Making Gallery Walks Meaningful

Recently, I had my students create a poster that shows the connections between the book we are reading, Elijah of Buxton, to an article about Harriet Tubman. They were to list the connections and then find textual evidence to support these connections. It was a pretty straight forward and typical ELA lesson.

When we completed the posters in first period, the students did a gallery walk and just walked around and looked at the other ones. Maybe there was some discussion, but nothing much was happening besides the walking around.

As the students were walking around just glancing at the posters, I knew I needed to do something to make the gallery walk meaningful. So, when the next class came in, I decided to add a little oomph to the lesson….

Post it note strategy

Before we started the gallery walk, I explained Positive Post Its:
1. The groups will spend two minutes at each poster.

2. During this time, you will read and evaluate the poster.

3. On the post it, you will write something you liked about their poster. It MUST go deeper then…”it was pretty”

That’s pretty much it. Nothing extremely fancy or innovative, but just a simple strategy to make the engagement skyrocket. I loved listening to students comment about the connections a group made, and how they never thought about it that way. I loved watching the groups read the comments from others and feel validated and proud of all their hard work. And, I loved how positive the groups were when reading the other posters and thinking about something to write. It made my teacher heart happy!