With over 130 students, you may think there is just no way to display all student work like projects all the time. But you totally should- and you totally can! Displaying student work is a form of affirmation, and there is no easier and faster way to share student work than a gallery walk. For those unfamiliar with a gallery walk, it is simply giving students time to share their work. There are different ways to do it, but usually students will just leave their work on their desk and move freely about the room checking out their classmates’ work. Here are some tips to have a successful and meaningful gallery walk.
1. Set the Expectations
For our first gallery walk, I always ask students what are the expectations for people when they go to a fancy art gallery? What are the likely consequences they break a rule? Their answers most often become our gallery walk expectations.
- Use quiet voices/ no talking
- Do not touch any of the artwork
- No running or horseplaying
- No eating or drinking
- Don’t stand over someone’s shoulder when they are looking (1 person per exhibit/ student work)
- If you see something wrong, alert someone immediately
2. Have Look Fors….
Give your students something to think about.
- What are things you like?
- What are things that you dislike?
- What was something creative?
- What is a great idea that you might consider doing next time?
3. Set the Timer/ Play Classical Music
Set a timer or play classical music. Sometimes, when I am not strapped for time, I just watch the students and when they begin to look like they are just wandering, then I end the walk.
4. Share Thoughts
Have students share their thoughts and share their look fors. Be sure to emphasize, that they should not name any names or be specific about particular projects… just speaking generally.
Gallery walks are a great way for students to share their creations with an audience and to see how their projects compare to other student projects. Students will put in more work knowing it will be on display for more than just the teacher to grade and to hand back immediately. Your students’ creations will constantly evolve as they learn the characteristics of a good project from their peers. I’m willing to bet that the quality of your student work and projects will increase if your students are consistently participating in gallery walks. That is a tremendous gain for giving up 5-10 minutes of your time!