Gallery Walk

Rationale

During a gallery walk, students explore multiple texts or images that are placed around the room. You can use this strategy when you want to have students share their work with peers, examine multiple historical documents, or respond to a collection of quotations. Because this strategy requires students to physically move around the room, it can be especially engaging to kinesthetic learners.

Procedure

  1. Select Texts
    Select the texts (e.g., quotations, images, documents, and/or student work) you will be using for the gallery work. You could also have the students themselves, working individually or in small groups, select the texts.
  2. Display Texts around the Classroom
    Texts should be displayed “gallery style,” in a way that allows students to disperse themselves around the room, with several students clustering around each particular text. Texts can be hung on walls or placed on tables. The most important factor is that the texts are spread far enough apart to reduce significant crowding.
  3. Explore Texts
    Viewing instructions will depend on your goals for the activity. If the purpose of the gallery walk is to introduce students to new material, you might want them to take informal notes as they walk around the room. If the purpose is for students to take away particular information, you can create a graphic organizer for them to complete as they view the “exhibit,” or compile a list of questions for them to answer based on the texts on display. Sometimes teachers ask students to identify similarities and differences among a collection of texts. Or teachers give students a few minutes to tour the room and then, once seated, ask them to record impressions about what they saw. Students can take a gallery walk on their own or with a partner. You can also have them travel in small groups, announcing when groups should move to the next piece in the exhibit. One direction that should be emphasized is that students are supposed to disperse around the room. When too many students cluster around one text, it not only makes it difficult for students to view the text but also increases the likelihood of off-task behavior.
  4. Debrief the Gallery Walk
    Once students have had a chance to view a sufficient number of the texts around the room, debrief the activity as a class. Depending on the goals of the gallery walk, this debrief can take a variety of forms. You might ask students to share the information they collected, or you might ask students what conclusions they can draw about a larger question from the evidence they examined.

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