explain that words are sometimes placed in a list by ABC, or alphabetical, order. Words are placed in alphabetical order by looking first at the initial letter in each word and deciding which letter comes first in the alphabet.
- Write the words buggies and busy on the board. Have students identify the initial letter in each word (b). Ask students how they might decide which word comes first in alphabetical order. Underline the next letter in both words (u). Explain that since the second letter in each word is the same, they need to look at the third letter in each word (g, s).
- Ask students to identify which letter comes first in the alphabet (g). Explain that the word buggies would come first in a list of words in alphabetical order.
- Check for understanding: List the content vocabulary words out of order on the board. Have students write the words in alphabetical order on a separate piece of paper. When they have finished, discuss their answers.
- Allow students to read their book independently or with a partner. Encourage repeated timed readings of a specific section in the book. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.
- Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have students tell someone at home the elements of a biography using this book.
Extend the Reading
Writing and Art Connection
Have students think of a problem they have seen and what they might invent to solve the problem. Have students make a drawing of the invention they would make. Then have them write a brief paragraph that explains the problem and how their invention would solve that problem.
Social Studies Connection
Have students identify something they use or see every day, such as a computer or telephone. Have them use the Internet to find out who invented the object. Have students present their information in an oral presentation.
Monitor students to determine if they can:
- accurately and consistently use the strategy of retelling during discussion
- accurately and consistently identify the elements of a biography during discussion and on a worksheet
- understand and manipulate beginning and ending sounds during discussion
- recognize and understand open vowel y in text and on a worksheet
- recognize and understand verbs as action words during discussion and on a worksheet
- correctly place words in alphabetical order during discussion and on a separate piece of paper
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