Graffiti Walk, Carousel Discussion, or Poster Walk

Try a carousel discussion or poster walk to encourage movement, conversation, and reflection between students
125 teachers like this strategy
Carousel Discussion
2:34

About This Strategy

In a Carousel Discussion or a Poster Walk, students work in pairs or small groups to circulate around the room to answer questions, solve problems, analyze an image or text, discuss a topic, or provide feedback on questions, topics, themes, or problems that the teacher places on poster boards around the classroom. As each group approaches a Graffiti Board or a poster, they discuss what is on the poster and then write their response to the question or problem on the poster. Then, after an allotted period of time, students rotate to another Graffiti Board or poster in the room and follow the same process. This strategy can be used by students in almost all grades, even in lower grades with proper scaffolds in place. It can also be used in any subject area to activate students' prior knowledge, allow them to analyze a topic or theme, have them synthesize learning in a unit, or provide feedback on each other's work.

Implementation Steps

30 minutes
  1. Select or develop images, texts, problems (see Carousel Activity for Math resource below), or questions (see Carousel Chart for ELA example below) for students to discuss, and determine an amount of time you'd like students to spend at each poster.

  2. Place those images, texts, problems, or questions on separate posters around the classroom.

  3. Arrange students in groups or pairs and, if necessary, have them engage in prior reading or analysis of texts, themes, or topics before the discussion to prepare them for the discussion.

  4. Model the carousel discussion for students, providing accountable talk stems (see resource below) if necessary to support discussion or using a Y chart (see resource below) of what a carousel discussion should look like or sound like.

  5. Have student groups engage in the carousel discussion and write their responses or comments directly onto the graffiti board or poster. After an allotted period of time, have students rotate to another poster until all students have visited each poster or until time runs up.

  6. Reflect on the Carousel Discussion by asking students questions such as:

    • What did you learn from your partner/group during this discussion?

    • What did you learn from other groups by reading their comments on the graffiti board or poster during the discussion?

Carousel as Activator

To activate and assess students' prior knowledge about a topic or theme in a unit, teachers can post images, questions, or topics that will be learned or covered in the upcoming unit on Graffiti boards or posters around the room, and have students work in groups to analyze or comment on those images, questions, or topics.

Carousel as Synthesis or Analysis of Unit Themes/Topics

To dig deeper into unit topics, texts, or themes, or to synthesize information learned, students can engage in a Carousel Discussion in the middle or near the end of a unit.

Carousel as a Way to Provide Feedback

Teachers can use a carousel discussion for students to provide feedback on each other's work. Teachers can post student work around the room and peers can provide feedback on it. For guidance, teachers can ask students to use a peer feedback protocol such as Glows and Grows (see resource below) to provide feedback on their peers' work on the Graffiti Board during the Carousel Discussion.

Carousel as a Way to Debrief

After viewing a powerful or emotional video, listening to a speech, or engaging in a whole group discussion, students can benefit from being able to debrief their feelings and learnings in a Carousel Discussion format. Teaches can post topics or questions to discuss on the Graffiti Board or posters, and students can talk about those topics in small groups and write their responses on the boards/posters for other students to see and respond to as well.

Special Education Modification

Nedra Massenburg
Special Education Specialist

Use of Graffiti Walks and/or Carousel Discussions are an excellent tool for students with disabilities by helping them improve their active listening and collaboration skills to develop relationships in the classroom and increase their mastery of concepts.

Strategies like Graffiti Walks require significant executive functioning skills (including focus, organization, working memory, etc.), written skills, and/or verbal expression skills.  In order to support students with disabilities who have difficulty in these areas, consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Teachers who use Graffiti Walks and/or Carousel should be mindful of student disability types and needs in addition to formative data when assigning partners and/or groups; ensure that you strategically pair students to support the development of mastery without increasing frustration.  

  2. For students with disabilities that affect their verbal and written expression, provide additional scaffolds, such as visuals, talk stems, and manipulatives to support their explanations and justifications.  These students may also benefit from being able to respond to the questions on their own in writing before the carousel discussion so that they can have their thoughts prepared in advance of the discussion. See the "Accountable Talk Stem" resource in the resource section below for more information.

  3.  If multiple teachers are present, careful thought should be put into co-teaching models and how they integrate into a differentiated lesson plan using Graffiti Walks or Carousel Discussions.  See the "How to Choose a Co-Teaching Model" and the "Differentiation Within the Inclusion Classroom" resources in the resource section below for more information.

  4. If multiple teachers are present in a setting, consider having one teacher work in a small group of students with intensive disabilities to provide them more modeling and more frequent feedback when using a Poster Walk strategy.

EL Modification

Shannon Coyle
English Learner Specialist

This strategy supports English learners to apply a wide variety of academic skills to content while engaging in listening and discussion with peers. 

English learners are required to use all four domains of language, reading, writing, speaking and listening while participating in classroom walk activities. In order to support English Learners consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Provide comprehensible content. English learners at all proficiency levels will require pre-walk text or other media in a form they can understand. Consider providing video or visual sources in particular for English learners at lower levels of proficiency. Consider partnering with English learners’ specialists for sources designed for speakers of other languages. See the "Research and Bilingual Content Sources for English Learners" resource in the resource section below for more information.
  2. Preview. Consider giving learners at lower levels of proficiency the questions, images, text or problems to be included in a poster in advance. Have learners draft ideas to add to posters in class. 

  3. Put English learners in heterogeneous groups that will be most supportive. Consider social dynamics as well as language skills to ensure all learners’ ideas will be included. Consider assigning roles to individual learners. Consider anchoring learners at lower levels of proficiency with learners who speak the same home language to allow for idea generation in the home language. See the "How should ELLs be grouped for instruction?" resource in the resource section below for more information.
  4. Provide discussion frames or academic sentence starters. Explicitly pre-teach discussion frames to English learners. When using discussion frames with all learners, consider practicing chorally in preparation for walks. Post discussion frames for easy reference. See the "Academic-Language-Functions Toolkit" and "Classroom Collaboration Discussion Frames (Kate Kinsella)" resources in the resource section below for more information.
  5. Add visuals. For posters that are text based, include graphics that will anchor learners in the topic. Consider familiar visual aids that may have been used throughout a unit of study. For new to learners poster topics, consider easy to recognize visual aids. 

  6. Guide inquiry. Learners at lower levels of proficiency may benefit from checklists or targets to look for when engaging in walks. See the "Carousel Discussion Checklist Template" resource in the resource section below for more information.
  7. Provide a variety of ways to express learning. Allow learners at lower levels of proficiency to use single words or phrases, matching familiar vocabulary, drawing, online images, magazine cut-outs, or other non-linguistic means of expression when adding ideas to a poster. Consider having learners dictate their ideas for a peer to record. See the "WIDA Can Do Descriptors" resource in the resource section below.

Questions to Consider

  • How could this strategy support your students to engage in group conversations?

  • How could you assess your students' conversations during the carousel discussion?

  • How could you support students to reflect on new learnings after the carousel discussion?

Coach Tip

Hannah Larkin
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

When implementing a carousel discussion, be sure to set expectations for students about what a carousel discussion should look like and sound like. Consider creating an anchor chart. 

Also, be sure to decide whether you want students to talk with each other during the discussion or move around silently (talking with their pen). There are advantages to both depending on the topic of the discussion, the purpose of the discussion, and the classroom dynamic.

The most important part of this activity is to reflect on the process.  Be sure to take the time to reflect with students on the carousel discussion and think about next steps. 

Tech Tools

Padlet

  • Padlet is a virtual poster board tool that allows students to post topics and respond to them.

  • Teachers can create a padlet for each topic, theme, problem, or question that they would like students to discuss in the Carousel Discussion. Instead of posting physical posters around the room, teachers can make several padlets and have students engage in the Carousel discussion from their desks or by visiting several computers around the room.

 

Glogster

  • Glogster, like padlet, is a virtual poster board onto which students can post comments, videos, music or images.

  • Teaches can create a glog page for each topic, theme, problem, or question that they would like student to discuss in the Carousel Discussion, and have students engage in the carousel virtually.

Related Lessons

Lessons:

  • Explore the "Carousel Discussion Act 5 The Taming of the Shrew" lesson by 12th grade ELA teacher Glenda Funk included in the resource section below to see how to implement a textual analysis carousel discussion.

  • Explore the "Hop on the Carousel" lesson by 12th grade Math teacher Tim Marley included in the resource section below to see how to implement a math problems carousel discussion.

  • Explore the "Vocabulary Carousel" lesson by 7th grade ELA teacher Taylor Tasha Devries included in the resource section below to see how to implement a vocabulary carousel discussion.

  • Explore the "Evaluating Research on a Carousel" lesson by 11th grade ELA teacher Erik Sussbauer included in the resource section below to see how to implement a research analysis carousel discussion.

  • Explore the "Physics Review Carousel" lesson by Physics teacher Anna Meyer included in the resource section below to see how to implement a unit review carousel discussion.

Research Base