Malvern holds first all Middle School Gallery Walk


Joe Lister

For the first time ever, the entire Middle School showcased a year’s worth of learning at once.

On Tuesday, May 8, Middle School students rushed around campus to show off what they had learned during the 2016-17 school year.

Middle School Gallery Walks are a lot like show and tell. Students show parents and teachers one piece of what they’ve done that year, and tell them about the process behind it.

The Middle School’s previous gallery walks featured work from the sixth and seventh grade academies as the academy model rolled up through the grade levels. The 2017 gallery walk included displays by all three grades as the eighth grade academy completes its third year.

Sixth and seventh grade History teacher Mr. Steven Swope ran a station showcasing one of the Sixth Grade’s projects

For the “Most Influential American” project, each sixth grader chose an American hero, and gave a presentation on the person. Each sixth grader faced off against another student, and through a March Madness-like-bracket, a winner would eventually be chosen.

“The process itself was really teaching the research skills and presentation skills,” Swope said.

For Swope, the reason behind all three grades participating in the Gallery Walk was simple.

“[It was] the notion of looking ahead and saying ‘what’s my son going to be doing in the next few years,’ or an eighth grade parent to go back and say ‘wow, this is what these young men are doing,” Swope said.

Swope also said that he walked around campus to view other students work. His favorite work was that of the eighth grade, which focused mainly on their study of Syria.

“It was the student’s night, it wasn’t for the teachers,” Swope said.

Mr. John Romano P’22 says that he’s been to past Gallery Walks, and had mixed opinions about the experience.

“I enjoyed seeing what each student went through to get to the finished product,” he said. “Often it is difficult being unguided with some of the presentations. But overall you get a sense of the learning experience.”

Going into this Gallery Walk, Romano said he expected to see his son’s stamp on some of the showcased work. “I expected to see John’s work and this year his leadership in setting up the process,” he said.

Romano says that he enjoyed this year’s Gallery Walk, but he had some difficulties.

“The 7th grade’s [display] was very informative and well thought out,” he said. “Although it was difficult to hear at times due to the number of people in the space. Time was against us since the separation made for a few minute transition. Not to mention adults tend to network a lot and that makes them take longer getting from point A to point B.”

For Romano, the biggest positive of an all school Gallery Walk was being able to look ahead.

“I enjoyed seeing the 8th grade since it gives me a sense of where he might go next year,” he said. “The idea is a phenomenal one that I describe to anyone of my peers when we are discussing our children’s schools.”

Swope also believes that the Gallery Walk is a successful program to showcase Malvern’s middle school. “The flow of traffic was phenomenal,” he said.

Eighth grader Maceo Giampietro ran a station on Syrian smugglers using trucks during the Gallery Walk. While he didn’t walk around, Giampietro feels that he did a good job presenting.

Giampietro said that his group spent a lot of time preparing. “We got a lot of facts about trucks,” he said. “We spent one class just practicing.”

That work, Giampietro believes, paid off. “I think [the visitors] learned a lot from it,” he said.