Gallery Walk

Engage students in kinesthetic learning opportunities where they see, think, and wonder as they circulate the room
371 teachers like this strategy
Gallery Walk: Overview

About This Strategy

During a Gallery Walk or a Poster Walk, students get up out of their seats and circulate the room. They look at images, text and/or student work and identify what they see, think, and wonder. Similar to the experience of visiting a museum, a Gallery Walk can happen silently or be an opportunity for peer discussion and then recording of that discussion on a poster. Students can participate by responding in writing to what they see. A Gallery Walk or a Poster Walk ensures equitable participation and is structured so that students have time to think about their responses and respond to their classmates at a pace that is appropriate for each individual student. Because students capture their thinking in writing, they are able to practice important discussion moves including building on each others' ideas, asking clarifying questions, respectfully agreeing and disagreeing, and providing meaningful and actionable feedback. The written discussion becomes a classroom artifact that students can refer back to as they deepen their understanding and engage in reading, writing, and speaking activities about the same topics they explored in the Gallery Walk.

Implementation Steps

20 minutes
  1. Select the images, student work, or texts that will be on display during the Gallery Walk.

  2. Display images, student work, or texts on the classroom walls so they are easily visible to students.

  3. Determine the viewing purpose and post instructions for students next to each image.

  4. Decide if students will travel individually or in groups. If students will travel in groups, determine student groupings.

  5. Distribute a graphic organizer where students will capture their responses as they circulate (this is optional, but it is an effective way to hold students accountable for their participation and critical thinking). To see a sample graphic organizer, consult the "See Think Wonder Gallery Walk Graphic Organizer" below.

  6. Debrief students' experience with them and provide an opportunity for students to share what they saw, thought, and wondered during a Turn and Talk or whole class discussion.

    • To learn more about supporting students as they see, think and wonder during a gallery walk, explore the Integrating Inclusive Content and Exploring Multiple Perspectives strategies in the BetterLesson Lab.

Peer Feedback Gallery Walk

Students can view their peers' work during a Gallery Walk, and they can provide their peers with feedback.

Implementation Steps:

  • Develop a set of criteria for effective feedback with your students by asking them to consider what good feedback looks like and sounds like.
  • Display student work on the walls.

  • Provide students with a graphic organizer where they can capture their feedback.

  • Determine how students will give and receive feedback after the Gallery Walk. Consider pairing students and having students give each other Glows and Grows.

Pre-Assessment Gallery Walk

Gather students' prior knowledge and assess their current level of understanding through a pre-assessment Gallery Walk. This type of Gallery Walk works well when you are introducing a new topic or skill and you need data in order to determine your next instructional moves and how you will differentiate your instruction to meet all your students' needs.

Implementation Steps:

  • Identify what topics and/or skills you need to assess.

  • Write them on posters and display those posters on your classroom walls.

  • Give each student a different color marker, so you will be able to to identify which comments belong to which students.

  • After students comment, review their comments. Identify patterns as you analyze the data and use those patterns to determine your next steps.

EL Modification

For a text-based gallery walk, teachers can provide English Learners with:

  • texts beforehand to annotate or examine,
  • annotated or leveled texts to support with vocabulary acquisition,
  • sentence starters to support their written responses.

Questions to Consider

  • How might a Gallery Walk become a routine and procedure in your classroom? How could you use a Gallery Walk for an admit and/or exit ticket?

  • What scaffolds need to be put in place in order to support students to successfully engage in a Gallery Walk?

  • How can you make a gallery walk student-centered and allow students to take ownership in the selection of what content will be displayed?

Coach Tips

Julie Mason
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

Because this strategy requires that students silently participate, and involves moving around the room, it is helpful to rehearse the process before you actually try it in class. This helps students better understand the logistics and expectations.

Gallery Walks can be done digitally. Students can open up their work on their computer, and you can arrange their computers in different spots around the room.

One of my favorite thinking routines that pairs well with Gallery Walks is See, Think, Wonder. Consider creating a graphic organizer with three columns, and support students to first document what they see in the image/text, then what it makes them think about, and finally what questions that they have.

Research Base

In developing this strategy, the resources included below were consulted.