Photo by US Department of Education
About a month ago I stumbled upon this blog post, an archive of a #langchat Twitter chat about using texts to teaching communicative proficiency (if you're not familiar with #langchat, go learn about it here!). One of the contributors, @SenoraDunkin, mentioned a reading strategy that involves students crossing out words they don't know and then reading the text. What a brilliant idea! I have subsequently used it in class, but I put a little twist on it. I show them a text on the SMART Board, and then I cross out the words that I won't be able to explain to them while staying in French, and we read the text together afterwards. I'd also like to try it the original way, since it fosters more independence, but I decided to try it my way first. I knew if students did it themselves from the get go, they would cross out all sorts of words that they might actually be able to figure out if they thought about them.
I have had great success reading short articles with my students by using this method. They are able to see just how much they are able to get out of a text even without understanding everything (sometimes we crossed out whole paragraphs!).
I think this is an example of how powerful social media is as a professional development tool. To be able to share ideas with people I've never met is something that was unfathomable even ten or fifteen years ago. Imagine how we'll be sharing ten to fifteen years in the future!