How do you answer a text-dependent question?

Class began by students getting new seats, and then things moved into the normal pattern. Students completed a welcome activity that asked them to identify the parts of speech in a sentence. After reading, they discussed this with their partners, and then I went over the correct response. This is something we will review in the coming days to make sure students aren’t rusty with knowing the parts of speech.

Students volunteered for the first round of Book Talks tomorrow. This doesn’t mean these students have extra homework; however, they can choose to practice outside of class if they want to. Otherwise, they will have time to prepare their book talks during Notebook Thinking time tomorrow.

For today’s Notebook Thinking prompt, we watched the video below from last week’s VMAs. I encouraged students to pay attention to the singer’s message and think about how this relates to the article last week. The important point behind this video is the idea that you are not alone! If you’re ever feeling down, depressed, or have suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone.

Something super neat about this video is that calls to the suicide hotline increased by 50% during and after this performance, and that means that people who needed help reached out for it. That is so important! Life can get hard sometimes, and you are not expected to tackle everything or anything by yourself.

After writing, students wrote down this week’s words and definitions. Three people have ALREADY found weekly words in their reading outside of class! How cool! Be on the lookout for these words because they will definitely show up.

Conspicuous – adjective – easily seen, obvious, attracting attention

Grueling – adjective – physically or mentally exhausting

Meander – verb – to follow a winding and turning course

Replenish – verb – to build up a supply of something again; fill again

Brain break!

The main lesson of class today was all about how to answer a text-dependent question. Students looked at question one from their work last week. When answering a text-dependent question, I’m looking for five specific things, so on their work from last week, I wrote a number, and that number tells students how many of those five things their response had. They then looked at this information, compared notes with their partners, and tried to determine what those five things are.

After students grappled with this information for a little bit, I introduced them to RACER. This is an acronym to help remember how to answer a text-dependent question, and as I explained to students, this is something they will be expected to use in their other classes as well as language arts.

RACER anchor chart handout

Students took some quick notes on this handout to help clarify some ideas.


After taking these notes, students were given the handout below and worked with their partners to identify each RACER component of the example.

RACER Example

After going over this, students had about 10 minutes to work on rewriting QUESTION TWO using the RACER format.

Class ended with a read aloud of one of April Henry’s books. She is an author who writes a lot of mystery books, and she will be coming to speak to the PVJH student body later this year!


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Finish rewriting your response to QUESTION TWO using the RACER format.