How to Use the Gallery Walk to Engage Students and Improve Learning

Use the Gallery Walk as an active learning strategy to engage students, promote collaboration, and encourage critical thinking.

Physical movement enhances learning, thinking, and retention.  When your students participate in the Gallery Walk, they are working in pairs or small groups. They rotate from one flip chart to another as they move around the room solving problems, answering questions, and sharing ideas.

It takes a little time to set up, but it always promotes engagement and collaboration among students. 

How to Use the Gallery Walk in Your Course

For this strategy, you will need:  flip chart paper, tape, and different colors markers. And you’ll need to have a plan to divide students into groups.

Here’s how it works!

First, set up the room.  Write different questions at the top of separate sheets of flip chart paper.  You’ll need one question for each group of students. Then, post each sheet of flip chart paper on the walls around the room.

Next, divide students into small groups. Give each group a different colored marker. 

Then assign each group one of the questions posted on the flip chart paper. Ask groups to gather at their flip chart paper to discuss the question.

Tell students to write their responses directly onto the paper using their group’s colored marker. After 3-5 minutes, ask all groups to rotate clockwise to the next question.  

Now their task is to add additional ideas to the comments from the previous group. Repeat this process until all groups return to their original question.

Analyze and Debrief the Gallery Walk

Give students time to review the information provided from all of the other groups. They will be able to compare and contrast different responses, and you can track each of the groups by the color of the marker they used to write their response.

You can then lead a discussion comparing different ideas, interpretations, and answers.  If you want to add another layer to the activity, you can ask each group to rank, sort, or prioritize the top three responses on their flip charts.

Use this information to increase the complexity of the class discussion and to explore possible alternative solutions.

Why Does the Gallery Walk Work in the Active Learning Classroom?

This process creates a “gallery” of the students’ thoughts and ideas (which is why this strategy is called the "Gallery Walk"). The process involves students in recalling information, making connections to the course content, and sharing experiences.

It combines physical movement, reflection, analysis, group discussion, and writing. And, it allows students to analyze and evaluate information shared by their peers.

This strategy engages students in higher levels of engagement and critical thinking. (See my post about using Bloom's Taxonomy and my FLIP model). This strategy also allows you to see where students are struggling so you can provide additional resources and support. 

It can be used at any time throughout the semester and can be adapted to work in a variety of learning environments. When you use the Gallery Walk in your class, you are also introducing students to the changing roles in the classroom. Their role becomes more active and collaborative. Your role becomes more of a coach or guide as you provide support and offer additional information as needed.

For more flipped and active learning strategies, check out my collection of ebooks!

FLIP it books