Gallery Walk is a discussion technique that gets students out of their chairs and into a mode of active engagement. The advantage of the method is its flexibility and the variety of benefits for students and instructor alike. A Gallery Walk can be conducted with computers (a “Computer Run”), with pieces of paper on tables, or with posted chart paper. It can be scheduled for fifteen minutes (a “Gallery Run”) or for several class periods. For students it’s a chance to share thoughts in a more intimate, supportive setting rather than a larger, anonymous class. For instructors, it’s a chance to gauge the depth of student understanding of particular concepts and to challenge misconceptions. Below is a short summary on how to conduct a Gallery Walk. For a more complete set of instructions on how to conduct a Gallery Walk, Computer Run, or Gallery Run see Step by Step Instructions
Quick Summary of Format
- The instructor prepares several discussion questions. Student teams in a Gallery Walk typically number three to five. So, for a class of twenty write four to five questions. For larger classes either write more questions or repeat the same set of four to five questions, posting the same question set in different sections of the class. Questions can gauge knowledge and comprehension or can tap higher order thinking skills involving analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. For tips on preparing questions see Developing Questions for Gallery Walk to Engage Higher Order Thinking.
- Questions are posted on different “stations” on classroom walls, placed on pieces of paper on desks in different locations around class, or typed on different computers. Plan on sufficient space for groups to congregate and discuss questions.
- At each posted question a student team reviews what previous groups have written and adds new content. After a short period of time, say three to five minutes but the exact time will depend upon the nature of the question, say “rotate.” The group then rotates, clockwise, to the next station. The rotation continues until all posted questions are addressed.
- As students discuss questions, the instructor can circulate around the classroom, clarifying questions, gauging student understanding, and addressing misconceptions. Write down any misconceptions or lapses in student understanding and address these problems before the end of the exercise. In such a way, Gallery Walk becomes a valuable tool for informal assessment. For more information see Assessing Gallery Walk.
- When the group returns to the station where it started, the group synthesizes comments and makes an oral report, the “reports out” phase of Gallery Walk,” to the class. This stage of the Gallery Walk is a great chance for involving the entire class in discussion and to address misconceptions. Group or individual written reports can be completed in lieu of oral reports.