Students will research leaders in small groups and end with a hosting a Gallery Walk.
A Gallery Walk offers students the opportunity to share information with others in a gallery setting. This protocol involves small-group collaboration, while holding individuals responsible for the learning and teaching.
We have included three leader study materials; however, use this lesson as an opportunity to choose leaders that connect in different ways to your class culture and goals.
Video: PBS Learning: The African Americans (5:19)
Video: PBS - Black History Month Special (3:49)
Web: Britannica Biography
Video: Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient (2:18)
1. Divide students into groups of three to five.
2. Assign (or let groups choose) a historical leader to research, and distribute prepared leader information to the groups. Allow access online if possible.
3. Allow time for group to read, discuss, and/or view the information. Using prior knowledge along with the new knowledge, have each group complete the Gallery Walk graphic organizer in preparation for their presentation. The Leadership Qualities List can also be a helpful resource for students to think of more nuanced characteristics.
4. Students should work to extract specific evidence of leadership characteristics in their leader’s lives:
- Write the leader’s name at the top of the organizer
- Isolate three characteristics that were apparent in that leader’s life
- List (multiple) examples of when the leader exhibited the characteristic in his/her life.
5. Once students have agreed upon the information on their graphic organizer, instruct the groups to create a chart or poster with the information and key points (and an optional visual representation) from their research.
6. Be clear that each person has to understand the content on the poster in order to present the information effectively. Allow time for the group to help one another focus on key components.
If you are breaking this session into two parts, now is a natural break.
7. Hang the posters around the room or in the hallway.
8. Regroup students so each new group has at least one member from the previous work groups.
9. Explain that as the groups rotate from poster to poster, the student who helped create the poster will present the material to the rest of the group.
10. Assign each group a poster to begin their rotations.
11. Explain that groups will have 5 minutes at each poster for presentations and discussion. At the end of 5 minutes, sound the bell and direct groups which way to rotate.
If your group will be doing pre-class work, consider having students in the class review the leader material so that class time can be used for group work on the graphic organizer and posters.
Consider beginning this session with students working individually with Leader resources to fill out the graphic organizer. Students can then bring these completed materials together to find consensus and create the Gallery Walk posters.
If a Gallery Walk is unfamiliar. Check out these resources:
If you will be debriefing the learning process with students, spend time observing students as they participate in the Gallery Walk. It is helpful to jot down points of discussion or any observations that you make while students are involved in this activity so you are prepared for a precise and productive debrief session:
- Watch for student leaders/facilitators.
- Notice communication methods used.
- How do students handle frustration or lack or organization?
- How do students choose to divide tasks?
- How do students listen to others’ ideas?
- How are students communicating their learning?
Debriefing the process of learning may be a new idea for many students. Try not to communicate that there are right or wrong answers, rather allow students to share their experience.
Allow students the freedom to answer however they wish; however, try to limit cliché answers ("teamwork", "good communication") by probing deeper or asking for specific examples.
Debriefing the learning process allows students to be self-reflective about their participation, interactive habits, and awareness of the group.
As students complete the Hosted Gallery Walk activity, have them return to their seats and reflect on the following questions, recording their answers in a journal, in a group discussion, or a combination of the two.
- What was your biggest “a-ha” moment during the gallery walk?
- How do you think these leaders learned to be ____________ (courageous, honest, etc.)?
- What events in their lives show this learning?
- What leadership characteristic did you feel you displayed today during this session?
An optional or additional wrap up can be to reflect with students on their group learning process.
1. Say: Great job on the Gallery Walk! Now let’s think about how that entire learning process went! When we understand how we are thinking, communicating, and listening, it helps us to know how we best retain information, how we can help people around us learn, and where we can grow and improve as learners ourselves.
If debriefing the learning process with students is new to you, find tips and suggestions in the Facilitator Tips guide.
2. Use the discussion questions to reflect on student interaction and learning. Several group discussion formats can be effective. Rather than just call and response questions and answers (where often only a few students are interacting with the information), try some of these formats:
- Journal response
- Cold calls
- Pair share
- Answer on notecards, then choose # out of a hat to read
- Go Around Question (everybody answers)
- Group Dialogue (one student responds, another student responds to that student, etc.)
- Concentric Circles
3. Debrief Questions:
- Who would you point to as an initiator during this activity? Why? Can you provide specific examples?
- What did you notice about the group work, communication, and participation during the process?
- Think about a moment when you were frustrated. How did you respond? What should you do the same or differently next time?
- What were some positive examples of communication during this activity? Negative examples?
- Did we waste time or energy anywhere? Where? Why?
- Next time we do a group learning activity, how can we make it better?
- Go-Around Question: Which leadership characteristic from our list did you feel YOU displayed today?