Using Gallery Walks in the Classroom

How to Use Gallery Walks in the Classroom blog postGallery walks are a great way to get students out of their seats and moving around the classroom. Some teachers shudder at the thought of having all of the students out of their desks moving around the classroom at the same time, but in reality, it can be a very effective technique for classroom management. Your students need a certain amount of time out of their seats, and this will give them that opportunity. The most important thing to remember is to establish expectations before beginning the activity. Keep reading for some information on gallery walks, as well as some ideas for incorporating them into your classroom.

What is a gallery walk?
A gallery walk is a classroom activity in which students rotate through a variety of tasks. Each task may consist of a question or very short activity to complete, before rotating to another one.


How can I use gallery walks?

Gallery walks can be used in any subject area and for any topic, simply by setting up your activity a bit differently. For example, gallery walks are great for math concepts such as number sense. Post about 20 different tasks around the room. Have students rotate from task to task, solving them on a personal clipboard. Students are doing what could have been an in-desk activity, but by incorporating movement you will increase interest and motivation. Another way to use gallery walks is to post questions on chart paper around the room. Have students rotate from paper to paper, adding their answer to the chart paper. This is sometimes called a carousel.

Another way that I love to use gallery walks is in the computer lab. When I have students create PowerPoint presentations for a certain concept, I like to use the computer lab for a final gallery walk. Each student opens her presentation on one computer and inserts a slide at the end for comments. When the gallery walk begins, students rotate from computer to computer, reading another person’s presentation. When he is finished reading, he types a positive comment on the last slide. Now when the gallery walk is finished, each person has a page full of positive feedback to read about their presentation.


What sort of expectations should I set?
Like any classroom activity, it is essential to set expectations before beginning. Begin by modeling what good behavior looks like and sounds like during a gallery walk. Show students how they rotate from task to task. Set expectations for the number of people allowed at each task. Personally, I like to limit it to three. If a student sees that three people are already at a task, he should find a different one. Think about how you want students to rotate. Do they have to go in a certain order, or can they find any task that is free (I personally like the second option better). What will happen if misbehavior occurs? My general rule is that if students are not following the rules, they sit in their desk and watch the others do the activity. Believe me, sitting down and watching others walk freely around the room is like torture, and this will not happen very often!


If you would like to try Gallery Walks in your classroom, I’ve done the work of creating the questions for you. You can see my full selection of Gallery Walks  HERE.


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