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.



Author: MrSoClassroom

I am a grade school Teacher, promoting creativity and exploration in all of my students. My classroom is always in a state of Inquiry.

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