During a Gallery Walk, students explore multiple texts or images that are placed around the room. Teachers often use this strategy as a way to have students share their work with peers, examine multiple historical documents, or respond to a collection of quotations.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.
Select the texts (e.g. quotations, images, documents, and/or student work) you will be using for the gallery walk. You could also have students, individually or in small groups, select the text for the gallery walk.
Organize 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 a 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.
Instruct students on how to walk through the gallery
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 of the gallery walk is for students to take away particular information, you can create a graphic organizer for students 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 themselves around the room. When too many students cluster around one text, it not only makes it difficult for students to view the text, but it also increases the likelihood of off-task behavior.
This discussion strategy uses writing and silence as tools to help students explore a topic in-depth. Having a written conversation with peers slows down students’ thinking process and gives them an opportunity to focus on the views of others. This strategy also creates a visual record of students’ thoughts and questions that can be referred to later in a course.