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:
- Partners walk around and talk strategies
- Group Gallery Walks: Students find another partner group and talk to them
- Stay and Go: one member stays while one member goes
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.