The instructions that follow guide you in using to Save the Last Word teaching strategy to facilitate online small-group discussions during remote learning. Students can complete the activities either synchronously or asynchronously. This strategy requires all students to participate as both active speakers and active listeners. Working in groups of three, students follow a pattern of sharing and discussing their responses to a text. By creating a clear structure for the discussion, this strategy encourages reserved students to share their ideas and ensures that frequent speakers practice being quiet. It can be a useful strategy for helping students debrief a reading, and it can be adapted to allow students to respond to a film or images.
The following questions can help you plan to use the of Save the Last Word for Me strategy for remote learning:
Determine how you want to introduce your students to the activity (for example, through video or written instructions or during a synchronous meeting). You can adapt and share the Instructions for Students. Then, share the reading students will respond to.
Students Read and Respond
Ask students to finish the reading before meeting with their small groups. Students should write down one sentence that stood out to them and then write a few sentences explaining why they chose that quote. Share questions with your students to guide their explanation, such as:
Assign students to groups of three and ask each group to appoint a timekeeper.
Students Share in Groups
If students are meeting synchronously, they should join the other members of their groups in a virtual breakout room. Students should decide on an order to share their quotes. The first student should read their quote but not their explanation. The other two students should discuss the quote for three minutes. The timekeeper should keep track of discussion times. After three minutes, the first student should read their explanation. Then, repeat this process with the other two students.
If students are discussing asynchronously, ask them to post their sentences in a document/forum shared by the members of their group. Students should comment on their group members’ quotes, but not their own. Once the time for commenting has ended, each student should post their explanation for why they chose their quote and read the explanations of their group members.
The following questions can help guide students’ synchronous or asynchronous discussions:
Students Complete Exit Cards
Ask students to reflect on the activity in an exit card. Prompts you might use on an exit card include the following:
This step can be completed asynchronously. Students should submit their completed exit cards to the teacher.
View our resources for supporting teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Designed for remote settings, this discussion strategy is especially useful when having conversations about controversial topics.