Silent Gallery Walks

On the second edition of the Mathpod, Cathy Fosnot mentioned that she does all of her gallery walks silent. I was struck by this idea as I have only done gallery walks in full conversations. Now I have been doing Gallery Walks for some time now and the idea has never crossed my mind.

To me a Gallery Walk was a place to engage in meaningful and critical math talk. I have done them in many different ways:

  1. Partners walk around and talk strategies
  2. Group Gallery Walks: Students find another partner group and talk to them
  3. Stay and Go: one member stays while one member goes
  4. Walk around and sign your name or place questions

But I have never been more impressed than with the silent gallery walk. Here is what I did:

  1. I set the rule that there will be no talking. Not one word. This was probably the hardest part but my kids seemed to handle it.
  2. I asked them to reflect on the strategies that they saw. They had to do two things, write a questions about the math or sign the bottom to say they understood and could share the strategy with the class.
  3. After students went back to their strategy and read the questions in order to further improve their presentation.

At first, I wasn’t too sure if this would have any impact on the learning but as I said it was amazing. I got the most rich and in depth questions I have ever seen on students work. Also, I have done this before with talking but it always seems that students are off task or done right away. This time my students kept the engagement for a full 15 minutes while walking around looking at strategies.

So if you have a chance try a silent gallery walk, you may be surprised.


My Journey with going Gradeless continues

As many of you know I have been on a three year journey to throw out Grades in my classroom.  Recently, I was able to be a part of a great PD day with the fabulous Starr Sackstien. I have written some posts about how much she has influenced me and my journey and meeting her in real life didn’t disappoint.

Being in year three of going gradeless I still felt like I was missing something in the process.  I mean I already was having students read the curriculum, write their own learning goals and success criteria and finish up with a quarterly letter to their parents but the process still felt like I was missing a piece of the puzzle.

In listening to Starr talk she mentioned the idea of tracking feedback with her students. It was at the moment that a little light bulb went off. Tracking, so simple yet so easy to forget and do.

So this year I have decided to make a simple google doc. The doc had a chart that included the date, title of assignment, what I said to the students and what they think it meant. I also included a met box with a link to a piece of evidence. This small piece of work has made a big difference in my students reflection process. Now they are able to look back and set better goals as they see which piece of feedback they haven’t been able to meet. This makes goal setting a whole lot easier.

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I just thought I would share this with everyone as it was really helpful for me. If you have any other suggestions about assessment love to hear from you.