Search form

The Gallery Walk

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

Ask the group to draw an image of a complex situation or a metaphor for the situation.

Materials Needed

Take standard-size flip chart paper, fold it in half, crease it, and then tear it in half. Have enough half sheets to provide 2-3 for each small sub-group. Have enough watercolor markers that each small sub-group can have a variety of colors. The groups can work on tables, but you'll need tape to hang up the results on the wall.

Time Required

More Ideas for
Instant Meetings

Be sure to see our Instant Meetings Archive for additional ideas.

And don't miss our Great Meeting series. Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb offer a short course on creating meetings that work, based on their popular guide, Great Meetings. They present ideas to help you learn how to lead meetings that generate ideas; analyze problems; define a vision; evaluate ideas and make decisions; plan for long-range needs; encourage group participation and keep groups on track; and much more.


Allow 5-10 minutes to explain the activity, 10-20 minutes for each small group to come up with an idea and execute it, and 10-20 minutes to do the "gallery walk" where each group explains its image. That is a total of 25-50 minutes depending on the number of people and the complexity of the issue.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

Imagine that you are working with a task force of teachers and administrators that has been charged with clarifying and simplifying the pathways of communication between the district's central office and the schools in the system, including those schools' teachers' groups, PTAs, student governments, and so on. The task force has been given background information on the existing formal communication channels and all the groups involved, but it is hard to describe how it actually works

In order to grasp the current situation, ask the group to think about the communications structure visually. Do they see a pattern or flow that they could draw? Is there a visual metaphor for the system they could draw such as "our communication system is like electrical panel in the cockpit of a 757 airplane"? What kind of visual image can they create that describes the system? Reassure the group that artistic ability is not a requirement. You are just looking for a graphic description of the system.

Arrange the group into smaller sub-groups of 3 to 4 people. Ask each group to come up with a visual image and draw it on a half sheet of paper. Provide encouragement and more paper or pens if the groups need them.

When the groups are ready, have each one hang its drawing on the wall. Move around the room asking each group to explain how it came up with the image and what it says about the communications system. When each subgroup has presented their image, take some time to ask the whole group to reflect on what they have learned about the system in this exercise.

You can use this tool for visioning as well: ask participants to create an image of what the communication system is like when it is working the way they want it to be. If you want to save the images to be part of the notes or group's record, you can photograph them with a digital camera.

This idea was submitted by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings, Great Results!