In our new book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, Suzie Boss talks about the importance of routines and protocols in building a collaborative culture. One such protocol, used as a formative assessment tool for critique and revision, is the “gallery walk.”
The book contains several “Try This” sidebars with specific guidelines for activities PBL teachers can do with students or colleagues. Here’s one of them.
Try This: Hold a Gallery Walk
A gallery walk is a critique protocol in which students get feedback from their peers on how to improve their work. Schedule a gallery walk at one or more points during a project as part of your formative assessment plan. (A word of caution: In advance of doing any critique protocol, make sure that students understand how to give and receive critical feedback. Consider modeling the process or using role-plays, sentence starters, and other activities to build and reinforce a positive critique culture.)
Here are the basic steps for a gallery walk:
1. Post work to be assessed on classroom walls (or display it digitally). This may be text, storyboards, prototypes of products, or other artifacts.
2. Decide on the process for giving feedback. Students can write on sticky notes to be placed next to the work displayed, write on a feedback form posted next to the work, or use a digital tool to write comments and questions.
3. Be sure students know what to look for. Explain the criteria to be applied, or have them use a rubric or checklist for guidance. Suggest sentence starters to frame their feedback (e.g., “I like,” “I wish,” “I wonder”).
4. Have students move around the room (or go through a digital display) silently to give feedback, allowing enough time to assess each piece of work displayed.
5. After the gallery walk, ask the person or team that created the work to read and reflect on the feedback they got. Then plan next steps/revisions.
Approximately 20–30 minutes, depending on how much work is displayed, how complex the assessment is, and how much time is allotted for Step 5.
• If the work requires an explanation before other students can offer feedback, have one member of the team that created it stay with the work instead of moving around the room.
• The students who created the work to be assessed may post a question or two about which they would especially like feedback. For example, “Does our product sound like it would appeal to our target audience?” or “Did we include convincing evidence?”