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In Katherine Puzey’s second grade classroom at Sunset View, students are reading texts, using context clues to unpack the meanings of words, identifying text-to-world connections, and practicing speaking and listening skills– all while they’re on their feet– all in the same lesson.

Mrs. Puzey held a student gallery walk to review their reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, students rotate from station to station, tackling queries at each station. 

The gallery walk is perfect for many learners: it differentiates products and learning environments for learners who might struggle to put answers to pen and paper or have difficulty managing their sensory needs. The teacher also has more opportunities to monitor student groups and make informal assessments about each student’s current ELA skills.

Paired students rotated to each station with a question about a story they read titled “Dear Primo,” a short story from The Wonders Booklet. Students took turns reading questions before answering, reflecting on the deck, then making real-world connections.

Students answered questions like, “Charlie rides the subway to school. What is a subway? Have you ever ridden a subway? What do you think it would be like?” And, “How are Charlie and Carolito the same? Are you and your cousin the same in some ways? How?” 

The questions are simple, yes, but they ask students to do a myriad of tasks related to the state core. In the first question, students identify words according to context– which goes along with the core strand: 

  • RF.2.4.C: Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary, and
  • L.2.4.A: Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. 

Students are also practicing and demonstrating their reading and listening abilities according to the state standards: 

  • SL.2.1.A Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor respectfully, listening to others with care, and speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • SL.2.1.B: Build on others talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.

Kids beamed, confidently answering questions, sharing their answers with their neighbors, and listening politely for their partner’s response. And, although it’s not the primary goal of any given lesson, the kids were clearly having fun.

It’s a lesson that empowers students to take an active role in their learning through exploration, offering them space to express themselves in their answers. And it’s the sort of lesson that happens daily in our schools. 

Thanks to Sunset View and Mrs. Puzey for letting us visit, and thanks Mrs. Puzey for being a great teacher.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei