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Including gallery walks in my lessons allows students to move around the classroom and talk to each other about the math. It is not developmentally appropriate to expect seventh graders to always stay seated in their seats for 8 hours a day, so incorporating some movement in the math classroom helps them stay alert. Additionally, students learn best by talking through concepts with their peers and teaching each other.
For example, in my math intervention class, I did a gallery walk where students were given algebraic expressions and they had to figure out which of the scenerios posted around the room matched the expression. The novelty of movement got many students engaged in the activity, and students were using their higher order thinking skills to figure out which scenerios matched and why.
Students were highly engaged in the activity, with all students actively participating. Students had to justify their reasoning with their partners at each station. The groups were intentionally chosen as mixed ability, with each group having at least one SPED student at one high-achieving student. This was so that students could all access the material. Lower-achieving students benefit from having a high-achieving peer in their group, and high-achieving students benefit from clarifying their thinking enough to teach their peers. Sometimes I let students pick their groups or group students by ability, but on this particular day I wanted to maximize student-to-student teaching with mixed ability groups.
Students had varying levels of rigor in their reasoning, and we later discussed what reasoning they should have had in the work. Some students failed to justify their reasoning for their last station because they have already matched the rest, or used vague reasoning such as “we added it together”. Nevertheless, the activity sparked a lot of math talk between students. Afterwords, we brought it together by discussing what clues in a math problem tell us a variable or a constant is needed.
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