SOS: Save the Last Word for Me

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Save the Last Word for Me

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SOS Big IdeaSave 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 can be used as a way to help students debrief a video or reading passage.

SOS StepsMaterials: Discovery Education media or text, index cards

  1. Identify a Discovery Education video or reading passage excerpt that will serve as the catalyst for this activity.
  2. Have students view or read the selected text . 
  3. Ask students to highlight three sentences that stood out for them and write each sentence on the front of an index card. 
  4. On the back of the index card, they should write a few sentences explaining why they chose that quote: what it meant to them, reminded them of, etc. They may connect it to something that happened to them in their own life or in history.
  5. Divide the students into groups of three, and then have them take AB, and Croles within the group.
  6. Invite the As to read one of their chosen quotations (front of card only). Ask students B and C to discuss the quote. What do they think it means? Why do they think these words might be important? To whom would they be important? 
  7. After 2-3 minutes, have the A students read the back of their cards (or explain why they picked the quotation), thus having the last word.
  8. Repeat the process with the Bs sharing, and then the Cs.



SOS Sum It UpThis activity gives each student an opportunity to discuss his or her viewpoint in a small and safe group. It is a good exercise in learning how to politely disagree with partners (if viewpoints differ) and to be able to voice an opinion after a discussion has happened. All members of the group feel validated and multiple viewpoints are shared.


SOS More Ideas


  • This same process can be used with images instead of quotations. You could give students a collection of Discovery Education posters, paintings, and photographs from the time period you are studying, and then ask  students to select three images that stand out to them. On the back of an index card, students explain why they selected the image and what they  think it represents or why it is important.
  • Ask students to think about three probing questions the text raises for them. (A probing question is interpretive and evaluative. It can be discussed and has no clearly defined right answer, as opposed to clarifying questions which are typically factual in nature.) Students answer the questions on the back of their cards. In small groups, students select one of their questions for the other two students to discuss.

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  1. Yanglish said:

    Save the Last Word for Me is a very effective strategy when training. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

  2. Swift Codes said:

    I want to say just ask students to think about three probing questions the text raises for them. (A probing question is interpretive and evaluative. It can be discussed and has no clearly defined right answer.

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