“Save the Last Word for Me” is a discussion strategy that requires all students to participate as active speakers and listeners. Its clearly defined structure helps shy students share their ideas and ensures that frequent speakers practice being quiet. It is often used as a way to help students debrief a reading or film.
Step one: Preparation
Identify a reading or video excerpt that will serve as the catalyst for this activity.
Step two: Students read and respond to text
Have students read or view the selected text. Ask students to highlight three sentences that particularly stood out for them and write each sentence on the front of an index card. On the back they should write a few sentences explaining why they chose that quote - what it meant to them, reminded them of, etc. They may have connected it to something that happened to them in their own life, to a film or book they saw or read, or to something that happened in history or is happening in current events.
Step three: Sharing in small groups
Divide the students into groups of three, labeling one student A, one B, and the other C. Invite “A”s to read one of their chosen quotations. Then students B and C discuss the quotation. What do they think it means? Why do they think these words might be important? To whom? After several minutes, as the A students to read the back of their cards (or to explain why they picked the quotation), thus having “the last word.” This process continues with the B student sharing and then student C.