Monday, February 24, 2014

Gallery Walk - American Symbols {Freebie}

I find gallery walks to be one of the greatest activities you can do with your students.  They allow students to share their background knowledge and/or learned concepts individually or as a group.  For the teacher, they provide a clear view of overall understanding.
I used gallery walks, also known as carousels, all the time when I taught 5th.  My student loved being handed different color markers to signify their comments.  The activity allowed my fifth graders to take responsibility of their learning while allowing me to observe the learning still necessary for skill mastery.
For those of you not familiar with a gallery walk/carousel here is how it works:

  • prep chart paper with a question, vocabulary word, prompt, picture, etc on it
  • place the chart paper all around the classroom
  • assign student groups or individual students a writing color (this is not a necessity, but allows you to distinguish who provided the information)
  • students walk around to each of the papers responding to the information on it
    • I time students at each poster to keep students focused
  • discuss and review the information that students have shared
After much thought I decided to try this with my first graders.  I placed an American Symbol on several pieces of chart paper.  I asked students to tell me what the symbol represented.  *Note* we did this activity towards to end of our unit on American Symbols.  I wanted to see who was able to verbalize each symbol's meaning.  The symbols included: the White House, American Flag, Washington Monument, Statue of Liberty, and the Liberty Bell.

Overall, I was very impressed with how focused my kiddos were.  They loved chatting with each other at each poster, sharing their thoughts and helping each other with words.
After reviewing their responses, we did a bit more learning with the Liberty Bell, White House, Statue of Liberty, and American Flag with the following matching activity:
You can grab of copy of this activity by clicking on the picture.

Have you ever done a gallery walk in your classroom?  I would love to hear how you use this learning activity.

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