My friends, I hope you are all well. I hope that whether this year find you teaching from your house, your classroom, or some crazy combo of both again that you are well, safe, and remembering how strong and amazing you are.
Now, I’d love to share with you one of my favorite class activities (that can be done in person and virtually!) What’s that activity? Gallery Walks. [insert excited giggle here]
Before I tell you some of the variations of gallery walks I do in my classroom, let me tell you why I love gallery walks in the language classroom so much:
1 – Peace. Yup. Me. Myself. & I having a peaceful day is the number 1 reason. While gallery walks require a little prep work, they are simple and easy to manage 95% of the time (you know that one class…) and they are seamless to implement each time (again, you know…). So they are a great choice for me and my class when we all need a break from each other but still need input.
2 – Fun. This is a description directly from my 8th graders, “can we get up and walk around and read every day? this is so fun!” Why? I don’t know. What makes walking around reading 10x the information more fun that reading together in our seats? I don’t know. But I’m here for it.
3 – Information Input. Gallery walks are amazing for both breaking down large amounts of information into smaller pieces and for providing the opportunity to read more than normal amounts of information in a non-traditional way. Both are equally effective in my opinion and have their time and place.
4 – Evaluations. Gallery walks are gold for evaluations and observations. Why? Students are working in a self-driven manner. Students are choosing their learning path. Students are working both independently and helping each other (if you allow). Differentiation is high. Collaboration of the results and discussion of the results is higher level conversation and student self-checking and reflection. gold.
Okay, now you know why I love gallery walks so much… so let me tell you how I have used them in my classroom and what it takes to make them happen.
Set up: For any gallery walk you need something for students to read/evaluate. 75% of the time I am using a text(s), graph(s), or pre-made input. The other 25% of the time I am using student created information (see annotations) to create the material one day and gallery walk it the next. Aside from the text material, you will need something to attach it to the wall with (I like painters tape because my custodial friends don’t yell at me when I use it 🙂 ) . I also like to have some type of accountability piece or note catcher for students to complete while they’re reading. Let’s be honest, some will not read it without that. The example you are going to see below is from my Spanish Sports Unit that features Olympic athletes and country profiles.
For the country profiles, students received a note catching sheet to use while they read. I chose to use about 16 profiles that were about 1 paragraph each. Students had 35 minutes to read and complete the note catcher. This was with “covid” – Spanish 3 students. 95% of students finished within that time frame. Note: the reading was a little below their “level” as I was more concerned with amount of information rather than complexity of information for this activity. We repeated the same activity with the Olympic athletes and a new note catching sheet. And we repeated the gallery walk with the Olympic graphs in the unit.
My second (25%) favorite way to implement a gallery walk is with annotations. You can read all about annotations here!
Gallery walks can easily be made virtual with Jamboard or even Google Slides! (Read more about Jamboard here!) They can be partner activities instead of individual. You can use short, separated texts or break one larger text into smaller pieces. The options are endless!